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Destination Weddings Can Sometimes Be Cheaper—Here's Why

It sounds crazy, but it's true—these destination wedding perks could potentially save you a little dough.
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
by Maggie Seaver
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
Maggie Seaver
Wedding Planning Expert
  • Maggie Seaver is an Associate Digital Editor at RealSimple.com.
  • Maggie writes about life, career, health, and more.
  • Maggie was an editor at The Knot from 2015 to 2019.
Updated May 26, 2020
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Would you ever guess a destination wedding could cost less than a wedding in your hometown or at a venue nearby? Well, these numbers don't lie. According to The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study stats, the average cost of a wedding is $33,391. After digging into the numbers surrounding destination wedding spend specifically, we learned an international destination wedding costs an average of $27,227, and a domestic destination wedding costs an average of $28,372. Not quite what you were expecting, is it? That means, a destination wedding could end up being a more cost-effective option for your nuptials. So what factors could possibly make this true? We can think of a few.

1. Destination Weddings Often Have a Smaller Guest List

One of the largest influencers on any wedding budget is the size of the guest list. And since many couples invite fewer guests to their destination wedding—whether they host a destination wedding purposely to ensure a smaller guest list, or have to whittle down the head count after deciding to marry away—their overall wedding spend can often be less, despite being a trip away. True, couples tend to spend more per guest (many couples actually help finance their loved ones' travel and accommodations), but the beauty of a tighter guest list is being able to treat your group of attendees right.

2. You Can Take Advantage of All Those Points

To reduce costs, 27 percent of couples planning destination nuptials use reward points to pay for a portion of costs, from airfare to hotel and restaurant perks. So definitely sign up for a credit card with a great rewards program (and obviously be good about paying it off on time) to start racking up points as you pay for wedding expenses.

3. You Can Tack on a Honeymoon for Less

It's not uncommon for couples to stay in their destination after saying "I do" for a romantic honeymoon. Depending on your hotel, you might be able to take advantage of a romance package or a similar deal that allows you to tack on an extended stay after booking your entire wedding, not to mention a few dozen rooms for you and guests, with them. (Also, don't be afraid to use the "we're getting married/this is our honeymoon" card!) And while you're at it, arrive a few days early with your wedding party and enjoy a belated bachelor or bachelorette party thanks to your destination amenities (hello, resort spa). That means no extra trip (aka travel costs and time-off requests) for your crew—trust us, they'll thank you.

4. Many Destinations Have Wedding Packages and/or Vendors on Site

It's no secret a wedding venue with either a preferred venue list or an on-site staff of its own can be super cost effective. So whether you're destination wedding is in Arizona or the Amalfi Coast, you can choose a hotel or another venue that comes with its own favorite planner, caterer, cake baker, photographer, décor and party rentals. These types of inclusive wedding packages make it so much easier for you to focus your funds on other priorities, be it travel, honeymoon activities or just plain savings.

5. There Could Be a Favorable Exchange Rate

This won't be the case for every destination, but your dollar might stretch far if your international wedding location has a good exchange rate. Mexico, for example, is an ideal beach-y wedding destination where you'll get real bang for your buck.


Head here for more destination wedding planning tips and inspiration. 

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