​Does It Really Pay To Wait?

The days of 12-month long engagements are over… or are they?  Apparently, back in the olden days, engagements used to last three to six months.  But something happened to the wedding industry since the 50s.  A growing number of wedding couples and taking their time being engaged for reasons ranging from savoring every minute of their premarital bliss to allowing themselves the time needed to plan their dream day.  The reason I’m most fascinated with is the one that leads me to write this blog.  Are bridal couples saving money by booking their vendors early or are they just victims to the wedding industry “hype” to fill up some venue’s calendar?  Some venues do offer “early bird” specials for booking with them… one less date to worry about a year from now.  But does this apply to all vendors in the wedding industry? 

I’ve planned weddings 19 months out to 2 months out and I can tell you there’s not that much difference between the two.  The bride with more time wants to hurry up and book her vendors and the bride with little time wants to hurry up and book her vendors.  Oh and since we're here, allow me to debunk one wedding myth...

IT DOES NOT TAKE 19 MONTHS TO PLAN A WEDDING! 

It can be an intimate gathering of 40 on an island or a 3 day Indian extravaganza for 500 guests.  Either way, it just doesn't take 19 months.  So you’ve booked all your vendors and you have 12 months left before the wedding… now what?  Would you have paid less had you waited to get closer to the wedding date?  I don’t actually have an answer but I find that most vendors I work with are more willing to negotiate when they have a better grasp of their event calendar.  The image comes into focus as time goes on.  This is obviously an exception for places like The Plaza, for example.  Some venues are sought after and should be booked immediately.  So if you just got engaged and want to be married at The Plaza in the Fall, you’re better off waiting until 2015 and even then, you might be out of luck.  I’m address the bridal couples who are flexible with their options and don’t have a lot of cash to spare.  Is it best to wait closer to your date to reach out to vendors? 

You know what…. I think yes!  Again, book the “must-have” vendors immediately i.e. your favorite DJ, your childhood Pastor, the park you’ve had your eye on since you were 12 years old… However, if you’re flexible, speak to vendors like an industry professional and start asking about their “need” dates.  You want to get married and they have dates they need filled.  It’s a win-win situation!  Some vendors are more than happy to offer large discounts if you’re willing to book dates that are less desirable. Imagine how they feel if that date is 3 months away!  I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in the pressure the wedding industry creates.  Even your friends and family will add to that stress by constantly checking up on your wedding to-do list.  It’s a bigger advantage to the wedding vendors to have lots of time between signing your contract and your wedding day.  This gives them the ability to juggle multiple clients.  Of course there’s nothing wrong with that… if you’re a wedding planner.  But once you sign your contract, most other vendors will just file your information away until you get closer to the date. 

If efficiency is your goal and you like to get things checked off your list, book your vendors early.  If you’re flexible and working on a tight budget, reverse the pressure by letting time do the negotiating.

et Voilà!