Once upon a time, couples only got married in the spring. On Saturdays. In the evening. These days? Not so much. Savvy brides are realizing they can save serious cash by tying the knot during a less-traditional day, time, or season—say, a Friday evening in November or a Sunday brunch in March.
A Sunday brunch, for example, will save mucho moolah on food and drink. “Because waffles and egg concoctions are much more affordable than surf and turf,” says Brigid Horne-Nestor of i-do Weddings & Events. Even the bar tab—mimosas and Bloody Marys—will be cheaper than whiskey and martinis.
If your heart’s set on Saturday, choosing an early-day reception will give you the biggest bang on your venue, particularly if the reception is over by 4 p.m. and the venue can book another event after yours.
But going against the grain also has some drawbacks. A Sunday brunch reception, for example, won’t set the mood for a raging dance party. Likewise, a Sunday evening wedding will likely end early in the night. Opting for a Friday wedding means a Thursday rehearsal dinner, which is ideal for nabbing an incredible dinner venue, but not so great for bridal party members needing to take another day off work.
And yes, you can certainly get around these setbacks by choosing a holiday weekend (like the Sunday of Labor Day weekend), but guests might be a little miffed that you’re encroaching on prime vacation time.
Now, if you want to be really thrifty, Horne-Nestor says skip the Fridays and Sundays altogether and think off-season instead, like January, February, March, or even November. “Transportation vendors are definitely going to be more willing to work with you” on negotiating a deal in these months, and you’ll have a much wider selection of available venues—particularly if you’re working with a shorter timeline.
It’s unlikely that vendors like photographers will budge on their bottom line, but they might throw in complimentary extras like a free engagement session or an extra hour of shooting.
Above all, remember the golden rule of wedding planning: It never hurts to ask.