Tips for Planning A Destination Wedding

Author: Abigail Golder

Perhaps you’ve dreamt of a magical beach wedding since you were young. Sometimes, life does not go as planned. For instance, the love of your life has proposed but you live in the mid-west, where the closest beach is thousands of miles and a full day’s travel away.  

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While you might quickly become discouraged, there’s no reason to fret! Destination weddings are fun and if you have played your wedding planning cards right, shouldn’t be too challenging. We’ve collected some necessary tips for planning a destination wedding that you’ve always dreamed of.

Consider the Timing

Because we are talking about a dream (destination) wedding, it’s important to consider all the important factors. One of these, is the time of day and time of year for your wedding date. If you’ve always been dreaming of a southwestern, desert wedding, the season for prime wedding time is actually in the winter months. Similarly, Austin, Texas, may be hot or rainy during the summer months, so a spring or fall wedding is a great time for a Texas wedding.

If a mountain-top wedding is your dream, consider that places like Colorado have snowy winters and windy springs. While you may think that a May wedding would bring perfect weather and a touch of cool air, it will in fact bring gusty winds that are sure to falter your hair. That said, we aren’t trying to discourage in any way. If it’s always been your dream to get married in April in the mountains, you’re looking to have a wedding at one of the less desirable times, there’s always the option of an indoor venue. This way, you can choose your wedding date regardless of the weather.

Plan at Least Two Trips

It’s important to plan some visits to your destination of choice long in advance because you don’t live in the place that the major event is located. The first trip should be to visit venues and speak to other vendors like DJs, caterers, florists, etc. While it’s ideal to go a few times in the planning period, the first trip should be at least one year, ideally 14-16 months, before your Big Day.



After choosing your specific venue, plan the second trip for about the 6 to 8-month mark. At this point, couples likely have picked a wedding theme, determined a guest count, and brides has found their dream gown. Get in touch with local hair and makeup artists and schedule a trial during this time. That way, if you don’t like your style, you have plenty of time to rethink this important decision. Now that you have a guest count and wedding them, you can also revisit your venue and get a more detailed idea of how the décor, seating and schedule might pan out. Schedule a second meeting with your florist and caterer to update them on all the progress as well.




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The third trip is optional, but extremely helpful if your time and budget allows for it. About 6 weeks before the wedding, head to your destination one more time. While this might not be possible if the wedding is international, it’s super helpful if it’s a drivable trip. For brides that didn’t like their first hair and makeup trial, are planning DIY projects, or need to do a food tasting, this third trip is necessary. Otherwise, save the expense. This will allow you to arrive at your destination wedding a week ahead of time to organize and set up.


Keep Your Guests in Mind

Considering that you’ve likely been dreaming of this day forever, it’s important to do things your way. That said, a destination wedding is not only expensive for guests to attend, it’s also time consuming. Most people will end up taking a few extra days off work to make it in time. Consider your friends’ and families’ schedules and wallets when choosing your destination. Many more people will likely be able to come if it’s close enough to drive or inexpensive to fly.

If you’re Big Day does include a significant time or financial sacrifice, consider supplying invitees with reasonable options. This could include nearby resorts’ all-inclusive packages. Also, ask the resort if they will give a discount for a group reservation. Many resorts offer this amenity as an incentive to bring in more business. After the RSVPs start flowing in, supply your guests with airport information, shuttles or inexpensive car rentals, and tips for traveling in your destination.


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Hire a pro

It’s true that wedding planning can be stressful, especially if your Big Day is thousands of miles away. The key to a successful destination wedding is having plenty of time to plan. If your schedule doesn’t allow it, consider hiring an advisor or a wedding planner to lift some of weight off your shoulders.



As you can see, it takes quite a bit of planning, and finances, to plan a destination wedding. Give yourself plenty of time to visit the location and to save up for the wedding of your dreams. Use a savings account, like Radius Bank’s high-yield savings account, to stash some cash for your big day. Not only is it super easy to set up an account (it’s all online), but they have one of the highest APY rates on the market.


Follow these tips for planning a destination wedding and chances are, you’ll have the wedding day of your dreams. Contact us for any wedding questions you might have. Happy Wedding!



About the author: Abigail is a DIY bride with an upcoming wedding date in September! She's been planning her Colorado wedding from her home in Arizona with a some help from her wonderful friends, family, and of course, her future hubby. She is a Freelance Content Writer who loves to share a great story. Originally from Colorado, Abigail grew up in a small town called Montrose and she still spends much of her free time in the mountains hiking and skiing.


