Wedding planning season is upon us! And the lion's share of your budget will go into your reception. Your wedding is a commodity and the economic reality of supply vs demand comes into play. After all, there are only 52 Saturday nights in a year. And there certain dates that venue and catering managers could book over and over again - and those dates can often command a premium.
Here are a few helpful hints for planning your reception that will help you keep your spending in check:
For every season: In the DC area, May and October are prime wedding months. Those Saturdays go early. And typically, venue bookings are light in January, February, March and the first of April. Summer can be tricky. In 2012 it was hotter than Hades in July - wedding guests who were planning 2013 nuptials remembered this and consequently July 2013 was wide open for a lot of venues. Looking at these "soft months" can actually save you money across the board with a lot of your wedding vendors. Remember, supply vs demand.
A date by another other day: Traditionally (and with the exception of the Jewish faith), Saturday has been wedding day. Going back to our economic principle of supply vs demand, a Saturday wedding is going to cost more than a Sunday afternoon or Friday evening. And depending on the out of town guest list, take a look at Thursdays for even more savings. The day on which your anniversary falls is going to change with the calendar, so if you want to save some bucks, don't get hung up on Saturday.
Anybody really know what time it is: Like days of the week, the time of day is also going to impact the cost of your wedding reception. An evening wedding will cost more than an afternoon one - both in venue rental and catering. After all, you can't have an evening wedding and not serve your guests dinner. An afternoon affair gives you leeway with the menu. And if you want something different, think wedding brunch. Both afternoon receptions and brunch weddings will save you money on your liquor bill as most people (the operative word being "most" for we all have friends who believe it's 5 o'clock somewhere) save the heavy partying for the nighttime.
Making the cut: Even when you factor in all of the above suggestions, the best way to save on your wedding reception is to take a good, hard look at your guest list. Fewer guests = lower cost. If money's tight, invite the "A team" to the wedding reception and, at a later date after your checkbook has recovered, consider hosting a cookout or brunch to celebrate your newlywed status with the rest of the gang.
And finally, you can put a wedding together on short notice. Enlisted personnel and pregnant brides do it all the time. Ethnic weddings are known for short planning calendars - you can't set a date until you know if friends and family from overseas have gotten travel visas. So be sure to check out our Venue Discount Days for special savings.