Develop a (Realistic) Budget.
Compared to traditional nuptials, a destination wedding can cost nearly 41 percent less, on average. With trimmed-down guest lists, they tend to be more intimate affairs. Many hotels and resorts offer exciting all-inclusive rates and packages that incorporate food and beverage as well as activities. Some even offer kickbacks to couples that bring in a minimum number of guests. Typically, guests will pay their own airfare and accommodations. The bride and groom are expected to absorb the tab for meals and drinks. As you develop your budget, you need to consider affordability for you and your guests.
Some industry pros advise planning your wedding around a holiday weekend. Although this may help conserve or extend vacation time, you and your guests may be slammed with higher holiday fares. And while hosting your wedding during an island’s off-peak season may result in lower airfares, keep in mind that these sultry regions often experience rainy or stormy spells as well as post-season lulls. Carve out time to create a worksheet and a budget analysis. Your budget should not extend beyond what you can realistically afford. Consider the options you have available and make decisions based on what is most sensible.
Make a list of your priorities. For example, you’ll need to decide if a resort’s idyllic location along a quiet stretch of beach is more important than say, treating your family and friends to award-winning cuisine prepared by a renowned chef at a hotel with obstructed vistas. Honing in on what will be most meaningful to you and your soon-to-be spouse will make your destination wedding more special. As you research different destinations and venues, fill in your worksheet and compare it with other potential locations.
Once you’ve determined exactly where your wedding will be held, revise your budget to include your real expenses and keep close track of your expenditures. You should also be mindful of your attendees’ budgets and needs. If you know a guest has a financial concern, make yourself available to help. Consider trying to score them discounted accommodations or even locating another guest with whom they can share a room.