Best Ideas For Planning A Beach Wedding on a Budget

Do you need to plan a beach wedding on a budget? Well good news, I’ve got your back!

I am going to share all my best wedding planning tips on a budget with you that are tailor made for planning a beach wedding. 

Because, let’s face it – beach weddings have their own elements of consideration! 

Now, picture this; you’re flipping through magazines with a sparkle in your eyes, dreaming up the perfect day. 

It’s just how you imagined it would be as a young person playing pretend wedding planner. 

But then, reality hits – the budget. 

Let’s be honest, talking numbers isn’t exactly the highlight of wedding planning. (It certainly wasn’t for me!) 

It’s like wanting to sprinkle fairy dust, but having to count each speck. 

Even though planning your wedding can be such a fun activity, finding ways to cut your spending on things you really want to do is the worst part of planning a wedding.

The good news is that hosting your wedding on the beach is an affordable option for brides looking to save a little money.

When compared to other wedding venues, a beach wedding is relatively inexpensive.

But that doesn’t mean your spending can’t get out of control if you aren’t careful!

Follow these tips and tricks for planning your beach wedding on a budget to ensure you don’t overspend as you plan your celebration.

beach weddings abroad on a budget

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How to Pay for a Beach Wedding

Finding the money to pay for your dream wedding is one of the biggest challenges many couples face as they start planning.

But if you’re savvy and thrifty, there’s no reason to go into debt to celebrate your big day.

There are a few simple things you can do that will help you plan an amazing wedding without overspending.

1) Start saving when you get engaged (or before).

When you know a wedding is on the horizon, it’s time to start saving.

But if you’re not sure how much to save to put together your wedding, simply take the budget of your wedding and divide it by the number of months you have to save.

So, if you plan to spend $10,000 on your wedding and you’ll be getting married in a year, you’ll need to set aside $834 per month.

2) Open a separate checking account for wedding spending.

To keep from overspending on your wedding, consider opening a separate checking account to pay for your wedding expenses.

You can transfer your wedding savings into the account and ask family members who are contributing to the costs to deposit money into the account, too.

A separate account will allow you to easily track each expense and keep you from going over budget.

3) Find ways to trim down on the wedding expenses.

Once you have an idea of what you’ll need to save,  you can look at your budget to find places to cut back.

Look at small expenses that add up over time, like getting rid of your Netflix subscription or eating out on Saturday night.

Continue making cuts until you’re able to set aside enough each month to reach your wedding goal.

Related articles on how to save money:

4) Earn more money.

If cutting expenses isn’t an option or you aren’t able to slash enough from your budget to reach your goal, look for ways to earn more money up until the big day.

Start a side hustle or get a part-time job to earn a little extra money to contribute to your wedding budget.

Selling unused items from around your home is another great way to get some money on the side.

Related articles on how to make extra money on the side:

5) Ask your family.

While you shouldn’t rely on your family to contribute to your wedding, there are probably some family members who would love to help out.

Politely ask your family members if they would like to contribute to your wedding fund. But don’t be discouraged or disappointed if some tell you they won’t be able to help out.

6) Make a budget.

To keep yourself on track and ensure you don’t overspend, making a wedding budget is essential.

Your budget will help you determine how much you have to spend on your wedding and help you keep track of your spending as you plan.

If you need to organize your budget, here’s my wedding budget planner spreadsheet. It has space for all of your wedding information with summaries and charts so you can quickly see the big picture as well as the details. You can use code SALE10 to get 10% off.

Crafting Your Beach Wedding Budget Without the Stress

So, you’re at the stage where it’s time to talk numbers for your beach wedding.

The best way to ensure you don’t overspend when planning your beach wedding is to create a budget for the event.

And speaking from experience, while getting started on this task isn’t the most glamorous part of planning your wedding, it might be the most essential.

It’s all about making sure you step into married life on the right foot financially, without the extra baggage of debt.

Although planning a budget for your wedding might seem like a big project, it’s not any more difficult than mapping out your monthly budget.

Follow these simple steps to create your own budget for your beach wedding:

1) Start with a wedding budget number.

Before you can even start mapping out how much you’ll spend on each category of your wedding planning, you need to know exactly how much money you have to work with.

That means taking the time to figure out how much money you have available to spend on your wedding.

Ask yourself these questions to determine your wedding budget: 

  • How much money do you currently have set aside for your wedding budget?
  • How much money will you be able to contribute to the budget each month until the wedding date arrives?
  • Will you be able to pull money from your savings account to cover additional expenses?
  • Will other family members be contributing to the wedding budget?
  • If so, how much will they be able to spend or what aspects of the wedding will they pay for?

