By Wendy Mihm | Wednesday November 10, 2010
If you are planning a wedding, then you already know that it can quickly become an expensive affair. And if your heart is set on a destination wedding, that presents a whole separate set of budgetary challenges.
To keep your wedding on a budget, some who dole out financial advice will recommend that you get married during off-peak season. It sounds logical, but for warm weather destinations like Hawaii, Mexico or the Florida Keys that can translate into incredibly hot, sticky weather, tropical rainstorms, or even bug swarms in some areas! If you’re planning a ski destination, this can result in too many muddy boots and too few double black diamonds. Probably not what you’re dreaming of.
What you may not have heard of that can save you money is the often overlooked and frequently negotiable “almost-off-peak,” or “shoulder season.” The shoulder season is the time that is right between the “peak” and the “off-peak” season. You will not see it advertised, because it does not formally exist.
For example, let’s say you want to have your destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. During your research, you notice that many of the resorts in Puerto Vallarta list their peak season ending on or around April 30th and off-peak season starting on or around May 1st. What you can read into this as a wallet wise wedding planner, is that late April and early May could be considered “shoulder season” in Puerto Vallarta.
So this means that you if you plan your wedding events for this time frame, you may be able to negotiate off-peak rates and still benefit from peak weather. Since it is a destination wedding and your guests will be traveling from afar, you’ll likely all be staying awhile once you arrive. To take advantage of this, you may want to plan multiple get-togethers to maximize your enjoyment of each other’s company. Then you can have your pre-wedding events, such as a rehearsal dinner or other gathering during peak season (late April) and the wedding and post events, like a brunch, during off-peak season (early May), all at off-peak rates. If you plan early enough, you may even be able to push everything into the late weeks of the peak season and still negotiate off-peak rates if business has been slow in the area.
Again, this is not an advertised phenomenon and you certainly will not be extended off-peak rates for peak season unless you ask. But remember, in this down economy, it is a buyer’s market, so it always pays to ask.
Happy planning, you wallet wise wedding planner!
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