Planning a wedding can be a joyous occasion, but it can also be quite stressful. There are a million and one things to do before the big day, and on top of it all, you have to worry about how much everything is going to cost. That’s why so many who are planning a wedding have decided on destination weddings rather than a traditional wedding. When planned properly, with a cost-effective location for the event, a destination wedding can be significantly less expensive than a traditional wedding. It also often yields much more memorable experiences for you, your spouse-to-be and the guests.

What is a Destination Wedding?

A destination wedding is where the bride and groom invite all the guests to another locale that might typically be visited for a vacation, such as Cancun or Las Vegas. While this may seem like it would be a large expense at first, after making a few comparisons, you’ll see why destination weddings can be cheaper, more fun and less stressful.

Cost Comparisons Between a Traditional Wedding and a Destination Wedding

The average cost for a traditional wedding with about 100 guests can be about $30,000. And that’s just for basic packages, which would include the hall and catering, the DJ, flowers, the photographer and other standard wedding accompaniments without a lot of extras.

On the other hand, a destination can save you money in several ways. For starters, the destination can also be where you spend your honeymoon, saving you a great deal of money right from the start. A destination wedding for 100 people averages about $15,000 to $17,000, but can often be less depending upon what you choose to include and where you choose to go.

Invited guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements, and quite often, many invited guests will not attend because of the travel time and expense required. That means your third cousin that you’ve never seen but have to invite to a traditional wedding probably won’t go to a destination wedding. Typically, only close family and friends go to a destination wedding, and you don’t have to feel bad about not inviting everyone you might have ever said hello to, such as your distant Aunt Jenny or that co-worker down in Accounting. A lower guest count means lower expense for you.

On another positive side-note, you get to spend much more time with the guests who do come, rather than just a few hours at a traditional wedding.

Choosing the Right Destination

A nice destination often means you don’t have to spend a lot on a hall or decorations, because the locale will be exciting enough for everyone. Plenty of locales offer all-inclusive resorts, or discount packages in hotels for large groups. You can often find a deal on wedding receptions wherever you might be staying, as well.

Popular destinations with all-inclusive resorts include the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico and Hawaii. Various cruise ships are also a great idea for destination weddings. Las Vegas, San Francisco, the Outer Banks in North Carolina and the Florida Keys are also very popular spots, with a number of hotels, historic bed and breakfasts, and charming inns to choose for guests and wedding receptions.

Take the time to do ample research before choosing a destination. And remember, while you might be concerned about how much others have to spend on flights, travel and hotel arrangements for a destination wedding, it is your special day, and you must ultimately choose what will make you the happiest.