After answering these basic questions, you should have a pretty good idea of how much money you have for your wedding budget.

That figure will be your starting point in creating the overall budget for your celebration.

cheap beach wedding

2) Consult your guest list.

When planning a wedding, using your guest list as a guide will help you estimate the overall cost of a wedding.

More guests typically mean more of everything:

  • Venue size
  • Food and drink
  • Invitation printing
  • Table and chair rentals
  • Cake size
  • Wedding favor count

Since so many aspects of your wedding depend on the number of guests you invite, taking the time to plan out your guest list is an essential aspect of creating a wedding budget.

And if you’re hoping to have a budget-friendly wedding, that means being very strategic about who you invite to the event.

Before you move on to the next step of the budgeting process, take the time to sit down with your partner and create a tentative guest list.

Having an estimated number of potential guests can help you figure out how much money you’ll need to spend in each budgeting category as you plan your wedding.

3) Pick your splurges.

Now that you know how many guests you’ll be inviting, it’s time to start discussing the aspects of your wedding that are non-negotiable.

Every couple has those ‘must-have’ elements, whether it’s a top-notch photographer or ensuring the bar stays open all night. 

Pin down these non-negotiables early. 

Knowing what you absolutely want can help you figure out where to allocate more of your budget and where to cut back.

planning a beach wedding on a budget

4) Outline your budget categories.

After all that planning, you should have a pretty good idea of where your money will go as you start putting your wedding together.

But as you start booking and ordering, you’ll quickly uncover all the hidden expenses that go along with planning a wedding.

That’s why it’s important to create a list of budget categories and allocate a certain amount of money to each category to help you stay on track while you plan.

When planning a beach wedding, it’s a good idea to consider these spending categories for your budget:

  • Venues for the ceremony and reception
  • Beach permit fees
  • Photographer and/or videographer
  • Flowers and decorations for both venues
  • Food and drinks
  • Wedding cake
  • Music
  • Transportation
  • Wedding dress and accessories
  • Hair and makeup
  • Groom’s outfit and accessories
  • Paper goods, like invitations, programs, and menus
  • Favors for the guests
  • Gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Lodging for you and your wedding party

While not all of these factors will be included in every wedding budget, it is important to consider each category as you create the budget for your event.

5) Do some research.

As you browse through the budget categories, do research online to figure out how much each aspect of your wedding will cost.

In addition to looking for general expenses involved in each category, do some research to determine how much the categories cost in the location you plan to hold your wedding.

And if you are open to different locations, take the time to compare costs among different beaches to pick the most budget-friendly option for you.

6) Set up your budget.

Use your favorite budgeting app or create a spreadsheet to outline and track your wedding budget.

Make sure to include the total amount you plan to spend on your wedding, as well as each category you know will be included in your wedding planning.

Work your way through each category and use your research to figure out how much of your budget you will allocate to each category, ensuring the total expenses do not go over your total budget amount.

7) Start tracking.

Once you have your budget mapped out, you can start having some fun!

Call venues and providers to get price quotes for your wedding, then track the expenses as you start booking.

Keep a running tab of all the money you spend to ensure you don’t go over budget as you plan your wedding.

How to Save Money on a Beach Wedding

Although creating a budget is a great way to start planning, you’ll still need to work hard to find cost-cutting options as you plan your beach wedding.

Here are some tips for how you can say “I do” with the ocean as your witness, without letting your budget drift away.

1) Consider a beach package.

While you might think a full-on beach package is not a budget friendly route, you’ll be surprised to learn that many beach destinations offer affordable wedding packages that will save you a good deal of money. 

These packages can include add-ons like decorations, flowers, photography, and reception venues, allowing you to bundle everything you’ll need for your wedding into one cost-saving package.

Plus, there are other perks to this option such as including a honeymoon into your costs, getting a trip with your most treasured friends and family, less stress than DIY options, etc. 

I highly recommend getting quotes to see if this is a viable option for you and your wedding.

2) Book off-season.

Beach weddings have different seasons according to the area’s popularity.

And if you’re open to moving your wedding date around, booking a beach wedding in the off-season could save you a ton of money.

Since summer and early fall are often popular times for beach weddings, booking a beach wedding in the winter could be a great budget-friendly option.

Plus, it will make your wedding unique and memorable.

3) Have a midweek wedding.

In addition to having more expensive seasons, beach wedding venues also charge more for weekend wedding dates.

To get a great deal on your beach wedding, consider holding your event during the week.

