7 Reasons Why International Weddings May Cost Less Than Getting Married Stateside

Congratulations! You’re newly engaged and thinking about where to get married. While celebrating stateside might be the easier and more logical approach to take, perhaps you’ve always imagined having an international destination wedding. To many, a dreamy destination wedding overseas might seem like just that a dream. After all, there are numerous cost and travel factors that make having an unforgettable destination wedding seem unrealistic. Right? 

Not quite. The reality is that having an international wedding that fits your budget may be more realistic than you think. In fact, it might surprise you to learn that getting married in another country can actually be more affordable than getting married in the United States. 

You might want to tell your guests to get their passports ready, because here we explore seven reasons why international weddings may be less expensive than getting married stateside! 

photo of guests at wedding ceremony holding umbrellas
Photo by Ryan Ray Photo

1. You Can Get Group Discounts on Accommodations 

A lot of wedding venues are eager to hold destination weddings because they’re huge money-makers. The benefit to them is that all of your guests will generally stay at the venue. Since many properties overseas – especially in Europe – are smaller and more boutiquey, a full buyout may not be as unrealistic as you may think. Not only is there nothing better than having all your guests on-site with you, but your guests may also help you lower the cost of your overall wedding, too. 

A lot of the time, the wedding venue will waive the site fee and instead charge for a minimum stay and buyout requirement. You may also be able to negotiate for group rates for a large guest block stay or receive other perks such as complimentary breakfasts and hotel transfers from the airport. 

Accommodation costs is something that a destination wedding planner can help you navigate. 

photo of tables at an outdoor reception for international wedding
Photo by Feather and Stone Photo

2. Take Advantage of Exchange Rates

Depending on where you choose to have your international wedding, the cost of hosting an event may be less expensive overall. Countries with a lower cost of living often equate to less expensive wedding venues. 

In countries where there’s a favorable exchange rate, you might end up getting more bang for your buck when you choose to have an overseas wedding. In less frequented European countries, such as Portugal and Croatia, there’s an overall lower cost of living. This means there are lower overall wedding expenses, which also extend to food and beverage costs. You’ll be able to have a wedding abroad without breaking the bank. 

Choosing the right spot in another country also makes a difference. A destination wedding in Tuscany can be affordable, while a wedding in Lake Como may cost twice as much. While it does depend on the resort you choose, you’ll generally find venues in the Tuscan countryside to be less expensive overall rather than a large Italian city. Plus, Tuscany is known for its farm-to-table culture when it comes to catering and wine – embrace the ‘dolce far niente’ experience as part of your authentic Italian wedding vibe and your pocketbook will thank you for it. 

An experienced international destination wedding planner can help you determine which countries are ideal and best fit your budget. 

photo of tropical beach ceremony looking out at the ocean
Photo by Feather and Stone Photo

3. Embrace the Decor of Your Surroundings

One of the main benefits of an international destination wedding is that you won’t need over-the-top decor for everything to look beautiful on your special day. Nothing is more breathtaking than the sandy beaches and turquoise waters of a Caribbean wedding, or the tropical palette of various shades of green when you get married in Mexico. No amount of wedding decor could ever compare to the romantic backdrop of Lake Como in Italy, or the beautiful hills and valleys of a Provence destination wedding.

Even if you’re someone who loves design and intricate details, you won’t need to spend as much money on wedding decor when the backdrop of your international wedding is already so stunning. In fact, you may find that the natural beauty of the scenery and architecture is more likely to pop when you opt for simple, more minimalist decor. 

photo of water bungalows for an international honeymoon
Photo by KT Merry Photography

4. Your Honeymoon Is Included

When you choose to have an international wedding, one of the main advantages is that you don’t have to jet off somewhere after your special day comes to a close. You can simply extend your stay and have your honeymoon in the same country you got married in. You won’t have to pay for additional travel costs in addition to your wedding. 

An added perk? Some destination wedding venues may even offer you a discount off your honeymoon suite or an extended stay.

As an added bonus, you’ll get to bypass honeymoon jetlag. Your friends and family may even tag along with you for a bit before they head back home! This can be great if you want to spend more time with your guests. And if not, you could always hop over to a nearby resort for some exclusive 1:1 time with your new spouse.

photo of wedding guests dancing for a destination wedding
Photo by Ryan Ray Photo

5. You’ll Probably Have Fewer Guests

In general, destination weddings tend to be smaller, more intimate affairs. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, this is a benefit, since fewer guests means lower wedding costs. In fact, having a wedding abroad may be one of the easiest ways to trim down your guest list. 

The reality is that not everyone can make the level of commitment an international destination wedding requires. A destination wedding typically consists of at least a three-day schedule, which includes a welcome dinner, the wedding day, and a farewell brunch. It will also generally include two days of travel, one before and after the event. Even if your guests are able to commit to taking enough time off for your overseas wedding, they’ll also need to invest in international travel and lodging. 

Although the people closest to you will likely commit to be there for your big day, those cousins twice removed and coworkers who you feel obligated to invite might not be so inclined to attend an international wedding. The end result? You can expand your funds to other wedding budget items, such as flowers, music, guest experience, and more to ensure that your special day is the fairytale wedding you’ve always dreamt of. 

photo cliffside views of the ocean at a international wedding
Photo by Ryan Ray Photo

6. Venues and Wedding Planners Can Assist You

When it comes to planning a wedding, there’s always going to be stress involved. You can mitigate most of those by hiring an expert destination wedding planner who can handle all of the day-to-day planning and design for your big weekend. 

That being said, most destination wedding venues also have in-house coordinators whose responsibilities are more than simply managing the food and beverages for your big day. To help you better work through the language barriers, they may also help with customs issues, transportation, room blocks, rentals, and lighting. All of these things can end up costing extra if something goes awry.

Of course, your international destination wedding planner will also be on top of these elements, but it can give you peace of mind to know that the venue is also invested in ensuring that your special day goes off without a hitch. 

photo of wedding ceremony venue with flowers lining the aisle and facing trees
Photo by Lacie Hansen Photography

7. Cut Costs by Using Local Vendors

You can often save significantly by choosing local wedding vendors where possible. In certain countries, local vendor rates are more affordable than U.S. vendors. 

Of course, there are instances where you may want to hire U.S. vendors who will travel to your international destination wedding, such as photographers and videographers. But hiring local florists, entertainers like musicians or DJs, and rentals and furnishings can save you hundreds — if not thousands — on airfare, accommodations, and more. 

An international destination wedding planner can help you manage these local vendors. They will deal with any language barriers that may lead to communication issues to ensure everything goes smoothly for your special day. 

photo of reception tables and chairs at the beach right beside the ocean
Photo by Ryan Ray Photo

Bottom line, international weddings can be even more affordable than United States weddings. If you’re looking for a destination wedding planner to help you plan your special day, please reach out here. Our goal at HauteFêtes is to make your journey to the aisle as stress-free and flawless as possible — even if you’re getting married thousands of miles away from home!

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