Broke-Ass Tag: budget weddings


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Destination Wedding Survival Kit

Destination Wedding Survival Kit Bag, $2.45 by Etsy seller PaperArtScissors

Think destination weddings are anti-BAB? Think again! Our editor Christen’s first wedding was a destination shindig in Hawaii. BAB founder Dana originally considered heading south of the border. And can we all just take a minute to ogle this gorgeous Cabo wedding? Many a Broke-Ass has opted to jet away from their stomping grounds for their nuptials. Read on for the top 5 destination wedding myths — and how Broke-Ass couples can make destinations work on a budget! 

Myth #1: Destination Weddings Are Big, Expensive, and Complicated

Truth: Maybe. Maybe not. Destination weddings, exactly like local weddings, can be as big, expensive, and complicated as you want them to be. Or not. Your choices determine the size and expense. In fact, all said and done, some carefully planned destination weddings come in *under* the average wedding cost for a few reasons. First, a lot of the expenses are bundled through the venue and/or destination planning service, saving you some moolah on a la carte services. Second, couples are less likely to plan extravagant decor because a) the view from the destination *is* the “decor”, and b) no one wants to schlep unnecessary stuff cross-country or overseas. Third, while not all couples may want to do it this way, it’s possible to bundle your wedding and honeymoon, saving on some flight and transportation costs. Fourth, exchange rates. ‘Nuff said. And last, while it can be a plus and a minus — and there are always exceptions to the rule — typically fewer people will attend a destination wedding due to the added travel expenses. And fewer guests = happier budgets.

Lisa’s Bonus Pro Tip: Always budget for the total number of invited guests, on the off-chance that every person accepts the invitation. Some stats cite around a 75% attendance rate, so don’t invite 200 if you can only afford 20. Trust me on this: Surprise extra money is better than surprise no money.

Myth #2: Destination Weddings are Generic and Boring

Truth: No way, Jose! Unless you are generic and boring (in which case, rock on with ya mediocre self anyway!), your wedding will not be generic or boring, no matter where you tie the knot. Destination weddings got a bad rap around the same time that banquet halls started to lose favor — after opting to make it easy on couples (and themselves) by offering plug-and-play template-style weddings that all looked the same. The result was that couples didn’t have much control over the details, but on the flip side those weddings also rang in for less than today’s average price tag.

Today, most wedding venues and vendors understand that many couples want to be involved in choosing personalized elements, and offer more variety. Ask about custom options if there are some things you have your heart set on. If that still doesn’t suit you, though, you can always piece together your wedding a la carte with the help of a destination wedding planner, a travel agent, a friend who lives near the destination, or just Google and a healthy appetite for adventure. Does this look boring to you? Or this? 😉

Myth #3: My Family And Friends Will Hate Me

Correction: They will love you for giving them an excuse to finally take a vacation! Kidding aside, while plenty of guests are thrilled to travel for a wedding, destination wedding invitations aren’t always received happily because they usually require some additional expenses on the part of guests. If the majority of your family isn’t into travel, then you might end up with more of an elopement … not that there’s anything wrong with that! On the other hand, if your family is very close-knit and loves a good group vacation, it could be the perfect choice. Whichever the case, out of courtesy you should discuss your ideas for a destination wedding with those whom you want most to attend, whether that’s parents, besties or just you and your bae. And always give family, wedding party members and guests as much notice as possible for destination weddings requiring out-of-state travel so they can arrange for travel, accommodations and time off work, as needed.

Lisa’s Bonus Pro Tips: No, you absolutely do not have to pay for guests’ travel. If you can afford it, it’s a generous gesture for close relatives or for VIP guests that you know are super strapped for cash. And if you find that most guests can’t attend, spend a little extra on a kickass videographer and share the video with friends and family at a low-key reception at home after the wedding. Also consider setting up a private Facebook group for your guests and keeping them apprised of any mega fare sales — Virgin America often has amazing deals, but check out sites like Hotwire, CheapOAir and Southwest Vacations on the regular, too.

