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The Deal With Destination Weddings

April 15th, 2013 by Jeannine

The Deal With Destination Weddings

Generally speaking, destination weddings are considered when couples want to elope, get away with only their close friends and family, or be married at a particular sentimental location. Couples may also consider it as a budget option… but is that always the case? I’ve decided to find out by consulting the 2nd half of Vancity Vendor Epic Events, wedding planner Brittany Walker. She recently joined Epic Events within the last year and has lots of prior experience with destination weddings. Brittany says destination weddings are becoming more common as time goes by so I thought it’d be best to research and show you the options you have outside of Metro Vancouver.

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What Saves You Money?

Like all weddings, the guest count is one of the main things that drive up the cost of your event. With destination weddings, you tend to save because these weddings are generally more intimate affairs than local weddings. According to Brittany, Mexican destination weddings host approximately 50 guests compared to a possible guestlist of over 100 if held locally. Another key aspect is food & beverage…

“When hosting your wedding at an all-inclusive resort, standard food and beverage is included for all guests, but what you are charged for in your wedding package is the staffing charges. Studies show, that on average a destination wedding can save you up to $15,000.”

Brittany advises to select the wedding package that gives you the best value for your money. You can probably opt for a cheaper package and add on a few extras rather than going all out on the most expensive package that include items you don’t necessarily need.

sensatori overview 2 What Doesn’t Save You Money?

Now just because you decide to marry abroad, it doesn’t mean it is a surefire way to save money. Destination and resort selection is key to determining how frugal or extravagant your event will be because of the travel costs. Remember you’ll be staying there for a few days at least, plus more if you’re going to stay for a honeymoon. If it’s not an all-inclusive resort, the bill will be much much higher. However, the more expensive the destination, the less guests you may have too. Brittany has these to add…

“Generally destination weddings are similar to local weddings for what aspects will drive up the cost of the event; Number of guests, gourmet food selections, additional décor, etc. However, when hiring vendors outside of your destination their travel costs will need to be included in their charges. Also, if you chose to bring décor with you to the destination, keep in mind that additional luggage on planes can be quite pricey.”

Swim Up Room

Where Do I Go?

If you opt for remote or exotic destinations like Tahiti, Bora Bora and St. Lucia, be prepared to spend a pretty penny. Destinations without all-inclusive resorts can also be quite costly… like Hawaii, Miami, and Los Angeles. Brittany says, to find the best deals, go to locations with all-inclusive resorts like Mexico, Puerto Vallarta being the most popular location for its low travel costs and affordable wedding packages. If you’re looking to stay local, be warned that an Okanagan or Vancouver Island wedding may amount to the same as a Vancouver wedding.

“Of course, you are saving money on your travel as it is a closer location and most weddings will stay 2-3 nights in comparison to a 7 night stay in Mexico. However, your guest numbers are more likely to be very similar to the average 120 person Vancouver wedding and you do not have the option of an all-inclusive resort.”

Brittany found that locations in Mexico (namely Riviera Maya) and the Caribbean are the most popular with the clients she’s worked with.

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What if I Want to Bring My Own Vendors?

Local vendors are usually willing to travel, but keep in mind that you will have to pay for their airfare and accommodations, as well as their fee. There may be also other restrictions to keep in mind.

“Every resort will be different for using outside vendors. Often you will be charged a fee per vendor but clarify with the resort coordinator before moving forward with booking anything. If your vendors are staying at an alternate location you will also be charged for a visitors pass per person for the day.”

Brittany’s Last Piece of Advice…

“Just like with every wedding, hiring a wedding planner will keep you on budget and organized which results in saving money. One common misunderstanding for destination weddings is that your travel agent in not your wedding planner. Hiring a professional to keep your communication controlled to and from the destination is highly recommended. Destination weddings can add more stress to the planning process as you are including travel preparations for all guests as well. Don’t let this stress overcome what will be an enjoyable day full of love and happiness.”

Learn more about Brittany and Briar at Epic Events
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Photo by Claudia Photo Studio

All photos provided by Epic Events

All wedding photos by Claudia Photo Studio, resort photos are from www.karismahotels.com

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