As you may have read in our FAQ section, it has been said that a good rule of thumb is to book your entertainment 6 months ahead of time, when possible.
HOW MUCH TIME DO I REALLY NEED TO BOOK MY DJ OR VENUE? IS SIX MONTHS GOOD ENOUGH?
A Few “Rule Of Thumbs” About Booking Times For A Big Event
With three new venues all on State Street in Albany, there are certainly a lot of options in our area to look at, as far as where to have your wedding. However, that doesn;t mean they will all be available for the date you are hoping for.
Booking your DJ & wedding hall six months ahead of time is a good rule of thumb, but it is not always going to guarantee you will get the exact venue location(s) or the specific DJ that you want. Timing and availability are everything.
Q: IS IT EVER TOO LATE TO CALL? – A: Never! If you have a gig tomorrow and want a DJ last minute, or if your DJ service cancelled on you (those bastards!) …CALL US ASAP! We have covered a number of weddings for slacker DJ’s who canceled with their bride within one day. We actually work well pinch-hitting. We have always pulled off these last-minute bookings with high accolades!
Q: HOW EARLY SHOULD I PLAN TO BOOK A PARTY/EVENT PROFESSIONAL? – A: The bigger the event, the more advance notice you should give. Sometimes, however, even six months ahead won’t guarantee the specific hall, caterer, or DJ that you really want, so do not delay. Always call ASAP, and work out the details later!
Q: WHAT IS CONSIDERED PRIME TIME FOR A PARTY/WEDDING? – A: The most popular dates are Saturday nights, falling on April thru to November. When you select a Saturday for the day of your event, typical 9-to-5 weekday working guests have all of Saturday morning to arrive, and all of Sunday to get home.
Q: SHOULD I BOOK MY PARTY ON A HOLIDAY? – A: We always suggest staying away from booking on holidays. While you may think that choosing a day that many may have off of work may be the way to go, it also can actually reduce guest availability. A Halloween-themed wedding can be very fun, but if it actually falls on the 31st, some parents will take children out to trick-or-treat. Also, keep in mind that people plan for their day offs far in advance.
Q: WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY VENUE? – A: The smaller the town, the more time you actually need!!! Only about 24 people can book a Saturday night for one particular venue during “Prime Time.” If you really want a good selection, start a full year ahead, or even 18 months.
Q: WHEN SHOULD I BE BOOKING DJs, PHOTOGRAPHERS, WEDDING PROFESSIONALS? – A: While six months ahead is a good rule of thumb for reserving good entertainment, it’s still always crap shoot, when you really want a particular name DJ, band, or photographer. I have found that at the six month ahead point, sometimes we are already booked, sometimes not.
Many Things to Think about On Selecting Your Actual Wedding Calander Date
1) DATE SELECTION – Before booking your DJ, you really should figure out the right calendar date. The safest dates usually fall between spring and fall and are 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.
2) STAY AWAY FROM HOLIDAY/SPECIAL DATE COMPETITION – 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.
3) CHURCH & HALL AVAILABILITY – In medium and bigger cities like Albany, NY, with six months advance notice, you generally can find something good, but not always the exact hall you are looking for. In smaller towns, you definitely 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.
When You Should Make a choices on Booking Entertainment
When Should You Book Your Wedding DJ in Albany NY?
1) BOOKING DJs & BANDs – Unless in the rare occasion you have planned the DJ first having one favorite absolutely in mind, usually the hall is booked first. Once you have reception and ceremony locations booked solid, you should go ahead book the entertainment.
From my experience, allowing for six months advance notice isn’t bad when booking a DJ service that has multiple DJs available, but it is a a roll of the dice when you are specifically trying to book one particular DJ name from one particular entertainment company 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.
2) BOOKING PHOTOGRAPHERS – Using the same rules as above with booking the DJ, from my experience, six months advance notice isn’t horrible when booking a photography, but it is a crap shoot when you are specifically trying to book one particular photographer by name for your special day.
3) BOOKING PRIME TIME SLOTS – 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!)
There are many ways to cut corners at your wedding so that you don’t have to break the budget to meet your vision of your very special day. However, sometimes people cut in the wrong places and, in the end, the guests can tell.
Here is a list I created using tips from clients who were married around the area and found ways to make some real good savings without sacrificing from the desired vision of the special day. This is a totally doable top 10 list of ways to save money on your wedding; a list that actually works:
1. PRIORITIZE EVERYTHING– A few years ago, I picked up a neat little tip I like to pass along to my clients from the Williams, who got married at The State Room in Albany, NY…“Before you even begin planning your wedding and reception, you really need to sit down with your partner and make a list of your top five priorities. This way you know what absolutely stays and where cuts can really happen.”
