10 Places for Budget-Friendly Destination Weddings
Planning a destination wedding on a budget can be quite a challenge. In addition to travel, there are many other expenses for couples and their guests to consider, including accommodations, ceremony and reception venues, dining options, and extra activities. For those willing to look beyond the beaten track, though, there are a number of locales both here and abroad for a destination wedding that won't break the bank.
For fans of cocktails and jazz, "http://www.cheapism.com/blog/4094/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-new-orleans"New Orleans can be a fun and affordable place for the special day. Round-trip flights to the popular tourist destination are typically in the $100-to-$400 range, and with a few months' notice, it's easy to find a deal. For cheap accommodations, rent a house or two for you and your guests, which can cost about $50 a night per person. Online services such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway offer affordable listings. As for the ceremony itself, there are plenty of budget-friendly options including outdoor spaces, classic churches, event halls, and hotel spaces. Buy your own booze locally to save on the catering bill. "http://www.cheapism.com/blog/4096/mardi-gras-recipe-ideas" Food and drink in the Big Easy tend to be inexpensive and delicious, and if you want a live band, there's never a shortage of local acts looking for gigs.
The average cost of a Manhattan wedding was more than $76,000 in 2014, according to an annual survey by The Knot. Just a few hours north of New York City, the rolling green mountains above the Hudson River host affordable country weddings. Set in a bucolic landscape, small towns such as Tivoli, Hudson, and Beacon offer an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars, along with restored barns and halls available for special occasions. For guests on the East Coast, the travel cost is low, with round-trip train tickets for less than $200 from as far as Boston and Washington, D.C. There are houses for rent in and near the towns, a more affordable option than the many boutique hotels and "http://www.cheapism.com/blog/3858/cheap-bed-and-breakfast"bed and breakfasts.
Dreaming of a beach wedding but worried about the budget? Consider Florida, which offers the same warm climate and tropical setting as the Caribbean without the high price of international travel. A popular spot for destination weddings and celebrations of all kinds, the Keys provide a lot of options. Several local businesses offer wedding packages that take care of everything from guest accommodations to the ceremony and a reception with catering and photography. Best of all, the beach is free.
It may not be at the top of the list when brainstorming a destination wedding, but Wisconsin has some serious advantages, especially for budget-conscious couples. The most expensive aspect is travel, a low to moderate cost with advance notice. The many lakes and estates offer dozens of options for weddings of all sizes. Event halls and resort centers are plentiful, many offering all-inclusive wedding packages for a fraction of the cost on the coasts. Check out Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Geneva National Resort in Lake Geneva, Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, and Heartwood Conference Center and Retreat in Trego. Set your wedding on one of the lakefront resorts and enjoy water sports alongside indulgent spa treatments.
For a Caribbean wedding, Puerto Rico offers some of the best values. Relative to other destinations in the region, travel is easy and inexpensive for U.S. residents, who do not need a passport to visit this island territory. A variety of hotels, resorts, and private rentals are available. If you're outdoorsy, you can book a venue with access to free activities such as hiking, surfing, and "http://www.cheapism.com/blog/3814/rainforest-vacations" rainforest treks. If you're more into indulgent spas and lounging by the sea, there are plenty of reasonably priced hotels and resorts with large halls available for ceremonies and receptions.
Another popular budget-friendly destination for beach weddings is Belize, which has some of the world's most beautiful waters and is a top destination for scuba diving, tubing, and beach bumming. It's less developed than other tourist hotspots and remarkably inexpensive for everything from flights to accommodations and food. Consider tacking on a honeymoon, with deals on all-inclusive packages starting as low as $150 a day for lodging, transportation, meals, and drinks.
With its mix of mountain, valley, and coastal cultures coming together, small and colorful Oaxaca, Mexico, is one of the most richly diverse cities in North America. World famous for its gastronomic culture and lavish street festivals, Oaxaca is always celebrating something. The large churches regularly house elaborate weddings featuring traditional clothes and marching bands. Nightly rates at the many hotels, bed and breakfasts, and private houses can be as low as $15. Food, transportation and activities are all inexpensive once you're there.
Dreaming of a classic resort wedding on a budget? Thanks to its popularity as a tropical getaway, Cancun usually sees good deals on flights. During the off-season (May to November) many beach resorts and private villas offer all-inclusive packages for about half the regular price. Once in Mexico, the wedding party and guests can enjoy the sun-soaked beaches and unlimited food and drinks.
European trips are notoriously expensive. Not only does airfare fluctuate, often starting at $600 for a round-trip ticket, but once you arrive and start thinking in euros, the costs can mount quickly. If your heart is set on a European wedding, though, "http://www.cheapism.com/blog/3795/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-berlin"Berlin is a good option. With prices lower than many U.S. cities for accommodations and dining, this German city can help a small budget can go a long way. The many churches, chateaus, cafes and parks provide plenty of choices for wedding events, and the beautiful architecture provides endless free entertainment, giving you and your guests a rich European experience at a relatively low price.
Jamaica remains one of the most affordable Caribbean islands. Many of the resorts in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios can accommodate small groups as well as large parties and take care of everything from ceremony set-up to party breakdown. Book well in advance for the off-season (May to November) to receive the best discounts.