Weddings can be expensive. In fact, the average wedding cost in the United States is $25,200, according to CostOfWedding .com. Most couples spend somewhere between $18,900 and $31,500. But your summer wedding doesn’t have to be so pricey. There are ways to use the season to cut costs.
In some locations, a summer wedding could be cheaper.
“People are often surprised that in some regions like the North East, July and August are actually considered low season for weddings. Compared to the beautiful weather of June and September, many couples choose to avoid the peak of summer for their nuptials. Since the demand is a little lower during this time of year, some venues and hotels will have lower prices than during their peak seasons. And, there is a little bit more room for negotiation,” Viva Max Kaley, NY-based wedding planner and creator of Viva Max Weddings.
Another way to save is to start planning early. So if you are looking to wed next summer, start now. “No matter how you slice it, weddings take time to plan,” Kaley points out. “If you have a busy work and life schedule, it is helpful to get an early start at planning so you can calmly space out the tasks you need to accomplish. Budget-wise, it is helpful to start early. If you do a fast wedding, that just means the date of your deposit and your final payment are much closer together and you won’t have time to gather funds in between. For some people, collecting all those funds within a few months can be stressful.”
You will have to make your decisions early, especially, when it comes to venues. “Venues begin to book up a year in advance so choosing your venue well in advance affords you more choice. The more flexible you are about your date and vision, the later you can wait to book your space. But keep in mind that choosing your venue is the most time- consuming and difficult part of the planning,” notes Kaley. “Site visits can really cut into your work and life schedules. Once your space is booked, you can breathe a little easier and book the rest of your vendors anywhere from a year to a month out from your event. If you are booking a vendor that can only do one wedding a day, then the sooner you contact them the more likely you will score the date.”
As far as location, cut costs by having a venue do double duty. “Hold your ceremony and reception at the same location. This reduces the cost of travel between the two locations and allows for some flexibility if, for example, a summer storm passes by,” advises Kaley.
Be honest with your vendors about your budget. Most often they will try to find ways to work with you. “If you love a vendor and their prices are too high for your budget, I recommend telling the vendor what you can afford and ask them what they can offer you for that price point or offer up a suggestion of another, similar vendor that may suit your budget better. For example, if a photographer is $5,000 and you only have $4,000 in your budget, ask them how they can adjust their package to accommodate your budget — or perhaps they are willing to take a pay cut since they have always wanted to shoot that venue, or perhaps they can offer their associate photographer to shoot the wedding and they still edit the photos to your liking. There are usually options, since these are often small businesses that are trying to value their services and make a profit,” explains Kaley.
But choose your vendors wisely. “If you think a vendor is taking advantage of you financially or not respecting your budget, I suggest you stop bargaining and find a different vendor,” explains Kaley. “Trust is the most important part of hiring vendors for your wedding day – if the negotiating process has compromised that trust, just walk away and find another amazing person that gets you and your budget.”
Planning a summer wedding will also allow you to scale back on the food. “Guests don’t need a huge heavy meal in the peak of summer heat. Keep your menu light and trim, and your guests won’t miss that extra course or side dish,” suggests Kaley. “Keep your bar menu limited. Guests are often hot and dehydrated in the summer so a glass of wine, beer and maybe a fun item like a pitcher of summer sangria is plenty. You can prepare sangria or punch in advance using reasonably-priced ingredients and serve it all night.”
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