You want your wedding to be an incredible, unforgettable experience, but does that mean you need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a single, 24-hour period? Most Americans think it does. The average wedding costs about $30,000.
If that makes you blanch – if you want to strike a balance between budgeting and throwing the wedding of the year – consider getting married in the winter. Out-of-season nuptials offer many different cost-cutting perks to keep you, your guests, and your wallet really happy.
Common wedding venues are jam-packed from April through October, but once winter arrives, the pace of reservations slows down. So, many places offer winter discounts to encourage couples to hold their weddings during the slow season.
This means that you’ll not only have an easier time booking the wedding venue of your dreams, but you’ll have the upper hand to select discounts or even negotiate pricing. It’s not uncommon to find 10% or 15% discount deals in December, January, and February, which equates to thousands of dollars.
Vendors do the same thing. From your photographer to the DJ or band to the florist, you have a better chance of snagging lower prices for the same services, and more flexibility too. When you combine these savings with the lower cost of your wedding venue, you can shave an impressive amount off of your original “in-season” wedding price tag.
Fewer Out-of-Pocket Decoration Costs
Winter is an exciting time to hold a wedding because the season naturally caters to decorating already. Pine cones and branches, wreaths, and holly berries are affordable or even free if you already have them on hand.
Better yet, most venues put up their own decorations during the winter season, from Christmas trees to strings of lights. These decorations will automatically fit right into your ceremony or reception, and you’ll benefit from their beauty without actually paying a dime. This strategy saves big money on expensive flowers that, sadly, don’t last long past the final toast of the night.
You can cut wedding costs significantly by giving your guests seasonal, heartfelt DIY favors instead of expensive Jordan almonds or sunglasses. Hot chocolate kits, personalized gloves, and tree ornaments are just a few of the ideas you can use to create meaningful, useful favors at a fraction of the cost.
Clever Saving Hacks
Of course, you can always use the free savings apps on your phone to trim your wedding costs as well.
Ibotta for iPhone and Android offers real cashback on the purchases you already make every day, including groceries, clothing, home, and travel. Whether you’re grabbing comfortable flip flops for your bridesmaids at Old Navy or stocking up on bottled water and snacks at Walmart, you can redeem your receipt on Ibotta and receive cashback on qualifying items. And a new “Pay with Ibotta” feature lets you buy directly through the app to earn more cashback on your entire purchase.
Ebates, also known as Rakuten, uses the same premise. Get up to 40% cashback at over 2,5000 stores without any points, fees, or forms. Stores simply pay Rakuten a commission for sending you their way, and Rakuten generously shares these commissions in the form of cold, hard cash. You can even score cashback through sites like Expedia, which means up to 6% back on your honeymoon purchase. Download it here for iPhone or Android.
Qapital for iOS – only on Apple’s iPhone for now – is a bit different from Ibotta or Ebates. It’s a money app designed to help you save for the future while still taking care of your immediate needs. As Google Play Store’s “Most Innovative App” of 2017, it’s definitely worth your time.
This app uses Goals and Rules to help you save faster without feeling like you’re forced to deprive yourself day-today. It offers pre-built portfolios for new investors, so you can save and invest without any guesswork. Sounds like a perfect way to invest some of the money hiding in those wedding cards.
Keep It Magical on a Budget
The bottom line? Winter weddings aren’t just magical and unique. You have the opportunity to cut costs at every corner when you select an out-of-season date. Not to mention, that warm weather honeymoon will feel even better in January.
Read about micro-investing and how to get started with our complete guide: Micro-Investing: What It Is, Why It’s for You and How to Start.