vacationing at a resort on any budget

Matrimonial Money Matters: 3 Things to Know Before Planning a Destination Wedding's Finances

When planning a destination wedding, you may find a number of unanswered questions about the finances of your big event. Will it be a budget buster or wallet friendly? Here are three key things to know before you make your destination-wedding budget.

Who Pays? There are some practicalities and some traditions to paying for a destination wedding. While most couples understand that the wedding and reception are on their dime, they may not be aware that it's tradition to pay for the attendants' rooms as well (so be sure to negotiate with the resort for a group rate). In addition, couples should generally foot the bill for airport transportation, special group activities, and possibly the cost of travel for someone they love who can't pay their own way. Guests are generally asked to pay for their own travel, hotel rooms, and non-wedding food or activities. For this reason, it's good manners to keep your guests' overall financial situation in mind when choosing a hotel or location.

What's the Budget? Like a traditional wedding, a destination wedding's budget can vary wildly. You can spend under $5,000 or more than $50,000, depending on how elaborate you make the plans. Generally, you'll want to start your budget planning with the most fundamental and necessary expenses of this kind of wedding—travel and hotel accommodations for the immediate bridal party and then the ceremony costs and attire. This is the basic foundation of your destination wedding—getting there and getting hitched. Build your budget outward from these expenses but prioritize the items in the budget planner in the order of importance to you. This way, you can cut or add to items as your finances require. 

How Can You Keep Costs Down? If you're on a budget, you can still have your dream wedding if you are willing to be flexible. For example, if you want an island wedding but can't afford to go to the Caribbean, you may find good deals for travel and hotels on mainland Florida or the islands off the southeast U.S. coast. Reducing the number of attendants can save a lot of costs while still allowing you to enjoy their presence as guests. Can you switch your ceremony from the resort space to a free beach or mountain park? If money is tighter than your time frame, consider having your wedding during the destination's shoulder or off season or during the weekday as well. 

Whether your dream destination is on the other side of the state or the other side of the world, having these key elements of your finances well in hand will help you create the day you've always wanted no matter where you are.