Will a destination wedding actually save you money?

For lots of couples, a dream wedding involves an exotic location for the nuptials -- maybe a beach, a mountaintop, or a spectacular garden. You don't find these things just anywhere, which is why lots of couples opt for destination weddings.

A destination wedding is simply a getaway wedding. Usually smaller than a typical hometown wedding, everyone travels, often overseas, for the destination wedding. Sounds expensive, huh?

Surprisingly, destination weddings can be a huge money saver -- for the bride and groom. Guests will probably shell out at least three times more to attend one of these weddings than a wedding close to home, so couples who go this route should be sensitive to financial restrictions and accept regrets with no hard feelings.The average American wedding costs around $30,000. That figure doesn't even include a honeymoon, which can add thousands more to the final tally! Ouch. But as destination weddings grow in popularity, you'll find that most resorts in wedding hotspots offer incredible deals. For example, most resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii offer wedding packages starting well below $2,000. These packages include the venue, the officiant, the flowers, the catering, and the hotel room for the bride and groom. Some packages even include airfare and other perks from the host resort.

Even after you factor in the things that aren't included in these deals -- dresses and tuxes, airfare, and paperwork -- you are still way ahead of the average couple in savings. And you're already at a great honeymoon spot, so there's no need to add in another trip, unless you want to.

The biggest strike against having a destination wedding is what it could mean for your guest list. A lot of the wedding deals at resorts are for small weddings only, and furthermore, a lot more of your invitees will decline to attend because of the expense to them -- in both money and time.

If your dream wedding has 500 guests, you probably need to have it close to home. But if your dream wedding is anything under $5,000, you can still have an incredible celebration, especially if you travel far away!
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