Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world. With the glimmering Eiffel Tower visible from almost any part of the city, and the delicious wines and foods, and the long walks by the Seine at night, with the city lights reflecting on the water–it’s a place that feels like it’s been invented or dreamed up. And that’s why you’re so excited to get married there. What could be better, than sharing this beautiful, special moment of declaring your love to the world in a city that’s also so beautiful and special? You can’t wait for the big day, which makes every decision, like choosing the right bridesmaid dresses or cutlery, so exciting.
But something you’ve been worrying about is the cost of the whole trip. It’s already stressful enough to plan a wedding; thinking about costs such as airfare and hotel fees means even more money is going down the drain. Luckily, Paris is such a popular tourist destination that there are plenty of options and ways to save. Here’s how.
1 Save on airfare
The world’s busiest airport may not be Paris–it’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, actually–but Paris is close, at number ten. And in our large world, that’s pretty high up, which means that there are always going to be airfare deals to the city of lights. If your heart is set on a certain airline, like United or Lufthansa, then check their sites every week for deals. Additionally, consider subscribing to an airfare deals newsletter, like Jack’s Flight Club UK or Yapta. That way you can explore unexpected deals from a variety of airlines.
There are also some great apps you can use. Hipmunk, Hopper, and Skyscanner will track your flight route so that if the price suddenly drops, you’ll get alerted on your phone. Considering that you have about a year between your engagement and your actual wedding, there will be plenty of time for fares to suddenly drop. Whatever you choose to do, post these recommendations on your wedding website–that way, your guests can take advantage of deals, too.
2 Be creative with accommodations
One of the best ways to save money when visiting Paris is finding a way to save on accommodations. Sure, everyone dreams of staying in a beautiful hotel overlooking the Seine with a view of the Eiffel Tower, but if you want to save money, it’s smart to stay away from these luxuries. Paris is such a beautiful city that it’s meant to be explored on long walks, anyway, not simply admired from the window of a hotel room. That’s why you should save and check out deals on sites like Expedia and booking.com.
Additionally, another option is making reservations over AirBnB instead of with a hotel. Not only will this be cheaper than a fancier place (hotels in Paris cost on average 231 euros a night in 2017), but it’ll also mean you can save money on food by cooking in the kitchen.
3 Walk everywhere
One of the most expensive costs in a city like Paris is taxis. And when it comes to rideshare apps like Uber, they aren’t as cheap as they are in the States. But that’s no reason to panic—Paris is most beautiful by foot, so instead of spending money on driving around everywhere, you can walk from one end of the city to the other. Whether you’re exploring Montmartre or walking along the Seine to the Louvre, there are tons of beautiful walks. Check out some options here.
If you do need to get somewhere quickly, though, you can always buy a Metro pass. A ticket for city regions 1 and 2 cost 1 euro 90 in 2017, and works not only on the metro but also on buses and many trains. One great reason to be somewhere in a rush is going on a walking tour. There are many free walking tours of Paris, which will lead you through the history and the most beautiful parts of the city—and your guests will be grateful to save a little bit of money on an activity you can all do together.
4 Live like a local
Finally, if you’re committed to saving money, the best thing you can do is learn from the French. Parisians are cultured, and know when it’s worth it to pay for a glass of champagne—but they also know where the best deals are, where there are free art shows, and appreciate a picnic that’s a simple combination of a bottle of wine, baguette, and fancy Brie cheese. So ask the hotelier or your Airbnb host what the best options are.
Additionally, check out the Spotted by Locals app. A Paris guide costs just under $5, but it’s worth it: this organization has location-based recommendations of cool theaters, cafes, and more in over 70 cities, which means they know what they’re talking about. To learn more, check out their website.
These are some of the best strategies for saving money during your Paris destination wedding. What other strategies are you using to save money on your wedding and honeymoon?