5 Keys to Destination Wedding Budgeting and Planning
Heart set on a destination wedding? You can turn that dream into a reality with a little extra planning and budgeting.
If you compare local wedding costs to destination wedding costs, you may even find that a destination wedding is cheaper. Sometimes the farther guests have to travel, the smaller your guest list becomes. But there are five considerations to keep in mind when traveling for your wedding.
1. Ensure Your Wedding is Recognized
The easiest way to ensure that your wedding is legal is to fill out paperwork at home. Waiting periods for marriage licenses and other necessary documentation may cause unnecessary frustration to get married elsewhere — start this process as soon as possible. Look up laws in your home country and destination country, and understand what paperwork you need.
2. Calculate Travel Costs
While a venue may be your largest expense, don't forget to factor in the cost to get and stay there. If you're traveling out of the country, make sure your passport is up-to-date. Most countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months beyond the completion of your trip and others require that you have a certain number of blank pages.
If you find a location you like, but you can't find a price you like, look for other locations with a similar vibe or choose an off-season wedding date. For example, a wedding in the South of France in June is going to cost significantly more than the same wedding in February.
Check to see if you can use credit or debit card rewards to cover airfare, hotel, car rental, or other costs. You'll want to arrive a few days before your chosen date just in case your travel is delayed. Plus, you can give yourself time to acclimate to the time change, as needed. Consider honeymooning in the same area — some properties may even offer you a deal if you spend your honeymoon at the same place.
3. Purchase Insurance
Weather is unpredictable. If you're planning a wedding during hurricane season in the Caribbean, you may want to price out wedding cancellation policies. It may also be a good idea to look into wedding liability insurance. If you're renting a facility for the wedding, you're on the hook for damages — even those caused by your guests. Insurance can also cover items like your gown (be sure to carry it on the plane).
4. Find a Planner
While you may be able to forgo a wedding planner for a local wedding, planning a destination wedding in far-flung locales is often easier with the help of a local. This is extra true if you don't speak the local language. Hiring someone who can negotiate prices or point out reputable vendors, such as photographers and florists, can save you a lot of time.
Check with your venue to see if they offer a wedding planner or coordinator and what services come standard. Some venues may have all of the vendors already in place.
5. Do the Currency Conversion
When you look at prices, make sure to ask the vendor for the currency if it's not already clear. Use an exchange program like XE to determine the actual cost.
Ask your vendors how they expect payment. If they charge in something other than U.S. dollars, add any foreign transaction or exchange fees to the total cost of the service. Bring a little foreign currency with you as well so that you can purchase any necessities upon arrival.
No matter where you decide to have your wedding, set your budget and stick to it. Think about how much you need to save each month to cover the costs. Notify your guests as soon as possible to give them ample opportunity to take time off from work and plan their own trips. Above all, enjoy the wedding planning journey!