Adventures In Wedding Planning – When To Get Married

Now that you’ve done your budget, on to figuring out the all important date!

First thing to be aware of – the Wedding Season. This typically runs through the summer months and part of the Fall months. You’re looking at June – October. Since this is wedding season, prices for services and venues tend to go for a premium. If you are able to pay for this, great! You don’t have to worry about it.

If you’re like me and Clyde, we did sweat it. Our initial budget was $18,000 (ultimately, it came out to $27,000) and we made every penny count, literally. We decided on a date (I think it was October 23, 2011) as our initial date for our wedding. We got engaged in November 2010. That gave us 10 months to save. Clyde, my awesome husband, wanted to get married ASAP and hoped for a June wedding. I was like “Uh….I love you too and want to get married just as quick but we can’t afford it”. * sigh * So hard to say no to my man.

Whatever your date of marriage was, make sure you give yourselves enough time to save. What I DID NOT DO was figure out how much an average wedding cost. Luckily for you guys, I posted the United States average figure on the last post.

The reason why you want to figure out your date first is so that you can call potential venues to ask if they’re available on that day and what it would cost.

Any day is a good day as long as we’re together.

Here are the tips I would like to give you when looking for a venue. Keep in mind, this is for Los Angeles but the theory is good for anywhere :

Be Flexible

“Off” season months are the most budget friendly for engaged couples. That’s because most people want the summer / early fall months and will pay the premium. We did not want to which worked out for us because we scored a GREAT DEAL on our venue.

I went into every meeting at every venue saying the October date was our date of choice but I made it clear that we were flexible with our date if the venue was able to give us a better deal on another date.

Our final venue was able to do that for us (they had a special for 50% OFF their food and beverage minimum if we got married in December!!!!) so we obviously jumped on that and moved our wedding back.

Saturday Afternoon

If you have your heart set on having your ceremony and reception on Saturday but can’t afford a Saturday evening reception, consider Saturday afternoon. Most venues will be willing to give you a better deal for a reception during this time because then they will book business for BOTH the afternoon AND the evening.

The added bonus about having your reception so early on a Saturday? You can entertain the guests your parents’ age in the afternoon, everyone gets to take a nap or have some downtime and then you guys can all party later on Saturday night!

Saturday Night

Saturday night receptions are the costliest. This is because everyone wants this day. Your out-of-town guests can come and enjoy the wedding while being able to make it to work without being hungover on Monday.

The only advice I can give to save money on Saturday evening receptions is to see if the venues will offer you a better rate if you have your wedding during an off season month.

That’s what we did. Our Saturday ceremony + evening reception was during the month of December. That’s usually not a popular month because it’s a holiday month but you never know about the venue you like unless you ask, right?

Friday and Sunday

These days are the most affordable because they’re awkward in the sense that planning for travel can get a little….sticky.

If you get married on a Friday afternoon, you’re basically asking your friends and family to call off sick from work to attend the ceremony. Friday night reception is do-able for the guests who live in town. For those out of town, it might interfere with their work schedule.

Sunday afternoon wedding + reception is quite affordable and doable. You have a brunch style reception which works out for most people and it’s reasonable in price. You also give them enough time to hopefully catch a flight out to go home if they’re from out of town and they can make it to work on Monday.

The only catch to a Sunday afternoon reception is for all the people who go to church on Sunday. That was the issue Clyde and I ran into because his family is totally hard-core Christian.

Sunday evening reception is a little tricky too because most evening receptions go on till 10 p.m. That might be hard for your out-of-town guests to catch a flight back home.

Long Weekends

I thought I would be a little sneaky by having our wedding on a Sunday over a long weekend.

Unfortunately, most of the venues I talked to said that they treat a Sunday evening reception the same as a Saturday evening reception if Monday is a nationally recognized holiday.

Again, this is only true of the Los Angeles venues I happened to talk to. You should call the venues you’re interested in to confirm.

Next time, we tackle the location.

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