Who doesn’t dream of tying the knot in a far-off tropical paradise or foreign winter wonderland?

Unfortunately, that dream can quickly become a financial nightmare thanks to additional costs for travel and accommodations. According to the WeddingWire’s Newlywed 2019 Report, the average price tag for a destination wedding in 2018 was $32,000.

With approximately one in four couples opting for a destination wedding, the question becomes how to make this type of wedding affordable. Here are a few expert tips for cutting costs for your out-of-town nuptials.

1. Minimize your guest list

It’s simple mathematics: the more guests you invite, the more money you’ll have to spend on things like food and flights. So carefully consider how many guests you can realistically afford. Or, for even more savings, simple elope and hold a big reception closer to home at a later date.

2. Do your research

“If we’re smart about the way that we book our flights and our lodging and we really research where we get married, we can save a lot of money,” says Julie Nunn, owner of Julie Nunn Event Design with locations in Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

She advises starting your search for flights early and utilizing travel sites, such as Travelocity, Trip Advisor and Kayak, to find the best deals. When selecting your wedding location, Nunn also recommends looking into currency exchange rates.

“It could totally be out of the question if everything costs twice as much depending on where you’re going,” she adds.

3. Leverage your resources

Another common way Nunn sees her destination clients save money is by getting help from their circle of friends and family.

“There’s so much cash back and miles now,” Nunn says. “Ask your parents, ask your friend that travels a ton. Often, their miles will expire before they can use them. If they’re not going to use those miles in a year, it might be a good gift to give to you or your family.”

4. Go for all-inclusive

Look for locations, like a resort in Jamaica or Mexico, that offer all-inclusive packages. These venues give big incentives for bringing large groups and are a one-stop-shop for everything from catering to flowers. So, not only will this option save you money, it can also save you a lot of time juggling a bunch of different vendors.

5. Work with local vendors

Avoid the added expense of flying and housing vendors by booking local talent, advises Nunn. “Unless you absolutely have to have them, like your hair stylist or photographer, hire the vendors there.”

Plus, you’ll have the added bonus of working with professionals who know the area and how to get the best prices for flowers, produce, linens, etc.

6. Ask for discounts

“This is really important for brides to know: you can always ask for a discount,” urges Nunn. “Every single vendor that you book you can ask for a discount and it’s your right to say ‘this is my budget, what can we do in my budget?’”

Even if your first choice vendor can’t meet your budgetary needs, there’s a good chance they can recommend a sister company or other local professional that can.

7. Hire a planner

If you really want to get the best price, hire a wedding planner with expertise in destination events. “A wedding planner’s job is to get discounts so our clients can afford us,” explains Nunn.

Don’t have the budget for a planner? Ask if you can get an hourly rate.

“I would recommend reaching out to an event planner and hiring them for even an hour,” says Nunn. “That will save you so much money, so much heartache and so much work.”

©CTW Features