With it spelled out on paper, you both know what is important. This allows for everyone to be on the same page.
2. LIMIT THE GUEST LIST, BOTTOM LINE – Forget about corner-cutting on the DJ, the decorations, or the dinner, those are only savings that amount to pennies on the dollar… The best way to really save is to be ruthless with your head count. Keeping the guest list down as best as possible will drastically reduce your wedding cost, overall.
The Sefik’s, a fun couple from Clifton Park, NY got married at Mallozzi’s Wedding Hall in Schenectady. They pointed out that, “most caterers, venues, restaurants and banquet halls charge per-person.” They noted that if you have a 150 guests and can cut it down to 125, there alone you will save about $1,300.
So how do you do this? One tip if you see your guest list is getting out of hand, omit children and coworkers. Making category cuts across the board is the best way to make people not feel that they were being singled out.
3. FOOD & DRINK – Research all of your options and do not be afraid to ask questions. The Bovairs of West Sand Lake, NY who got married at Lakeview on Crystal Lake in Averill park, NY, recommended that you, “consider a buffet instead of a sit-down meal, or break tradition all the way. Why not go with a dessert reception, or a brunch or luncheon instead of a multicourse meal?”
Some people actually go with an all appetizer / finger food reception now.
Alcohol – Eliminating or limiting a traditional full bar to one or two hours will really cut costs. The Bevans got married at Herbert’s at Birch Hill in Kinderhook. Alternatives include serving beer and wine only, but not serving alcoholic mixed drinks. at all or only pouring a champagne toast.
Depending on the local laws and the rules at your reception hall, if you are able to buy the liquor yourself and then hire someone to pour it — the savings potential is enormous. If you can, in fact, bring your own booze, you can even return any full bottles that your guests don’t drink in the end.
4. Location, location, location. There are boat-loads of options for low-cost or no-cost locations, including local and national parks, forest preserves, your own back yard or that of a friend or relative.
Paul Diamond who got married at a nice little restaurant called, Cella Bistro in Schenectady, NY said, “Unthought-of restaurants are usually a under-rated option. Many establishments would love to have your business and, at the same time have gorgeous tables and chairs, and décor. You could save a bundle, all around.”
Also, by choosing a location that allows outside catering or you to bring your own booze, you are also opening up the potential for great savings! Saratoga’s Museum of Dance and Pryne Hall of Latham both allow for these potential savings, for example.
5. Wedding Attire – Here’s where you have many options for stretching your bridal dollars. You don’t have to buy at a traditional bridal salon. You could purchase a gown at an outlet or from a department store in the special occasion’s off-the-rack area.
6. FLOWERS – If you choose to wed in a location that is already naturally decorated, you will see big savings. To set a stylish mood without much work, plan the wedding to take place in a garden, art museum or even at a beautifully-gardened home.
Saving on flowers – Choosing flowers that have bigger buds means you’ll need fewer stems, thereby helping your bottom line.
Self-proclaimed “hippies,” The Losaws of Hudson Falls, NY got married at The Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, New York. They planted 200 bulbs months before their wedding, and then married right in the middle of the fully-blooming cheerful yellow tulips.
7. INVITATIONS – You don’t need to print invitations up on thick paper and chalk up another $500 bill. Invitations are definitely an area where do-it-yourselfers can show off their skills and can create great savings by pocketing the difference in costs.
Orvin Bennitt and his wife-to-be will be getting married at The Edison Club in Rexford, NY this summer. They showed me their announcements. They printed their wedding invitations on their computer, and I would have never have guessed!
8. GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS – Think of it as cost-free outsourcing. Posse up your friends and play to their strengths. Some people may have a creative inner-circle of peers who will want to donate services to you! This could be in the area of music for the ceremony, or even for photography!
Also, befriend teachers! Try calling a few schools if you want a decent student ensemble to play your wedding ceremony music! Or call your votec (like Capital Region Career & Technical School of Albany, NY) and get the floral class behind your wedding as a school project!
Initiate an Officiant – Are you looking for an intimate ceremony that has meaning AND affordability at the same time? Consider having your vows administered by a relative or friend, like the Carbones did at The Inn in Saratoga. Web sites like Universal Life Church (ulchq.com) and Esoteric Interfaith Church are two organizations that “ordain” laypeople so they can officiate weddings, legally.
