She considered standing on line to be a waste of time.
After all, there are only a certain amount of hours that the theme park was open and if you spent half the time on a line for rides, then the trip was not worth it.
So my mom went to great lengths to avoid the long lines for us.
One of her favorite things to do would be to take us to the theme park the week before Memorial Day. Not only would the lines be cut in half, but she also got more discounts on the tickets. Discounts that weren’t valid during the weekend of Memorial Day when everyone would be there.
Without knowing it, my mom was taking us to the theme park during the shoulder season.
What is a Shoulder Season?
The shoulder season is the time of year that surrounds the busy season. For the theme park that I went to, it was the weekend preceding Memorial day.
For a destination that want to get married at, the shoulder season could be the weeks and months before and after the peak season.
Every destination has a peak season and shoulder season.
Let’s take Bermuda as an example. The peak season here is from June through September and the shoulder season would be May and October. The shoulder season is when vendors are less overwhelmed with demand and hotels are not running a t full capacity like they are during peak season.
Now that you know what a shoulder month is, let’s find out why they are important.
Why the shoulder months are the best time to plan a destination wedding
Much like the theme park that we mentioned earlier, peak season means crowds, long lines, and sky high prices for everything from food to wedding locations. During peak season, it is difficult to find much in the way of discounts and most vendors are not willing to negotiate much. They know that if you don’t book your wedding, someone else will.
Shoulder months, however, are different. These months are less crowded, vendors are more pleasant to work with and the prices are at normal levels.
How booking during a shoulder month can save you money
As an example, hotels in Bermuda will cost an average of 20-25% less during May and October than during the height of peak season. That is a significant discount when you are looking to block hotel rooms for wedding guests. And that’s just the hotel. Imagine how much you could save on florists, wedding packages, ceremony locations and decorations for your wedding.
In addition, wedding guests will find that flights and transportation costs are significantly lower during the shoulder season. Plus, wedding guests will appreciate not having to stand on long lines at restaurants and activities.
That brings us to the obvious question of whether every destination has a shoulder month?
Does every destination have a shoulder season?
For the most part, yes. Every destination wedding location has a time of year when things are calmer, the demand is less, and wedding packages are cheaper. For example, the Caribbean islands for the most part have great weather year round. However, they are usually slow between April 15 to May 30 and September 1 to December 14.
If you are unsure of when peak season is, research the destination online or call some vendors to find out what times of the year are busiest and avoid these.
But doesn’t shoulder season mean bad weather?
Not at all. While some areas may experience additional rain or it may not be as warm (or cold) as it is during the peak season, the weather is still good enough for nearly all activities.
Shoulder months have less to do with the weather and more to do with demand. For example, the difference in weather at the end of December and the beginning of December in the Caribbean is negligible. And yet, as we mentioned earlier, the beginning of December is considered to be part of the shoulder season and the end is considered “Peak”. Why? Because there is the demand from Christmas break, that’s why.
But what if you can’t avoid the busy season?
If there is no way to avoid the busy season, then you have some legwork to do in order to save money on your destination wedding.
The best way to start is by calling hotels, and wedding venues and asking them when they are not busy.
Hotels generally refer to these as “need dates”, a period of time when the hotel needs business. Once you know what the need dates are, then start planning the rest of your wedding around these dates.
As we have learned, the shoulder season is the time of the year when crowds are gone, service people are less overwhelmed, and the cost to have a destination wedding is more reasonable. If you are thinking of planning a destination wedding, then booking the destination wedding during the shoulder months will help you save a serious amount of money.
Money that be used to buy theme park tickets for a very long time to come.
What should you do next?
Take a look at some popular destination wedding locations.