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How To Save 50% (Or More!) On Your Destination Wedding

Why spend more when you can pay less for your wedding?

Now that the glow of your engagement has settled in, you may find yourself longing to have that destination wedding you always dreamed of. You picture your special day to be in an exotic location and at some luxurious resort. Then, reality sets in. The words ‘cheap’ and ‘destination wedding’ don't go together. 

The cost of destination weddings vary across different countries. Looking at 2017 to 2019 statistics from The Asean Post, destination wedding costs can fall in the range of:

  • USD 23,700 - USD 54,800 (Singapore)
  • USD 11,900 - USD 47,500 (Malaysia)
  • USD 2,000 - USD 20,000 (Thailand)
  • USD 2,000 - USD 35,000 (Indonesia)
  • USD 2,000 - USD 20,000 (Cambodia)
  • USD 4,800 - USD 20,000 (Philippines)
  • Up to USD 20,000 (Myanmar)
  • Up to USD 15,000 (Vietnam)

It seems as though your destination wedding is going to require you to take a voracious chunk out of your life savings!

But don’t break out in cold sweat yet. With smart planning and some extra help (or tips) from us, it’s actually feasible to plan a destination wedding well within your budget. Let’s start you on the right foot with these cost-saving tips for destination weddings:

 

Tip #1: Destination weddings don’t always have to be on a beach 

The truth is that many international couples seek out this vacation-like experience, to get away from the traditional wedding of sorts, and also to entertain their family and friends in an entirely new and exciting part of the world. Naturally, an isolated island halfway around the world is often the top choice for a destination wedding.

But these venues also usually cost far more, probably because of the difficulty in logistics (getting floral arrangements to not wilt under the hot sun is tricky OR getting everyone to fly halfway around the world) and exclusivity (blocking off a private beach means the resort would lose other potential income, so they’ll get you to pay to make up for that).

Try a garden wedding at Four Seasons Chiang Mai, or a beautiful poolside setting overlooking the river valley at Jannata Resort & Spa, or even a romantic vineyard wedding.


Wedding at FOUR SEASONS CHIANG MAI, THAILAND

Ceremony from THB 80,000 | Dinner from THB 4,750 per guest | Beverage from THB 3,000 per guest | Minimum 30 guest(s).


Wedding at JANNATA RESORT & SPA, INDONESIA

Ceremony from USD 1,890 for 10 guest(s)

 

Tip #2: Keep it small 

If you’re trying to plan a budget destination wedding, including everyone on the guest list is a gamble. Should everyone you’ve invited decide to attend, this can inflate your spending. Every extra person will cost you money for invitations, food, cake, wedding favours, and more. So, check your list thoroughly, and make sure everyone on it are those that really matter to you.

Invite only those whom you know you'd want to share one of the most important moments of your life with. Still having trouble downsizing? Try asking yourselves, “Would I take this person out for a several-hundred-dollar dinner?” If you hesitate to say yes, we’d wager that you should leave this person out of your guest list.

 

Tip #3: The right timing is key 

Timing matters when it comes to planning a destination wedding on a budget. There’s no way around it. If you’ve got a popular destination in mind, you should try to book your venue one or two years in advance to get the best rates. This would also help you (and your guests) to save on flight fares.

Higher demand allows service providers to increase their prices. So, avoiding Saturdays can save you A LOT of money since it is the most popular day of the week for a wedding. This is especially true for catering and other miscellaneous services like photography.

Having a wedding during the right season matters as well. Say you'd like a forest-themed wedding. Ubud Valley Boutique Resort in Bali would be perfect. But, you should note that the period between October to April is not exactly the best time to have a wedding in Bali as tropical storms could possibly rain on your parade.

If you’re worried or unsure about the timing, the hotel’s wedding planning team can give you their expert advice.


Wedding at UBUD VALLEY BOUTIQUE RESORT, Indonesia

Ceremony from IDR 81,796,000 | Dinner from IDR 485,000 per guest | Beverage from IDR 259,000 per guest | Minimum 20 guest(s).

 

Tip #4: Go local 

Bringing in photographers or your favourite make-up artist from your hometown is surely going to be expensive as you’ll need to foot the bill for their travel and accommodation.

Why not use professionals who are located at your destination instead? The same goes for floral arrangements. If your wedding is on a Malaysian island, a local variety of orchids will cost far less than flying in hundreds of imported tulips from the Netherlands.

 

Tip #5: Get "officially" married before you reach your destination 

Every country has different regulations on this. To save yourself the headache, time, and money on legal fees, accommodation, and transportation to and fro government offices, head down to the nearest city hall and file your paperwork to get legally married locally first.

Then, focus your destination wedding on just the wedding reception, or better yet, a local traditional ceremony to bless your union.

 

Tip #6: Ask the hotel to provide you with a wedding planner 

Many reputable hotels and resorts out there, like SAii Lagoon Maldives, usually have dedicated wedding planners. These coordinators usually come as part of your wedding package and they can help you with other arrangements such as decorations, accommodation, logistics, and more.

Ask the resort about the wedding planner’s previous experience with similar weddings like the one you have in mind, and the kind of services they can provide. That way, you can save on hiring a separate wedding planner.


Wedding at SAII LAGOON MALDIVES, CURIO COLLECTION BY HILTON

Ceremony from USD 2,200 | Dinner from USD 70 per guest | Beverage from USD 60 per guest | Minimum 2 guest(s).

 

Tip #7: Pick the right, all-inclusive wedding package 

The idea of choosing an all-inclusive wedding package may seem a bit too cookie-cutter for you, which defeats the purpose of having a personalised, destination wedding. But trust us, we’ve done our fair share of helping hopeful couples plan theirs. 

After all, picking a wedding package can help you save a whole lot of money. This is because the resort normally has existing relationships with local suppliers and has already built significant discounts into their packages to take advantage of this.

You can get around the cookie-cutter feel by asking the resort to customise the wedding package by adding on a few extras (like a traditional blessing ceremony, or changing up the canapé menu) to give it a flavour that’s uniquely yours. So, be sure to keep an eye out for exclusive deals, like these ones

 

Tip #8: Honeymoon where you wed 

You’re already about to part ways with a wad of cash to secure flights to a (possibly) faraway destination for your ceremony. Why not take advantage of it instead of making an additional drive or flight for your honeymoon?

Some resorts will give you an incentive to stay extra nights after the wedding if you use their venue for your ceremony. If they don’t, then that’s an extra reason for you to consider booking your wedding via Hitchbird. Thanks to our existing relationships with top-notch resorts around Asia and Europe, couples are entitled to receive *up to 10 per cent cash rebate or a *free 2-night stay at the hotel/ resort.
*Terms and conditions apply. 

 

Tip #9: Take advantage of group discounts 

When you take your guests into consideration, the size of your wedding party might just entitle you to group discounts for flights. So, remember to check with your airline. Resorts and hotels are also likely to go out of their way to offer special arrangements for couples travelling with groups, so ask them upfront for complimentary group activities/ tours such as jungle trekking and island hopping.

If you have many nights booked at the hotel, you can also use this to give you an upper hand in negotiating for accommodation discounts even if your guest list is on the smaller side. Not sure how to get things started? Reach out to us and we’ll help you get the best bang for your buck.

 

Alternatively, you can WhatsApp or call us at +6011 2698 6450.

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