Weddings should always reflect the individual personalities and priorities of the couple getting married. In our opinion there is no need to go into debt when planning a destination wedding in Costa Rica. The most important factor is to make your wedding personal and meaningful to the couple saying their vows. As experienced Costa Rica wedding planners, we have worked with lots of couples on a budget. To help you get started on saving money with your wedding in Costa Rica we’ve compiled some of our favorite cost effective strategies for making your special day memorable while remaining within your budget.
1. Trim your guest list. This will slash your catering and bar costs, save on invitations, the number of centerpieces, wedding favors. Avoid the pressure you may feel to invite distant family members, work colleges and any one you haven’t stayed in touch with for the past 3 years. And, recommend an ICT approved travel agency so you won’t have to worry about their itinerary.
2. Invitations are definitely an area where DYIers can show off their skills and save lots of money. Print and include in your invitations a newsletter an explanation of how guests can make their room reservations at the resort where your wedding is taking place and the room rates. Also make your own escort cards, menus, and wedding favors.
3. Music- Consider a DJ instead of a live band. This will save you hundreds of dollars. The advantage of a DJ is you get a master of ceremony to move the reception along and they are much less expensive than a band. If you truly want only live music, consider a band native to Costa Rica such as a salsa band. A rock bottom budget option is to rent speakers and use your ipod playlist.
4. Attire-Try not to shop at a traditional bridal salon. Consider sample sales which provide an array of designer dresses with deep discount pricing.
5. Location-Host your ceremony on the beach which is free (and it doesn’t get much better than that!) Hold your ceremony and reception at the same location or within walking distance—this will cut travel time for the vendors we pay by the hour and eliminate the cost of transporting your guests. A reception at a resort or hotel venue will always cost less than a reception at a villa or house. This is because if the space is not equipped to cater a large party, extra costs are incurred for bringing in tables, linens, place settings, or even a kitchen.
6. Bar- Alcohol will be one of your biggest wedding expenses and can put a huge hole in your budget quickly. Limiting a traditional full bar to two or three hours can substantially cut costs. Cost cutting alternatives include serving beer and wine only. Consider skipping the champagne toast. For cocktail hour choose to serve only a signature cocktail made with a local alcohol.
7. Flowers- Reuse some of the ceremony flowers for the cake table. Flowers that decorate the ceremony chairs can be put in vases and turned into centerpieces. Choose local flowers which are always less expensive and will add a real Costa Rican touch to your event. Avoid cascades and instead consider small, hand-tied bouquets for the bride and attendants―cascades require a lot of wiring, and more labor means higher cost.
8. HIRE a wedding planner in Costa Rica-One of the most overlooked and misunderstood budget crunching tactics is to hire a wedding planner. Some couples think that when their wedding budget is already stretched thin, a good way to cut costs is to try to handle planning and coordinating the wedding on their own-NOT TRUE. What many couples don’t realize is that working with a wedding planner will always save you a significant amount of money — and at the same time take away the stresses that go along with trying to plan a destination wedding on your own. Hiring a wedding planner in Costa Rica will insure that when you arrive for your wedding all you have to do is…relax!