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Destination weddings 101 - modern elopements equal huge savings

Lani and Wesley Tole at their Bimini wedding
Lani and Wesley Tole at their Bimini wedding
Courtesy of Lani and Wesley Tole

Destination weddings today are what your grandparents called eloping in their youth and, these days, more than ten percent of brides and grooms opt for wedding ceremonies away from where the bride (or groom) lives or grew up.

These away-from-home weddings have grown in popularity since the early 1990s. And because of their flexibility, a ceremony in a foreign or unusual locale is the choice of many couples for a variety of reasons.

It can be that this is a second (or third) marriage and the couple isn't comfortable with an over-the-top wedding that they may have had on their first go-round. Or it could be that the couple is looking for something that's less formal or don't want all of the fuss and bother of a more traditional wedding.

Perhaps it's because they want a more exotic locale than they can find locally. Or, since couples getting married today are usually older and are likely more well traveled, they may want to have their wedding in a special location. Perhaps it's just that they want to get a bigger bang for their wedding buck.

Since the average stateside wedding currently costs considerably more than $20,000, it's helpful to know that the a typical destination wedding budget is well below $10,000

How is that possible?

It has to do with the wedding size and wedding style. On average, a destination wedding involves 50 guests or less in attendance. Whereas a typical stateside wedding will have 150-200 guests invited to an elegant reception.

There are other cost advantages too. Since many of these ceremonies take place in a colorful locale, a lot of additional decorations may not be needed. Also, less elaborate sit-down dinners and cocktail receptions usually replace multi-course reception extravaganzas.

Wedding attire is often more casual as well which can result in a huge savings.

But if you're afraid that your extended family and friends will be disappointed because they weren't invited or couldn't attend, you can always host a party on your return. And, since it's not an actual wedding reception, you can choose a more casual, less expensive approach to that celebration.

Knowing the advantages, are you destined for a destination wedding?