“Wedding season”; two words that are quite meaningful to any newly engaged couple, not to mention the myriad professionals related to the wedding industry. For caterers, wedding planners, florists, wedding venues, hotels, and many other market sectors, the wedding season can be the busiest time of year, generating its own economy for several months throughout the year.
Each of these professionals needs additional staff and resources, not to mention a mechanism to coordinate with one another to get through the season’s rush successfully. Historically, in the specific window of time in which wedding season peaks, experience, and careful planning has made it all work. Yet, with the wedding industry still recovering from the impact of COVID and more and more couples discovering they can shuffle their resources and look to alternative wedding dates, the typical wedding season changed. What does this mean for the wedding industry? And what does it mean for our brides and grooms?
This article will talk about the traditional wedding season and what couples are starting to do now that they have seen the advantages of planning their weddings at different times of the year.
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Wedding Season: What It Has Been, Historically.
For us in Boston and throughout the Northeast, wedding season typically extends from spring through early fall, with the season peaking between June and September. Historically, wedding dates that fell into this popular season window would need to be booked out at least a year in advance with wedding venues, sometimes even multiple years in advance!
We get it. From the beaches on the Cape and Islands to the harbor locations in Boston to the stunning hillside venues in the Berkshires, everyone wants to ensure that the weather for the special summer wedding day is as beautiful as possible, especially for outdoor wedding venues. But with more people looking to take advantage of the beautiful summer beach weather or the comfortable, crisp air of the fall, wedding season can become very competitive amongst couples to secure venues, dates, and all the accommodations their wedding will need.
Because of the competitive nature of peak wedding season, especially after the postponement of many weddings during the height of the pandemic, securing venues for prime days can be very difficult and expensive and has couples looking for alternative options.
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Wedding Season: How COVID Fallout Will Effect 2021 and Beyond
Chances are you know someone who had wedding plans for 2020 that were changed in one way or the other to best deal with the demands of the pandemic.
A recent study published by the Knot surveyed 7600 couples to see how their wedding plans had changed in the past year. The data findings were quite interesting and can tell us a lot about what we expect to see throughout 2021 and beyond.
The study shows that a surprising number of couples didn’t postpone their weddings entirely in 2020. Only 15% of couples postponed their entire wedding to 2021+. In comparison, 43% had their wedding and reception in 2020, with another 32% opting to push their receptions to a later date and 7% canceling their receptions entirely.
At JRE, our experience with pandemic restrictions ran the gamut. From restricting walk-up bars and dance floors to seating people 6 ft apart. Each wedding and each venue had unique rules, interpreting the restrictions in their own way. This data tells us that almost half of all couples were willing to make the adjustments to keep their wedding date in 2020 and work within safety guidelines so that attendees felt safe at their wedding.
Now, as venues open up and become available for a wider range of events, we anticipate that 2021 and beyond will see a bump in bookings from the 32% of couples still waiting to hold their reception and the 15% who postponed their weddings entirely.
What’s Trending Now for Wedding Dates and What We Anticipate for the Future
When are the off-season months for weddings? In the Northeast and most of the United States, the winter months are traditionally the least popular to host weddings. These dates would include January, February, and March. However, since COVID, we see these months finding new popularity in 2022, and here’s why:
The same peak wedding season months are still the most popular times to get married. But, we have seen many couples deliberately selecting late fall wedding dates to avoid vendor competition and higher rates, but late fall is already becoming competitive itself.
Just as we begin summer 2021, we’re helping clients secure bookings for late fall, around the holidays in November and December. Holiday-centric weddings received great praise before the pandemic, and we anticipate a greater push for those months in 2021.
Couples who want to get married as soon as possible are now more willing to consider a weekday wedding to secure the place and month that they want. Others are opting for longer-term planning, inquiring about 2022 and 2023 for their wedding date. The pace is fast and furious.
So, what does this all mean for couples looking to get married in 2021? We feel the demand for weddings in the late fall/holiday season will book fast (it’s happening now). Couples should plan in advance and try to remain as flexible and creative as possible when choosing their dates, including those winter months as possible options.
We hope this development becomes the norm for couples rather than the exception because winter weddings can be beautiful, charming, and cost-effective for all parties involved. A couples’ dream venue in June may be 2 or 3 times the cost that it would be in January, February, or March, so taking advantage of the off-season dates may become a new trend for weddings soon.
As Boston wedding planners and wedding coordinators, we’re here to give you the best insights and ideas to realize your perfect wedding day!
Please contact us with any questions.