How far ahead should you book your wedding ?

09th May 2016
Now that you're engaged you'll no doubt be planning and thinking about all the details, the venue, the party at night, the gorgeous dress... and so the list goes on.

Some couples give themselves 2 or 3 years to plan a wedding from when they get engaged, others jump in and have it all set up in the same year.
There's no right or wrong , it's all about you guys and how you want to do it.

But there are things to take into consideration, such as venues, bands, celebrants, caterers and photographers being booked up in advance.
So how much time should you expect to give all the different people ?

Some of the things you have to book are very date critical, the people that can only do one wedding a day are generally booked quite a bit in advance. In that category you can put the venue, bands & DJ's, photographer, celebrant and caterers.

If you are planning a high season wedding - June, July or August - the date critical bookings are on average booked up at least one year in advance, sometimes even 2-3 years.
Speaking from a personal point of view, most of our summer dates are booked up 18 months in advance.

If you have started planning a wedding for 2017, some things will probably be quite hard to get booked up first time - especially for Saturday dates, 2018 weddings will start getting that way in the next few months too.

It's quite interesting to see how couples prioritize their wedding. about 3-5 months after every wedding we do we send the couple a survey, to make sure we are offering the best service we can, and part of that survey is about the order the couple booked all their wedding sections up.
It's good for us, as it helps us plan advertising, and we get to see how important every part of the day is to each couple.

The results from the last 12 months surveys we have back so far read as follows :

1) Venue
2) Photographer
3) Type of Ceremony / Celebrant
4) Dress
5) Band / DJ
6) Flowers
7) Cake
8) Food / catering
9) Make-up / Hair

Every year we've run these stats Venue has been top, and photographer either 2nd or 3rd (one day we might be number 1 lol). The last few years has seen a huge rise in importance of Ceremony type, probably a lot to do with how many Humanist weddings we've attended.
A surprise this year was that only 2 people put the wedding dress in as number one choice, with it being as low down as 5-7 a few times.

I know these stats may change for every person that asks the same question, but the results we get back in usually come with a small explanation from the couples as to why they put each item in that order.

So using these stats, it's plain to see that as soon as a couple start the real planning work, the date & venue are sorted, then everything in the order above gets booked up.

Our advice is always the same, get booked up as soon as you can. We get emails in all the time for excited couples that have just got engaged and want to get a feel for prices and what they should budget, and they may be planning a wedding 2-3 years off. But we also get enquiries from people for a high season July Saturday this year and we can't help them.
So get your venue, photographer, band or DJ, your Celebrant booked up as soon as you can!

I also understand that to some couples a lot of those categories just won't matter. That's fine. I'm just trying to offer an insight to our average couple that books through us.

You might be getting married anywhere that is open to you as you have an uncle that is a minister, an aunt that takes good photos and your sister makes a crackin' cake... so your survey results would be totally different.

But on average - give yourself at least 18 months if any of the top 5 categories are important to your big day.

It's YOUR big day - so don't settle for second best - your fiance didn't !

Sorry for ending on a cheesy line there :)


PS for other wedding planning hints and tips, go to our News/Blog section (link at top of page) and click on the Wedding Help category.

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