Weddings are one of the most glamorous moments in a woman’s life. Depending on the person, they can range from lavish and large extravaganzas to charmingly cute gatherings. If there’s one thing we agree on at BAUCE is that a wedding should always be prim and posh – but it should never cause you to go in debt.
We get it, we get it. Some of you will argue that a wedding is an investment in a memory that lasts a lifetime, but we will still beg to differ. According to a recent survey conducted by The Knot, 74% of couples will utilize some form of debt to cover wedding costs. Couples surveyed said that they would use credit cards or personal loans to support their nuptials.
Credit cards and personal loans?! Sheesh, I want to look like Beyoncé at my wedding but not for the price of a car or a house. So, how does one pull it off? How can you have the destination wedding of your dreams without losing your entire savings (or your future spouse’s)?
Bookmark this page and share this with your girlfriends. This guide will help you make the right financial decisions when it comes to saying “I do”!
In order to make a destination wedding work, you’re going to have to be at the whim of seasonality, pricing and your guests’ availability. Of course, the date you choose for your wedding should be significant to you and your partner, but timing will affect whether or not the destination you choose will be expensive or affordable to travel too. Pick an off-peak travel time for the destination you have in mind.
Deader times of the year (Feb – April and September – October) tend to offer cheaper flights and more affordable wedding packages, depending on the location. More importantly, you’ll want to plan your destination wedding at least a year in advance as many of your guests will need to save up money to attend. Avoid holidays, spring breaks, or busier times of the year or you’ll end up losing half of your bridal party to a summer BBQ or Christmas plans.
Be Smart With The Details
Dress. Venues. Food. There are several large costs when it comes to planning a wedding but the small ones still add up. Don’t go into debt over wedding invitations and décor! Once you select a date, you’ll want to start sending out invites and putting together your wedding website. Do your research to find an affordable vendor that will provide you with what you need but not skimp you on quality and style.
Remember, your invites are the first impression of what your guests will expect from your wedding so if you are thinking of grabbing your younger cousins for an arts and crafts project, guess again. One company that does a great job with high-quality yet affordable destination wedding invites is Basic Invite; they offer a variety of customizable colors and designs and even let you build a wedding website for free!
Pick The Right Location
Unless most of your friends are millionaires, whisking everyone away to Tuscany may be nearly impossible (unless you are planning to keep your nuptials super small). When it comes to planning an affordable destination wedding, you’ll want to opt for locations that have a beautiful backdrop for photos but will still help you stay within your budget with a variety of destination wedding packages. Want to know a secret to making a destination wedding affordable? Choose a beach!
An outdoor wedding on a beach gives you scenic views but also helps you cut costs since you won’t have to worry about renting out a huge private hall. The most affordable destination weddings typically occur in Hawaii, Jamaica and Mexico (Check about the cost of weddings in Mexico) due to their competitive tourism rates. Not feeling these locations? Try Curacao, Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica or our personal favorite Martinique.
There are some resorts (like Sandals) that will let you have your destination wedding for free. Free! What’s the catch?! Typically, you’ll be required to have your guests book a certain number of nights at the resorts, you’ll need to guarantee a specific number of people, and you may have to have a small wedding (35 people or less).
Say Yes (To Renting) The Dress
Remember your senior year when you begged your mother to buy you a beautiful (but costly) dress for prom? You told mom that because it was so expensive you’d wear it twice. But that never happened and your prom dress is sitting somewhere in your mom’s house unworn, sad and neglected? Don’t let this be your wedding gown.
Some people will argue hard about this fact because your wedding gown is one of the most symbolic items during matrimony. But don’t be fooled by the marketing and hype. Your wedding is one day. You will be wearing your dress for less than 24 hours. And there is no way in the world that you’ll be wearing that bad boy again. Cut some costs and opt for renting a dress instead. There are many sites that resell used dresses or will tailor something for cheap. For a budget of $500 or less, you can find an affordable and beautiful dress that will fit the occasion. OnceWed.com is a great resource for finding used wedding dresses.
Get Scrappy With Everything Else
Outside of venue, rings, dress, and travel, food is also among one of the biggest costs. Be very smart about who you invite to your wedding and who will actually show up after RSVP’g. You don’t want to get stuck with a huge bill and 30 empty chairs (you’ll be pissed for years I promise you). Instead, source culinary schools and bartending schools to find cheaper rates – and trim your guest list as much as possible. Don’t want to pay for booze? Have a BYOB wedding.
Next, put your friends to work. Do they have skills and want to bring a plus one? Exchange and barter. If you know a friend that’s great on the ones and twos, have them DJ for you or put together a banging mix or playlist. If you have a friend that’s an amazing photographer, have them capture your photos. And if you have a friend that slays like a YouTube guru have her do your makeup. Seriously, wherever you can cut costs, do it!
What are your tips for planning an affordable wedding? Drop them below!