Home > 2016 > Personal Finance

How Not to Break Your Budget on a Destination Wedding Like I Did

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

I have a confession.

My husband and I exceeded our destination wedding budget by $3,249. We set two goals during our wedding planning: to pay cash and to keep wedding expenses at or under $10,000. The grand total for our wedding with 56 guests was $13,249. While we still paid for the wedding in cash, I learned valuable lessons that I thought would be useful to share with other budget-conscious brides-to-be.

If you’re planning a destination wedding, they have several advantages. It is highly likely that you are choosing your location for its natural beauty and, because of that, your reception site will likely require very little decoration. An added bonus is that it will also be a vacation for you and your guests. Here are some tips to avoid exceeding your destination wedding budget.

1. Review the Off-Site Vendor Policy Beforehand

We chose our wedding location based on the resort reviews and the package options. The package we chose included the cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres, the cake, a steel-pan band, a 30-minute couples massage and more. While we saved money by receiving those items practically free, we paid the price for not exploring the vendor’s fee section of the contract.

The resort, like most resorts, works with preferred vendors. If you opt to utilize vendors other than their preferred vendors, the fees can be excessive. We chose an off-site photographer, makeup artist, and decorator and were charged an additional $739 in vendor fees for it. You may choose not to hire off-site vendors, but in our case we did not like the quality of work of their preferred vendors. We were happy that we chose off-site vendors and felt we received more value for our money by working with them.

I encourage you to research the preferred vendors of the resorts. If you are not happy with the quality of their work, request the off-site vendor fee information before making your final decision.

2. Encourage Individuals to Lodge at the Host Resort

In an effort to accommodate guests who are financially strained you may consider allowing people to lodge at nearby properties that are less expensive. If you are hosting your wedding at an all-inclusive resort, off-site guests will likely be charged a day pass fee to receive access to the property. Some brides offer to cover this cost. We decided to cover this expense for our off-site guests. As a result, it cost us an additional $1,400.

To avoid this additional expense, explicitly inform invitees that they will be charged a resort fee for each day they wish to access the property if they decide to lodge anywhere other than your selected hotel. Resist the urge to cover this cost as a courtesy.

3. Ask to Have Fees Waived or Reduced

Don’t assume prices are inflexible. Your appointed contact might have the final say in what fees are mandatory. If you are pleasant, there is a possibility they will extend you a discount. My site coordinators waived the open bar fee for our ceremony, which would have cost us an additional $1,600. They also reduced the makeup artist vendor fee, saving us an additional $300.

It doesn’t hurt to ask and could possibly save you money in the long run. The larger your guest list, the more likely they will accommodate your requests.

4. Price Plane Tickets Ahead of Time

While airline prices are unpredictable, you can gain a general understanding of the average ticket price by conducting research during the venue selection period. Since we previously traveled to Jamaica, we assumed our ticket prices would be around the same price. We were wrong. Despite declining gas prices, the tickets were $100 more per ticket than we estimated. If you don’t have a personal connection with any particular location, choose your top five destinations and compare prices. Since prices fluctuate according to season, make sure you compare choices based on the timeframe of your wedding.

It is very easy to become consumed with the excitement of wedding planning. Remember to pay attention to the fine print, shop around and negotiate to avoid exceeding your wedding budget for your destination wedding.

[Editor’s Note: Remember, carrying high levels of debt, due to your wedding or otherwise, could hurt your credit score. You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing your two free scores each month on Credit.com. ]

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: r_drewek

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team