This post is sponsored by Radius Bank.



How to Plan a $10,000 Wedding for 200 People

Planning a wedding is no easy feat. It often takes months and even years to prepare and plan everything for your special day. Some of the stress that comes with planning a wedding involves tough decisions you have to make, like who is invited and where to celebrate.

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Nowadays, an average wedding celebration can cost an upwards of $35,000. Many of us may not have that much money just lying around. Believe it or not, it is possible to throw a beautiful wedding for much cheaper. In fact, we are going to conquer an impossible feat - a 200-person wedding for $10,000! Below you will find tips and tricks to plan your perfect day without anyone knowing you didn’t spend a fortune. So, let’s say “I do” to starting your journey on smart spending for your wedding!

Plan ahead

One of the most important factors to planning a wedding is time management. Although planning preparations don’t need to begin right after your engagement, having at least one year to plan can save you a lot of money and stress.

If you know that you want your Big Day at a specific venue or on a specific date, booking far in advance is the first step to planning. Some venues and dates are very popular for weddings and can be filled up over a year in advance. Venue research and prep is the first place to save money and time.

Use your resources

When planning a wedding on a budget, it’s important to use up all your resources and materials on hand before going out and spending money. Your church might have a collection of tables and chairs they are willing to let you rent or borrow. Your grandma might be able to sew table runners. There are plenty of opportunities to save if you’re willing to ask for help.

 

Personal skills that you or your friends have mastered are great resources to take advantage of. For example, if your uncle is a ceramic artist, consider creating handmade favors. Not only will it showcase thoughtfulness, but you can save a lot of money and still have an incredible take-home gift for your guests.

 

If you have close friends whose parents would love to join in on the fun, ask them to help with the prep or day-of tasks. Take advantage of people’s skills and even if you do pay them, it’s likely to be much less expensive than hiring someone through a vendor service.

Where to cut costs

Everyone dreams of having a gorgeous wedding to celebrate a lifelong union with their significant other. Thankfully, it does not need to cost an arm and a leg. The best way to combat high expenses is to know where to cut costs and where to splurge.

Venue: $2,000

Venue choice is often the reason weddings become so expensive. Renting the space itself is often relatively cheap, but they make their money off food and drinks. Find a venue that allows you to bring in your own catering service and you’ll save a ton in the long run. This requires more planning time because you have to research caterers, but it’ll save plenty of money.

Invitations: $150-$200

After you’ve chosen your venue, thought about your wedding size, and talked about budget, it’s time to order your wedding invitations. Believe it or not, the average wedding invitation cost is between $400 to $600.

One of our favorite wedding invitation sites is Basic Invite. They have over 900 wedding invitation sets for an affordable price and a lot of free add-ons to help you plan a wedding without breaking the bank. You can click here to learn more about their wedding invitations.  Some of the features we love:

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  1. Over 900 Wedding Invitation Sets - Each of our wedding invitations is part of a set. You can find everything from save the dates to wedding invitations and enclosure cards, wedding menus, wedding programs and even matching thank you cards!

  2. Free Address Collection Service - Use our free address collection service to request your addresses with just three simple steps. Share a link, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing.

  3. Free Wedding Websites - Our all-new wedding websites are completely customizable just like our wedding invitations! These wedding websites are mobile friendly and super easy to use. You can instantly upload all of your wedding details along with images and a map with directions which is super convenient for your guests. Choose from 180 custom colors and even choose a design to match your wedding invitation suite! Click here to learn more about this awesome service.

Flowers: $750

You’re in luck if your wedding is in the next year or so. Greenery is the latest trend in wedding florals and makes lush floral arrangements a possibility with this frugal budget. Make your bridesmaids’ bouquets small and filled with greenery but create your dream bouquet. Skip the arrangements on each table and purchase tons of greenery from your florist. Greenery garland is expensive, but you can get the same look by laying the greens down the center of a rectangular table.

Food/Drinks: $3,500

People are hungry at weddings, that’s no secret. There is a new cocktail-style wedding trend where only appetizers are served rather than a full dinner. This is a great way to save money, but it often looks cheap and leaves your guests hungry and potentially overserved on booze. A buffet-style dinner is the only way to go to keep guests (and your budget) happy. Italian food is well-liked amongst most people and pasta is fairly inexpensive. Find a few different caterers and get quotes for an Italian buffet. They should charge no more than $12.50 per person to stay in budget. This might seem tricky at first, but this price is more than reasonable for an Italian buffet.

