So the day that you’ve been dreaming of planning most of your life has finally arrived.
What’s the snag?
You’re on a tight budget and everybody knows weddings aren’t cheap.
Pre-Covid, the average cost of a wedding ceremony and reception party was around $28,000 in the United States. The average cost of a wedding last year was $19,000. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean that weddings are now less expensive, but that people are throwing smaller events to follow safety regulations. The average cost of weddings is predicted to soar in the years to come as we adjust to a post-pandemic world.
We discuss the latest advice on when is the cheapest time to get married and throw in some top tips on how to save money on your big day.
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What is the cheapest time to get married?
The term ‘wedding season’ refers to all weddings that are held between late spring to early fall. Weddings peak from June to September when the weather is warmer, so avoid booking your wedding during these periods if you want to cut costs. The cheapest time to get married is either late spring or fall.
The cheapest month to get married will vary depending on your venue and vendor prices, however January to April and October to November are cheaper off-peak months to get married. Prices will spike again in December as many people dream of a festive-themed wedding ceremony.
Even the day of the week can affect how much money you need to part with to tie the knot. For example, getting married in July on a Saturday will impact your finances much more than a week-day wedding in the same month. If you are looking for the cheapest days to get married, a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday will get you a lower bill. There will be no late night entertainment or evening meal and drinks to provide as everyone will be heading home for work the next day.
If your heart is set on a weekend wedding, Sunday brunch celebrations is a wedding trend that is growing in popularity and has a slighter lower price tag.
What about the best time of day to tie the knot?
Traditionally, a wedding reception includes dinner for your guests as either a sit down meal or a buffet. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of a few complimentary drinks for each table. Unsurprisingly, food and drinks are one of the biggest expenses of a wedding.
Consider changing the time of your wedding and cut costs dramatically. Here are a few alternative options to think about:
- An early morning ceremony followed by a brunch. Breakfast food costs much less than a lunch or dinner spread. You can offer delicious fresh fruit, bread and pastries for a fraction of the price.
- A mid-afternoon ceremony with a cake reception. Rather than a full meal, offer cake with a chocolate fountain and plenty of fruit and pretzels for dipping.
- An early evening ceremony followed by a cocktail party and snacks. Cheese, crackers, fruit, vegetables and a selection of cocktails to try will keep your guests happy.
How to save money on your big day
Here are some smart hacks that you can make to save dollars on your wedding day.
Get appropriate insurance: it may seem like an unnecessary expense when planning your special day, but taking our wedding insurance is a smart financial move. In the case of an accident or unexpected illness, the insurance will help cover the costs to re-arrange without losing your deposit. It will also protect you from the possibility of wedding vendors failing to supply.
Bag a sample wedding dress: a wedding dress sample sale is not quite as glamourous as a standard bridal salon shopping session, but you will walk away with a perfectly good dress and more cash in your purse. Designers and boutiques offer dresses for up to 70% off the RRP during a sample sale. Once you’ve found a bargain dress that you’ve fallen in love with, inspect it closely for any damages. The nature of a sample sale is that the dresses on offer have been tried on by numerous brides and sat in the shop for a while. Most wear and tear can be fixed and you won’t ever know there was anything wrong with it. What’s not to love?
Hire a trainee photographer: professional photographers are pricey, whereas photography students will have the same eye for detail but will charge a fraction of the fee. Spend time looking through potential photographers’ portfolios and choose the person that represents your desired style the most. Students will be grateful for the experience and you’ll end up with photographs from your big day that didn’t eat up a large chunk of your budget.
Maximize your flower budget: it is possible to have gorgeous blooms on your big day without busting your budget with a few hacks. Add lots of foliage to your bouquets to add texture and depth. Branches are significantly cheaper than flowers and come in a variety of colors and sizes to achieve your desired look. Choosing bigger blooms will also mean that you need less of them, saving you money. Don’t forget to shop local and seasonal if you really want to save slash your wedding flower budget.
DIY stuff: making things for your wedding will not only add a personal touch to your day, but it will also save you a heap of cash. Invitations, favors, confetti party poppers, table names and numbers, guest books and room decorations are just a few items that can be made months in advance of your special day.
Call in favors from family and friends: Do you or your fiance have a mate with a fancy car? Does your aunt make amazing cakes? Don’t be afraid to ask people you know if they would be happy playing a part in your big day. Chances are they will be honored, but make sure you tell them it’s also OK to say no.
Ask guests to contribute to your honeymoon funds instead of buying gifts: unless a cupboard full of unused wedding gifts appeals to you, asking family and friends that want to spend money on your big day to contribute to your honeymoon is a smart move. They will be happy knowing they have made your dream possible and you will have a much smaller bill to pay.
Avoid the preferred suppliers list: when you book a venue, you will often be presented with a list of preferred suppliers that they recommend you use for your wedding. Whilst these come highly recommended, they also come at a price. Most venues will be happy for you to use your own caterer, DJ and bartender but check first. Be prepared to walk away from your first choice of venue if you feel pressured into only using preferred suppliers. Whilst getting your own means more work for you to research and compare quotes, the saving could be huge.
Planning a budget-friendly wedding
The cheapest time of year to get married might not be your first choice, or be as warm in out-of-season months as you’d like. Your guests may have to take some time off work for you to get married on a weekday, but your personal finances and future selves will thank you for a less expensive day.Take control of all aspects of your money and navigate the complicated world of homeownership with our ‘go-to’ resources for young people who want to be financially savvy.