How Early Should You Book Your Wedding Photographer?
Planning a wedding can be crazy! (The good kind of course). You need to plan and book so many different services, arrange lots of little details, find the right suppliers, the dream venue - it's a lot of work. And for most of us, it's unfamiliar territory (as something we've never done before). Knowing how early to book your venue, photographer, celebrant, flowers, cake and more can be a little daunting. What really sucks? Finding that perfect place, person or thing and then not being able to book them because they were booked earlier by someone else. So...
How early is too early? - How late is too late?
The great folks over at The Knot get hundreds of requests for booking information, and have put together an interesting read on how early the venue, celebrant and photographer are booked statistically.
On average, couples start booking their photographer 9-10 months before their wedding. I've found this to be relatively true for me too (depending on the month of the wedding). I generally start getting booked for popular dates 10-14 months in advance. What was very interesting? The mean/medium average for bookings was 9-10 months, not surprising. What was surprising is that the most common time (the mode) was only 1 month. Lots of couples leave booking a photographer to the last minute (you're not alone last-minute-rs!)
At Little Car Photography I generally won't take bookings more than 20-24 months out, or with less than 2-4 weeks notice. I'm more than happy to take last minute bookings, and get several bookings made with only 1-3 months to go. However, by this stage the most popular dates are generally gone. This leaves the big question:
How do you tell if your wedding date is popular?
Sometimes it's impossible to tell why your special date seems to have attracted every other couple in the Country. Maybe it looked good written down, or sounded great rolling off the tongue, or maybe fate just decided that this particular date was a little bit special. For the most part though, you can normally make a good guess at how popular your wedding date is or will be with other excited couples.
The seasons play a big role in popularity. For most wedding photographers, Winter is their down time with little to no bookings. A time to catch up on paperwork or take a holiday. Spring and Autumn are very popular as the more mild seasons, followed quite closely by our wonderfully hot Aussie summer. If you're getting married in Spring or early Autumn, it might be a good idea to book as early as you can. Summer may give you a little more grace, with Winter having the least competition for dates.
Getting into the nitty gritty, March & October are always the busiest months of the year, followed quite closely by November & April. If you're getting married on a Saturday in March or October I would advise booking 12-20 months in advance, just to make sure you get the suppliers you really love.
Saturdays are still the most popular day to get married too, with Fridays becoming increasingly popular and Sundays following not too far behind. If you definitely want to get married on a Saturday, I'd suggest you look at booking 10-14 months in advance (minimum), depending on other factors of course. If you're getting married on a Friday or Sunday, you can generally leave it a little longer. Or a Monday - Thursday? You can almost have your pick as little as 1-3 months in advance. However, don't be too surprised if someone else is getting married on your chosen week day! As I said earlier, some days just look good to everyone.
How do you tell if your wedding date is unpopular?
Don't feel sorry for the unpopular wedding dates, they enjoy being unique, having freedom and giving weary photographers a little respite. It can be a little more difficult to tell if your wedding date is unpopular with other couples. Within the same month I can have 20 enquiries for one Saturday, but only 2 for the following Saturday. This seems to just comes down to fate. So if you have found a supplier you love, but think it's too little too late - you may as well still make that enquiry. Maybe fate will be on your side that day.
How Early Do I Book?
The best advice I can give? If you've found someone who's work you adore, who's personality you love, and you just get on, book them as soon as you can (regardless of the type of service, day, month or season). It would be such a shame to miss out and have to begin your search again. Don't ever just assume that you have no hope of getting the day you want either. Maybe you'll be lucky and the supplier will have just had a cancellation, or maybe its one of those unpopular dates (that we love).
I think that's quite enough ramblings for now, but I hope you found them useful! If you want to read the full article from The Knot on how early to book your venue, photographer & celebrant you can read it here:
How Long Brides Wait Before Booking Services
Another useful article from them on when to book particular services is:
What to Know Before You Book
Take all advice with a grain of salt. The reason our world is so amazing is that no 2 things are exactly the same, and nothing can be 100% guaranteed. xx