Weakly clamped uniformly stretched thin elastic plates can experience edge buckling when subjected to a transverse pressure. This situation is revisited here for a circular plate, under the assumption of finite rotations and negligible bending stiffness in the pre-buckling range. The eigenproblem describing this instability is formulated in terms of two singularly perturbed fourth-order differential equations involving the non-dimensional bending stiffness ε> 0. By using an extension of the asymptotic reduction technique proposed by Coman and Haughton (Acta Mech 55:179–200, 2006), these equations are formally reduced to a simple second-order ordinary differential equation in the limit ε→ 0 +. It is further shown that the predictions of this reduced problem are in excellent agreement with the direct numerical simulations of the original bifurcation equations.