Looking for the perfect day to say "I do"? It can be a little more complicated than it seems. You're not only competing with other couples for similar products and services, ranging from venues to caterers to photographers, but also trying to get a good deal.
Balancing these objectives can be challenging, but it's doable. Read on as wedding experts share their choose-a-date strategies.
When Tracy Volkmann got married on Dec. 31, 2015, in Rochester, New York, she loved her holiday nuptials, explaining that the event was beautiful and she saved cash on design.
"I got married on New Year's Eve, and it was not only a fabulous day to celebrate with friends and family, but it also meant that my now-husband and I spent very little on decorations and flowers," she says.
Their church was already decked out for Christmas, and their hotel reception venue was also decorated for the holidays.
"The only decor we added ourselves at the reception venue were centerpieces on each table," Volkmann says, noting that the venue's other adornments were fun and festive for photos.
Some of the most sought-after wedding dates every year are holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve. Deals are sometimes available on these dates, but overall, the costs are typically higher than they would be for a wedding on a non-peak day.
"Don't pick around Christmas, Mother's Day or Valentine's Day, as flowers are super inflated due to demand," says Jacqueline Goldman of J Morgan Flowers, noting that flowers are in high demand every holiday weekend.
Even prom season can elevate prices for food, flowers and photography. Avoiding these busy times can keep costs low.
*Popular = Pricey
If you want to save money, don't marry on a Saturday.
"Based on supply and demand, the most expensive days to get married are Saturdays," says Chris Cluff, vice president of business development at Duffy's Tavern & Grill, a restaurant and event center in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. "Not only do we charge an additional event fee on Saturdays but also our food minimum is higher. All other days of the week are less expensive, with a lower event fee and food minimum."
Choose an off day, when products and services have less volume.
"You might cut your costs a little bit by hosting a wedding on a Friday or Sunday, but you would significantly cut your costs by getting married Monday to Thursday," says wedding planner Janice Carnevale of Bellwether Events.
Forget a plated sit-down dinner (the most expensive meal option) and choose something that's elegant but more affordable.
"Daytime weddings are usually shorter, and guests eat lighter and drink less, saving you on labor and food/beverage costs," says Carnevale, who suggests hosting a brunch or lunch reception. "There can be lower demand for daytime events, which means overall you can often get better rates."
Some days are already in demand for the date alone. This year, lots of couples are getting hitched on Saturday, Aug. 18. That's 8/18/18. Three Sundays in 2018 -- in February, March and November -- happen on the 18th of the month, too.
In 2019, Jan. 19 and Oct. 19 -- both on Saturdays -- are coveted, too, as is Sunday, May 19. Planning ahead? Saturday, June 20, 2020, is going to be popular. That same year, Sept. 20 and Dec. 20 fall on Sundays.
The royal wedding is making a splash in the wedding world, even on this side of the globe. Many couples want to share something with Prince Harry and his bride, Meghan Markle. That grand affair is happening May 17, 2018, a Thursday.
If your schedule isn't set, work with vendors, including venues, to snag the best deals.
"I always suggest being flexible, and if you fall in love with a venue, to get a good deal, ask them what date they want to fill," says Goldman.
Summer and fall are popular times to marry. So consider getting hitched during an off season, too -- for example, January or February, especially in cold climates. Business might be slow for local vendors, who might be able to offer significant discounts.
Kristen Castillo is a three-time Emmy Award-winning journalist. An editor and writer for wedding magazines, she's written hundreds of wedding articles, as well as an e-book, "Weddings on a Dime."