Every time of the year is the right time for a wedding, good weather or not
WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER OR FALL….it can be lovely to get married in them all. But each season does offer some of its own unique possibilities and maybe a few limitations. Here, four St. Louis area respected and in-demand wedding planners share some things to consider when choosing your wedding date.
Though it’s the least busy season for weddings, a winter wedding offers several perks. In fact, being a less popular time is in itself an advantage. Jodell Larkin, owner of Starry Night Events said, “A winter wedding can set yours apart from all the weddings you went to in June or in the fall. You probably aren’t going to back-to-back wedding during the winter.”
Simcha Lourie of Simcha’s Events says a January or February wedding can be the party people are happy to attend in the midst of cold temperatures and gray days. “The business of the holidays is over and we tend to hibernate. But people will gladly come out to celebrate a wedding.”
Winter months can mean that prime venues and vendors are more available. “We have a lot of great talent in St. Louis and some vendors, like photographers, can book up one to even two years in advance during peak months,” said Allissa Reimer of Altar’d Events.
Being a season with more availability may also bring a little more bang for your buck. Lourie said, “Some venues and caterers may be more willing to negotiate for off-season rates. You might be able to get some extra hors d’oeuvres or upgrade your bar package.” It should be noted, however, that some services will be the same cost, no matter what the date. “It depends on the service,” Reimer said. “If it’s the same amount of effort for the service regardless of the date, the price will be the same. Wedding planners, photographers, a band…. these all fall into that category.”
Another way to save money is to take advantage of churches and venues that are already decorated for the holidays. A ceremony at a church in December most likely needs minimal, if any floral decorations, with the trees, holly and poinsettias you typically see this month. “If it’s January or February, you can decorate with pine cones, berries, snowflakes or white tree branches, which can be really pretty and can cost less than having lots of floral arrangements,” Larkin said.
But Allison McDonald of Flourish Events and Concierge says it’s not as limited as it used to be to get almost any kind of flower, no matter the season. “Since almost everything is shipped in anyway, you can get pretty much any flower any time of the year,” McDonald said. “Except for something like peonies, which are only available six weeks out of the year anyway.” Gerber daisies, chrysanthemums, amaryllis, roses, and lilies all bloom in the colder months. For February, Simcha Lourie notes that floral prices increase substantially during the time leading up to Valentine’s Day.
There are lots of fun and romantic ways to embrace the winter season, says McDonald. “You can choose cozier menu options, like a soup course instead of a salad, or a specialty hot drink,” McDonald said. “I had a bride give hot cocoa wedding favors that were a big hit.” She says fur wraps for the bride are also popular, (not to mention practical!) in winter, and can look great in photos.
Of course, winter weather in St. Louis can be a gamble and extreme conditions could affect your guest list, especially the out-of-towners, with cancelled flights and sketchy road conditions. “But a wedding around the holidays can boost attendance if people are coming to St. Louis anyway,” Larkin said.
One way to look at the limitations of the winter weather is that you know what you’re in for—you won’t be planning an outdoor reception or having long picture-taking sessions outside. Like all the decisions you make when planning your wedding, it depends on what’s most important to you and your future spouse.
While winter is more restricted for outdoor pictures, possibilities abound for spring wedding photo shoots. Everything is blooming and growing and the lighting is soft and camera-ready. “Spring is also amenable to most color palettes,” Larkin said. “You can do an array of bright or pastel colors.” Larkin notes that with purple, a hot color for 2019, all shades can be incorporated into a wedding in the spring.
Lourie says everything blossoming can lend to lots of shots with natural beauty as a backdrop, and those elusive peonies and tulips are in season. But spring in St. Louis can also be unpredictable and Lourie recommends a back-up plan for all events planned outdoors. “I had a bride with a beautiful outdoor wedding planned for late Spring, in May, and it was unseasonably cold and rainy,” Lourie said. Wedding planners have lived through all the unexpected scenarios and can help you arrange a Plan B to put your mind at ease.
Some current trends lend themselves well to a spring wedding, such the eco-friendly, sustainable approach, says McDonald. “The light, airy, woodland-type look goes well with spring and you can incorporate lots of organic elements.”
June is still holding strong as one of the most popular months to get married, though it now is slightly behind September and October. And similar to spring, there are lots of colors and themes appropriate to the season, from a garden party to a tropical take to a carnival motif. Larkin notes some current styles that lend themselves well to summer weddings: “Floating lace on wedding gowns, as well as very simple dresses like Meghan Markle’s, would be lovely for a wedding in the summer,” Larkin said. She also notes incorporating pineapples, a symbol of hospitality, into table decorations is predicted to be popular for 2019, and would be perfect for summer. Not to mention delicious pineapple-infused cocktails, foods and desserts.
Lots of hours of light means lots of time for celebration at outdoor receptions, though the intensity of the light might affect photos outside. And it does seem to be getting warmer sooner in the year, one reason Allissa Reimer thinks she may be seeing more weddings moved up to May, rather than June.
If your heart is set on a summer wedding, by all means, have one. But Larkin advises asking yourself what you can tolerate. “If it’s really, really hot and humid, will you be able to handle that?” said Larkin. “With how the heat may affect your comfort or how you think you look or the possibility of the cake melting?” It’s definitely doable, of course, just another reminder of the importance of a backup plan.
But Reimer planned a July wedding that was 78 degrees and beautiful, and she actually finds July very versatile. “Almost every flower in the world is available, and there’s an abundance of them,” Reimer said. “You can do mauves, peaches, pale pink, even cranberry.”
Lourie also thinks July may be a little bit overlooked as a month for nuptials. “It seems less popular than August, and I’m not sure why,” said Lourie. “It’s also a month where some prices may be negotiable.”
There’s no doubt which is the most popular season to tie the knot: Nine of the ten most popular wedding dates for 2018 were in September and October. (The most popular wedding date last year was October 20, just FYI). And it’s no surprise why—the relatively reliably mild weather, gorgeous trees turning and the bold and flattering color palette. Fall is also perfect for celebrations ranging from a laid-back country get-together to a black-tie affair.
The mild fall temps are great to be outdoors, and not just because of the orange, yellow and red hues of the leaves. “Brides see photos of other wedding parties with all the great St. Louis landmarks we have, and want those pictures, too,” Reimer said. Whether it’s at the Gateway Arch, in Forest Park, the Botanical Garden, Union Station, Historic St. Charles, or the other myriad of options, capturing the iconic attractions of the city in which you wed is ideal on a fall day.
What’s not to love about fall? Perhaps only that everybody loves it, and that can cause prices to go up and availability to go down. “In addition to fall weddings being so popular, it’s also gala season in St. Louis, which means even less availability at some of the larger venues,” Lourie said.
SO, WHAT DATE TO SAVE?
Your wedding date is going to be your wedding date forever, obviously. But don’t get too bogged down in getting married on a certain Saturday in a particular month. “Things can be customized year-round,” McDonald said. “Whatever is important to the couple is what will be executed.”
Discuss with your spouse what matters most to you both, your top priorities for the day. And contact a wedding planner before booking any venues or signing on any dotted lines.
“You can use design and décor for any space at any time of year,” echoed Reimer. “We want the celebration to be a true reflection of the couple’s love story. The day should express what they like, and who they are, and for it to have an authentic feeling.”
Lourie also emphasized the importance of the wedding personifying you as a couple. “And as long as you think about your and your guests’ experience, everyone is happy to celebrate with you, no matter what the season.
Written by Jennifer C. Frakes