The average cost of a British wedding hovers around the £20K mark but can often be far more, with the impulse to invite more guests, hire a bigger venue and keep adding extras all too tempting. And, of course, the weather is a constant worry in the UK – all that money you’ve forked out for champagne on the lawn, canapés on the terrace and photo shoots in the sun can be dashed by dark clouds and downpours.
On the other hand, getting married in the mountains can work out much better value yet at the same time feel even more exclusive. Icing-white slopes, silent mountains and star-lit night skies come as standard, while the worst the weather can throw at you is falling snow – what could be more romantic? And if you plan to splurge, a chic USA ski resort certainly won’t disappoint, with magnificent hotels, world-class cuisine and spectacular honeymoon suites at your disposal. What’s more, for couples looking to escape the fuss and politics of a big family wedding, a smaller affair in the snow can be the perfect fit.
Spend or splurge, we take a look at the options for managing your wedding budget:
Save with a smaller wedding
Overseas weddings naturally attract fewer guests than those held at home. As well as helping to keep costs low, you can spend your special day with the friends and family who mean the most to you, giving them quality time rather than flitting around a huge room full of guests. For an intimate ski wedding in Whistler, the Callaghan Backcountry Lodge sleeps 18 and promises the perfect retreat in an incredible setting – with the place all to yourselves, you can do exactly as you please and enjoy a far more relaxing day than you’re likely to have had at home.
Compare resorts for the best deals
Being open-minded about where you tie the knot gives you plenty more options for finding the best deals. Exclusive resorts like Aspen, St Moritz and Klosters are likely to set you back more than lesser known locations, so if you’re hoping to keep costs down, try somewhere like Engleberg in Switzerland instead. You’ll also find that the USA has some of the best value wedding packages and that, although flights are more expensive, the savings you can make on food and accommodation can make USA ski weddings surprisingly affordable.
Avoid peak weeks
School holidays as well as Christmas and New Year breaks are notoriously expensive times to ski, with February half terms particularly busy in Europe. Planning an early-season or Easter wedding will give you a better chance of securing a good price, plus it’s more likely you’ll see sun as well as snow – always a bonus for the wedding pics. If you’d prefer to tie the knot when the snow’s at its best, consider travelling to North America in early January during the post-Christmas lull, when you can find great deals on accommodation.
Combine your wedding day and honeymoon
Tying the knot on a mountain summit and staying-on in resort for your honeymoon is one of the best ways to keep costs low while still planning an exceptional experience. To make sure you get the privacy you need, invite family and friends to spend a week in resort before the wedding rather than afterwards, book a separate hotel or consider a ski safari and travel to a different resort after the big day, so you can enjoy plenty of time by yourselves.
Splurge with a ski and sun escape
If you’re planning on going all-out, consider getting married in a world-class ski resort like Whistler or Breckenridge, before hopping on a flight to the Caribbean, Hawaii or Mexico for a romantic week in the sun. Popular ski and sun combinations include Whistler and Maui, or Aspen and Bermuda. If you feel this option is a little out of reach, consider sharing the cost with family and friends, by adding a ski honeymoon to your wedding gift list and inviting your guests to contribute towards your dream holiday. Honeyfund creates a personalised gift list webpage, where guests can log-in and contribute towards anything from flights and hotel rooms, to ski passes and activities.