Having your wedding Sunday through Thursday instead of Friday or Saturday could be a simple way to save a little money on the cost of your wedding venue.

We booked our wedding on a Sunday. As Monday was a public holiday, it was like booking on a Saturday, but with cheaper rates!

4) Book a public beach.

Turns out, some of the most stunning beaches are open to the public and can host your wedding at little to no cost. 

Yes, you might need a permit, but it’s a small hoop to jump through for the reward of a beautiful, budget-friendly backdrop. 

Just make sure to check local regulations and plan for a bit of privacy, as these spots can be open to passersby.

beach wedding on a budget ideas

5) Keep it casual.

With the sand, wind, and water surrounding you, trying to host a formal wedding on the beach probably isn’t the best idea.

And when you’re looking to save money on your ceremony, keeping the event casual is a great way to keep your event under budget, too.

From casual dresses and suits for the wedding party to a relaxed dress code for your guests, creating a casual atmosphere for the wedding can also help you save money on the décor, drinks, and food.

6) DIY your décor and flowers.

Decorations and flower arrangements can cost a ton of money if you aren’t careful.

Taking the time to make your own decorations and flowers for your wedding is a great way to save money on the big day.

Create your own centerpieces for the reception, decorate with simple décor like candles, and make your own bouquets to save money on those small wedding details.

You could even scour beaches leading up to your wedding in hunt of seashells, driftwood, and other cool things you could use as part of your beach decor. 

7) Trim your guest list.

Since you already know that many aspects of your wedding budget will depend on the number of guests you invite, having a small wedding is one of the best ways to ensure you don’t overspend.

Making cuts to your guestlist may be difficult, but the cost-saving will be worth it in the end.

8) Go digital.

Wedding printing can get expensive.

And with today’s technology, all that paper isn’t even necessary.

Instead of sending expensive invitations, reception cards, and envelopes, consider digital invitations for your wedding.

With email invitations, you can invite your guests, and they can RSVP online.

In addition to allowing you to save money on printing, digital invitations will make it easier to keep track of who’s coming to your wedding, which will make planning simpler, too.

9) Skip the open bar.

Although hosting an open bar at your reception may be a great way to celebrate, the cost can add up quickly.

Instead, offer beer and wine to your guests to keep the costs low.

Or create a signature wedding cocktail for your guests to enjoy instead of a full bar.

10) Don’t serve a full meal.

Another simple way to cut down on your food and drink costs is to schedule your wedding reception at a time that doesn’t require a full meal.

Hosting a sunset ceremony on the beach, for example, will allow you to serve appetizers and snacks instead of a full dinner at your reception, cutting your food costs significantly.

11) Have a potluck-style reception. 

If having a meal is one of those non-negotiables for you and your partner, you could also consider making it a potluck style reception where you ask friends and family to bring food. 

Most people love to lend a helping hand, and this is an easy way for them to do it while also saving you some money.

12) Rethink the wedding cake.

A huge wedding cake may be the traditional choice of dessert for weddings, but there’s no reason you can’t change things up.

Offering cupcakes or your favorite dessert for your beach wedding can save you money and make the reception a little more personal at the same time.

13) Ask guests to capture the moment. 

In the age of smartphones, everyone’s a photographer, and this can play beautifully to your advantage. 

One of the more innovative ways to save on your beach wedding expenses is to rethink your approach to capturing those special moments. 

While professional photographers are a must for key parts of your wedding (think ceremony, first kiss, family portraits), you don’t necessarily need them to stay throughout the entire reception.

Instead, hire a professional for the must-have shots, and then let them go once those big moments have happened. 

Your guests are sure to capture any other moments that happen during the day, but you can relax and focus on enjoying the moment without having a photographer or videographer in your face. 

You could even consider using a photo-sharing app where guests can upload their photos and videos. 

Some apps allow guests to upload images to a private album, giving you access to a digital treasure trove of memories without the professional price tag.

14) DIY The Music

Yes, music plays a pivotal role in setting the tone for your wedding, and believe it or not, creating your own wedding soundtrack can be both a major cost-saver and an incredibly personal touch to your beach wedding.

You can create playlists in advance with the use of apps like Apple Music, Spotify, or YouTube. 

If you have a music buffer in the group, ask them to put together a playlist in honor of your relationship! 

Where is the Cheapest Place to Have a Beach Wedding?

Finding the perfect venue for your beach wedding is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make.

And that means doing your research to find affordable beach wedding locations.

If you’re open to picking a budget-friendly destination wedding location, you’ll be able to save money on your venue by booking a cheap spot for your celebration.