Tip: Keep in mind that it can take up to 45 minutes to move 200 people through a buffet line, so it’s important that people can move down both sides.

 

Alcohol at a budget-wedding is simple. Serve beer and wine only and close the bar at dinner. This keeps your guests happy because it’s unlimited booze but doesn’t cost a fortune like a fully stocked bar would. There’s also no reason to keep the bar open at dinner. This allows your bartender to take a break and eat dinner and helps to keep people focused on the task at hand – moving through the buffet line.

Music: $0

Chances are, someone in your family or friend group is an aspiring DJ or has a band. They likely want the experience and you want to save the money. Ask them to dedicate their time to making your night one to remember!

Officiant: $0

Just about anyone can be a wedding officiant. What better way than to have a close friend or family member join you two as a married couple? This costs next to nothing and makes the ceremony all the more special.

Dessert: $200

There are dozens of new wedding dessert trends that also help save some money in the long run. Go for a donut or candy bar and chances are, you’ll save money and your guests will enjoy the change. Donuts cost about 50-cents and a bakery might give you a discount for the large order. Of course, you’ll still want to have the cake-cutting moment, so grab an 8-inch cake from your local grocery store bakery and your guests will never know the difference.

Bridal Party: $100

There’s a good chance you have a long list of friends you’d like to have next to you on your big day. Keep in mind that for each bridesmaid or groomsmen on the list, the dollar signs add up too. The bridal party should be no more than your immediate family and best friend or two. Capping it off at 4 or 5 bridesmaids and the same number of groomsmen allows you to still treat them without going way over budget.

Keep the bachelorette and bachelor party low-key and do a staycation or combine the two parties to save money. Get small personalized gifts off Esty or even make them yourself. You can get bridesmaids robes online for much less than in stores and iron on the “bridesmaid” stickers yourself.

Decorations: $750

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It’s far too easy to go overboard on wedding decorations. You’ll watch your budget disappear quickly with wedding-specific signs and customized menus. Rather than buying items that are specific to your big day, buy decor that can be used again in your home or even for a friend’s wedding. For example, skip the metal cutouts that specify the guestbook table and gift table. Instead, buy cute gold frames from the dollar store and print signs from home to display information about signature drinks, guest books, dinner menu, etc. Also, don’t focus too much on small details, such as getting custom napkins or fancy straws. Chances are the guests may not really pay attention to these small items, and much of it will end up in the trash by the end of the night.

Favors: $0

Your guests have likely taken time off work, flown or road tripped to help celebrate your big day. We aren’t suggesting they don’t deserve a take-home favor, we just think it’s okay to be a bit creative! Print photos of the two of you on stickers and glue them to a water bottle, Chapstick or magnet. This is much cheaper than ordering these custom items from a manufacturer. Also, make sure to consider the time and travel they are taking out of their day. Suggest nearby airports, inexpensive yet nice hotels, and fun activities they can enjoy during their stay.

Where to splurge

Although there are plenty of ways to cut costs when it comes to planning a wedding on a budget, it’s just as important to know what areas you should splurge on.

Photography: $2,500

One of the biggest items that newlywed couples say was worth every penny, were the photos. Out of all the things you pay for on your wedding day, photos are one of the few that actually end up coming home with you. Do some research online or through word of mouth to see who does great photography work that doesn’t overcharge on wedding bundles. And pairing your photographer up with a videographer might not be such a bad idea. You could even get a lower priced package for hiring two services instead of just one.

At the end of the day, having the best wedding ever mostly depends on seeing all your loved ones and enjoying a wonderful evening with them. Customized items may seem nice at the time, but the wedding experience is what will truly be remembered. Don’t get caught up in the wedding glamour of renting limos, customized items and fancy transportation. Saving on your wedding can help you reach your goals of buying a new house, a family SUV, or that extravagant honeymoon.  

The best thing you should take away from your wedding is wonderful memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. So, if you’re planning a wedding on a budget, just remember that materialistic things only add so much. Happy planning!

For more money tips on living your best life, join the Money & Mimosas Insider list

About the author: Abigail is a DIY bride with an upcoming wedding date in September! She's been planning her Colorado wedding from her home in Arizona with a some help from her wonderful friends, family, and of course, her future hubby. She is a Freelance Content Writer who loves to share a great story. Originally from Colorado, Abigail grew up in a small town called Montrose and she still spends much of her free time in the mountains hiking and skiing.