9. Embrace The Off-Season – Wedding receptions that don’t fall during peak months will help you save big bucks. The Bucklands got married at a popular location called Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Springs, NY early in April. By doing so, they estimate that they were able to negotiate a savings of nearly $3,000!
10. Lose The Limo – “Transportation can be a huge cost,” says Mike Brooks, who got married at Crystal Cove in Averill Park, NY. “Since my bride wasn’t obsessed with having a vintage car drive us one mile to the reception, we just borrowed my friends’ SUVs to shuttle the bridal party and family. Nobody noticed the difference.”
A FEW THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN PLANNING YOUR WEDDING
If you are ahead of the game, you already started planning in the fall. If not because you hiberating during the coldness of this winter, here are just a few things to think about upon the arrival of the wedding planning season crunch…
VENUES – When booking a hall/caterer, the most expensive part of your wedding can be scary. There are ways to save. Some halls like The Museum of Dance in Saratoga and Pruyn House of Latham allow you to select your own caterer. If you can book anyone, you can find deals, think outside the box, and even DIY bartender and save a ton!
INCLUDE YOUR DJ IN TIMING OF EVENTS – A good DJ who has done a bunch of weddings knows when things should happen. Another thing to think about when planning with venues/caterers is they really know food, but they don’t always include what is best for entertainment reasons into their agenda.
Case in point… THE CAKE. Sometimes the event organizer provided by the hall may push for the wedding cake to be cut and served immediately after dinner, this way they can “get it out of the way.” However, I have seen this be a disaster with some groups. The moment after the cake is cut, people bail and the hall is then empty for two more hours. The cake is a point of exit for many. Golden tips like this are often easily tapped when your DJ is consulted. Just ask!
PLAN EARLY – Make sure and give yourself at least 6 months ahead of time to book your entertainment and up to a year ahead for your venue.
HOT THIS YEAR – Last year was the photo booth. This year, wedding pops are predicted to be the new THING for this wedding season.
Last year was a rough one. The holidays are finally behind us now. We have opened our presents, made our returns, made our resolutions and probably already broke them. A bunch of celebrities died. A bunch of Hatchimals didn’t hatch. BUt we made it through all of that, somehow regardless.
Now it is time to get back to reality. For some of us, the big wedding is only around the corner and waiting to plan because it could bring some headaches is a bad idea.
I too often hesitate to do something that can be stressful. Hell, sometimes I sit in the parking lot of the gym and fiddle with my phone, because I know the gym is going to hurt a little. However, if we take this approach with planning a wedding, it could impact the success of your wedding in the long run.
IT IS TIME TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING NOW!
In other places throughout this blog, I posted information that encouraged you to plan six months or more ahead of time to book your DJ, and up to a full year ahead of time to secure your hall/catering service. That means if you are planning on getting married in the prime time availability slots; summer on a Saturday might, you really need to start moving now!
Yoda once said, “There is only do, or do not.”
If you wait until the last minute, you may have to settle for something you do not really want for your special day. Last week in the Albany NY area, we already had days with about 3 to 5 wedding inquiries, speaking with anxious, but prepared brides looking to secure particular dates. They could be competing for day with a location that you have in the back of your head, or a vendor that would fit you perfectly.
Even with four DJ’s at TheDJService.com, we have already seen conflicts on dates and may have to turn a few couples away. There are only so many good companies servicing the Albany & Troy, Saratoga Springs & Schenectady NY area. Get a move on it!
If you start planning now and you will be all good! Just pick up the phone and call.
PLANNING A “KEEPER” WEDDING PHOTO THAT IS SPECIAL TO YOU
Here is something to think about, when it comes to customizing your wedding day, specifically when looking at the photos being taken.
The picture to the left is a picture of a typical wedding. This one, in particular, was shot in the new courtyard at the Terrace banquet hall at The Water’s Edge Lighthouse in Scotia, NY, which is one of my most favorite halls to DJ for.
The setting is nice with green in the back and the blue sky. However, as nice this photo is, there isn’t anything overly special about it. This is okay because there doesn’t have to be. It is a nice picture of the ceremony – a time when things are supposed to be more serious.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FUN PICTURES?
With a little bit of planning, you can get that fun, special picture that stands out – the one people will really talk about that means something to you.
All this bride asked all of her bridal party to wear a garter with The Pittsburgh Steelers logo on it. Though you can’t see it that well, the black and yellow is a dead give-away. She knew she would have them flash the photographer and it would really make for an interesting moment. That it did.
