Destination weddings are filled with hidden costs – have you fallen victim?

Lucy White

UK weddingswith all their family politics and high guest numbers, can sometimes feel really overwhelming for couples, which is why destination weddings are increasing in popularity — who wouldn’t want to get married on a tropical island or in the Mediterranean?

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Destination weddings are often the perfect alternative, but they aren’t for the faint-hearted. It’s not like booking your summer holiday where you confirm a flight and hotel and voila it’s organised!

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No matter the guest numbers, you still need to source venues and suppliers just like you would for a UK wedding. That’s why you must be organized from the outset and have a clear indication of your budget, which is where our latest money-saving column comes in handy!

Hello! has teamed up with UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) elite member Lucy White, who plans weddings in Italy at Wiskow & Whiteto reveal how brides and grooms can avoid falling victim to the many hidden costs of hosting your big day abroad.

Venue hidden costs

Working abroad, there’s no real formula for how venues display information and quotes. Venues can provide quotes for accommodation or venue fees but neglect to include costs for cleaning, space hire, late-night music fees and more.

Consider cleaning, late-night music fees and more venue costs

Make sure you’re clear on all the costs that may come up by asking to see a venue contract well before signing. Never assume and always ask for costs to be formally quoted and not verbally.

Taxes and gratuity

Different countries have different tax amounts and they apply to various services and products. In Italy, for example, there are two tax rates at 10 per cent and 22 per cent.

Mixing these up could drastically change your budget, so make sure you know whether taxes are included in quotes you receive and if not, which tax amount applies.

Likewise, if it’s a country that expects gratuity for those suppliers providing a service, this must be budgeted in as well. Do your research and ensure you have this information prior to choosing a destination.

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Planning trips

You may visit your wedding venue and suppliers a couple of times throughout the planning process. From visiting shortlisted venues to caterer tastings, expect two to three trips. With flight prices rising alongside supplier costs, it’s important to factor these trips into your planning.

Expect to pay for flights, accommodation, car hire and for trials each time that you visit. Catering tastings may be free, but sometimes caterers charge up to €150 per person per tasting. Just like in the UK, hair and makeup trials will also have a cost associated with them.

Supplier travel expenses

Brides and grooms need to budget for travel before and on the day of their wedding

You may well have suppliers coming from home to your destination wedding. It’s easier for you if they arrange all their travel, but agree to a budget beforehand to reduce the possibility of business class flights!

This should be agreed upon at the point of contract signing. Some suppliers include this in their overall fee, for others it’s an add-on. Being clear on how this works and knowing what this is from the outset is an important way to stop additional costs.

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Unlike weddings at home, you’re potentially going to need to get your guests to and from your wedding. This could be through pre-arranged taxis or buses and will depend on what’s available in the area. Don’t forget to make this part of your planning and your budget!

Hospitality services

Consider smaller costs like catering for guests

I’m sure you want your guests to have a calm and relaxed time at your wedding. If you’re self-catering at your venue, ensuring you have meals planned (at least breakfast) can take the pressure off everyone and mean the day gets off to the best start.

Factoring in the cost of this either from a catering service, or a simple food shop at the start of your wedding week will help you out further down the line.

Hire an expert

To make sure you stay on top of costs and have an accurate budget from the start, it’s worth considering a wedding planner. Having their expertise will ensure there are no nasty budget surprises and nothing is overlooked ahead of your wedding day.

The investment in a planner often saves money in the long term on mistakes you’d make without one. What’s more, in many cases, they have worked in that country before and already have trusted venues and suppliers to recommend.

Check out UKAWP Member Lucy White at Wiskow & White for all your destination wedding planner needs.

READ: How to plan a destination wedding abroad

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