Wouldn’t you love to go away for your wedding? You could limit your guest list down considerably, get the perfect weather and really get the wedding of your dreams. It is possible to have a destination wedding on a budget. It takes some planning but it really is possible. Start in advance so you have plenty of time to get your destination and locate everything within your budget.

Exchanging of wedding rings
Credit: Sharron Goodyear/Freedigitalphotos.net

Be Realistic with Your Wedding Budget

The biggest advice when planning your destination wedding on a budget is to be realistic. If you just have one or two thousand pounds, you are going to find it difficult to get anywhere and have the wedding of your dreams. You need to have enough to get the plane tickets, book the hotel, organise something for the wedding and get all the decorations, the photographer, etc.

If you know you are going to struggle, you will need to rethink your plan. Maybe you could postpone your wedding so you have time to save up a little extra. It may be worth looking at different places for your destination wedding if you don’t want to postpone. You may even have to consider a home wedding but go to your dream location for your honeymoon.

With a realistic budget, you can do everything you need to. Now it is time to focus on the tips to utilise your budget fully and get that dream big day.

The Modern Bride Survival Guide
Amazon Price: $29.95 $1.00 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 20, 2014)
This book is full of expert advice on planning your big day, no matter how big or small your budget is. It covers topics from choosing the perfect wedding dress to making your honeymoon perfect.

Book Your Travel and Hotels in Advance

While you want to do this anyway to avoid disappointment, booking in advance will help you save money. Three months before your trip is usually advised but when it comes to a wedding, you can book up to a year in advance (in most cases). If you have holding your day at a certain hotel, they may be able to book hotel rooms more than a year in advance and give you a good rate because they know a certain number of rooms will be used.

Encourage your guests to book their travel in advance too, so they save some money. If you’re going to pay for your guests, this will affect your budget and moves us onto the next point.

Avoid Paying for Your Guests' Travel and Hotel Costs

If you were having a wedding locally but had out of town friends and family, would you pay for their hotel and travel costs? That’s very unlikely, so why is it the case when it comes to a destination wedding. When on a tight budget, you need to save the money for the more important parts of your day. You will need to make sure there are funds for the photographer, the cake, the venue itself and even the decorations.

There are only a few times that you want to pay for your guests. The main one is if there is a specific guest that you want there who can’t afford to pay for him or herself. This could be an elderly grandparent or your own parents if they are struggling for money. Talk to each other though; if you pay for one set of family members, the other set of family members will expect the same treatment.

You could offer to pay for the travel if the guests pay for the hotel room or vice versa. This can help ease your and their finances. However, like the above, it’s only really worth doing if you want someone specific there who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. If you give people enough warning, they will be able to save up for the trip themselves.

One benefit of a destination wedding on a budget is that only those who really want to be there (so the ones that you really want to be there) are likely to attend. Many will use the “too expensive” card, which lowers your costs for the venue and food to celebrate your big day.

Destination Wedding Survival Tips

Have a Celebration at Home

If you don’t want to pay for anyone else, you could decide to have a celebration at home. You will need to factor this into your budget, though, so do something sensible. The good news is that you won’t need to pay for others to make it to your big day, you have the guests that you really want at your destination and you will still be able to do some celebrating with other friends or family members.

There is no need to throw a big party at home. Take your loved ones out for dinner or just have a small get-together at your house to keep the costs down.

Follow General Tips for Weddings on a Budget

Keep your costs down by following general wedding budget tips. I’ve already written about planning your wedding on a budget and that includes a lot of tips about wedding favours, invitations and finding cheaper venues.

Finding cheaper venues will be a little harder when it comes to a destination wedding on a budget. You won’t be able to fly out to look at them, like you would with ones in your area. Take a look at the venues’ websites and talk to the people who own it on the phone. You can talk to local wedding photographers too about the venues. I remember talking to photographers near our venues who gave us their honest opinions and it really helped us choose between two (and we didn’t do a destination wedding!).

Keeping your guests to a minimum is really beneficial for sticking to a budget. As already mentioned, this is much easier with a destination wedding. Of course, others may want to celebrate the day too, so you will need to consider doing something after the fact.

Let's Elope: The Definitive Guide to Eloping, Destination Weddings, and Other Creative Wedding Options
Amazon Price: $15.00 $0.99 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 20, 2014)
This book isn't just for those eloping. It offers great tips of destination weddings and creating masterpieces that your guests will remember. It's a great purchase for those who want to stick to a budget but get their dream.

Have Your Honeymoon in the Same Place

Enjoy your wedding where your honeymoon will be. This will help to cut down on travel costs (and time so you spend more time on your honeymoon!). You may be able to stay in the same hotel—and even room—or you may decide that a change of scenery is worth the cost. There will be plenty of hotels close to where you have your wedding and they may be cheaper.

There are some couples who choose to enjoy their honeymoon with their loved ones. You could book a cruise together, enjoy a wedding and then the rest of it is your honeymoon. Cruises don’t have to be expensive and it could be a really simple way to keep your destination wedding on your budget.

Destination wedding
Credit: Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/Freedigitalphotos.net

Your wedding could be anywhere you want it to be.

Do Your Research for Your Destination Wedding on a Budget

Always do your research! You need to know that the time of year is perfect for a wedding and that it is the right location for your dream wedding day. You may have a picture in your mind from the movies but the reality isn’t always like that. Check out the reviews from others who have opted for the location for their big day, especially the specific venue, where the ceremony will be held and the vendors for the day.

You don’t want to get to the end of your experience and wish you did something differently. No couple wants to feel that way about their wedding, whether it’s a destination one or not.

Planning your destination wedding on a budget really isn’t that hard. It will take time though. You need to start this planning well in advance to make sure you get the best deals and your guests know about it to make their own plans—at their own cost!