Special to OneWed from Carrie Kirby of Frugalista
I got engaged over the holidays, back in 1996. My parents got engaged over the holidays, back in 1969. So I’m thinking, maybe you got engaged over the holidays!
Yes? Congratulations. You are probably thinking about what date a year or so in the future would be a good day to get married. Let me put forth an unpopular suggestion: Get married right after Christmas. It will save you money and give you a good excuse to dump your future children on their grandparents during their school break in years to come. There are a few cons to a holiday-season wedding, but first let me list the many ways this choice saved us money:
➢ Travel. We got married in my hometown, and our guest list was full of high school and college friends who were also from the region. At the time of our wedding, they were living all over the country, but most of them had flown in to spend Christmas with their families, making our wedding a freebie for them. In fact, my fiancé and I were living very far away from my hometown, in Beijing, China. If we’d had our wedding at another time of year, we wouldn’t have been able to afford an extra trip for Christmas.
➢ Décor. Our wedding date was Dec. 27. Our colors were midnight blue and silver. During the last few days leading up to Christmas, my mother and I hit up Michael’s and other stores and picked up all kinds of silvery stuff, like bows and angel hair and twinkling silver lights, for half price. Perhaps it wasn’t the most sophisticated décor, but on our budget, the alternative was paper bells hanging from the ceiling and I wasn’t going to go there.
➢ Décor, Part II. We also saved on flowers
because the church was still decorated with poinsettias for Christmas.
When we announced our engagement at a Christmas party, we briefly considered New Year’s Eve a year hence as our wedding date. We discarded that idea when we realized we’d have to pay a premium to shut down a venue for our private event – if we were able to get a venue at all. But during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, practically no place is booked and if you bargain for a discount, the odds are in your favor.
➢ Holiday Discounts. We bought our wedding bands
at the last minute during a holiday sale at the jewelry store. Now, I am no jewelry expert and I realize we still probably overpaid just because retailers put huge markups on this stuff. But still, we paid less than we would have for the same set at that store at another time of year. Your guests, too, may be able to get particularly good deals on your wedding gifts at this time of year – and in the future you can get your spouse’s anniversary gift during after-Christmas sales.
The cons to a holiday-season wedding are mostly non-financial:
➢ The last few weeks of planning will not be the easiest because many of the people you’re trying to work with – the officiator, the florist, the musicians -- may be tied up with their holiday plans.
➢ If you live in a northern climate like I do, a snowstorm could cause no-shows.
➢ Daylight for photos is limited.
The one thing about our wedding date that fluctuates between pro and con is our anniversary. A Dec. 27 anniversary can very easily get lost in the shuffle – my husband and I don’t have a lot of mind space to devote to thinking of a gift for one another, and many years we are sleeping in the guest room of one of our parents’ homes on that date, which is less than romantic. We’ve sometimes had a hard time finding an open restaurant at which to celebrate, especially if, like this year, the date falls on a Monday.
On the other hand, my husband usually has that week off from work, so we have been able to have a few anniversary getaways over the years. No one in our family ever forgets our anniversary, and we probably get more congratulations, gifts and cards since we tend to be around the family when the date comes along. And we almost always have a sitter available, since we are staying with family anyway.
Carrie Kirby lives in Chicago and blogs about the frugal life at Frugalista.
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