Can’t decide how to allocate that all-important wedding budget? Start prioritising the elements important to you (and get realistic about the rest) with these savvy strategies.
Need more money-saving tips? Check out Destination Weddings on a Budget
SPLURGE ON: Your destination/venue
Your wedding location will have a place in your hearts forever, granting it automatic VIP status in your budget. Celebrating out of town and inviting loved ones along for the ride does mean committing to travel and accommodation costs — so make it top priority to find a destination worth the trip. And remember, a spectacular location doesn’t really need much ‘dressing up.’ So the right choice of venue can save you in other areas.
SAVE ON: The whole package
While ‘bespoke’ is still the dream, most resorts offer well-priced destination wedding packages which will tick all the boxes and still keep your budget in the black. If you have a special touch in mind, ask if this can be added to a basic package to create the perfect day.
SAVE ON: Seasonal prices
Consider a low-season or mid-week wedding and you could be looking at a major save on your flights and venue. We love a tropical winter wedding: less chance of rain, lower humidity and fewer tourists to share the beach/pool/breakfast buffet. And don’t worry, the climate will still be beautifully warm – no need to sacrifice the flowy, boho-chic dress you’ve envisioned!
SPLURGE ON: Your photographer
Sure, everyone is armed with an Insta-ready phone these days — but a good wedding photographer will create a holiday album of epic proportions. They capture the best angles, the most flattering light, heaps of perfectly-framed candid moments and help organise your group for the more traditional wedding photos. Let your guests relax and leave the official documenting duties to a pro.
SAVE ON: Stationery
We love pretty papers and on-point typography with a passion that borders on obsession (no, seriously). But if cost is an issue you could consider an online invitation, which makes RSVP tracking a cinch and often can be linked to your wedding website. Or at least opt for a simple and chic paper invite, passing on the extra embellishments.
SPLURGE ON: Your dress
Just because you’re swapping a church entrance for a swathe of sand doesn’t mean you can’t go glam on your gown. Speak with your designer or boutique assistant about fabrics and silhouettes which will hold their own in hot, sometimes windy, weather and you’ll still say “I do” to your dream gown. Trust the professionals!
SAVE ON: The shoes
Let’s face it, you might not even be wearing shoes for most of the ceremony! A pair of bejewelled flats or sandals (check out Pinterest under ‘beach wedding sandal’ and prepare to be dazzled) are beautifully suited to a tropical location.
SAVE ON: Accessories
Okay, if you can’t budge on that dream pair of Louboutins then at least think about a save on accessories. Wear something special from your collection or even a vintage piece from your mum or grandmother for a ‘something borrowed’ element.
SPLURGE ON: Florals for your ceremony
First impressions count. So lavish your ceremony arbour or backdrop with greenery and flowers to create a real focal point and use a fresh local bloom as the star of your bouquet and buttonholes. Say yes to the flower petal aisle or petal shower — so pretty!
SAVE ON: Florals for your reception
Many of your ceremony flowers and accent pieces (think candles and lanterns) can do double duty as reception decor. And you don’t need to go overboard with elaborate table centrepieces either. A statement floral chandelier or a runner of fronds and flowers can work better than lots of ‘bitsy’ pieces or towering centrepieces that block guests’ view.
SPLURGE ON: Entertainment
No doubt about it, music sets the mood. So enlisting the talents of a live island band and/or a talented DJ will really help create the ambience you want — and really get the party started! A colourful local dance performance, fire display or fireworks can also be worth the extra expense. Don’t forget to check what entertainment is already included in your wedding package, you might be pleasantly surprised.
SAVE ON: Bonbonnière
Even though you’re super thankful to your guests, there’s no need to splash out on expensive favours (no one really wants the extra baggage anyway). Give bonbonnière a miss or source inexpensive travel-ready treasures at your destination.
SPLURGE ON: Dinner
We hear it from newlyweds again and again — food is a wedding highlight! Talk to your chef about favourite dishes, celebrate the local produce, and just ensure your dining experience is going to be a standout feature of the overall experience.
SAVE ON: Dessert
Nix the ‘dessert’ course and serve up your gorgeous wedding cake as a sweet treat instead. Chances are, everyone will be full from the other courses already!
SPLURGE ON: Your honeymoon
With wedding planning behind you, it’s time to properly relax and enjoy those first precious days as newlyweds. An important part of any holiday wedding, the honeymoon should claim its place in your budget mix.
SAVE ON: Accommodation
In addition to guest discounts for wedding groups, many resorts offer bonus accommodation for the happy couple. Look out for these extras so you won’t have to allocate much of your budget to your own room.
SAVE ON: Flights
You’ve found your dream location, why not stay on for your honeymoon as well? Enjoying your resort for a few extra days (the ideal time to snorkel, explore or just soak up the sunshine) or taking a short flight within the same country will save you on time and airfares. You also won’t have the hassle of extra visas – cheers to that!