“It is such a happiness when good people get together -- and they always do,” Jane Austen once wrote. If you’re planning your wedding, you want to get a lot of good people together to enjoy it -- but guests, and weddings in general, come with a price tag.
If you’re trying to have the wedding of your dreams without simultaneously gaining the budget of your nightmares, one thing to consider is having your wedding on an “off season” month. If you don’t mind saying goodbye to having a wedding in the very popular months of June and July, you have a good chance of being able to have your cake and eat it, too. Here’s a few things to keep in mind as you throw your dart at the list of possible off-season wedding dates.
Vendors are Often Cheaper During Less Popular Months
Let’s face it: a top-rated caterer isn’t going to have trouble getting business in June. Nor is a baker. But if you have your wedding in November, you’re going to have more options available, as well as more flexibility when negotiating your prices.
Keep in mind that when it comes to services like your florist, opting for in-season arrangements is going to help keep the prices low. Bankrate recommends being reasonable when speaking to vendors. Don’t demand a discount; explain what your budget is for their particular service, and see if they can meet you on it.
Hope for the Best Weather, Plan for the Extremes
There are some very warm, pleasant days in months like April and October that are perfect for a wedding. However, these months can experience a lot of variance and you may have 60 degrees and sunny weather one day, 40 degrees and biting wind the next.
If you planned on having an indoor wedding anyway -- or, you’re okay with having tents available in case of foul weather -- then these dates can be perfect for you. Note: popular wedding months will also vary depending on where your wedding will be. May and October, for example, are quite popular wedding months in the Midwest.
Avoid Popular Weekends on the Off-season
Not surprisingly, you won’t get a lot of good deals around Valentine’s Day, even though February is a fairly low key month; not only are you competing with other couples, but you’re also going to be competing with a lot of general “Valentine’s day” parties and celebrations, which will drive up the price for services like reception halls and florists. The Knot has a handy list of wedding dates you should avoid in 2016, 2017, and 2018 if you’re trying to be frugal.
Seasonal Deals Will Keep Things Cheap
So you’re decided to have your wedding in March, or maybe November. What’s next? Keep in mind that the time of year can also affect your ability to nab lower prices. New wedding gown styles typically come out in the spring, which means that many stores are looking to move out older merchandise in winter.
Sample sales are also a great way to get a low priced dress and potentially save hundreds of dollars -- just make sure to examine what you’re buying. Bridal Guide explains that you’ll want to carefully examine the hemming as well as look for smudges and stains, before you lay down the deposit.
This same mentality can extend to other aspects of your wedding. If you want to give your reception guests cute mittens as a “thank you” gift, buying them as they go out of season in March could mean spending $1 per pair, instead of the full price of $5 once it gets closer to your winter wedding date.
Check Out Off-season Rates for Local Hotels
Having an off-peak wedding is a great way to help your guests save money, too. You won’t be asking them to pay top dollar for your hotel block because you decided to have a beach wedding in August. Make sure, though, that your weekend doesn’t overlap with popular local conventions or events, as this could drive up the price for everyone. USA Today has a list of some of the cheapest hotel weeks for popular U.S. cities.
Are you planning an off-season wedding? Keep these 5 tips in mind and you should be able to have a wedding that both you and your budget can appreciate.