Wedding budgets come in all shapes and sizes, and no matter which one fits you best, you'll need a few key tips to make sure you're adequately prepared.
Follow the very same process as you would if your wedding was local.
Budget is budget is budget in any language, in any culture and in any destination. While it’s true that the price tag might be different from one country to another, it is also true that what you can afford to spend, or what you are interested in spending remains the same no matter where you go. The first thing you need to do is figure out what your spending threshold is no matter where the wedding will take place. Armed with this information, you can take the next step.
Research destinations that suit your budget.
It’s going to take some time to research, but not all destinations are created equal. You’ll need to solicit the help of a wedding planner that specializes in destination weddings, or a travel agent that specializes in destination weddings. Internet searches are often exhaustive, but if you have the time and patience, befriend the internet and research away. Some destinations are much more budget friendly than others. This could be due to the exchange rate, or simply due to the fact that things cost less within that location.
Now that you have a total amount and a destination, allocate accordingly.
Determine just how much is going to be allocated towards the venue, and how much is remaining in the budget for the other vendors needed. While there’s a common calculation used in the United States determine this, the breakdown could be very different within a different country. For example, food and beverage might be far more expensive or less expensive in this particular destination. This too is where a professional that does destinations weddings can be helpful in providing guidance.
Do the math before you sign your venue contract.
Your venue cost is the most important budget item, so it’s the first thing you need to tackle on your list. Before you sign the contract, have the venue give you a complete estimate of what the venue costs are, including things they may not mention at the beginning of the process. Take a good hard look at the menus options for what you will specifically want to serve and what the prices are, including service and taxes so you really have a good idea of the total that you will be spending.
Get a written quote for these food and beverage costs, as well as tables, chairs, linens and place settings if they are not already included in the cost of food and beverage. Also inquire about items that are sometimes needed, such as the cost of a sound system outdoors, power drop and a Wi-Fi connection in the ballroom. Here are a few other helpful things to consider. Is the venue easy to access with needed equipment? Is it up at steep hill or with no access for a large truck, thus needing multiple, more time-consuming trips in a smaller vehicle? Better to know upfront what other expenses might come up in relationship to the venue.
When it comes to vendors, determine if it makes sense to use local.
Chances are, choosing local vendors will be much more cost-effective than paying for the travel expenses of those coming from farther away. This does not always hold true, when cost-of-living is very expensive in you particular selected destination, thus causing vendors fees to be higher than the country that you’re coming from, however this is less common. Do the math, just as you did for your venue, asking for a written quote of what is included and not included in each vendor’s services.
Be prepared to reduce the guest list if necessary.
It may be safe to assume that many of the guests that you invite will not end up attending your destination wedding. However, what if they do? The only way to ensure that you stay within budget is to limit the guest list to the maximum count that you can afford. If you invite them, they may come. You’ll have to base your budget based on the exact number that you invite, just in case they all say yes.
Stick to it, no matter what.
If there’s any wiggle room, determine just how much wiggle room there is from the get-go. If you know they’ll be a few extra dollars that you can manage to include, you’re one of the lucky ones. But if you know that there’s no wiggle room, then make sure you’ve done all your research before you pay for anything, so that you can be sure that you will be able to realistically stay within the budgeted amount. If it means changing destinations or limiting the guest list, you’ll want to know this in the early stages, before it becomes a problem. With proper research, and a will to make it work, it is possible to stick to a budget. To do this, you just need to be sure that the amount you have matches the items that you need.