Lori Lori is a work-at-home mom of three living in Noblesville, Indiana.

Planning a wedding, especially a destination wedding, is a lot of fun, but it can be a load of stress and comes with a hefty price tag, too. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $25,200 and frankly, most of us don’t have that kind of contribution coming from our parents — and we aren’t keen on depleting our own savings accounts to foot the bill. I started looking into ways to save money on your destination wedding.

While we had a generous amount of money to put toward our wedding, I really didn’t love the idea of throwing it all down on just one weekend when we could use the cash toward other things and save our own hard-earned money, too. Lots of people gave me friendly tips to not blow a wedding budget. The list of things to buy that go along with a traditional wedding in today’s society is never ending. I thought we could go another route.

I’d always liked the idea of a destination wedding. I am an extrovert through and through, yet the thought of a massive wedding weekend all about ME literally left me shaking in my Target flip flops. So I ran the idea of a destination wedding past my soon-to-be husband. He quickly jumped on board. We could go to an island perhaps? I could practically taste the daiquiris and hear the waves crashing against the sand. This plan sounded amazing!

At the time, we had five living grandparents in their 80s, and as quickly as we jumped at the idea of a beach wedding, we quickly had a change of heart. We realized that if we wanted those grandparents in attendance (and we very badly did), we couldn’t pick a tropical location that required guests to take multiple flights over the course of an entire day. It just wasn’t possible!

We settled on Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The lush mountain landscape is breathtakingly beautiful, right? I delved in head first to planning our wedding and quickly realized four great tips that helps you save money on your destination wedding:

How To Save Money On Your Destination Wedding

Choosing a location guests can reach without flying.

While we didn’t initially choose to have a Tennessee wedding for this reason, it ended up being a good thing for all of our guests. The last thing we wanted was to drain our family and friends’ banking accounts. Taking a reasonable road trip and staying for two nights in Tennessee was probably one-fourth of the cost to travel to the Bahamas or Jamaica.

Design around the local beauty.

What is lovelier than the Smoky Mountains? The natural beauty made the perfect backdrop for our hilltop outdoor wedding. We didn’t need to spend loads of money on flowers or anything else to make our venue look better – it looked amazing just as it was.

Our simple yet lovely hilltop wedding
venue in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Fly in the most important vendors only.

If you want to fly in a photographer, a hair stylist, and a caterer, get ready to drop some big cash. I’d suggest choosing the one that is the most important to you, and shop around for local vendors for the rest. Chances are that you will have no problem finding talent in an area that is already known as a popular venue for destination weddings. Just remember to ask for lots of examples of the person’s work (i.e., wedding cake designs, flower arrangements, etc.).

Pick a location that has something for everyone.

We liked that Gatlinburg had both cabins and hotels for guests to choose between. We loved that during the warmer months (we were married in May), people could easily enjoy the outdoors. They could hike, or they could walk around the strip enjoying the countless activities great for people of all ages. There are lots of fun restaurants available to dine in, and also several family-friendly activities such as Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

I was nervous thinking that by having a destination wedding, we’d be compromising the excitement of our special day and that we’d make our guests pay more money than they wanted to spend. I have always enjoyed attending fun, extravagant weddings, so it felt unusual and even a bit crazy to do just the opposite. However, when all was said and done, were thrilled to have a small wedding with much less stress that allowed us to focus on building our future together. Seven years later, neither of us regret having a destination wedding.

How do you save money on your destination wedding? Any tips?

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Category: Marriage

Tags: destination wedding