Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hawaiian Weddings on a Budget

Now that the big question has been popped, the next big question is usually "home, or destination"? My sisters is currently TBD.

As for me, we knew instantly what ours would be. Destination: Hawaii. I have a grass skirt for a bed skirt, and a Hula Girl lamp in the bedroom...Handsome knew what we was getting himself into. Choosing WHERE in Hawaii was a lengthy process however, as it ain't cheap. The Wedding Belles recently posted the following stats:

  • 16 percent of marriages are destination weddings.
  • The destination wedding market accounts for $16 billion in annual spending.
  • Average budget for a destination wedding is $20,600.
  • 60% of destination couples pay for the wedding themselves.
  • The average age of a destination bride today is 33, compared to the U.S. average of 28.
  • 70% have graduated college and the average household income is $110,000.
  • Average number of guests at a destination wedding: 48.
  • Guests at a destination wedding spend an average of $400 to attend.
  • 9 out of 10 couples say weather is a key factor in selecting a destination.

Hawaii doesn't have All-Inclusive Resorts, so trying to plan something that won't cost you, or your guests, your life savings was no easy task. However, we managed to have a wedding with 75 guests (75!!) for half of the average Destination Budget.

We saved money by doing the following:

Flowers from a Flower Farm vs resort-recommended Florist.
No Wedding Cake (the meal option came with a delicious dessert)
No Centerpieces - Hawaii doesn't need much to be breathtaking.
No DJ - I'm a musician at heart, so spending a year making the "perfect playlist" on my iPod was right up my alley. Just so you know, renting a PA system from a local music store will cost you roughly $50 vs the much (expect about $300) higher amount you will pay to use a Resort's in-house sound system.
We have a Wedding Photographer in the family (ok, we really lucked out here)
Wedding attire: It's the beach! Sun dresses are VERY appropriate, and you'll be happy you did when you splash around the beach in your frock that's not only comfortable, but won't cause you to suffer heat stroke.
No wedding invitations - This was a tough one, but since we knew that we'd have to send out regular updates on flight deals, hotel rates etc, Evites made much more sense and saved us a LOT.
We chose the season carefully. Hawaii's weather rarely changes, so we chose October - right after high season, right before rainy season...temperatures just right.
Planning our wedding during a recession, and when the Canadian Dollar was nearly on par with the US Dollar. Ok, we didn't plan that but it sure worked in our favour!

Saving money in all of these places allowed us to splurge a little more on the things we really did want. And if we could do it all over again, and on a bigger budget, I wouldn't change a thing.

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