Let’s be honest here: we have all fantasised about how we want our perfect wedding to go. From having a dreamy dress, to the best spread of food, to saying your vows in front of the Eiffel Tower… say what?
Yup, there’s no denying it: sometimes you just know that your dream wedding has to take place somewhere out of the country. And while that might sound pricey (and daunting), it is definitely possible to do plan your dream destination wedding on a budget.
Do we have your attention yet? Now that we do, here are 10 fail-safe tips to organise an affordable destination wedding:
1. Set a firm amount on how much you’re willing to spend
It’s important that you and your partner draw a firm line on how much you’re willing to spend on your destination wedding. Overspending is just that much easier without a set cost in mind.
Note down the areas that you feel that you are probably more willing to spend on (say: accommodation, dress, food) and which areas you guys can scrimp on. Having an iron-clad budget in place will definitely ease some of the stress that comes with financial planning.
2. Decide on the type of ceremony you want for your destination wedding
Ask yourself what time of ceremony you have in mind. Do you want something that is more close-knit and intimate, or are you looking for something grand and lavish? If it’s the latter you’re looking for, be prepared to set aside a larger portion of your budget to accommodating more resources for your longer guest list.
Keeping the wedding small will, naturally, make budget allocation easier, but if you have your heart set on having a big wedding, it’s still possible to make it happen. That’s what the first step is for, remember? It’s just a matter of spending on some and saving on others.
3. Pick the right venue and timing
Chances are you probably already have an ideal location in mind, but if you only have a vague inkling of what you want (say, for instance, knowing you want a ceremony on an island), this would be a good idea to do some thorough research on venues.
Once you have a few locations nailed down, the next move would be to find out other important details like when constitutes as its peak season, and how the weather will be like in that duration.
Opt for off-peak season for cheaper prices, and also look into more budget-friendly accommodation in the area. Some people recommend renting vacation homes instead of getting hotel rooms, which could be feasible depending on your venue of choice and guest list.
Here are some affordable options a little closer to home:
1. Bali, Indonesia
Travel Duration: ~2h25 min
If a wedding by the beach sounds right up your alley, then Bali is definitely a place to consider. With its iconic rice paddy fields, scenic mountains, and its numerous beachfront villas, you just know that it will be a trip to remember.
2. Langkawi, Malaysia
Travel Duration: ~1h30min
Botanical beachfront gardens, lush rainforests, and towering limestone cliffs… Langkawi is full of magnificent views and resorts you can get hitched at. It doesn’t hurt that it’s only about an hour away from Singapore either, which just adds to the convenience factor.
3. Koh Samui, Thailand
Travel Duration: ~1h45min
Koh Samui isn’t just a great destination for a wedding, it makes an excellent honeymoon, too. With breath-taking views, pristine beaches, and a great night life scene, you’ll be spoilt for choice as to what to get up to here.
4. Boracay, Phillipines
Travel Duration: ~3h23min
Boracay is definitely a popular wedding destination for many people— a quick check on Google reveals a staggering amount of wedding planners and packages available for just about every budget! Make sure to sink your feet into the sand, enjoy a drink or two, and enjoy the breeze before your big day.
5. Da Nang, Vietnam
Travel Duration: ~2h40min
Da Nang has stunning views— just check out this montage of wedding photos— that is sure to make your wedding picture-perfect. Plus, we’re told that this weather is often at a balmy 20-25 degrees, making it seem as if you’re at an air-conditioned beach!
4. Source for the best travel deals ahead of time
Always, always keep your eyes peeled for discounts, rewards and other opportunities that will allow you to save on air tickets as much as possible! Bearing in mind that you’ll be most likely buying tickets for a considerable amount of people, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a travel package or two. Sites like Booking.com and Kayak.sg are always offering great deals.
Make sure to do this way, way in advance: remember, you need to firm up all these details before you’re able to send out your invites, and when there’s travel involved, it’s always best to inform your guests early.
5. But also don’t forget to consider the exchange rate!
An easily overlooked mistake? Not considering the exchange rate of the destination where your wedding is going to take place. This makes it just that much easier to burn through your cash.
If you’re adamant on the location despite a poor exchange rate, just remember to make it a point not to purchase anything once you’ve arrived. Make a thorough list of everything you need before leaving Singapore, and make sure to purchase it all here before flying off! That’s sure to save you some extra moolah.
6. Negotiate if you can
We know, we know — negotiating seems like a foreign practice to us Singaporeans, but a good tip when it comes to saving on some cash is simply to ask. And by this, we mean asking the hotel if you get can upgraded to the honeymoon suite, or if you can get a better rate from your airline. There’s no harm in it – and who knows? – you may just walk away with an even better deal than before.
7. DIY your decor…
Pinterest is just filled with D.I.Y wedding décor ideas right now! You can make anything from pom pom flowers to wedding invitations to flower boxes with budget-friendly, easily sourced materials rather than having to dedicate a large chunk of your budget for decorations.
8. … or simply embrace what can be found at your venue
For instance, you can slash your décor budget even further by incorporating local flowers in your bouquet, or serving up their local specialties! Chances are, it’s more affordable if it’s freely available at their venue, so make sure to utilise that.
9. Consider axing flowers all together
If flowers aren’t an absolute must-have for you, why not skip it all together and just go for unique centre-pieces featuring interesting details instead? Consider features like seashells or even fruit centre-pieces, which cost significantly less than getting fresh blooms.
10. Keep cuts small and across the board
A good tip by professional wedding planners? Make tiny cuts in your budget rather than making an obvious budget in just one area. It can be as simple as cutting one course from your meal, or opting to make your own decorations (see above), or maybe even using your own music instead of hiring a DJ or band.
At the end of the day, simply prioritise what is more important to you, and nix spending on ones that you deem less essential. And more importantly, of course, enjoy yourself!