Recently I read a very interesting article about weddings in N.E. Florida that I found statistically amazing. Did you know that in 2014 there will be 23,000 weddings taking place?
Wow. That sounded a bit “off” until I actually did some research and discovered that it really is true. Now that is a lot of weddings over a 52 week period which means that there are close to 1,100 weddings happening on any given week.
Now you are beginning to plan your “dream wedding” and your venue is one you just “gotta have”, only to discover it is taken for the date you are planning. Not only that, your caterer is not available and yes, even the wedding photographers are pretty much gone as well. So what are the time frames you might want to consider when booking your various vendors for your wedding?
- Book your venue 9-12 months in advance. One wedding a day or weekend is about their limit, so to assure yours is available, book as soon as you have a date set if possible.
- Catering should be considered 9-12 months out from your date if you are not using the venue’s catering service.
- Your music or DJ should be 6-9 months out as well.
- Your Wedding photographer- 9-12 months out from your wedding date as well. The good ones are booked this far in advance and that is one wedding day disaster you can avoid.
- Your dress, bridesmaid’s and groomsmen’s clothing selection- 67-8 months out. Any alterations needed can take a while, so this is a good time frame for those selections.
- Flowers around 3-4 months out as you want selections that are available for the season your wedding is occurring.
- Your wedding cake around 2-3 months out. Most bakers can accommodate you in that time frame and if they are that in demand, usually they can deliver.
Even those “simple” weddings can find issues in at least one of those vendors if you don’t start early. Because the reality is, another 1,099 brides to be are also looking for the same things you are in terms of vendors. Add to it, by booking them early and with a contractual price, you avoid that “last minute price increase” you often get when a vendor sees you coming a month out from your wedding and knows it is one of those “take it or leave it” situations you are facing. That easily is going to add 20% to your already stretched budget.
“But I’m not ready to pay them now”. Perhaps not, but most, if not all, vendors will accept a deposit of 25-50% of the total price to lock in your contract and you can plan your finances around those big things you need to make your wedding day flawless. And many vendors will offer “discounts” for such early bookings since they know that business will be there on your date in the future- and even if they don’t you do avoid price increases that may happen before your actual date.
The bottom line, according to most Professional Wedding planners, start early and get your big vendors lined up BEFORE you even go dress shopping. In the long run you will save tons of time, avoid frustration, and have a perfect wedding day without the added stress of wondering if it’s all going to work out for the good.