ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Twin Cities wedding vendors say couples can save significantly -- up to 60 percent on some services -- by holding their weddings during the chillier, off-season months.
"The savings that you can get from a winter wedding is not a trend, it's a reality and it always has been," said Matt Rush, the Director of Operations at Bellagala in St. Paul.
Bellagala consults about 1,600 Minnesota couples a year. Of those weddings, Matt says 65 percent happen during the so-called peak season which is May through October. Rush says that allows the off-season weddings to capitalize on simple "supply and demand" economics.
"When you get to the winter months, that demand goes down considerably. With it, so do some of the services, the prices and sometimes rather significantly," Rush said, adding that those savings could be as much as 50 to 60 percent for some services.
Amy Rubins, owner of Fete Perfection, agrees that the wedding reality has her pulling out the calendar while consulting couples, especially if they're considering expensive wedding venues.
"If they want, say, the St. Paul Hotel, but they've got a winter budget for the St. Paul Hotel, I will say 'It's called priorities. So if you think that's exactly what you're looking for, are you flexible with a new date?' Because we can have much more buying power in the winter with a winter wedding,'" Rubins said.
KARE 11 contacted several Twin Cities wedding consultants, including The Bliss Life, Wonderful Day Weddings, Encore Events, Amy Zaroff Events and Design and Lasting Impressions. Each of them acknowledged at least increased negotiating power by holding a wedding in the winter.
Several consultants also noted that the usual disadvantage of off-season weddings -- unpredictable weather -- hasn't been as large a factor in recent years.
"You can plan for these big weddings and have a blizzard the night before. With the mild winters we've had here lately, that hasn't been an issue," said Yvonne Arendt, owner of Encore Events.
So what specifically can a couple hope to save by switching their date from June to January?
According to consultants interviewed by KARE 11, a D.J. that charges $1,095 in June may drop his price to $595 in January. Photographers could slash their prices from $3,000 during peak months down to $1,700 in off-peak months. Even venues can go from $6,000 during the summer, down to $3,500 in the winter or in the case of one exclusive venue, $25,000 in the summer, down to $12,000 in the winter.
Vendors note not every vendor will cut the same deal. It all depends on his or her availability, experience and pricing policies. And one key wedding cost, flowers, also remains largely unaffected by the off-season phenomenon. In fact, consultants note that couples may need to pay slightly more for flowers that are out-of-season and need to be shipped from elsewhere in the world.
Still, couples attempting the cold celebration say it's worth the winter wager.
"We kind of have a little more bargaining power if you will, and we're definitely taking advantage of that," said Jesse Hendricks, who proposed to his fiancée, Dana Cross, on Christmas Day.
The couple says they picked a December wedding for personal reasons, since they both met and got engaged in the winter, but they consider the savings the icing on their wedding cake.
Not to mention, Dana and Jesse say, the winter decor will definitely enhance their day.
"I think it will just give us a really romantic feel. I've loved the lights, the candlelight, the softness I think is really important," Dana said.
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