Off-Season Wedding Planning Tips to Save Your Budget
Have you considered a Winter wedding? By choosing a month outside of the May to October high season, it will make a huge difference in how far you can stretch your budget. The high demand during these peak months mean wedding services like florists, caterers, venues etc. can charge you higher prices. And depending how far you book ahead, you might not be able to secure your number one choice for these services. One solution to this problem is to have a Winter or off-season wedding. I can tell you from personal experience, there are many benefits to this plan! Here are a few ideas and tips on how a Winter wedding can save you money and guarantee you get your number one choice for everything.
Tip #1) Have Your Winter Wedding After the Holidays (Avoid Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day):
- Venues will jump at the chance to host your wedding, as this is their slow season. Feel free to negotiate on prices, many venues will want to keep the business and be lenient on pricing. Our venue waived the venue fee ($400) and brought their price down on some of the food items. As with most wedding professionals this will be the case, so don't be afraid to ask.
- Many of the costs involved in planning a wedding can be cut substantially if you are willing to take on some of the work yourself, as with many wedding items you are paying for a service as much as the end product itself. Keep in mind and benefit from seasonal sales, there are always amazing deals on and after boxing day. There were these hanging crystals that I had my heart set on using in my centrepieces that were $4 a piece so I passed. I just happen to check the price a few days after boxing day while out shopping and they were on sale for $1.50!
- If your venue had any decorations up around the holidays that work well with your decor, ask if they would mind keeping them up until after your wedding. The cost is in the set up so if they're already there, they most likely won't charge you…be clear on that though.
- Most of your friends and family will have some time off on or around the holidays, this is a great time to ask for help. Make sure you make it fun. If they're coming over to help, provide snacks and cocktails and have some fun music playing so it seems less like a chore.
- You won't have to worry about rain ruining your hair and pictures, if it snows, it will only enhance the beauty of your surroundings.
- Having a Winter wedding is also a great excuse to go on a hot Winter vacation to celebrate your anniversary each year!
Tip #2) Choose flowers and food that are in season:
image from Forever Photography
- Fruits, veggies and flowers are all more affordable when they are in season. They usually look and taste better too. Ask your caterer and florist to work with you to try to find out what is in season that will work with your ideas. Ask about local options too, you often pay a lot less for things that are grown locally.
- For flowers, ask your florist which blooms will stand up in the cooler temperatures. You don't want your beautiful bouquet to wilt half way through the day while taking pictures.
- By choosing flowers and natural elements that are in season, you are also bringing a bit of the season into your wedding. In the Fall we gathered a ton of really nice branches that we ended up adding to our centrepieces and hanging little crystal snowflakes off of. It was a nice seasonal touch to our wedding decor. Check out this Wedding Flower Finder Tool to help you find what is in season.
Tip #3) Choose One Location:
- Depending on where you live, but usually in Winter the weather conditions for driving are a little less predictable. We opted to have our ceremony and reception in the same location to cut down on the amount of driving our guests would have to do. This actually ended up saving us a ton of money. We didn't have to pay fees for two locations, nor did we have to decorate two separate locations.
Tip #4) Any Season Money Savers:
- Skip favors and opt to have a candy or dessert buffet. On the dessert table, let them know instead of favours, to enjoy the candy. You can even have little personalized treat bags for them to fill up and take home. And if you don't think that is enough, donate to a local charity that has special meaning to you and leave a sign by the candy table to let people know.
- Serve signature cocktails during cocktail hour, allow for a few options. This will cut down on your booze bill without guests even realizing that is what you are doing. Stick to wine, beer and signature cocktails for the rest of the night or open up the bar after cocktail hour, totally up to you. Keep in mind, booze is often one of the most expensive items in your budget.
- Do a special dessert like cupcakes, macaroons or donuts instead of a traditional cake. Most venues serve a dessert with the meal, separate from the cake. If you opt out of the dessert and have them just serve your wedding cake they will still charge you a cutting and plating fee. Instead tell them you would like to skip it all together and just have cupcakes. Guests who still feel like eating after their big meal can come and grab a cupcake whenever they please. Cupcakes are great because you don't have to worry about plates or utensils (no additional fees from your venue).
These are just a few of the ideas we utilized for our big day, we hope they help you plan the wedding of your dreams...on budget. If you have any other ideas that we missed, we would love you to share them with us on our Facebook page. And if you're looking for some Freebies to help you cut some of your costs, here are a few we think you will enjoy:
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