Destination Weddings on a Budget

If you’ve finally to tie the knot, but don’t want to get married in your hometown, you’re probably considering what’s typically called a “destination wedding”. Some of the most popular wedding destinations include Mexico, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. However, Europe and South America are becoming more and more popular as well.

Many couples want to experience a unique and exciting wedding. However, before you purchase your plane tickets, you’ll need to think about the friends and family members that will have to travel to your wedding location. Speak to these people to see if they’ll be able to attend the wedding if it is located elsewhere. Be sensitive to their concerns – the current economic downturn is hard on everyone, so you may face some hard decisions about whether or not you’ll be able to have everyone you want at your destination wedding.

For those of you on a budget, you most expensive item will be the airfare and the hotel stay. Booking your travel arrangements as far in advance as possible will help you to snag the lowest prices. In addition, many hotels offer honeymoon packages, and some even offer wedding packages, that can save you a great deal of money if you make reservations for your whole wedding party.

Most of the resorts and hotels in popular destinations will also have a wedding coordinator on-staff. While this isn’t necessarily a needed expense, it can really take a lot of the stress off the bride and groom and their families. Many times these wedding coordinators will be able to save you a lot of money by recommending local vendors as well. In addition, there are usually special rates offered for catering and setup if you go through the hotel or resort’s wedding coordinator.

Be sure you’re aware of the legal requirement to marry outside of your country. It would be a shame to have a beautiful destination wedding, only to find it is not considered binding in your home county. Also, think about what type of paperwork you’ll need for traveling. If you live in the United States, you’ll be required to have a passport to reenter the country, even if you’re only traveling to Mexico or Canada. With the new security requirements, passports are also taking up to four months to process. Be sure that everyone in your wedding party has the needed paperwork as well to avoid any last minute problems.

If you’re concerned about your family and friends having the funds to travel, see if you’re eligible for a group discount at the hotel or resort where you and your fiancée are staying. Many of these resorts offer great deals for groups of five or more which can significantly reduce the costs incurred by the couple and the family members.

Consider an outdoor wedding as well. While you may be at the mercy of the elements, an outdoor wedding can cost you hundreds of dollars less than one in a reserved room in the resort. A wedding at the beach is free, while a wedding in a resort ballroom is far from it.

Above all remember this is your big day. Don’t worry if some of your family isn’t comfortable with your decision. In a perfect world, everyone you know and love would be able to attend your wedding, but it’s not a requisite. If you’re set on a destination wedding, sit down and make a list of the people that absolutely must be at your wedding. Talk over your plans with them and try to come to a decision together about what you can all afford and what your wedding options are.

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Filed under: Destination Weddings — vicky at 10:15 am on Saturday, November 22, 2008