What’s in a date?
By Tara Ash, Director of Special Events
Hey there, thanks for visiting my blog! My goal is to share some insider tips and fun inspiration regarding all aspects of wedding planning, from designing your menu to hiring your vendors to managing your time, basically wherever the wind takes me. First up, selecting your date.
It’s natural for newly engaged couples to want to grab a calendar and select a date right away. What you may not realize is that, unless it’s an incredibly significant date, an anniversary for example, or it comes down to very limited time you are able to take off work, picking your date as the first decision you make while wedding planning can end up being your biggest obstacle. That being said, having a season in mind so you can start planning your color scheme and wardrobe choices is perfectly understandable. But please, for your own sanity, don’t narrow in on one single, non-negotiable date.
Currently we are in our third year or receiving multiple inquiries a week about 10/10/20. I get it, it’s a cool date. But it’s booked. It’s been booked for a very long time. I can feel the disappointment coming through the phone every time I give the unfortunate news. And shockingly, the conversation often ends there. Did the engaged couple just pass up their first choice venue in order to get their first choice date? I also can’t help but wonder how many other venues they called before us. Will the first venue to have the date available be the one they choose … no matter what?
To be blunt, if you’re not flexible on the date, be prepared to be flexible on everything else. That includes venue, photographer, DJ, guest attendance, budget, etc. The vendors and guest attendance are pretty obvious as it all comes down to availability, but I want to talk about how keeping an open mind with regard to your date can significantly affect your budget.
As we all know, Saturday is the most popular day to get married, and consequently it is usually the most expensive time slot. Here at Leola Village, for example, booking a non-Saturday wedding automatically equals a discount of $20 per guest. So let’s say you have 150 guests, you just saved $3,000 by opting to get married on a Friday instead. You will find that many other vendors have similar perks as well.
Pro tip: available discounts for non-peak dates are not always advertised information so feel free to ask.
And not only will you likely receive discounts from your vendors, but you will see lower price tags on travel, hotel stays, and rental fees and/or minimums.
The main reason most couples get married on a Saturday is because they figure it’s easier for guests to attend. But if you get married on say a Thursday, your out-of-town guests can get cheaper airfares, and your local guests should be able to take the day off from work if you give them the usual six to eight weeks’ notice.
The time of year is also a huge factor. June, September and October have been the most popular wedding months for a couple of years now and I’ve seen no sign of that changing anytime soon. There are 52 Saturdays in a year and just 12 during those months. But if, for example, you're planning a wedding in January, March or November, it may cost less because 50 other couples aren't lined up behind you offering to pay top dollar. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. If you get married during less in-demand times of year, reception sites and other vendors will tend to have lower rates.
Personally, I love winter weddings. There’s something so romantic about cold weather, it makes me think of fireside cuddling, while wrapped in a blanket, glass of red wine in hand. Translated into a wedding I think candlelit ceremony because it gets dark earlier, faux-fur wrapped around sequined dresses because cold weather screams black tie affair, flannel blanket favors with an adorable sign that says “to have and to hold in case you get cold”. And the best part – it might snow! Have you seen snow-covered wedding photos? They are magical.
Guest attendance definitely seems to be higher in the winter months because people have less on their calendars. Which is another good point to make about vendors, it’s very likely you will get more focused attention on your big day because winter months aren’t as busy as others. There’s also no humidity in the winter. You don’t want to spend hours getting your hair and make-up done just to sweat it out the second you step outside. And bonus: if you are planning a tropical honeymoon, what better time to travel someplace warm than when it’s winter in your hometown?
Lastly, you could completely avoid the post-holiday blues by having something even better to look forward to later in the winter. And that extends not only to your wedding day but to all anniversaries to come.
In conclusion, be the savvy couple who doesn’t pick their date first. Stay flexible, ask questions and your date will basically pick itself.
Happy (stress-free) Planning!