You don't have to break the bank to tie the knot in paradise.

By Jillian Kramer
November 18, 2019
turks and caicos shoot erich mcvey ceremony site
Credit: Erich McVey

This may come as a surprise, but a destination wedding doesn't have to break the bank. In fact, according to wedding planners who specialize in destination affairs, a far-flung ceremony and reception can be a very affordable option for travel-savvy couples—and that's true regardless of how far away or ritzy the location. So, if you'd like to invite your nearest and dearest to destination wedding but don't think you can swing it on a budget, think again. With these tips, you can make your nuptial travel plans in no time.

Choose a location with a package deal.

"When looking for that perfect venue, ask if they offer packages," Stefanie Grassley, owner and wedding planner at Castello di Ristonchi in Tuscany, Italy, suggests. Packages might include the basics, such as food, drinks, flowers, and set-up—while others might be more all-encompassing, including things such as lighting and a cake. "You'll save a lot of time and reduce stress with everything laid out in front of you," says Grassley. But perhaps more importantly for budget-minded couples, most venues "offer freebies to make their packages more valuable," she says.

Go intimate with your guest list.

Like any other wedding on a tight budget, one of the easiest ways to keep costs down is to lower your guest count. "When you choose to keep your wedding guest-list intimate, you're not dealing with catering for as many people, or rental prices for huge wedding venues, decoration for entire venues, furniture rentals, audio and lighting installations, or even transport for your guests," says Retno Dwinika, cofounder and lead wedding planner at Amora Bali Weddings in Bali, who also adds that, "keeping everything intimate will give you the freedom to go where you can go—with a small list, you won't have to worry about whether all of your guests will be able to attend."

Hire a day-of wedding planner.

If you're able to snag a package deal at your dream location, you will save in another way: You won't have to hire a wedding planner for the months leading up to your wedding—and that can translate to thousands in savings. "Instead, you can hire a day-of planner," says Grassley, "who can help coordinate everything on your wedding day." If you'd rather save that expense, too, "you can designate a friend to fill this role, but be careful," warns Grassley—and recommends you "make sure the duties and expectations are clear," and your friend is really up to the task.

Avoid the high seasons.

Destinations have high seasons, times of year where tourism is high and prices are raised to meet the demand. "In order to save money, avoid the high and peak seasons in your chosen location," says Dwinika. "A quick Google search can quickly tell you when it's high, mid or low season in a certain place." However, keep in mind: Destinations typically have high seasons for a reason; it's when the weather is best in the region. For that reason, try to book your wedding during a shoulder season—not high season, but not in the middle of the low (and rainy) season either.


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