Myth #4: All Destination Weddings Are On Beaches

Truth: Beach, please. Beaches are rad and all (just got back from one, myself!), but the whole point of a destination wedding is that you get to choose any destination. Otherwise, you’d just get married in your backyard or local church / temple / courthouse, amirite? Somebody somewhere determined that a “destination wedding” is one that occurs at least 100 miles from your hometown, but hey, some rules are meant to be broken. I tend to think of most non-traditional venues as mini destination weddings as well, since they’re typically centered around the venue and might require a bit of extra travel time for guests.

Some other destination types to consider (in your own city or state – or halfway across the globe!):

Myth #5: Destination Weddings Are Easier

Yeah, I know I just got done saying the opposite like three paragraphs ago, but the reality is that there’s no one-size-fits-all destination wedding. Some are easier, some are more complicated. One rule of thumb is that the more popular travel destinations are likely to have it down to a fine science if you stick with seasoned venues, meaning less work on your part. The further off the beaten path, the more you’ll be piecing things together on your own. Overall, though, destination weddings almost always mean long-distance communications in the planning phases, faith in the venue or wedding planner who is helping you to make arrangements from a distance and possibly packing up more than you’re used to taking with you on a typical vacation. (At the very least, you may have to think about making special arrangements for your gown — or seek out a travel-friendly and pack-able dress.) But then, the trade-offs are that you get a built-in honeymoon, sometimes for less than the cost of a local wedding and you’re married in some awesome, exotic or unusual location!

A word of caution for you type-A couples out there: Proceed carefully if you think you want a destination wedding. Because you are relying on far-flung communication and likely won’t be able to visit the venue often before your nuptials, there is a lot of letting go of control involved. If the thought of just trusting someone else (think hair without the trial, cake and food without tasting, etc.) gives you the heebie-jeebies, you might want to reconsider.

The ease in destination wedding planning really comes from a couple’s ability to simplify and let go. And if there’s anything that destination weddings can offer over local weddings, it’s an excuse to not sweat the small stuff.

Got another destination wedding tip or opinion? Let me know in the comments!

– Party on!


Planning a wedding in Northeast Ohio? Here’s where you can find me for wedding planning assistance.

  • 12/1

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewEngaged Metallic Banner Etsy AlexisMattoxDesign

    Metallic Banner by Etsy seller AlexisMattoxDesign

    Yay! You’re engaged! Welcome to the wide world of Wedding Land. It can be a little scary and a lot fun (and don’t worry, we’re here to help you through all of it), but before we even delve into All Things Wedding, let’s take it slow, boo.

    Getting engaged and being afficanced is this magical world between being coupled and being legit married. People get REALLY excited for you … and then they’ll have A. LOT. of opinions and “advice” for you (I use the latter lightly, because some of it is so not helpful). But before you get lost in piles of magazines, websites, tulle and cake (so much cake), let yourself really truly enjoy this time before the wedding planning gets under way and while you can still bask in the glow that you know this is your forever person and they feel the same about you. Here are The Broke-Ass Bride’s Top 5 Things to Do After You Get Engaged:

        1. Don’t Tell Anyone … If You Can Help It.

          You know how sometimes it can be really fun to keep things under wraps? Sure, your best homeboys and homegirls probably either know or are dying to find out and your folks might need a little heads up, but don’t take to social media quite yet to show off that sparkler or proclaim your engagement from the rooftop. Bask in the glow, because the second you start telling people, the second you’re going to start getting wedding planning questions that you probably haven’t even thought of, and few things will dull that engagement sparkle faster.

        2. Take Care of Your VIPs.

          Make sure the very most important people in both of your lives know before the whole world does. I guarantee Mom is going to be legit pissed (within reason) if she finds out from Aunt Mildred that you got engaged. When you’re ready call them or meet them in person if you can. They’ll likely have questions (when, how, etc.) but those don’t have to be addressed right away. Just give parents, siblings, super close friends and perhaps grandparents the courtesy of being the first to know. They’ll appreciate it (and it’ll save you some grief).

