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Destination I Do
Thursday, August 4, 2022

Budget-Friendly Destination Weddings

Words by Sara Margulis
Photos courtesy of Various


It feels like everything has changed when it comes to the way weddings are done. At Honeyfund, we’re seeing new, budget-friendly ways to get married that reflect couples’ uniqueness, personality and style. 



While the destination wedding’s popularity is soaring, couples always ask us for is a budget breakdown – how much should they spend for each cost associated with the big day? At Honeyfund, we believe your perfect, personality-inspired wedding is only possible when you calculate your budget based on your unique financial situation. Use our 1-Page Wedding Plan to learn how. And if your budget is less than $5,000, this article is for you. 

These unique destination weddings ideas will have you super inspired to plan your own wedding on a budget you love, with friends and family and fun! And we show you how to allocate the funds while keeping everything under $5,000. 



When you think of a destination wedding, a far-off resort likely comes to mind. But, there are many more budget-friendly ways to host a destination wedding. To keep costs at just a few thousand dollars, turn to a larger family home, a friend’s home, or a vacation rental and make it a fun staycation for you and a few close friends and family!

If you rent from a site like VRBO, look for properties located near your favorite destination: in the mountains, at the beach, or even on a farm. We’ve also spotted tree houses available to rent! Before booking, make sure the owner is open to you hosting a family gathering, even if you’re only inviting a small group. Look for a property with an outdoor space perfect for the ceremony, and you can enjoy a post-ceremony dinner together on a deck or tucked inside by the fireplace.

One of the best parts about this type of celebration is you will get to spend more than one day soaking up time with your most loved crew. It’s a wedding, friendly-moon and staycation all wrapped into one!



Example Destination Wedding Budget: $2,000-$5,000 (for 8-20 people)

  • Destination Home: $0-600 Friend/family member's home or vacation rental at $300-1,800/night for 2 nights
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $30 as long as your ceremony is performed by a family member or friend who is ordained online.
  • Flowers: $0 if you pick wildflowers or re-purpose gently used flowers from a church or wedding venue. Otherwise spend no more than a few hundred at your local Costco.
  • Food and alcohol for the reception: $1,000 for 20 people at $50/person. (Tip: Buy beer/wine/booze at Costco or ask guests to bring a couple bottles.) 
  • Couples’ Attire: $0 – Wear something you already own, or borrow a dress and/or suit. Go smart casual and shop at discount retailers, or try this gorgeous $47 wedding dress on Amazon!
  • Cake: $60 from the local bakery or market, topped with local greenery or wildflowers
  • Food and drinks for the rest of your stay: Ask each guest to provide a meal and drinks for the house. You can even turn it into a fun cooking competition to see which family member or friend creates the best dish!
  • Photography - hire a local in your destination for the best rates. Or ask a creative friend to be in charge. 
  • Invitations – Use an e-invitation service to keep costs low. Or print your own with these lovely and free templates from Wedding Chicks! 

Example Restaurant Wedding Budget: $5,005 (for 15 people)

  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $30 when your ceremony is officiated by a family member or friend who is ordained through Universal Life Church.
  • Photographer: $1,500
  • Flowers: $500 for a bouquet, boutonniere, and centerpieces
  • Attire: $1,250
  • Food and alcohol: $1,500 including tax and gratuity, at $100/person
  • Cake: $125 from a local grocery store
  • Music: $0 – Create a playlist on Spotify and ask a friend or family member to press play when you’re ready to share your first and parent dances.
  • Invitations – Use an e-invitation service to keep costs low. Or print your own with these lovely and free templates from Wedding Chicks!

We are all looking for unexpected experiences, so shock your guests by inviting them to an intimate engagement, birthday, or “just because” party only to reveal they’re actually attending your wedding!  This works great with a weekend getaway at a vacation rental (see above), but you can also swing it at a seaside park or favorite place in nature.

Example Flash Wedding Budget: $4,180

  • Invitations: $50 – To keep your cover, make sure to send an invitation to your engagement or birthday party! Rather than splurging for traditional invites, send online invitations through Paperless Post.
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $30 when your ceremony is officiated by a family member or friend who is ordained through Universal Life Church.
  • Park Rental: $150
  • Photographer: $1,500
  • Flowers: $150 for a bouquet and boutonniere
  • Attire: $750
  • Food Truck for Dinner: $600 (20 people at $30 per person)
  • Food Truck for Dessert (think: ice cream truck!): $250 (20 people at $10 per person + gas)
  • Drinks: $250 – Because you’ll be outside and likely in a public space, you may want to skip the alcohol. Check the rules of your venue. Or asks gesuts to BYO to your “party.”
  • Tables and chairs: $0 – Ask guests to bring their own camping chairs and blankets. They won’t think twice because they don’t know it’s a wedding! 
  • Music: $0 – Create a playlist on Spotify and ask a friend or family member to press play when you’re ready to share your first and parent dances.

Example Elopement Turned Mini-moon Budget ($5,750)

Want that destination wedding feel while keeping things intimate? Eloping is one of the most cost effective ways to get married, and the most romantic. Here’s a budget you can swing, including a 3-night mini-moon.

  • Hotel or Home Rental: $450/night for 4 nights – $1,800
  • Marriage License: $100
  • Officiant: $150 for a Vegas-style officiant.
  • Photographer: $1,500 – Consider asking your photographer to capture your wedding and an additional session while you’re exploring your destination on your mini-moon.
  • Flowers: $150 for a bouquet and boutonniere
  • Attire: $1,250 – splurge on the dress of your dreams!
  • Cake and Champagne: $100 – Purchase a cake from a local bakery and toast with champagne post-vows!
  • Food & Drinks – $500 – Plan to budget at least $100/day to enjoy meals out around town.
  • Excursions – $250 – Make sure to sightsee or relax and enjoy a massage!

Consider extending the honeymoon with gifts you receive via a Honeyfund. Be sure to send your elopement announcements ahead of time so friends and family and contribute to your dream getaway.

*Adapted from the “Weddings on Any Budget” series written by Carly Totten for Honeyfund’s 1-Page Wedding Plan.

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Rochelle Cheever (1st); Idalia Photography (2nd); Chris J. Evans (3rd)

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