Are you dreaming of a destination wedding but worried about the major price tag that comes along with it? Don’t worry! There are tons of places in the U.S. that you can get to without having to break the bank. Even if you’re working with a decent-sized wedding budget, it can be expensive for your guests to travel to a faraway destination to be a part of your big day. And a wedding isn’t complete without all your friends and family there to celebrate. Instead of dropping a lot of money on a wedding in Paris or Turks and Caicos, consider some of these gorgeous and inexpensive domestic destinations to say your “I dos”.
1. Dewees Island, South Carolina
Coastal South Carolina has everything you need for the perfect beach wedding. Just off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, Dewees Island is a gorgeous little island that can only be accessed by boat. The island’s private, secluded location makes it the perfect destination for a small wedding. You and your guests can board the ferry to the island and stay in one of the many gorgeous vacation rentals along the water. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a fleet of golf carts, each assigned to a particular rental unit. Take a short ride to your cottage or house and enjoy your stay. Visiting Dewees Island is an experience you don’t want to miss. With the ocean just steps from your door and the beautiful surrounding landscape of the coastal marshlands, we can’t imagine a better place for a destination wedding. After the celebration, you and your guests can travel to Charleston, S.C.’s downtown area, which is abundant in restaurants, bars and more beautiful sites.
2. Burlington, Vermont
Barn weddings are in right now, and there’s no better place in the U.S. to host a chic-yet-rustic event than Vermont. Known for expansive landscapes, gorgeous mountains and delicious maple syrup, Vermont is an affordable destination with dozens of venue options. Downtown Burlington, Vermont is a quaint city with charming shops and restaurants that your guests can explore over the weekend before heading into the country for the wedding ceremony. Shelburne Farms is just a short drive from Burlington and one of the best places in the area for a wedding. You can host your outdoor ceremony on the lawn overlooking the expansive Lake Champlain with a view of the Adirondack Mountains in the distance.
3. Yosemite National Park, California
Getting married in a National Park is one of the best ways to save money and host an unforgettable event amongst an unparalleled landscape. Yosemite National Park in California has dozens of areas that make for a perfect wedding spot, but Bridalveil Falls is an obvious choice both because of its name and stunning appearance. Exchange vows in front of this 620-foot waterfall close to the park’s entrance. You will have to make a short, easy hike to the location, but it’s worth the view. Though you will need to make arrangements for another reception venue, the only cost for hosting your ceremony here is a special permit from the park, which runs around $100.
4. Key West, Florida
If you’re wishing for a Caribbean wedding without the cost of traveling to another country, Key West is your best option. With a Caribbean vibe, this part of Florida offers the same cerulean ocean and white sands along with tropical palm trees and that year-round warm weather. Hosting your wedding on a public beach can save you big bucks because it’s considered public land, and all you need is a permit from the city (which may include a fee, but nothing close to the price of an official wedding venue). You should make a trip to the beach where you plan to host the ceremony first to scout out a prime location without too many surrounding beachgoers. Many hotels and resorts in the area with also work with you to provide an arch, chairs and reception on the beach.
5. Las Vegas, Nevada
We know what you’re thinking–Vegas weddings are cheap and cheesy. Not exactly the vibe you’re going for. But, there are actually dozens of options for affordable weddings in Sin City without the tacky drive-thru chapel or Elvis impersonator. Many of the sights and attractions in Vegas are truly elegant and classy. From the gardens of Caesar’s Palace to a rooftop view of the strip, Vegas has so many options for every type of wedding. If you opt for this unconventional wedding destination, turn it into a vacation by visiting the nearby sites, heading out of the city and hiking through the mountains and catching one of the famous Cirque du Soleil shows with your new spouse.
6. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada
One of the most stunning lakes in the entire country, Tahoe spans between California and Nevada offering beautiful views on the water. Say your “I do’s” on one of the many beaches along the shore or select a more mountainous location for an outdoor ceremony. If you’re interested in visiting the Nevada side of the lake instead, Secret Cove Beach is one of the most photographed areas of the lake with crystal clear waters and enchanting rocks. Much like getting married in a National Park, all you need to secure this venue is a special event permit for whichever one of the many gorgeous areas you choose.
You don’t need to spend your entire life’s savings just to host the perfect destination wedding. Sure, traveling across the world sounds like a great idea, but why not spend that extra cash on a luxurious honeymoon? The U.S. is abundant with gorgeous landscapes and coastal scenery, so save yourself the trouble of traveling international just for a destination wedding. From the shores of South Carolina to the mountains of Yosemite, you’ll discover dozens of affordable locations for an unforgettable wedding ceremony.
Traci Magnus is the Marketing Director for Dunes Properties located in Charleston, SC. When she’s not working or writing, you can find her researching the latest trends in housing development or exploring downtown Charleston with her husband, Glenn.