If you’re working on a tight budget but still want to have your dream wedding, then maybe the secret lies in being more selective in when you have your big day
We all know the feeling when we try to book something in peak season. The cost of that Ryanair or Aer Lingus flight to the sun is way higher in July and August (when the kids are off school), but try again a month or so later and you’ll find where the real deals are.
It’s the same when it comes to planning what you’re going to select as your wedding entertainment.
But does it have to be this way? I’ve put together a few suggestions as to how you can have all the sizzle of a peak-season wedding – but at a bargain price!
Do you really need a summer wedding?
I meet hundreds of brides and grooms each year, and whenever I ask them why they’ve chosen a particular time of year for their big day, the most common answer is ‘for the photographs’. But think about it for a minute. Ireland is renowned for dodgy weather – regardless of the time of year. So choosing a June wedding is no more a guarantee of sunshine than a January wedding.
And what it if does rain on your wedding day? The vast majority of wedding venues will have an indoor space, or perhaps a sheltered outdoor area, specifically for such an eventuality. And bear in mind that your guests will be indoors for most of the day at your wedding whether at the meal or enjoying the entertainment afterwards.
Be careful when choosing your day of the week.
It may seem a tad odd, but most hotel venues charge a premium for certain days of the week, based on how many people are looking for that day. Try to book for a Friday and you’ll see exactly what I mean. And yes, I know that lots of people choose Friday as it means that the bridal party and their guests can make a weekend of it, but would it really be a major big deal if you opted for a Monday, for example? Your close friends will still take time off work to celebrate with you – and remember that you’ll probably be giving them lots of advance warning.
Do your entertainers have an off-peak rate?
Quite a few entertainers – from your DJ to your band to your magician – may well have a period of the year when they’re less busy than at others. If this is the case, why not ask them if they’ll do you an off-peak rate for January or February, when things are traditionally a bit quiet in the entertainment world. I, for one, am totally happy to discuss a better rate for the first two months of the year.
Are your favourite flowers in season?
One of the things that brides spend a lot of thought on is the colour theme of the wedding, and their choice of flowers is obviously a critical component of this. But bear in mind that your favourite flowers are liable to be more or less expensive depending on whether they’re naturally in season. If not, they’ll have to be imported from sunnier climates and the end result will be a far heftier bill for your flowers.
If you’re getting married overseas, what about the cost of flights?
More and more people these days seem to be getting married overseas. I’ve two points to make about this. First of all, you’ll tend to have a smaller wedding party, which will drive your overall cost down significantly. Distant relations tend not to travel, so you’re left with a hardcore of friends and family that really matter to you. Also, you’ll probably find that overseas venues offer significantly better value than their Irish counterparts – particularly for things like wine to accompany the wedding meal.
The second point to make is that everyone who’s travelling will need to book flights out and back. If you plan your wedding in high summer, therefore, everybody will be forced to shell out top dollar for their travel. So why not do everyone a favour and make sure you avoid July and August.
So what’s the bottom line? Well, from a long period of activity in the area of ideas for wedding entertainment, my take on this is that you could easily save a cool five grand at the very minimum – simply by opting for a time of the year and a time of the week when things are that bit more affordable.
And think what a great honeymoon you could have with those savings. Maybe head off to your true dream destination rather than compromising on something more ho-hum. Or perhaps travel for a week or two longer?
And all because you were savvy enough to check the calendar when booking your wedding!