While your wedding photographer will do great work, there was no way this shot could have happened without a little planning. This shot is a riot and one she will cherish for years to come!
DATES TO KNOW BEFORE PLANNING YOUR WEDDING IN 2014 –
If you want success at your wedding, attendance plays a big part.
There are a billion things to think about when planning your wedding in Albany NY or around the world, but what some people do not take into account is the importance of the actual date selection itself on the calendar.
NEVER NEVER NEVER select a wedding date because that is the only day a wedding hall has open. There could be a reason it is open that nobody has booked for that day! Do your homework and figure out what else could be happening that day before selecting.
What are the days around they day you are thinking of choosing? What other things could be happening on this date that could create competition? Choosing a “Holiday Weekend Wedding” can totally have it’s pros and cons, but however, sometimes the nostalgia is not really worth it, in the end.
THE PROS OF PLANNING A HOLIDAY WEDDING –
1) HOLIDAYS ARE EASY TO REMEMBER
2) HOLIDAYS HELP PROVIDE YOU WITH A THEME TO FOLLOW
3) GUESTS MAY HAVE OFF OF WORK – Another great thing about planning a holiday wedding is that your guests will have an extra day off of work 9usually a monday) for recovery and travel time. Or, a holiday weekend can allow for a better Sunday wedding, which incidently, is often more affordable that a Saturday wedding works out to be.
THE CONS ON SELECTING A HOLIDAY FOR YOUR WEDDING –
1) TRAVEL INCREASE – Traveling costs are traditionally more on holidays, bottom line. Your costs and the the cost for your guests’ airfare traveling and/or hotels are often higher on holiday weekends, due to supply and demand of travelers.
2) GUEST ATTENDANCE – Choosing a holiday wedding might hurt your wedding guest attendance list. Let’s face it. People are creatures of habit, and nobody likes change. Some families have other regularly scheduled commitments and traditions for on-going standing holiday weekend and, more often than not, these are traditions are ones that some people would not want to change, no matter what the cause.
HOLIDAY WEEKENDS FOR 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014 Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday, February 17, 2014 Washington’s Birthday
Monday, May 26, 2014 Memorial Day
Friday, July 4, 2014 Independence Day
Monday, September 1, 2014 Labor Day
Monday, October 13, 2014 Columbus Day
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 Veterans Day
Thursday, November 27, 2014 Thanksgiving Day
Thursday, December 25, 2014 Christmas Day
3) RELIGIOUS DAYS –
While you may or may not recognize a number of religious holidays, your guests might. Think about religious holidays when choosing your wedding date. There may even be church restrictions on if you are allowed to marry at these times, so you may have to make some calls if you go against this one.
April 13, 2014
March 29, 2015
March 20, 2016
April 20, 2014
April 5, 2015
March 27, 2016
Passover (begins at sunset the night before)
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Friday, April 22, 2016
Friday, April 22, 2016
Tisha B’Av (begins at sunset the night before)
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Rosh Hashanah (begins at sunset the night before)
Thursday, September 25, 2014, until nightfall on Friday, September 26, 2014
Monday, September 14, 2015, until nightfall on Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Sunday, October 2, 2016, until nightfall on Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Yom Kippur (begins at sunset the night before)
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Hanukkah (begins at sunset)
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, until nightfall on Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Monday, December 7, 2015, until nightfall on Monday, December 14, 2015
Saturday, December 24, 2016 until nightfall on Sunday, January 1, 2017
DJ TIPS – MORE WEDDING DATE SELECTION TIPS
COSTLY HOLIDAYS – Valentine’s Day will make your floral bill shyrocket, and New Year’s will make your venue more too!
PERSONALLY SIGNIFICANT DAYS – Check your own calendar for college reunions, family weddings, anniversaries or other events, like big conventions or festivals in your city (call your local chamber of commerce), and any annual occasions that involve your family or close friends.
HOLIDAY WEEKENDS – Holiday weekend weddings have pros and cons. You’ve got an extra day for the festivities (and recovery!); plus, a Sunday wedding is often less expensive than a Saturday one would be. However, costs of travel and hotels may be higher. And if you’re looking to marry around Valentine’s Day, be wary of your floral bill, especially if you’ve got your heart set on red roses — they’ll likely be more expensive than at any other time of the year. Likewise, reception sites often charge a higher fee for a New Year’s Eve wedding. Also consider the impact of a holiday weekend on your guest list: Some families have standing plans or traditions that they’d prefer not to miss.