Where to Cut Costs During Wedding Planning

Author: Abigail Golder

There’s no secret that the cost of a wedding today can easily break the bank when it’s all said and done. In fact, the average wedding cost is over $30,000. While we would love for you to have your dream wedding with all the bells and whistles, we also know that it's important to save money where you can. Here are some ways to cut costs during wedding planning that just might save you a ton in the long run!

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Don’t Overdo the Pre-wedding Events

Let’s face it, the events leading up to the wedding are fun, but they can really end up in the long run. This includes the engagement party, bridal shower, bachelor and bachelorette party and even the rehearsal dinner. There’s no need to skip out on these events entirely, but there is certainly opportunity to cut some major expenses.

Décor for these events is nice, but not many people will remember the decorations of your pre-wedding events, especially once the big day comes around. If you do add decoration, keep them simple. Believe it or not, the dollar store is a great place to get things like glassware, utensils, and other décor.

Weddings aren’t just expensive for the bride and groom. Wedding guests, especially the bridal party, spend a significant amount throughout your particular wedding season. A great way to save everyone some cash is by diligently planning an inexpensive bachelor and bachelorette party. Plan a “staycation” in a nearby city and take advantage of summer discounts. You can also combine the bachelor and bachelorette parties and just get a hotel suite big enough for everyone and split the cost.

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The Wedding Coordinator

They say time is money, right? Wedding planners sure can save you a ton of time, but they might not help you cut costs during wedding planning. Hiring a wedding planner throughout the planning process can easily cost you $5,000 and sometimes close to $10,000, so if you’ve got a frugal budget, this is probably a good place to cut.

Don’t fret though, there are plenty of ways to survive the planning process without the help of a professional. In this case, Google is your best friend. There are hundreds of tips and tricks for wedding planning out there so if you can find the time to do some research, everything will fall into place. In order to cut costs during wedding planning, you should definitely keep a detailed spreadsheet of all your expenses and estimate what each piece with cost ahead of time.

Regardless, a wedding coordinator is an expert in the industry, so if you can manage to find one that fits your budget, he or she might be able to save you some money in the long run.

The Credit Card Trick

Depending on your current financial situation, you may want to look into opening a new credit card before purchasing anything wedding-related. Some credit cards offer bonuses and rewards for spending a certain amount of money within the first few months. These rewards can be used for many things, including the honeymoon activities!

Many credit cards give you enough points to qualify for a round trip flight, which could end up saving you hundreds of dollars. Think about it like this, the money for the wedding was going to come from somewhere. You might as well use a credit card and pay it off right away to get the rewards points. If your credit is good enough and a hard inquiry won’t make or break you, look into some travel credit cards. It’s basically free money!  

The Cake

If you’re hard-set on a five-tier wedding cake, then go ahead and skip this section, but know you could be missing out on a ton of savings! The cake can prove to be very costly – upwards of $500. We aren’t suggesting you skip out on dessert, but there are tons of delectable options to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Having a dessert bar instead of a wedding cake is a great way to please a variety of people. Offer cookies, brownies and cupcakes that are decorated to correspond with your theme. If you are set on a cake, there is a different approach to take – a cardboard cake. I know it sounds crazy, but you can have all the beauty of a cake and eat it too! The top tier is an actual cake so that the bride and groom can still have their “cut the cake” tradition. The rest of the guests enjoy a slice of the delicious (less expensive) sheet cake that was cut in the kitchen!

While the average cost of weddings might be daunting, don’t let the number fool you. There are plenty of ways to cut costs during wedding planning. At the end of the day, your big day with family and friends is all about the love and memories shared.

Cheers!

For more money tips on living your best life, join the Money & Mimosas Insider list

About the author: Abigail is a DIY bride with an upcoming wedding date in September! She's been planning her Colorado wedding from her home in Arizona with a some help from her wonderful friends, family, and of course, her future hubby. She is a Freelance Content Writer who loves to share a great story. Originally from Colorado, Abigail grew up in a small town called Montrose and she still spends much of her free time in the mountains hiking and skiing.

 

How to save for your dream wedding

Hi beautiful!

Congratulations on your upcoming celebrations. This is truly a magical time to spend with your girlfriends, family and, of course, the love of your life. I want you to be your happiest, prettiest and most confident self during this entire amazing experience. Even if at times you feel overwhelmed with all of the decisions that have to be made- from what flowers to choose, which flatware to use, OMG - the dress!...

