destination wedding planning article amira harris feb 25 2021 feature image

6 Secrets for Destination Wedding Planning on a Budget

Certified wedding planner, Amira Harris, is one of QC Event School’s leading tutors for the Destination Wedding Planning Course. She is also the proud owner and destination wedding specialist of Aisle Travel™. Based in Calgary, Alberta, Amira’s business provides Canadian couples with full group travel services, destination wedding planning, and customized wedding group experiences. 

Destination Wedding Planning – Is It Doable?

It might surprise you to know that destination weddings can actually be cheaper than local weddings sometimes. However, this is obviously not always the case. There are a lot of factors to consider, as well as your client’s overall vision for their special day. How your client envisions the day, as well as the number of guests they want in attendance, will have a significant impact on the budget required.

It’s important to understand, though, that destination wedding planning is possible for any client. They can have a beautiful destination wedding, regardless of the budget. As the planner, it simply boils down to knowing where to get practical, where to allocate costs, and where to cut back.

So, we’re here today to discuss some cost-saving tips to help your clients pull off a destination wedding on a budget. Let’s get started!

Destination Wedding Planning on a Budget

1. Expert Help is Critical!

You’ll sometimes meet a skeptical client; someone who’s not fully convinced that hiring a certified planner is all that important or necessary. As the subject-matter expert, you owe it to them to show the whole picture. Explain all of the reasons why you, as the planner, will be able to assist them throughout the process. For example, where can you help them save money? Where can you help shoulder unnecessary stress? Basically, how can YOU help THEM enjoy their big day even more?

Hiring a destination wedding planning expert might not be in everyone’s budget – at least, not for full planning services. But this is okay, because there are still plenty of other options! If you offer smaller packages (such as month-of or day-of services), let them know. Perhaps you even offer a la carte services, such as budget management. This alone could be extremely beneficial to them and worth the cost!

At the end of the day, there will be some prospective clients who turn down your help, even after you’ve sat down and talked with them. That’s fine! Hiring a planner isn’t for everyone. However, you should still always remember to discuss the benefits with them. This way, they have all the information and can make their decision accordingly. A certified destination wedding planner can save clients money, provide expert advice on where to spend, and make a small budget stretch. If you make this clear, you’ll find that LOTS of clients will see the value in this expense and want to hire you.

destination wedding guest list

2. Keep an Eye on the Guest List!

Keeping the guest list small, or limiting it to family and close friends only, will save your client money. So, make sure they know this and stick to it! When your client has a small or tight wedding budget, some corners will need to be cut. That’s just the way it is. The first thing to modify and cut down is usually the guest list. Even though it would be great to invite everyone they know, if budget is a concern, advise your client to skip all those extra invitations. The more guests they have, the more it will cost.

3. Consider the ‘When’ and ‘Where’!

Timing and season play major roles when destination wedding planning. For example, having a wedding during the week, or even in a low season, will often save your client money. Not only will it be most cost-effective for the actual wedding – it’ll also be more affordable for the attendees as well! Traveling during the week and/or non-peak season will cost drastically less for your clients and their guests.

4. Get Creative!

If your client loves crafts or creating things, this might be the time to showcase those skills. Perhaps they might be interested in making the table centerpieces. Maybe they’ll want to help design the paper goods, invitations, or place cards. Getting the client to help with these details might seem a bit unconventional, and it probably is. If they aren’t feeling it, don’t push. Chances are, though, you’ll work with more than one client who’ll be happy to pitch in if it means saving a few bucks.

However, getting creative and DIY-ing things can save them a TON of money. You can even take it one step further by using those DIY items for both the ceremony and the reception. Finding ways to reuse and repurpose items will also help with cost-saving. Not to mention, it’s way better for the environment, too!

destination wedding planning guest invitations

5. Maximize Local Resources!

The great thing about destination wedding planning is that you can use all sorts of local suppliers, vendors, and resources. Not only is it convenient to use vendors on-site; at times, it can be a lot cheaper. Plus, using supplies that can be found in the country your client’s destination wedding is in can be a real money-saver, too. Something as simple as using the local backdrop of the destination can save your client money on event decor and flowers.

What’s better than an ocean or garden backdrop for their big day? Not to mention, it’ll be absolutely FREE!

6. Skip All the Little Extras!

All those wedding inspirations that your client has pinned on Pinterest can add up fast. ‘Extras’ can be considered everything from:

  • Printed menus at each place setting;
  • Escort cards;
  • Name cards in calligraphy;
  • Personalized napkins for the bar;
  • Signage everywhere, etc.

A lot of paper goods look so great. As a result, they can be hard to resist. But if your client is on a tight budget, they’re actually quite the large expense.

Their budget will thank them if they choose to skip on some – or all – of those paper goods. What about the other extras – like sparklers for guests to wave around, personalized shawls, flip-flops, etc.? Yes, these are all great things to have if your client has a healthy destination wedding budget. They certainly have their charms and add a cute, personalized touch.

But no, they are NOT a must-have. When destination wedding planning on a budget, remember: if it isn’t absolutely necessary, it’s not worth the cost. Your client is better off saving their money.

bride and groom embracing beach wedding

When destination wedding planning, having a clear budget – big or small – and sticking to it can be a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be! You can easily help clients save on their wedding expenses by choosing one or two areas in their budget to splurge on, and then being cost-conscious for every other detail. This way, they can have the celebration of their dreams – without breaking the bank!

Happy planning. Stay safe. xo

Earn your professional certification in just 3-6 months by enrolling in QC Event School’s Destination Wedding Planning Course today!

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