For some couples, the idea of having a destination wedding can be extremely intimidating (and understandably so). In recent years, the misconception circulated that in order to jet off somewhere exotic for your big day, you had to break the bank with a hefty budget. The reality is that simply isn’t true and surprisingly, it can oftentimes be the other way around. Having an intimate “micro” wedding can actually give you more freedom for the destination wedding of your dreams, and here’s how.
Micro destination wedding vs. local wedding
The perk of holding a local ceremony and reception is that the guest list tends to be more lenient and the location is typically easily accessible to family and friends. However, that actually leaves more opportunity for an increase in expense, as the invitation generally gets extended to dates and extended family members.
An intimate, destination micro wedding, on the other hand, lends itself to a smaller guest list already, since not everyone is able to travel due to work schedules, finances or other factors. This enables you to really cherish the time you have with your closest friends and family who do make the journey to watch you exchange vows. Smaller weddings also allow you to focus on the important things rather than get flooded with unnecessary details that can distract you from the main reason for your celebration!
If you’re struggling between deciding on a local, traditional wedding and a smaller destination wedding, consider your overall vision for your big day and make a list of must-haves/non-negotiables. Weigh the pros and cons and do your research, including what your ideal planning scenario is (whether you want to be fully involved or a little more hands-off). For example, with a destination wedding specialist coordinating all the details and travel for you, you won’t necessarily have the burden of worrying so much about all of the moving parts.
How and where to save
A more controlled guest list will certainly ensure you save a pretty penny, but there are quite a few other ways you can stretch your budget when hosting a destination wedding. Choosing a wedding date in your chosen locale’s off-season is a great way to trim costs, and the scenery is certainly just as beautiful. If you don’t want to sacrifice your ideal season, consider having the actual ceremony on a weekday rather than the popular weekend dates. Flight schedules can also help with savings for both the couple and wedding guests. Arriving and/or departing on a weekday as opposed to a weekend is likely to help with airfare.
With a destination wedding, there’s typically no reason to be extravagant with your décor, because the natural scenery does the talking for you. This is especially helpful because let’s be honest – traveling with a bunch of items that might get caught up in customs is not ideal. Hosting your celebration at an all-inclusive resort is also a great option when trying to cut costs. Meals, drinks, and all the details of your wedding package will be bundled into one low price. Better yet, guests will appreciate not having to take out their wallet during their entire stay.
Work with a specialist who can make the most of the promotions offered for the resort of your choice. Depending on your wants and needs, there are some properties that may offer a wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception for free!
Micro wedding trends
With the savings you’ll surely have, where should you allocate the money instead? Micro wedding couples are apt to splurge a little more on the guest experience, such as hiring reception entertainment or buying a more lavish favor for their guests to take home.
Rather than a lavish cake cutting ceremony for a big crowd, we’re seeing that couples are opting for a mini cake to share between themselves, and then displaying a dessert table for guests to enjoy. Some are even nixing the cake altogether and simply showcasing a variety of their favorite desserts in smaller bite-size portions. Because of the intimacy and closeness of the guest list, couples aren’t singling themselves out by sitting at a separate table from their guests when it comes to the reception. Instead, they are joining their guests at the dinner table (perhaps both sitting at the head of the table).
Destination weddings are a once in a lifetime gathering; you and your soon-to-be spouse probably won’t ever have the same group all together again, let alone in a beautiful country celebrating your marriage. They are the perfect way to utilize a small guest list to your advantage, where everyone will be thrilled to celebrate with you!
About the guest author: Megan Velez is the Vice President of Product at DestinationWeddings.com, the world’s leading destination wedding, and romantic travel planning company. DestinationWeddings.com has worked with nearly 25,000 couples and half a million guests to plan dream destination weddings. DestinationWeddings.com is one of the award-winning brands in the Celebration Travel Group collection.