Shannon Tsonis always imagined herself as a summer bride. So when she and her now-husband, Tony, planned their wedding, they thought it would be on the beach or maybe at an exotic destination. But once they went looking at venues, they found something different and perfect: Historic Peabody Library in Baltimore.
The self-proclaimed "book nerds" still wanted a summer wedding, but most of the weekends were booked and the leftover dates were too pricey. The solution? Marry on a Sunday during the winter, when prices were nearly half the summer rates.
"It was absolutely perfect," the bride says of her Jan. 11, 2015, library wedding.
Tsonis isn't the only bride bucking the tradition of a summer wedding, specifically a June wedding.
*Decline in June Weddings
"More and more couples are choosing other dates over June weekends for their wedding ceremonies," says Courtney Geigle of My Wed Style, an online wedding marketplace, who credits many factors for the decline in June weddings, including the following.
--Unpredictable weather. "June is right between spring and summer, meaning that the weather can be either cool, drizzly or windy, or alternately very hot and humid," says Geigle, who explains couples get stressed out by wild weather conditions.
--Bugs. June and other summer months are "high season for many biting insects, like black flies and mosquitos, and therefore low season for couples looking to incorporate an outdoor element into their special day," Geigle explains.
--Travel trouble. It isn't always easy to travel in June. "We used to be born, live, and die in the same town, surrounded by our close family and friends," says Geigle, describing how it's now challenging for family and friends to travel the country or the world for a wedding, especially for families whose kids are often still in school in June.
*The New "In" Season
So what's replacing June weddings? Autumn nuptials. A survey, conducted by the Knot, of almost 18,000 U.S. brides married between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2015, found only 33 percent of couples chose a summer wedding, down from 39 percent in 2014. Meanwhile fall ceremonies are surging, with 39 percent of couples marrying in fall months, up from 31 percent the year before.
"We have been seeing October as the absolute busiest month of the year," says Scott Hornak, CEO of Craig Scott Entertainment, citing client motivations as great weather and fall colors. "For our business, the last Saturday in August through the second Saturday in November is 'peak' season."
In many areas of the country, wedding season is ongoing.
"We have been seeing more and more fall and winter weddings, especially in Southern California, where the weather is perfect year-round," says Lauren Randolph of My Hotel Wedding, although she notes that June is still a popular month to get hitched.
Many couples don't follow trends and want to choose their own time frame and showcase their personalities: "If a couples loves the snow and winter, they're more drawn to a white wedding."
By not sticking to just one competitive month to marry, couples can choose a date that's best for them and their busy schedules.
"It has become a personal choice due to commitments, venues, time off from work, holidays and friends and family traveling," says event and wedding designer Leslie Short, CEO and president of K.I.M. Media LLC, whose clients have weddings in months including in March, April, July, August, October, December and January.
"It has also been associated with special dates, birthdays, when they started dating," and also ways to honor loved ones who have passed away.
Another factor is how well the honeymoon coordinates with a couple's wedding schedule. Geigle says there are "significantly better deals in September and October" for travel than during the high travel season of the summer months.
No matter what date they choose, couples benefit from the deals, availability and more venue and vendor options during an expanded wedding season. That's a wedding-season win!
Kristen Castillo is a three-time Emmy Award-winning journalist. An
editor and writer for wedding magazines, she's written hundreds of wedding articles, as well as an e-book, "Weddings on a Dime."