All of these decisions add to the cost of the wedding. The average wedding, according to a survey by The Knot, is $35,000. If you’re looking to have it in a place like Manhattan, you’re looking at something closer to $80,000. And if Meghan Markle’s upcoming wedding is your inspiration, then the price tag will be wayyyyy more.

What's better than getting engaged and having a mimosa?! Congratulations, Cait, on your upcoming wedding! Check out all of her fun adventures @caitlinhosn on Instagram.

What's better than getting engaged and having a mimosa?! Congratulations, Cait, on your upcoming wedding! Check out all of her fun adventures @caitlinhosn on Instagram.

Most financial gurus will tell you to create a strict budget for your wedding. Of course, you want to make sure that you don’t add unbearable financial stress to your marriage. After all, money is the #1 reason why couples may end up in divorce.

But, I know that this is your BIG day. The day you may have dreamed of your whole life or ever since you fell madly in love.

So I say, have your cake and eat it too. Because every woman deserves to feel like a princess on her special day.

Here are some quick tips on how to save for your wedding.

  1. Research wedding costs before you create your budget. Often times, couples will set an arbitrary budget for the wedding without doing any research to see if the budget is realistic. For instance, you may think that you can hire a makeup artist for $150. But, their average wedding rate may be $1,000 in your area. Once you hear the price, you will feel defeated. As this happens over and over, tension between the two of you will increase as you continue to spend “over your budget”. But, if you knew that most MUAs cost $1,000 in your area, you wouldn’t be shocked. In fact, it would be in your budget. Therefor, sit down with your beloved and write out what your dream wedding would include. Then, research and total the cost.

  2. Ask, how can we afford this? It’s likely that your dream wedding will cost a pretty penny. Before you start chopping your budget to something that’s more realistic, brainstorm ways that you two can make the dream a reality. Is there a way you can make more money at work? If you have a side hustle, is there a way you can ramp up your sales? This is why I’m a huge fan of having a business- whether it’s full-time or part-time- because you have more control over your earning power and can create space for your dream big day to come true.

  3. Set milestone goals. Maybe you want to save $50,000 or $100,000 for your wedding. That’s a lot to tackle all at once. Break up the total into monthly milestone goals.

  4. Open a separate savings account. Keeping a separate account will help reduce your temptation to dip into it for other purposes. Also, it’ll be motivating as you watch it grow. One of the highest earning savings account is Radius Bank’s High-Yield savings account. For balances over $2,500, there is a 1.3% APY. *

  5. Sales and Saving. Soooo, I know that a sale on a pair of shoes is tempting. Not the shoes for the wedding. Just a pair of shoes that you just have to have. If you read my post earlier this month, you know that as long as the sale fits within your indulgence allowance then it’s fine to buy the pair. But, the money you saved on the purchase should be transferred to your wedding savings account. For instance, if it’s a $100 pair of shoes that is on sale for $40, then the $60 you saved needs to go into your wedding savings account.

  6. Go on a spending detox. What?! You just said I could have my cake and eat it too. Why should I go on a detox? Here’s the thing, love. Being financially fit is just like being physically fit. If you get your workouts in and eat healthy 90% of the time, you can have your cupcake and mimosas. Same thing goes with your finances. Especially if you’re saving up for a (hopefully!) once in a lifetime moment. I want you to have your dream day and in order to do that, you have to be mindful of your spending choices. Go through your monthly expenditures, and ask yourself do I really need this? Is there anything you can cut out during this savings period? Are there retailer newsletters you can unsubscribe from so you aren’t tempted to buy more clothes? Maybe you and your beloved can eat in more. Besides saving some money, it’s a great way to bond!

  7. Don’t be afraid to ask for discount. Ask and ye shall receive. Or as my friend says, closed mouths don’t get fed. When you’re purchasing items for the wedding, ask if there are any current specials or discounts. Lots of retailers and businesses offer AAA membership discounts, discounts for students, or other specials that they may not advertise. The worst they can say is no! 

And now I'd love to hear from you! What does your dream wedding look like? Let me know in the comments below.

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This post was in partnership with Radius Bank.

 *Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate as of 12/19/17. Minimum amount to open account is $10.00. Rate tiers are as follows: 0.00% APY applies to balances of $0.01—$9.99, 0.05% APY applies to the entire balance on balances of $10.00—$2,499.99, and 1.30% APY applies to the entire balance on balances of $2,500 or more. Rates may change after account is opened. Fees may reduce earnings