October 5, 2017
Fall is FINALLY here! If you are a Hudson Valley couple dreaming of getting married in the fall and are in the midst of planning your wedding, you probably realized very quickly that just because summer is over, it doesn’t mean wedding ‘season’ is over.
In fact, it’s far from over. If you think about it, fall is the perfect time to get married in the Hudson Valley. The heat and humidity are both usually all gone by now (which is good, because we learned that you most-likely will be running hot all day), Mother Nature gives you beautiful fall foliage as the perfect backdrop to your photos, the ‘rush’ of the summer with everyone going on vacation has come to an end, and pumpkin and apple spice is in!
I was a fall bride, October to be exact, and for me, getting married in the fall was a no-brainer! My husband and I both have birthdays in October (in fact, in just October alone, half the month is full of birthdays…15 birthdays in one month!), so it was only fitting that we add to the festivities with a wedding.
Thankfully, we had a somewhat long engagement, which to us, seemed perfectly reasonable. We wanted to take our time and not be stressed, but the other part of that reasoning was because we wanted a fall wedding. But not just any fall wedding, a Hudson Valley fall wedding and we quickly found out what that meant!
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I’m going to tell you what that means in a second, but first, the biggest mistake you can make when planning your Hudson Valley fall wedding is NOT GIVING YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME AND NOT PLANNING AHEAD! If you don’t follow this simple rule, you will be setting yourself up for a ton of stress and possible heartache.
Fall is the new summer
September is the busiest month for weddings, followed by June and October which are tied as the second busiest months. Yes, October is the new June. Just check out these stats:
In 2016, just in Dutchess, Ulster, Orange and Putnam Counties alone, 728 weddings took place in September, and 623 weddings took place in BOTH June AND October (Source: The Wedding Report)
That means competition! Competition for fall dates with other Hudson Valley couples, and competition with other couples NOT from the Hudson Valley who want to get married here at the same time you do.
If you truly want a fall wedding, you need to give yourself the appropriate time to plan.
Vendors book fast
Because of this competition and this wedding version of supply and demand, the ratio of weddings to weekends to vendors is disproportionate. That means, your vendors will book FAST for fall weddings!
Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography
This was a great shock to me when I attended my first wedding expo to hear vendors, in January, saying they were booked for October of the same year. Hence our extended engagement. We wanted October, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it, so we had to wait. However, if the time of year doesn’t really matter to you, you have a lot more flexibility.
Now, if you’re vendor has multiple people working for them, otherwise known as a multi-op, such as DJs or photographers, you may have a little better luck simply because they have more people who can service more weddings on the same day. However, if your vendor is like most, it is one person, who can only be at one place at one time.
Before you choose your fall date, I highly recommend you call or visit a few vendors to get a feel for what their calendar looks like to see what dates are available. The last thing you want is to get your heart set on a date, and then find out all your dream vendors and venue are booked.
It is a bit of a dance at first, but it’s totally and completely worth it if you want a fall wedding in the Hudson Valley.
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Hotels can sell out
Remember, your wedding is not the only event in town, and fall in the Hudson Valley means an influx of tourism. People travel from all over to view the beautiful fall foliage, and that means they are likely staying for more than one day, which means they are lodging in area hotels, B&B’s, inns, etc., the same ones where your guests will need to stay.
“Everyone wants to visit Dutchess County in the Fall, and who can blame them?” said Melaine Rottkamp, vice president of Dutchess Tourism, Inc. “The same beautiful foliage and weather that attract couples wanting to get married here, also attract other visitors and as a result, hotels fill up very quickly.”
You also have all the several dozen colleges in the area who are hosting parent weekends, alumni and homecoming weekends, football games and the like. Those parents and alumni also need a place to stay.
This is where planning ahead to beat the ‘competition’ comes in handy. The first thing you should do once you secure your date and your venue is to call local lodging venues to secure a room block. By securing your room block, it ensures that those rooms are saved for your guests, so, no matter how full the lodging venue gets, your guests will still have a place to stay. In many cases, your venue will already work with an affiliated hotel and will set this up for you. If they don’t you need to act right away.
Each lodging area will have its own rules when it comes to room blocks, but it’s always better to book more rooms than you think you will need. For example, if you book at a hotel, most of the time they will book 10 rooms at a time and then give you another 10 once the original 10 are full. However, If they book 10 rooms and you know you’ll only need five, keep the 10 just in case. You can always get rid of rooms closer to your date, but it’s harder to add. Also, you will be given a code specific to your room block that you can give your guests so that when they book, they get one of those reserved rooms, which may or may not be discounted based on the facility.
Are you having a fall wedding? What tips do you have for couples who want a fall wedding? What has been challenging or easy for you in terms of planning your fall wedding?
Featured Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Wedding