The October Bride
Changing Times; The October Bride
Move over, June. The month, not June Cleaver. For generations, June has reigned as queen of the wedding months. More people got married in June than at any other time of the year. Centuries-old European tradition dictated that June was the luckiest month to wed, because June is named after Juno, the Roman goddess who was said to protect the lives of women.
But today, with modern brides and grooms taking finances and weather more seriously than ancient mythology, June has been usurped by August, September, and October. “This year, September was big,”said Reni Keen, owner of Reni’s Bridal Boutique in Wichita, Kan, where 22 clients got married on Sept. 7. A big factor in the scheduling for many brides is the weather, Keen explained.”It’s not hot and not cold,”she said of September. “It’s just very pleasant.” “It’s just cooler for an outside wedding”in the fall, said Lisa Sherrard, bridal consultant at Charlotte’s Bridal & Formal Wear in Wichita. “We are seeing it a lot more.” Other factors are the availability of reception hall sites and popular caterers, bands, and photographers.
May and June are busy months for graduations, 50th-anniversary parties, and family reunions. The age of the brides and grooms also comes into play. “Couples are older today than they used to be” when they marry, said Alan Fields, who wrote the best-seller,”Bridal Bargains: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget,”with his wife, Denise. “Weddings used to be in June because of that kind of agricultural society we used to have. It was after planting and before harvest,” said Fields, who is based in Boulder, Colo. “Later on, it was after brides got out of college or high school.” Another factor is cost. “People are spreading it out more, because some things are cheaper” if you book them outside of June, said Alexa Filipowski of K3 Research in New York City, which has done studies for Modern Bride magazine.
Traditionally, everything from reception halls to photography to honeymoon packages cost less in the”off-season.” Filipowski said that in 1984, June still held a small lead, with 15.8 percent of weddings taking place then. It was just ahead of August. By 1994, the last year for which census marriage statistics are available, June and August were tied, with 11.1 percent, or 262,000, weddings apiece. They were closely followed by October and May, which had 9.8 percent, or 232,000 weddings, apiece. Anecdotal evidence from industry experts suggests that in the past two years, June has fallen in popularity even further, and that August, September, and October have gained more acceptance, with slight regional variations.
According to Fields, couples in Seattle don’t marry in June because it rains so much then; relatively sunny August is their first choice. In northern California, August and September are the busiest month for weddings. September is big for couples in Salt Lake City, and October is gaining favor in Boston. In the Midwest, September and October are extremely popular. Some people think that October, more associated with pumpkins and beer festivals than roses and wedding receptions, has become the most-popular month of all. Bruce Theibauth, president of Bridal Fair, an Omaha, Neb.-based company that produces bridal fairs all over the country, said recent research shows October became the peak month last year.
Whether it is the weather, or the love in the air the October Bride seems here to stay.
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