Want to learn how to save money on your wedding? You’ll find a gazillion tips on the internet by doing a simple search. But is it realistic for you to read and then apply all of them or even half of them?
The problem with the articles and books that have 100 or even a 1000 different ways to save money on your wedding is that they focus on every little detail without letting you know what to focus on.
As a general rule, when looking to save money, you should be looking at the top five expenses for your destination wedding. After all, a savings of 10% on your catering bill will save you far more money than a 10% savings on your veil.
The tips below focus only on how to save money on the largest expenses associated with a destination wedding. By using these as your starting point, you will realize maximum savings in terms of actual dollars.
Once you have worked on the recommended tips below, then focus on saving money on the smaller, less expensive items.
Group Airfare Rates
In order to lower this cost for everyone, figure out how many people can fly out from the same location at the same time. If you can gather friends and family to all fly together, airlines will offer some great group airfare rates.Plus, if enough people book flights, you will be entitled to a free flight yourself.
In addition to getting lower airfare rates, select a location that won’t be as expensive to get to.
Florida can be quite a bit cheaper than some of the Caribbean islands during peak season.
Jamaica, Puerto Rico and other popular resort filled islands are far easier and cheaper to get to with direct flights than the Turks and Caicos.
Moreover, if you are dead set on two locations and can’t decide on one, then use the tax they charge as the tie breaker.
If one location has taxes of 14% and another location has taxes of 8%, then go with the island that is offering you a 6% savings on every dollar spent on the island.
If you have a group flying out from a certain city, then ask the airline to award you points. If you have ten ot twenty people flying out, you will rack up some serious points in the process. You can use the points for your own flight or for your one year anniversary.
Remember that traditionally, you may end up having to pay for the bridal party rooms. Depending on how many bridesmaids and groomsmen you have, that can be quite a penny, so make sure to get group rates at hotels.
If you are hosting the wedding at a hotel or are blocking hotel rooms (Average group discount is around 22%), make sure to get a group discount. Many hotels will offer you a free hotel room if your guests use 20-30 overnight rooms.
To learn how to get group rates, read our article “How to block hotel rooms for a destination wedding”
And if you can, book a hotel that offers free breakfast. That’s one less meal that guests will have to worry about.
If it is available, use an all inclusive resort as your wedding site. Most all inclusive resorts include food, drinks, recreation, entertainment, and some great scenic locations.
As far as their wedding packages go, you can select from a free one to one that can cost thousands, depending on the extras you select.
Many couples still think that all inclusive resorts serve up cheesy weddings. However, that is no longer the case.
Nowadays, weddings at resorts like Sandals can be as sophisticated as one done by a wedding planner. And the resort can host your wedding at a fraction of the cost of what you would pay if you bought everything individually.
And the wedding can be free.
All inclusive resorts offer a free wedding package so long as you or your guests stay a total number of nights at the resort (usually 5-6 nights). And the free wedding package is no slouch either. At Sandals resort, it includes a cake, ceremony, etc.
Choose a day that is not Saturday. Choose Friday or Sunday and the venue all of a sudden becomes much more accessible. Or, if you are having a week long celebration, then get married on a Monday or Tuesday. As long as your guests are on vacation as well, it won’t make much difference to your guests.
In addition, get married in the months that surround the peak months (also known as shoulder months). Prices are often 30-40% cheaper during these months, and vendors are much friendlier and less hurried.
Another thing to consider is if you even need a venue for your ceremony. Rather than select a church or a banquet hall, why not go with a non-traditional location. After all, you are hosting a destination wedding, which is already non-traditional.
So why not get married at the beach or at the top of the ski slopes. It’s cheaper than renting a hall or a church and in most cases, exterior wedding sites don’t require much decoration.
Another option is to rent a beachfront villa. Not only can your bridal party stay there before the wedding, you can use it as the location of your wedding ceremony. Websites like VRBO, among others, have a tremendous number of homes to choose from.
Catering And Drinks
One of the largest expenses is the reception catering and drinks. In fact, the average catering bill for an at home wedding is over $10,000 and that does not even include a rehearsal dinner.
If you are going to be catering food and paying for an open bar, then things will get very pricey. Especially if you have a 3-4 hour open bar, which is not uncommon.
If money is an issue, then consider limiting the kinds of drinks offered and keep the bar open for 2-3 hours only. In addition, don’t go with a five course meal. A two to three course meal will do just fine.
One of the advantages of getting married at an all inclusive resort is that you can have a reception dinner at one of the restaurants where they can seat everyone nearby. The food and drinks will be included so you won’t pay for anything.
Large bridal parties are an unnecessary expense if you are struggling to pay for a wedding. If you invite ten people to be in your bridal party, then you are potentially going to pay for five hotel rooms for four nights each along with gifts, and activities.
Doing so will cost thousands of dollars, money that can be better spent elsewhere. Better to limit yourself to 2-3 bridesmaids and groomsmen.
With the tips above, you now know that the most effective way to save money at your destination wedding is to focus on the largest expenses first. Once you have maximized your savings there, then it’s time to go after smaller expenses.
What To Do Next?
Take a look at some great destination wedding locations.