Photo: Tamiz Photography
Destination weddings definitely don't come cheap. So when you have the opportunity to save, we say take advantage, brides! From reception food and liquor to those wedding favors, here are five things destination wedding planners warn brides not to waste their money on.
1. Unnecessary shipping costs
In some cases you have to bring stuff with you or have them shipped, but the less you can the better, says Ashley Smith, a San Francisco based destination wedding planner and founder of BuzzWorthy Events. "For example, it may be difficult to source things on site, like a nice linen." She does, however, recommend trying to source a local person to make them for you if you can't find what you want. The hassle of dealing with customs and shipping fees can cost you thousands. Smith has even had people ship items only for them to get held up in customs and arrive the day after the wedding. Yikes! "Be smart about packing and again only bring items you really need at the wedding."
2. Oversized favors or welcome bag items
Whatever you do, don't stuff your guests' welcome bags with big things they'll have to accommodate in their luggage on their return trip, warns wedding planner Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques. "With luggage fees rising, many will try to get it all into their carry on. That means they can't even transport liquids like local honey, hot sauce, etc. Give wedding guests consumable gifts (cookies, bug repellant, sunscreen, etc.) that they'll actually use while they're at your wedding destination and nothing will go to waste."
3. Expensive shoes
If your wedding is on the beach or in a grassy area, don't invest in expensive shoes, advises destination wedding planner Michelle Fage of Paradise Planning. "So many times I've had clients with gorgeous shoes that look great in photos but they're not safe to walk the aisle in," she notes. So keep your comfort and safety in mind when deciding on your wedding shoes.
4. Importing food and liquor
Oftentimes, it's a disaster just waiting to happen. Bottles of expensive liquor have been broken in transit, and food can perish, points out Smith. Rely on what is there, even if your location is not up to your standards, she suggests. "It's part of the vibe and it will be okay!" Malone totally agrees. "If you're getting married in Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, for example, serve Caribbean lobster, not something imported from Maine. Not only are locally sourced proteins and vegetables friendlier to your budget, they'll taste fresher than something that's taken two or three planes to get to your destination." Truth!
5. Cutesy extras
Be flexible, smart and forego some of those "cute" décor items and unnecessary extras. Make sure everything at the wedding has a purpose or will be useful at the event, instructs Smith. "For instance, having a million favors (or ones guests will probably toss anyway) might not be the smartest move. Instead prep a useful welcome bag with local items for your guests on arrival." And remember: anything you ship, bring or buy should add something to the big day. If it doesn't? It's not worth the cost, both money and time.