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How to Save Money with a Destination Wedding

6 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Budget Weddings

To most people, having a destination wedding means going to Mexico or the Caribbean. These are certainly popular wedding destinations, and they can be cost-effective. But you can have a destination wedding virtually anywhere. Consider a Great Camp in the Adirondacks, a ski lodge in Aspen, a golf resort in Arizona, or even a glitzy Vegas wedding.

What’s the appeal of traveling long distances to a site you’ll likely book without ever visiting in person and trusting the arrangements to a coordinator you’ve never met? Two words: romance and value. What better way to celebrate your own personal fairy tale than against the exotic backdrop of majestic mountains or azure seas? And if you can get both your wedding and your honeymoon for the price of one, what’s not to like?

Destination weddings sound great, but you have to remember that there are trade-offs to a romantic and cost-effective destination wedding. Consider the following:

  • Financial and time constraints likely will severely curtail your guest list; many of your friends and relatives simply won’t have the money or time to attend your wedding.

  • If you like to be in charge of arrangements, trying to pull all the details together from hundreds or thousands of miles away can be frustrating and time-consuming.

  • If you imagine hosting an American-style wedding and reception in a foreign country, you’ll probably be disappointed in the results (or appalled at the extra expense).

Destination Weddings For Dummies by Susan Breslow Sardone takes you step by step through planning a destination wedding virtually anywhere in the world on nearly any budget. Like any wedding, a destination event can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. But you can save a ton of money by shopping around and being flexible with your time frame.

As destination weddings become more popular, venues fill up faster and faster; many are booked more than a year in advance. To get the venue you want for the dates you want, start your search early — ideally 12 to 18 months before your wedding.

If you have your heart set on a destination that fills up quickly and is more expensive than you’d like, schedule your wedding for the off-season to save money. For example, airfares and hotel rates are at their highest in the Caribbean from November to April, but both often are steeply discounted after April 15. In Las Vegas, March and October are the months when conventions descend on Sin City, jacking up airfares and hotel rates.

Resorts and cruises that specialize in destination weddings often give decent discounts when you reserve a minimum number of rooms for your guests. Add those discounts to the destination’s slow period, and you can reap significant savings over high-season prices.

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