About 25% of all weddings are considered “Destination Weddings,” according to the most recent statistics, but many consider those weddings to be abroad, in a tropical or European locale. These come with the attendant costs of travel and lodging at upscale properties. I’ve planned my share of destination weddings abroad and many of my clients live out of state; they hire me to plan their L.A.-based weddings to take advantage of the beachside atmosphere and luxurious venues.
- Additional Reading: The Most Affordable Places to Get Married in the US
But recently, I got to thinking: what about Stateside, ‘reverse’ destination weddings, for a truly budget-friendly destination wedding? Let me explain: One of my clients here in L.A. booked a venue up north in Yosemite for their event. We found the costs of securing a venue and excellent vendors are anywhere from 10-30% less than in L.A., simply because rent and other daily costs of living are lower. So, for couples living in costly major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, Chicago, or NYC, it’s worth looking outside county lines or city limits for the perfect wedding locale. Significant savings – without sacrificing style – may be only a few hours away.
Tips for booking your reverse destination wedding:
Consider the great outdoors.
Paradise Springs, a former logging camp in Yosemite, is an easy escape for San Francisco and L.A. couples and their guests. The space has a variety of lodging options and stunning outdoor venues. Everywhere you turn, there’s a photo op – like this gorgeous shot from Bergreen Photography.
Keep an eye on logistics.
My friend Monika and her husband Ben had a gorgeous wedding on the coast in Washington State, at Fort Worden. This historical venue has a variety of options with some rental costs in the hundreds, not thousands. (We’re talking beachfront property with amazing views!) Before booking the venue, Monika made sure the reception venue had a kitchen, tables, and other amenities that kept the costs within budget. The property did require transporting guests up to the bluff where the wedding ceremony took place, which was an additional cost to consider. This is also a frequent requirement of unique spaces.
Don’t forget to show your appreciation!
No matter how much you save on your expenses, be sure to still budget for fair gratuities (the same percentage you’d tip in your big-city home base) for your vendors at your awesome, adventurous reverse-destination wedding! At the least, share your thoughts about their services with a glowing online review. It’s good karma all around and means a lot to your hardworking wedding team!
Have you considered – or planned – a destination wedding, either here or abroad? If so, what were the benefits, and/or special concerns involved? In any case, a destination wedding is something you, and your guests, will never forget!
If you're looking to save money without sacrificing style, consider a reverse destination wedding as an option for your big day!