Congratulations on your engagement and wedding day. You both said yes, and next comes the big undertaking of planning your wedding. Planning a wedding is something you haven’t done before and is not something you learned in school so it is important to do your research, study and become familiar with what lies ahead.
One of the first things to think about is when to start your wedding planning process? There is saying “timing is everything” and when it comes to planning your wedding, this can be the case. With this in mind, lets explore and find out more about this timely topic.
In Connecticut and New England, wedding season is relatively short. Peak wedding season is only about 5 months starting in June and finishing around the end of October. So already we have narrowed down a year’s worth of available dates down to about 23 weeks. Most weddings take place on the weekends with the majority on Saturday and less on Friday and Sunday. Keeping this in mind, we now have further narrowed down available dates from 23 weeks to 23 weekends which translates to anywhere from 25 to 42 available days for venues and vendors to offer their services to you.
Keep in mind that couples all over Connecticut are also in a similar position. When we add couples in New York wanting a wedding in Connecticut as well as out of state couples raised here but now living out of state for reasons of school or employment but are having their wedding in Connecticut you can see many couples out there vying for the same venues, vendors and dates.
Because of the limited availability of days, I recommend booking your wedding venue and photographer 1 to 2 years in advance. Yes you heard it right 1 to 2 years in advance! Often, I hear couples say ‘There is no rush my wedding is a year away but I remind them this is not the case in the wedding industry. There is nothing worse than finding the perfect venue or the perfect photographer only to find they are already booked for your wedding date.
The first step in your wedding planning process is to secure your venue and venue date. As mentioned, I recommend booking your venue 2 years in advance if possible so you have a better chance of securing your venue for the day and time you want. After your venue is booked, I recommend booking your photographer. Out of all your vendors, your photographer is most important as they will create the photos that will capture and hold the memories of your wedding day. They will spend more time with you on your wedding day then any other vendor and they will work more closely with you, your family and friends than any other vendor so it is important to find the right photographer that you feel comfortable with. FYI the good ones tend to book up faster.
Booking in advance also allows you to take advantage of better pricing as your package price is determined at the time of your booking and could be significantly less than if you wait into the next year to book your venue and vendors. Prices will often go up the beginning of each year. Giving yourself more time to plan things also helps take the stress off you so you aren’t having to rush to cram everything into a shorter period of time. The early bird gets the worm and the early bride gets the venue!!
As I write this article it is April. Most of my Wedding dates for this year are taken and I am booking heavily into the next year already. In order to provide my clients with the best service I generally shoot only one wedding a weekend usually either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. This makes for only around 25 days available during peak season. My dates tend to book up quicker than a lot of the larger companies with multiple photographers The advantage to working with me over a larger company is you know who your photographer is and the photos, work and services that they will deliver for you.
I also suggest not delaying too long from when you contact your photographer to make a decision. In a given year I receive a number of calls sometimes in the fall for the following year and then don’t hear from the couple for 4-6 months. When I finally get a call from them in the spring wanting to book for their summer or fall wedding I often have to inform them that I am no longer available. If you find a photographer you like I suggest not delaying in booking them.
In a given year, I receive over 30 contacts from couples last minute scrambling to find a wedding photographer and or venue. They are stressed out and having a hard time because most photographers and venues are already booked. Weddings are stressful enough to plan. Give yourself time so you don't find yourself in this position.
Other options are to choose a time of the week and or year that is off season-or not as popular. Weekday weddings are one way to take advantage of more available dates and better pricing. Thursday is the most popular midday wedding days. On either side of the peak wedding season months of the months of April, May and November. Weather can be unpredictable at this time but you can often take advantage of more options for venues and vendors. If a winter wedding or indoor wedding is something you don’t mind the schedule becomes even more open for choices, available dates and off season discounts.
Feel free to reach out with any questions regarding my photography services and packages.
I hope you found this article helpful and feel motivated to get out there and start booking your wedding venue and vendors.
Happy Wedding Planning