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How to Afford a Destination Wedding

Ask a Savvy Bride: Can I Afford This Destination Wedding?

Most people have a love/hate relationship with destination weddings. While they automatically sound expensive, aside from the cost of getting there and staying there, they aren't necessarily budget killers. To see what I mean, check out the advice below given to someone who isn't sure she can swing her friend's wedding in Mexico. You can also submit your wedding-related finance questions in our Ask Savvy group.

Dear Savvy,

A friend from college is getting married this summer in Mexico. I was pleasantly surprised to be invited with my boyfriend and while a jaunt south of the border with him sounds lovely in spirit, I just don't know how feasible it is — money is tight right now. I'd love to see all my old friends and have the opportunity to introduce them to my boyfriend, but I'm still on the fence. What should I expect to pay for if we decide to go?

To see what a savvy bride has to say about this, keep reading after the jump.

Savvy bride says:

Destination weddings have their positives and negatives, but when all is said and done, I think they have an unnecessary bad rep. Yes, they are expensive, but they can be well worth the expense — what's better than a weekend away, chock full of celebration, with a group of close friends?!

When a bride and groom ask their friends to travel to witness their nuptials, they usually plan on hosting events that include every guest, not just the wedding party. The destination weddings that I've been to in the past typically had a hosted welcome party the first night, the wedding the second night, and a brunch the day after. With that said, we really only paid for our flight, hotel, and snacks throughout the day, which we'd need to spend money on if we were home anyway!

Since most of your college friends are going, I suggest looking into renting a house with a few other couples — renting a home or condo, especially in Mexico, is usually cheaper than paying for a hotel. I'd also get cracking on researching flights — the farther out you book, the cheaper it will be. Of course, flying direct is ideal, but if you're trying to save some money, opt for a layover or fly midweek, and don't forget to look at online discount travel agencies.

If your budget is tight, tell the bride. If the price ends up being right, I say make a vacation out of it and enjoy seeing all your old friends! If the travel expenses are just too much of a stretch, I am sure your friend will understand why you can't make it. Just make sure to plan an inexpensive home-cooked meal for the happy couple when they return from their honeymoon so you can see all the pictures. Good luck, I hope it works out for you guys!

Ask anything budget-, etiquette-, or planning-related — well, almost anything — by posting your questions in the Ask Savvy group, and I'll find the right expert to help you out. If you are planning a wedding, already happily wed, or still looking for Mr. Right, start sharing your big day with our community.

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