While wedding planning is fun, it can also be stressful when you start thinking about the budget. You might have a small budget overall, or you may just not want to spend a ton of money on a location. Either way, there are ways around the extreme cost of a venue.
Setting your wedding date for a time of the year that is “off-season” for weddings is one of the best things you can do for your budget. Here is everything you need to know about the cheapest months to have a wedding.
What is the cheapest month to have a wedding?
In general, the cheapest month to have a wedding is January. The off-season for weddings includes January, February, March, April, November and December. These are the cheapest months to get married because venues offer off-season discounts with the exception of holiday weekends in February and December.
Venues and vendors are typically cheaper during these months because of a low volume of bookings. According to the Knot, only 5% of weddings are booked during the winter. The exception to this rule is if you want to get married on Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve, when venues typically charge a premium. As you can imagine, those are romantic holidays and many couples fall in love with the idea of exchanging vows on Valentine’s Day or sharing their first kiss at Midnight on New Year’s.
With some venues, you can get the cost lowered even more if you have your wedding on a weekday or a Sunday. Saturdays are more popular for a wedding date, so venues that are specifically for weddings offer customers a lower price on other days to get more bookings overall.
What times of the year should I avoid setting a wedding date?
Especially if you are cost-conscious, you will want to avoid popular wedding dates like summer months, early fall, and holiday weekends. You will also want to avoid special numbered dates. For example “2.22.22” or “2.3.23”. There are a lot of brides who think of these kinds of dates as lucky.
If you are getting married in the winter, most dates will be cheap. But you will want to avoid dates like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. These are days where venues and vendors really jack up the price.
I talked to bride Calli, who got married in 2021 in November. She originally had her heart set on a New Year’s Eve wedding, but the venue cost would have been astronomical. “We really wanted a New Year’s Eve wedding since that’s the first time we ever kissed, but the venue we wanted would have been triple the price of doing it on a less desirable day, not to mention the price of catering.”
How to find off-season wedding venues
If you’ve decided you want to have an off-season wedding, there are still many options for venues and vendors. As long as there is indoor space, wedding-specific venues will offer off-season dates at a lower price.
Try searching on Google for “off-season wedding venue near me” or your ideal location. You’ll come up with a number of search results with venues that have dedicated packages for off-season weddings. You can also do a search for “brunch wedding venue near me.”
Carlee, who will be getting married on Friday the 13th of January in 2023, chose her wedding date because it cut the cost of the venue way down. “Our venue in downtown Cary, North Carolina, was perfect, and it was already below our budget for a venue in the wedding season. By choosing an off-season month and on a weekday, we are only paying $3,400 for the space, when in the summer it would have been about $6,000.”
Are other vendors cheaper in the off-season for a wedding?
Wedding venues themselves may be cheaper in the off-season. But other vendors such as photographers, caterers, and florists may or may not offer the same kinds of discounts. Let’s explore each one.
Photography packages may be cheaper during the off-season. Because their business is also seasonal and they are less busy during the off-season you may find more available photographers who are willing to offer a discounted package. So if you’ve had your eye on a really in-demand photographer, they may be easier to book in the winter and more in line with your budget.
However, this really depends on what the photographer does with their off-season. If they are typically booked up with newborn photos, family photos, Christmas photos or other types of packages that pick up in the winter, then their time may not be freer after all. That means they have no incentive to lower their price.
Because caterers can be kept busy year-round with a variety of events – weddings, holidays, and corporate events – it’s harder to get the price of a food vendor down any time of the year. Plus the cost of food is a fixed price that doesn’t fluctuate with the seasons. So their hard costs for their services won’t decrease.
The same is true for florists. They have several other big holidays in the off months. Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, for example. And they keep florists pretty busy throughout the year. And the costs of florals are still there. So don’t expect many discounts from florists for your off-season wedding.
Is there a cheaper time of day to have a wedding?
Most weddings take place closer to traditional dinner time. So you might be able to swing a discounted rate if you have your ceremony and reception earlier in the day.
Lunch or brunch is a cheaper time of day to have a wedding at most venues. At some venues, they’ll offer cheaper day time or tea time wedding packages. Some venues only host one wedding per day. At those venues you might not get a discount on the package. But you’ll still likely save money on food and alcohol.
Food options for brunch and lunch are typically less expensive. Waffles and omelets are not exactly the same price as prime rib. Guests will also expect and drink less alcohol. You can have a spectacular wedding brunch with just a mimosa bar or a champagne toast. And skip the open bar without upsetting anyone.
You can also have a shorter wedding overall, since things won’t stretch into the wee hours of the morning. In fact, there’s a fun tradition around day time weddings called cake and punch receptions. You can read more about cake and punch receptions here.
What are the pros and cons of an off-season wedding?
If you’re considering having a wedding during the winter, here are some pros and cons you should consider.
Pro – An off-season wedding may be cheaper for guests!
Travel costs from out of town will be reduced during off-peak travel times. Airlines are notorious for their January deals, as are hotels and other accommodations. The exception is if you’re getting married in a ski town that has its busiest season in the winter.
Pro – Save on wedding decorations by buying them secondhand.
You can get good deals on decorations from brides who had their weddings in the summer or fall. Most brides sell their stuff cheap on Facebook Marketplace or at yard sales.
Pro – Take advantage of Black Friday deals and Post-Holiday discounts for wedding supplies.
Another way to save money on items is by well-timed shopping. You could, of course, do this if your wedding is in the summer. Items don’t go bad. But who wants a cluttered apartment for six months? Not only will it be top of mind for you since your wedding day is close at hand. But you won’t have to store wedding decor for 6-8 months.
Pro – Unique, original wedding photos
Because getting married in the winter months is less popular, you’ll have a unique opportunity to take different wedding photos than the average bride. Playing in the snow, walking in the changing leaves, or holding a bouquet of winter-loving flowers, will make for one-of-a-kind photos you’ll treasure forever.
Pro – Less competition for your preferred vendors
That photographer, florist, stationer, wedding planner and other wedding professionals may have more availability in the winter months. Meaning you have a higher chance of booking your first choice!
Con – There’s a higher chance of bad weather ruining your wedding day.
The biggest one to worry about is inclement weather. Not only could it put a damper on your special day, but it can also cause flight delays and other transportation mishaps for you or your guests.
Con – It may be hard for guests to get time off.
For some, the winter months can be difficult to get time off. If they’ve just taken time off for the holidays, then taking another few days off can be challenging. It’s also a busy season for many workplaces compared to the summer months which can be slower. That may mean you have some guests who can’t make it to your wedding.
Con – Your wedding wardrobe might be different than you imagined.
If you love the look of adding a white shawl or coat on top of your wedding dress then this isn’t a con for you. But if you’re envisioning showing off a strapless gown, you may be disappointed when you realize that you may need a coat, gloves, or tights in order to be comfortable.
Con – You’ll need to make sure your guests aren’t cold.
If your venue or any part of your wedding ceremony or reception isn’t inside a well-insulated room, your guests might be a bit chilly. You may be hoping for a nice warm day in March and plan an outdoor ceremony but actually get an unseasonably cold or wet Spring day. Or maybe you live in a place that’s typically balmy in January but get hit with a sudden ice storm! Make sure you have a plan B for heaters, blankets, and warm beverages if any part of your wedding is outside or in a location that isn’t very warm like a barn.
It will be a magical time whenever you decide to have your wedding. It might feel even more magical if you can get a good deal on a venue during the off-season! If having a wedding in January, February, March, April, November or December sounds like a good idea to you, then you might just score a cheaper best day of your life.