As a member of many Facebook groups for couples planning their destination weddings, the question comes up by newly engaged couples on a regular basis. Are destination weddings cheaper?
The answer to the question however is not quite so simple as just yes or no.
There are so many factors that need to be considered. For example:
Where are you from and where are you thinking of getting married?
If you are based in the UK and are planning on getting married somewhere in Europe then you might be able to have many of the same luxuries for a smaller price tag in countries like Greece or Croatia. However it may not be the case for all countries in Europe, especially if you’ve got your heart set on somewhere like Switzerland or Scandinavia. And in some countries you might find you end up paying for things you’d never have thought about in the UK, for example in Italy there’s a “live music tax”.
And dare I mention the term “BREXIT” which has resulted in the pound to €uro exchange rate becoming much less favourable.
Finally consider the cost of flights if you’ve got your heart set on somewhere further away. Whilst a wedding on the beach in Mexico might be cheaper, you will end up paying more for flights than if you chose a beach location closer to home.
What kind of wedding you would have at home vs abroad
Perhaps you feel pressured to have a big wedding at home and a destination wedding is an excuse to keep the guest list much smaller. If this is the case then you’ll almost certainly save money with a small destination wedding compared to a large wedding at home. If however you are planning the same size and theme of wedding, then it may or may not be cheaper. If you want luxury floral arrangements and a 5* location, you’ll need to expect a luxury price tag too.
If you’re wanting to have a legal ceremony abroad, there will most likely be the added costs of obtaining all of the documents, getting them translated and also potentially the requirement of having a translator at the ceremony too, all of which do add up in cost.
Are you paying for your guests?
With a wedding closer to home your wedding guests will usually expect to be fed and watered, but other than that they are left to decide themselves if they want to book hotels, taxis etc. But when you decide on a destination wedding, you’ll have to consider if you will be offering to help your guests with their travel expenses. Whilst there is absolutely no rules saying that you do need to pay for their travel or accommodation, if you do chose to, this will of course make the price more expensive.
Are you using local or international vendors?
Whilst there are pros and cons to both (which is for another post for another day), whether you choose to use a destination wedding planner, photographer or videographer may affect the price. International vendors will almost certainly have travel expenses but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be more expensive than a local vendor, so again, you’ll just need to do some research.
Can you see the recurring theme here?
A destination wedding could be cheaper than a wedding at home but it depends on so many factors.
And because of that, I wouldn’t recommend a destination wedding to anyone who simply was looking for a cheap wedding. What I would recommend is sitting down and working out what you want to spend (and what you can afford to spend), what you overall vision for your wedding day is, what your priorities are (i.e. all of your friends and family present and celebrating with you or a small elopement just the two of you in a wild and remote place) and looking at what your options are.
You can have a beautiful budget wedding or a luxurious celebration anywhere in the world. But you’ll only get married once, so whatever you decide, make sure it’s for the right reasons.
Would you like a free money-saving guide on planning your destination wedding?
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