For some, a destination wedding is a dream come true and a chance for a romantic escape from daily life.
The destination wedding industry is booming. In 2018, 1 in 4 couples chose to get married abroad. However, destination weddings come with their own set of logistical and financial challenges.
Many of our customers reach out to us for advice on paying for their destination wedding – and time is usually against them. If a caterer needs an urgent deposit within 24 hours, for example, you need a quick and safe solution to send money overseas.
To help you with your wedding planning journey, we’ve summed up the pros and cons of getting married abroad, as well as some of our most frequently asked questions about paying your vendors.
What is a destination wedding – and is it right for you?
A destination wedding takes place at a location that is outside of your home country. Imagine your dream honeymoon destination – only you celebrate your wedding there too.
A common misconception about destination weddings is that most of them take place on a beach. Couples are very creative, making their vows in remote countryside locations, mountain resorts or vineyards.
Destination weddings are usually more laid back and are perfect for couples who are looking to spend their big day with their nearest and dearest.
If you’re keen to avoid a long guest list and are happy to plan the details of your wedding remotely, then a destination wedding might be the right choice for you.
However, as idyllic as it may sound to travel to a unique destination, you should also consider if the extra planning (and sometimes cost) is worth it. Here’s what you need to know…
You’ll lose some control
Planning a wedding from overseas can be a real challenge so many couples opt for a wedding package provided by a resort or a local wedding planner.
But having someone else planning your wedding from miles away can lead to less control and foresight. You might taste your wedding cake or see the venue only a few days before the wedding. Are you prepared to take this leap of faith?
You may have to deal with extra legal obligations
Saying your 'I do’s' in a foreign country can involve some extra admin.
Find out what permits, documents or visas are required from you and your partner to get married in your country of choice, as well as how to register the marriage once you return home.
Some countries don’t require any further documentation if you follow the correct procedures in the country where you get married.
Prepare to make changes to your guest list
Weddings are a wonderful opportunity to bring family and friends together. However, leaving people out can lead to uncomfortable questions.
A destination wedding is a perfect excuse for a VIP guest list as the average party size is 10 – 15 guests!
However, there is always the risk that budgets, annual leave or health issues may mean that someone dear to you may not be able to attend. Are you willing to take that risk and get married without them?
You’ll get to spend more time with your guests
As your guests travel to the destination of your choice for several days, you’ll spend more time together than you would during a traditional wedding. In most cases, destination weddings last at least two to three days.
The celebration tends to start with a gathering the evening before the ceremony and includes some planned activities for the day after.
The dress code may be more relaxed
Many brides choose to forgo the traditional wedding gown and choose a more relaxed dress to match their location. And the same applies to guests - if your wedding is on a beach, some of your guests may go barefoot!
You might get to celebrate your marriage twice
When newlyweds head home they often have another celebration of their vows – this time with everyone who couldn’t travel to the ceremony. As most of the ceremonial duties are complete, this is a chance for a more informal catch up with friends and family.
How to plan a budget for your destination wedding?
Just like couples, no two weddings are alike. With countless options, it is difficult to predict how much you might spend on your big day.
Are destination weddings more expensive?
In general, destination weddings are less expensive than traditional ones as couples deliberately cut down on their expenses in exchange for a breathtaking location.
This is because, when getting married outside of your home country, you face extra costs such as transportation or accommodation, but there are many ways to save money elsewhere.
Here are some cost-cutting tips:
- Lower your guest count – the more food and drinks consumed, the more you pay
- Choose a wedding package that matches your budget
- Instead of expensive decorations, focus on the natural beauty of your chosen location
- Combine your wedding and honeymoon
- Choose a location with a lower cost of living and a favourable exchange rate
How much does a destination wedding cost?
The leading travel company, Kuoni, revealed that the average budget for a destination wedding in 2018 was $7500.
To determine your own budget, there are several questions you need to ask yourself:
- Where and when do you want to get married?
- What are the prices of wedding venues, wedding packages, service vendors, transportation expenses and accommodation at your chosen location?
- How many people do you want to invite?
- Can your guests afford to make the trip?
- What costs, if any, are you going to cover for your guests?
The success of your budget planning lies in careful research. As the destination wedding market grows, there is a lot of information available online to help you make the right call. Simply search for ‘wedding package deals’ or ‘wedding planners’ online.
What are the most affordable locations for a destination wedding?
Let’s face it – the destination is key! Here is a list of popular yet more affordable destinations around the world.
Destination wedding locations in Europe
Destination wedding locations in the Americas
Destination wedding locations in Asia
- Bali - Indonesia
- Krabi - Thailand
- Langkawi and Penang - Malaysia
- Boracay - Philippines
- Hoi An - Vietnam
Destination wedding locations in Africa
How can you stay within your set wedding budget?
More than a third of couples set their initial budgets too low. As you begin planning your wedding, you might not have the best idea of wedding costs at your chosen destination. Therefore, before you finalise your budget, check prices for wedding services and vendors available in the area.
If you choose a wedding package, adding any custom or personalised elements will cost you extra money.
It’s also likely that your guest count will change over time. So, try to confirm your final number of guests a few months before the wedding to help you stay within your budget.
Five money-saving tips for your destination wedding
Hire a professional wedding planner
Try to find a wedding planner who is familiar with the region where you want to get married. They will have a better understanding of the market and will help you make decisions. Plus – you won’t miss out on great deals because of the language barrier!
Failing to plan is planning to fail
Just like with traditional weddings, the best thing you can do is to plan in advance. You don't want to pay extra because you missed out on great deals. The recommended time to plan a destination wedding is 10 – 12 months.
Choose an off-peak season
There are many advantages to getting married during an off-peak season. First, you will benefit from significantly lower prices and will likely avoid large groups of tourists! But beware of the weather conditions - don’t let the rainy season destroy the perfect beach wedding you’re hoping for.
Usually, businesses hike up their prices in larger cities. Aim for locations outside of the main urban areas, such as a picturesque village or a remote island.
Some things are simply out of our control. By choosing the right insurance for your wedding abroad, you avoid losing money due to unexpected circumstances – from flight cancellations to lost property. Don’t let your dream wedding turn into a nightmare!
Save money on paying your vendors
Once your budget is set up, you can start looking for the right service vendors for your wedding.
Here are a few to consider:
- Wedding planner
- DJ or band
- Makeup artist
Sending money abroad can be overwhelming, especially if it's your first time sending substantial sums of money. So how can you avoid unreasonable exchange rates, high transfer fees or long settlement times?
At WorldRemit, we’re committed to making it quick, safe and easy for you to make payments to individuals across borders, allowing you to focus on your wedding day.
Our service is fully digital (cashless) for senders, so you can make payments in seconds via your laptop or smartphone. What's more, we also offer senders and receivers notifications when the money has been sent and delivered so you can rest assured that your money is in safe hands.
We wish all engaged couples a happy wedding and a wonderful journey in your life together - wherever you are in the world.