Once you’ve celebrated your engagement and had some serious conversations about the wedding budget—including real talk with both families about how they might be able to contribute—it’s time to think about when and where you’ll be tying the knot. The wedding venue is a big-ticket item, so deciding where to have the event and how many guests to include will play a major role in determining that bottom line.
While researching dream wedding venues, many people wonder whether the time of year will help bring costs down. The simple answer is yes! Venue rates can vary widely by month, weeks, even days of the week, offering budget-savvy couples opportunities for significant cost savings.
We've asked our experts for the scoop on what time of year is considered peak wedding season for different regions across the U.S.—plus some tips for when venue rates will be at their most affordable.
When Is Wedding Season?
In general, wedding season extends from late spring and continues through early fall, with weddings peaking in June and September. Most venues—including those in destinations with year-round appeal such as California and Hawaii—have a peak (busiest) season and a low or off-peak season. Winter is often much cheaper, unless it's a December wedding when you'll be competing with holiday parties for those much-desired dates. Of course, the location of the venue has a huge impact on when prices rise and fall.
The Midwest, Southwest, and the South
In these regions, spring and fall are typically considered peak wedding season, as temperatures are comfortable compared to the sometimes sweltering heat of July and August. These are considered off-peak months—unless the vows will be held at one of the lakefront venues in the Midwest, which are at their busiest during the summer.
With mild temperatures and predictably sunny days, winter is actually a desirable time of year to get married in the Southwest, as well as coastal destinations in Florida. On the other hand, outside of the holidays, a winter wedding in the Midwest will definitely score off-peak venue rates.
For brides eyeing mountain venues—from the Rockies, Sierra Nevadas, and the Cascades in the West to the White Mountains, Adirondacks, and Blue Ridge Mountains out East—summer months are peak wedding season as venues at altitude promise generally comfortable temperatures and a plethora of activities to keep guests entertained. Look to spring and fall dates to score off-peak rates.
Spring is less desirable as the snowmelt (and chance of late-season snow) makes an alfresco wedding a little tricky. Fall, however, can be quite comfortable, and the colors of the season make for a stunning backdrop! Couples on a budget should skip winter as hotel rooms and travel prices can skyrocket during ski season.
The Northeast and East Coast
In these regions, late spring and early fall are considered prime wedding season as they're predictably the mildest (and often some of the prettiest) times of the year. Summers can be hot and humid—although waterfront weddings in destinations like Newport, Rhode Island do benefit from a lovely ocean breeze—and winters can be incredibly cold and snowy.
If prepared to face the chill—or cheat Mother Nature by having the ceremony and reception indoors, whether at a lush botanical conservatory or even at the same hotel where guests are staying—you'll definitely be able to score a deal in January, February, and March.
It’s not just venues that are more affordable in the off-season; many vendors will also offer lower prices or are open to negotiation during slow seasons. Don’t go in expecting a huge discount—they do still need to be fairly paid for their work—but it never hurts to ask if there's any wiggle room, given the date of the wedding.
One last perk: An off-season wedding could be a big money-saver for wedding guests. If they’re traveling to your wedding during a time that isn’t the destination’s high season, flights and hotel rooms will be nowhere near their peak rates. Of course, keep an eye out for local events in the area, as well as holidays that might fall on or near the same weekend. Avoid major conventions, sporting events, and holidays, and your out-of-town guests will be able to reap the benefits of an off-season wedding, too.