Just a heads up for anyone who is planning a wedding for the new year... Picking the right day and booking even six months ahead of time is not always going to guarentee you will get the location(s) or DJ that you want.
BOOKING CHURCH & HALLS - Bigger cities are easier and you do not need as much time. In medium and bigger cities, with six months advance notice, you generally can find something good, but not always the exact hall you are looking for. If you have a place in mind that you absoletly must go with, you may need to allow for more notice. In smaller towns, however it is a different story.
When there are less venues available, you definitely need to book the church and/or hall first -and much earlier than six months. If there is a popular place that you have in mind, it could be difficult to get the prime time which often is 5:30 pm and after on Saturday, during May thru October. Only about 24 people will grab up a Saturday night for any particular spot during this time frame. And if your town is very small with only one or two places that could hold a decent wedding, reports show that some people may start booking it up even a full year ahead of time, or even 18 months.
BOOKING YOUR WEDDING DISC JOCKEY or BAND - Once you have selected your reception and ceremony location contracted, you can book the entertainment. From my experience, six months advance notice for booking isn't bad when booking a DJ service that has multiple DJs at it, but it is a crap shoot when you are specifically trying to book one particular DJ name for your wedding. I find that at the six month point mark, 50 percent of the time I am already booked when a bride is requesting me by name.
For entertainment booking like Disc Jockeys and bands during the prime time season of spring to fall on a Saturday night, the early birds start planning in the fall for next early spring or summer and they usually get who they want. People who wait until after the new year sometimes grab who they want, but it doesn't always work out that way. If you are looking at a Friday or a Sunday party and/or in the ealry spring or later in fall, less booking advance time maybe needed. (You also can often save some good money as well. Make sure and ask for a discount as halls and entertainment companies often will give you something for filling empty spots or time slots that don't fall into the prime time category!)
DATE SELECTION - Now that you have this information, what should be the actual date? The safest dates usually fall between spring and fall and usually Saturday nights so that your guests have Sunday to get back to work, or recover. However, wedding dates in the North East drop off dramatically after fall. Think about it. Most brides do not want to drop $10,000 on a party where guests could potentially get snowed in. Booking in this time frame of Spring to Fall on a Saturday night means you usually have to pay full price. This is prime time for halls, catering companies, Disc Jockeys and Bands.
Anytime before May 1st and after November 1st is an easy date to get and could save you money in hall/catering due to discounts. Make sure your date doesn't conflict with Thanksgiving plans, as you do not want to compete with other plans that your guests may have. Dates that sound good like Halloween, Christmas and New Years or even the Saturday before Veteran's Day (so people can turn it into a long weekend) may seem like a good plan, but remember, that means your guests may have these dates for something else and will ultimately not make it to your special day. Always check with family members, parents or other significant people so you know that that there are no conflicts.
For example, a Halloween-themed wedding can be fun, but if it actually falls later in the day to eveneing on the 31st, think about how many parents will not come because they want to take their children out to trick-or-treat.