by Lyle Daly | Aug. 16, 2019
The Ascent is reader-supported: we may earn a commission from offers on this page. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
If you’ve been suffering from sticker shock while considering how you’ll pay for your wedding, then it may be time to consider a destination wedding.
A destination wedding is when you hold your wedding at a location that is far away from where you live. The destination itself doesn’t need to be some exotic international hot spot, although that’s a popular option for obvious reasons.
It may initially seem like you’re making your wedding more expensive this way because of the travel expenses involved, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As you’re about to find out, there are several ways that destination weddings can be less expensive than traditional weddings.
Get free access to the select products we use to help us conquer our money goals. These fully-vetted picks could be the solution to help increase your credit score, to invest more profitably, to build an emergency fund, and much more.
By submitting your email address, you consent to us sending you money tips along with products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe at any time. Please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.
The biggest difference a destination wedding makes is that, in most cases, it will reduce the number of guests you have.
A destination wedding requires more of a commitment, as guests will have to consider the costs of travel and paying for a place to stay. That naturally thins out the guest list, so you’ll have far fewer third cousins and acquaintances whom you never speak to showing up.
Wedding costs generally range from around $100 to more than $300 per guest, depending on the location. If a destination wedding cuts your confirmed guests from 80 people to 40, that could save you anywhere from $4,000 to over $12,000.
Although the wedding itself is usually the biggest expense for couples, the honeymoon isn’t exactly cheap, either. The Knot reports that the average cost of a honeymoon is $5,342.
With a destination wedding, you can go on your honeymoon at the same destination you chose for the wedding, just by extending your stay past the wedding date. If you want to spend some more time with your closest friends and family, you could also invite them to stick around a bit longer with you.
Destination weddings are big business for resorts. If you can guarantee that you’ll be bringing a certain number of people to a resort, then you may be able to score a package deal that includes most or all of the typical wedding expenses.
Deals vary depending on the resort, but some will even include food and alcohol in their packages. To get the best rates, consider timing your wedding during an area’s off-season, as long as there won’t be inclement weather. Resorts won’t be nearly as busy, so they’ll be more willing to make a deal for you.
Location is a huge factor in how much a wedding costs. In some states, the average wedding costs less than $20,000. In states with a high cost of living, such as California and New York, the average wedding costs more than $30,000.
One advantage of destination weddings is that you can choose a location where your budget will go further.
That could mean that if your hometown is on the expensive side, you can simply decide to hold your wedding in a different city or state. You could go with an international destination that has a favorable exchange rate and a much lower cost of living. Or, you could pick a location that you’re able to book with your travel rewards instead of cash.
When you plan a wedding, you quickly learn that there are a lot of extra costs involved. Case in point: decor, which can often cost several thousand dollars.
This is another one of those costs that you can eliminate entirely if you pick the right destination. In many cases, the destination itself will be gorgeous enough for you to not need much, if any, decor for your wedding. If you set up your wedding at a resort, you can usually have the resort take care of making sure that the venue looks amazing.
A destination wedding is an exciting choice, because it makes your wedding feel like both an event and a vacation. For those who enjoy traveling, this type of wedding allows you to combine the happiest day of your life with something that you love to do.If you think that a destination wedding sounds like a fun idea, it’s worth looking into what it would cost in areas that appeal to you. Don’t forget to see what areas you could book with credit card points, as well, to reduce the cost even more. You may just find that this option is more affordable than doing your wedding the traditional way.
If you have credit card debt, transferring it to this top balance transfer card can allow you to pay 0% interest into late 2022! Plus, you’ll pay no annual fee. Those are just a few reasons why our experts rate this card as a top pick to help get control of your debt. Read The Ascent's full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2021 The Ascent. All rights reserved.