Couples often ask me how early they should book a venue for their wedding. Of course, this all depends on how long the engagement period will be before the planned ceremony. So first, a word on the length of the engagement: My experience is that the longer the engagement, the more stressful wedding planning tends to become. Why does more time equal more headache? Because with time comes the opportunity to create unnecessary complications. The bride and groom have more time to concern themselves with details that might not otherwise have warranted their attention (like overdoing the welcome bags or adding on extras like fireworks, a hot air balloon departure, specialty dessert bars, etc.) and they have more time to second-guess each and every decision about their event.
The bulk of wedding planning can be achieved within a three-month timeframe if you have good guidance from a professional wedding planner and you and your fiance know what you want and agree what your priorities are. Here at French’s Point, my typical clients book on average between six and nine months before the wedding, which is a comfortable amount of time but not so long unnecessary stress has the opportunity to set in. Several months of planning can be necessary for guests coming from out of state to arrange flights and other travel details if they are planning a “destination celebration” as many of our clients opt to do.
On the flip side, some couples wait until the last minute to begin planning. But this isn’t necessarily as troublesome as it sounds. Couples that begin planning just weeks before their ceremony sometimes snag reduced rates from vendors eager to fill any remaining holes in their calendar. As long as you can find quality vendors that are available, it can be a great opportunity to get some deals. It is also a document fact that in most cases, the shorter the engagement, the less expense incurred for a wedding celebration.
Couples looking for deals might want to try and book vendors in December or January, when many vendors discount their prices for any dates not yet filled for events to take place in the New Year. As for venue availability, May and June have traditionally been Maine’s most popular wedding months but recently a shift has occurred, partly motivated by how unpredictable the weather during those warmer months can be. Now September is the busiest month at French’s Point and New England because of our gorgeous weather, which makes sense – the fall chill hasn’t settled in yet, and the days tend to be clear and sunny and free from occasional humidity and thunderstorms seen in July or August.
When booking a venue, how late is absolutely too late? I’ve planned weddings in a little as two months. And consider this – I planned my own wedding in six weeks and I’m glad I did. Planning quickly meant I didn’t have the chance to hesitate or to second-guess my instincts and, in the end, the ceremony and celebration were exactly what my husband and I had envisioned.
Jessika Brooks Brewer