It just cracks me up every time I see one of those timelines for brides, especially the ones where the timeline shows "order your wedding cake: 4-6 months in advance". 4 months? You can actually find a baker with an opening on their calendar only 4 months in advance of your wedding?
A caterer/cake designer friend of mine tells me she received a call from a mother of the bride in August inquiring about a wedding cake for October. My friend said, "THIS year?" The mom was shocked that anyone would have to order a wedding cake a year in advance. My friend told her, "Anything under 6 months is considered 'Last Minute'."
(I guess it's a result of our 24/7 indoctrination where you can buy a birthday cake and a lawn mower at the same place at two o'clock in the morning! No one thinks they have to plan ahead anymore.)
Honestly, the best "canned" answer is that there is no canned answer. Because when brides ask me "How soon should we book with you?", my best answer to them is "It depends on how organized the OTHER brides are."
Many vendors, such as photographers, venues, some baker/caterers, can only book one event per day. That means if you are planning your wedding on a really popular date, then you are competing with all of those other brides for the same wedding vendors. The organized bride, the decision-maker bride is the bride who will get her first choice of vendors. The remaining brides will have to go to their 2nd or even 3rd choice.
And please .... do not make the mistake of thinking just because you TALKED to the vendor, that your date is secured with them. In this industry, money talks and that other stuff walks. The bride who brings the vendor a deposit check first is the bride who gets that wedding vendor. We cannot and will not hold a date open just in case a bride might maybe sorta kinda might be thinking about maybe booking with us. If you want that vendor, you need to be a decision maker.
Some popular dates in the past have been 7-7-07 ...... 6-07-08 ....... 8-8-08 ........ 10-10-10. Traditional popular dates such as Valentine's Day weekend have always had a high demand.
Those planning a Christmas wedding not only are competing with other December brides, but are also competing with all of the corporations and organizations who are planning their company Christmas parties.
My personal observation (and I'm hearing the same thing from my fellow wedding vendors) is that June is no longer the most popular wedding month. October is quickly becoming the #1 month for weddings. Brides are usually surprised to hear that (so many think they are the ONLY ones who thought October would be a good month!).
Our unofficial survey tells us that brides are looking for cooler weather, fall colors are playing a major role in the decor, and it's right between the hectic holidays of Labor Day and Thanksgiving. So if you're an October bride, you need to be a decision maker if you want to secure your "A" list of wedding vendors.
When should you book ANY wedding vendor? Just as soon as you know they are the ones you want to hire!
Debi Brim can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org