These wedding locations are some of the most affordable spots for a destination wedding:

1) Belize

If you have dreams of hosting a beach wedding on the Caribbean Sea but think you can’t afford it – think again!

Belize is a great option for a budget beach wedding.

The island is filled with affordable resorts that offer cheap wedding packages, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a destination wedding on a budget.

2) Negril, Jamaica

With beautiful beaches and cheap resort options, Negril is another perfect tropical destination for your budget beach wedding.

In addition to popular resorts offering affordable wedding packages, the island is also home to several amazing boutique hotels that create unique beachfront weddings at budget-friendly prices.

3) The Dominican Republic

You’ll love the beautiful beaches and calm ocean waters in the Dominican Republic almost as much as your checkbook will love the prices.

When it comes to the cost of accommodations, food, and activities, the Dominican Republic is one of the best budget-friendly options in the Caribbean.

And thanks to the affordable resorts in the area, you can plan your entire destination wedding from your home without worrying about spending a ton of money in the process.

beach wedding ideas on a budget

4) Destin, Florida

There’s no reason to visit a tropical island for your destination wedding when you can get married in front of the crystal blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

With white sand beaches and beautiful, calm ocean waves, Destin is a great choice for any budget beach wedding.

The area is full of beautiful beach resorts offering great wedding packages, which means you’ll have a great selection of venue options available at this popular beach wedding location.

5) North and South Carolina

The rustic coastline of the Carolinas, featuring beautiful dunes and lush foliage, make a great backdrop for a beach wedding.

And since there are a variety of affordable options for lodging in these beautiful states, you’ll have several options to choose from for your beach wedding.

Book a resort stay or simply select a beachfront wedding spot and plan your beach wedding on a budget with a little bit of southern style in the Carolinas.

6) Southern California

When looking for a West Coast beach wedding destination, southern California is a great option.

Many public beaches, like those in Santa Monica, allow you to set up a wedding of any size for a small fee.

Or book a site at a state park, like Cove State Park in Laguna Beach, for beautiful views and a low cost.

Beach Wedding Location Checklist

Finding the best location for your beach wedding is probably at the top of your list, which means it’s the first thing you should consider when planning your event.

Whether you’re looking at tropical locations for a destination wedding or a nearby beach your family loves, a lot goes into planning a beach wedding.

As you check out different locations, consider these factors:

1) Beach wedding permits

While hosting a beach wedding is typically simpler than other wedding location options, there is one thing you’ll need to do for a beach wedding that often isn’t required for other locations – get a permit.

Most beaches require that you purchase a permit for your event to reserve a section of the beach for your event.

When deciding on a location for your wedding, it’s a good idea to ask these questions regarding the permit for your location:

  • Is a permit required for a wedding?
  • What is the fee for the permit? And how is the fee structured?
  • How far in advance does the permit need to be secured?
  • How large of an area does the permit cover?
  • Do you need to get liability insurance for your event?
  • Is there a maximum number of guests allowed under the permit?

2) Ceremony logistics

Since your beach wedding will be often held in a public location, some extra planning may need to go into setting up your event. When planning the logistics of your wedding on the beach, think about:

  • Whether or not the section of public beach can be reserved ahead of time
  • Where delivery trucks will drop off the rentals and decorations for the event
  • The amount of parking available to guests
  • Location of public restrooms
  • When you can start setting up for your wedding
  • Handicap Accessibility
  • Whether chairs and decorations are allowed at the location
  • Can tents and/or canopies be set up
  • If there are electrical outlets nearby
planning a beach wedding on a budget

3) Natural hurdles

In addition to considering the restrictions surrounding the location, you also need to take into account the natural elements that could affect your ceremony.

There are a variety of things to consider when it comes to planning a beach wedding that could not only help you decide which location is best for you but also the time of year and time of day that is ideal for your ceremony at each location.

  • When is high tide?
  • What is the forecast for your wedding day?
  • Is wind an issue at this location?
  • How noisy is the location on a typical day?
  • Will it be hot on your wedding day? Is there shade from the sun in your location?
  • How crowded is the beach on a typical day?

4) Wedding reception considerations

Hosting a wedding ceremony on the beach is just one aspect of planning your big day.

If you also hope to hold a reception on the beach following the ceremony, there are a variety of other things to think about.

  • Is a reception allowed at your location?
  • Is cooking allowed at the location? Can food be brought in?
  • Is live music or amplified sound permitted on the beach?
  • Is alcohol allowed at the location?
  • When does the beach close?

Related Articles For How To Save Money On A Beach Wedding:

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