        3. BDV (Budget, Date, Venue)

          Before you even THINK of looking at invitation suites and attire, you gotta take care of these three logistics. You really, honestly can’t even make a damn move without figuring out what budget you’re working with. And don’t just pick a number out of thin air — think hard about it. Sure, $15K might seem doable, but consider how much “extra” money you really, honestly earn each month and whether you’ll be able to stash that much away without putting too much of a dent in your social life (you’ll want your social life during planning to help keep you sane) or hindering any other day-to-day aspects. Sure, there may be offers of help from family members, but I recommend figuring out what exactly you and your partner can afford without anything coming from anyone else. Next, consider your date and / or venue — these two are very often intertwined. If you have a specific venue in mind, consider booking for offseason (varies by location) or off-day (any day but Saturday) to defray costs. If you’re adamant about the day — especially during the summer — start contacting venues to see if they’re available.

        4. Divide (or Don’t) and Conquer

          Not all partners are into wedding planning. I’ve seen weddings where the groom has had considerably more say / done more than the bride, I’ve seen weddings where both grooms gave ALL the shits and did everything hand-in-hand and I’ve seen weddings where no one really cared at all, as long as there was a photographer, some bubbly and great company. Figure out where you and your partner fall — do they care about stationery? Venue? Dessert? Food? — and tentatively choose tasks based on those lists. There will be changes down the line, trust me. Nothing needs to be set in stone. It’s good to get a rough draft of what you both want, inquire as to the possibilities, suss your budget and assess from there. If it turns out that you care way more about craft beers than you thought you did, take that on as a team. But don’t let the whole process be one-sided, because that’s no fun.

        5. Celebrate

          No, seriously. Stock some bubbly in your fridge for whenever you get that oh-so-giddy feeling. Let someone throw you an engagement party (or throw it your damn self)! Get a manicure, take engagement photos, use it to your advantage at dinner (you can do this for about a week or so. Any more than that is just kind of selfish.) and allow yourself to be pampered and thrilled about this time. After all, you worked hard to get here! Relationships take work, and committing yourself to another person can be scary and thrilling at the same time. Revel in it, yo!

    Congratulations and welcome to the party! We do hope you’ll let
    The Broke-Ass Bride accompany you on this journey. We love being able to provide sane, sound and savvy advice to couples who really just want to rock a badass wedding on a broke-ass budget, no matter how that looks to you!

  • 3/30


    Credit: Alicia Robichaud The Guest List -- how big it is, who's on it -- is probably one the most important and difficult parts of the planning process.  My primary saving strategy has been to keep my wedding small.  When there is a per person cost, it seemed like the best way to keep costs down.  Mostly, though, I prefer quality to quantity. I'd rather spend time with a…

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    Since my last post, I decided that planning a wedding long distance wasn't quite enough stress for me. So, I decided to spice things up a bit and add moving across the country and starting a new job, all in less than a month! I think I might be losing it a little. My fiance and I have debated moving back to North Carolina for the…

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    My name is Emma, and I am a fiancée. In real life I work in marketing for a publishing company, and my fiancé, Michael, works in insurance. We live in Bristol, England, and have been a couple for 11 years. We have a date in mind for our wedding - October 8th, 2015. And yes, that is a Thursday. More on that in a forthcoming…

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  • 4/22

    Hey Broke-Asses! It's been a hot second since we've had a Wedding Inspiration Guru around these here parts, and Kristy was uber excited to step into the shoes of some rockin' chicks before her. So if you're struggling with ideas to fit in your theme, need a little extra push to realize your vision or just want to ogle some gorgeousness, come play as she…

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    Via Pinterest I bet a lot of brides out there are like me: self-sufficient, independent, strong and insistent upon handling everything herself. It isn't a matter of being too stubborn to accept help. In it's purest form, it all boils down to the fact that we understand our vision better than anyone and it just makes the most sense to take care of everything yourself.…

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    There are few things that Team Broke-Ass loves more than ModCloth. From the prices to the styles to the superfun apartment swag, it's almost like they've crawled inside our brains and set up shop. And that love only increased when ModCloth decided to start pimping some ridiculously gorgeous wedding wares. Swoon x 1000! It's a problem. So, obviously, when the chance came to share this…

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  • 4/4

    Photo courtesy of Torley Dear Heather, Any advice for a bride who isn't looking forward to the night before her wedding? My parents are paying for the wedding, so my future in-laws graciously offered to pay for the rehearsal dinner. We told them all we wanted was something relatively casual and with decent food--everything else was up to them, unless they wanted our input (they…

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