Bridal Guide

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Rein in destination wedding costs

Destination weddings can make for memorable affairs for brides, grooms and their family and friends. Destination weddings often take place in idyllic locales that make for a gorgeous backdrop to the happy couple, setting the perfect ambiance for such noteworthy occasions.

Destination weddings ask a lot of both the couple and their guests. Couples may need to visit the location of their destination wedding several times before the big day, and those costs can quickly add up. Guests, too, will need to budget for flights and lodging to attend a destination wedding. But there are some ways for couples to rein in the costs associated with a destination wedding to ensure everyone has a good time without having to worry about finances upon returning home.

• Look for convenient, affordable travel. Some resorts may offer great prices on destination wedding packages, but be careful to avoid locations so remote that you and your guests will be forced to pay for expensive flights. Destination weddings have become more popular over the last decade, and many resorts now offer competitive destination wedding packages as a result. But if keeping travel affordable for your guests is a goal, find a location that guests can visit after purchasing reasonably priced flights rather than choosing a location based on the cost of the wedding package.

• Shorten the guest list. Shortening their guest lists is how many couples curtail destination wedding costs. Invite only your closest family and friends to the wedding and reception, and then host a second, less formal party for your remaining relatives after returning from your honeymoon. Guests will understand, and you will ultimately get the chance to celebrate with all of your loved ones anyway.

• Go simple and save. Many traditional weddings include all the bells and whistles, such as lavish floral displays, elaborate gowns and additional expensive accoutrements. But it's acceptable, if not expected, to simplify things at destination weddings, especially those in island locations. Let nature do the decorating and opt for native wedding attire if it's more affordable than potentially costly gowns and tuxedos.

• Resist peak tourist season. Much like there's a peak wedding season throughout North America, many countries' economies depend heavily on tourism seasons. Avoid peak tourist season when choosing the date for your destination wedding, as costs may be considerably more to marry during this time of year than less hectic and popular seasons.

• Look into discounts on all aspects of the wedding. Popular destination wedding locations may be willing to negotiate prices on all aspects of the wedding, and those discounts might increase as more guests commit to attending. Resorts recognize that destination weddings bring guests who will need lodging, food and entertainment, and couples can use that to their advantage when negotiating prices. Couples may even be able to negotiate with airlines for discounted airfares if they can guarantee a certain number of travelers.

Destination weddings need not break the bank, as savvy couples can find numerous ways to trim costs.