If you got engaged over the holidays, by now you are probably deep in the throes of wedding planning. And for many of you, pricing out how much having your dream wedding is going to cost has put a somber note on this otherwise glorious time in your life. I mean really, who thought that weddings cost this much! I know I didn’t. In fact, most newly engaged couples have no idea how much the average Texas wedding costs (approximately $180 per person or $27,000 for a 150 person wedding). Yeah–let that sink in for a moment!
If you research how to save money on your wedding, you’ll be inundated with articles suggesting everything from serving only cake and champagne at your wedding reception to significantly cutting down your guest list. I, too, did my research and found these articles depressing. Many of the suggestions seemingly asked me to alter my wedding vision in some way, shape, or form.
But I’ve learned several wedding cost-cutting tips since I planned my own wedding and through my work as a wedding consultant. I want to share with you my best wedding budget hack that does not involve compromising your wedding vision (yes, you can still have that 300-person wedding with 10 bridesmaids and a sit-down dinner). Are you ready? Come close–Have your wedding on a non-Saturday evening.
Holding your wedding at any time other than Saturday evening can save you anywhere from 20% to 50%. Most venues offer discounted prices for non-Saturday evening weddings. Saturday day, Friday night, and Sunday weddings are typically discounted by at least 20% (hello Saturday brunch wedding!), while Monday through Thursday reservations can have as much as a 50% discount from the Saturday evening rate (a Wednesday wedding, why yes, please).
Additionally, many vendors will offer a discount to their clients for holding a wedding outside of the peak Saturday evening time block. Since vendors can “double book” (book more than one wedding in a weekend) when your wedding isn’t on a Saturday night, they may offer you some sort of savings.
But I know what you’re saying, “I really want a Saturday evening wedding so my guests are able to eat, drink, and dance the night away without having to be worried about school or work the next morning (read: nurse their hangovers).” Or here’s another one, “All my guests are coming from out of town, so I need to provide a travel cushion the day after the wedding.” Have no fear, there are several ways to make your non-Saturday evening wedding feel like one:
1. Have a Friday evening wedding. Your guests can party the night away without any obligations the next day.
2. Have a Sunday wedding that precedes a national holiday. This covers both the late-night partying guests and the guests traveling from out of town. Below are the federal holidays that fall on Monday each calendar year:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday – 3rd Monday in January
Presidents’ Day – 3rd Monday in February
Memorial Day – Last Monday in May
Labor Day – 1st Monday in September
Columbus Day – 2nd Monday in October
3. Have your wedding on the day or eve of a national holiday that falls on a weekday. This will allow you to take advantage of weekday pricing which is usually significantly reduced compared to weekend pricing.
New Year’s Day – January 1
Independence Day – July 4
Veterans Day – November 11
Thanksgiving Day – 4th Thursday in November
Christmas Day – December 25
While I know you might not think it ideal to share your wedding with a national holiday, it isn’t as unappealing as you might think. If your friends and family all typically gather for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays anyway, throwing a wedding in the mix can be a great celebration for everyone. Also, usually the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a very light week. Many people take off from work or have very light working schedules. Thus, a midweek wedding during this time can be a great idea and a huge money-saver.
One word of caution about holiday weddings: some venues and vendors actually increase their prices to work during holiday times. For instance, New Year’s Eve is a date when many venues raise their prices above their standard rates as demand can be very high. You want to steer clear of these venues and look at venues and vendors that will honor their off-Saturday night pricing regardless of its proximity to a holiday.
Bottom line, having a non-Saturday evening wedding is one of the best wedding budget tips for saving money on your wedding. And don’t worry if you can’t (or don’t want to) hold your wedding in conjunction with a holiday or offer a travel day for your out of town guests. Whatever you decide, your friends and family who love you and want to celebrate with you will make sure to be there for your special day.