Last month, I discussed the ‘reverse’ destination wedding, staying Stateside; this month, we'll discuss the overseas European affair, and how to set a sensible destination wedding budget for your glamorous getaway. You’d be surprised how you can save big. Here’s how:
Keep up on exchange rates.
For my Paris couples, our challenge is often how to manage the weakness of the dollar. When you plan your expenses, think in local currency, not US dollars (USD). Convert each local cost to USD to get a true picture of costs. For example, a few years ago, a bride who may want to spend no more than $15,000 USD found she would have to spend closer to $18,000 because the dollar was so weak against the Euro. Knowing the numbers BEFORE you commit to any expenses helps you wisely set your destination wedding budget. (Luckily, these days the exchange rate is much more advantageous to Americans.)
Focus on hidden gems over big businesses.
I am always a fan of beautiful hotel weddings, and one of our Paris destination weddings was at the famed Hotel de Crillon; due to the small guest count, we were able to deftly manage the budget. It's even easier to control costs by finding a smaller café, restaurant, or independently owned venue. For example, at this Paris event pictured below, we rented out the middle floor of a stunning restaurant for a reasonable cost, and yet had the privacy of our very own room.
The guest count will fall in your favor.
Most destination weddings overseas see a large attrition in guest count. We’ve invited as many as 150 and have only 20-40 guests show up, because of the large amount of time and money each guest must invest in the event. This keeps your budget manageable since you have fewer guests to entertain and feed. That said, if your guests are a somewhat moneyed crew, you may have more folks show up than you'd expect! Do a careful analysis of who you think will attend and who won’t, before you finalize the names.
Are you dreaming of a European wedding? How are you planning ahead for the various costs?