Travel Insurance

Can a destination wedding save you money?

Whilst you're going to the chapel and “you're gonna get married”, with the average UK wedding costing over £30,000 you might just want to stop off at the bank too. We take a look at destination weddings, to see if they make a cheaper alternative than tying the knot in Blighty.

Whilst weddings are undoubtedly joyous occasions, they are also pretty expensive. A survey by hitched.co.uk revealed the average spend for weddings in the UK for 2018, was a staggering £32,273. This is a figure which to continues to rise by around £2,000 each year, which also does not take into account the spend by friends and family to attend the wedding either.

Given weddings are a huge financial burden, you might be looking for ways to save money, such as cutting wedding costs. Destination weddings are increasingly popular for couples, and whilst they will offer better weather and amazing scenery for those all important photos, do they actually save money compared to a traditional wedding at home?

UK Wedding

Many couples understandably want to get married in the place which they grew up, where they will spend the rest of their lives together.

The UK has some fantastic venues, local produce and areas of outstanding natural beauty to boot, meaning all aspects of your wedding from the ceremony to the wedding breakfast can be truly spectacular. However, this comes at a cost which many couples simple cannot afford.

Going by the hitched.co.uk figure of what a UK wedding costs, these are the breakdown amounts of some of the top expenses couples face:

What does a wedding cost in the UK?
Venue hire£5,221
Honeymoon£4,545
Food£4,151
Engagement ring£2,657
Drink£1,739
Wedding dress/outfit£1,321
Photography£1,166
Mini-moon£1,051
Video£1,027
Entertainment/music£1,014
Total£23,892
chart showing costs of a wedding in the UK
Typical UK wedding costs

Note: This does not include extras such as bridesmaid and groomsmen outfits, hair and makeup, hen and stag parties, wedding rings etc.

Pros: Having your wedding at home in the UK offers a sense of familiarity, especially if you pick a venue which has sentimental value. It's also convenient for guests to travel too, especially if family and friends are mostly local.

Cons: Weddings in the UK are getting increasingly more expensive each year. If you desire a summer wedding, these are at a premium and also book up fast meaning you may not get your venue of choice.

Destination Wedding

Understandably, the high cost of a wedding in the UK is a barrier for many couples looking to get hitched. So, why not consider a destination wedding instead?

In a stark contrast for the £32,273 average cost of marrying in the UK, destination weddings cost couples just £6,585 on average, according to weddingsabroadguide.com.

Not only are destination weddings essentially a holiday thrown in for free, but they also offer magnificent photo opportunities for the bride and groom too.

What's more, Sandals will actually throw in a wedding for free if you book a 3 night stay at any of their resorts. Let's take a look at some of the other options for a destination wedding:

Cost of destination weddings
Location: Villa Fondi, SorrentoGuests: 6 - Price: £898
Location: Royal Palm, MauritiusGuests: 10 - Price: £1,935
Location: Top of the Rock, New YorkGuests: 25 - Price: £2,642
Location: Sunset Beach Club, SpainGuests: 40 - Price: £5,877
Location: Chateau de Josse, FranceGuests: 50 - Price: £13,767

Note: Price does not include flights. Cheateau de Josse also includes 2 nights accommodation for guests.

Pros: Immediately reduces the cost of a wedding by less than a quarter of the price of getting married at home. Offers a wide variety of locations all around the world, with the beautiful weather and scenery that is different to the UK. Creates lasting memories for the whole wedding party, and is a unique opportunity to have a break away in a different country with a large group who are closest to both you and your partner.

Cons: Typically suited to smaller wedding parties, as you have to factor in the cost of transport if you are expecting guests to shell out on flights, accommodation and spending money before they've even bought their wedding outfits or gifts! Destination weddings are often unsuitable for guests who are elderly or heavily pregnant. You should also factor in time of work for both yourself and your guests.

There could also be a language barrier depending on the location. You may need to hire additional help with organising a wedding in another country, especially if you are only arriving at the last minute.

The whole thing could be a disaster if anyone misses their flight. If you do decide on a destination wedding, be sure you buy travel insurance with special cover for weddings.

Conclusion

Destination weddings offer couples a taste of something different than marrying in the UK, at a much more affordable price. Undoubtedly there is the cost of flights and accommodation, however if your guests are able to pay for this themselves then this does reduce the cost significantly. With some tour operators even throwing in a wedding for free if you stay at their resort, destination weddings can be a real purse pleaser.

If you do have your heart set on marrying in the UK, there are ways you can look to reduce costs. This includes marrying in low season or on a weekday, or choosing to hold the reception in a bar rather than hiring a hotel for the day. Some couples even get creative making their own wedding invites and favours.

Ultimately, a destination wedding will give you an incredible experience at a much lower price than marrying in the UK. With thousands of destinations to choose from to suit all budgets and party sizes, there really is something magical waiting for every couple looking to get married abroad. And by saving money on your wedding, you'll have more to spend on making your dream home a reality or to save money for your first Christmas as a married couple.

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