How Far Ahead Do You Book?

Business By Irish245 Updated 28 Oct 2010 , 2:43am by Irish245

Irish245 Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 10:46pm
post #1 of 16

I've noticed a lot of inquiries wanting to book for a year or two from now. How far do you book ahead and what do you tell them if it's too far in the future? I have a hard time with this because it's impossible to figure what prices for supplies will be.

15 replies
indydebi Posted 24 Oct 2010 , 11:25pm
post #2 of 16

For the infamous 6-7-08 date, I was booked 18 months ahead of time (it was a nephew ... but it was booked). I turned down over 2 dz other brides for that date.

I have seen many schools of thought on this. When I would get an inquiry more than 14-15 months out, I would tell them "Like most in the food industry, I can't give you a final price right now, but what you CAN do is comparison shop with a number of caterers and cakers today to get an idea of price differences. These differences will most likely be in the same difference-range a year or two from now so it will at least give you an idea of where each one fits in your budget." i would tell them that a deposit today would put them on the calendar but would not lock in pricing, which we would do closer to the event. I never had to do this very often.

Another thing I used to do is tell them that I normally have a 10-15% price increase on Sept 1, so since their date was more than a year out AND after Sept 1, we were going to figure today's price plus 15%. But if my pricing only went up 10% and not 15% then we would refigure the quote at a 10% increase instead.

that all said, most of the time, I quoted today's pricing and "with a 50% deposit rec'd within the next 10 days, current pricing will be locked in." I was very interested in getting the dates booked and my prices could absorb slight increases over a few months. Locking in current pricing was a great incentive to get those non-refundable deposits in the door.

Most increases were minimal. On a weddig cake, if eggs went up 10 cents a dozen, then I'd eat the extra 30 or 40 cents on a cake. If fondant went up $10 a bucket, then I'd eat ten bucks on a $400-$500 cake. big whup. If chicken went up $1/lb, I'd eat the $40 on a $3500 catering. Another big whup.

Sometimes if you just do the math, the costs isn't that big of a factor. Sometimes.....! icon_biggrin.gif

jenmat Posted 25 Oct 2010 , 10:58am
post #3 of 16

Yep, although butter right now is about to give me a heart attack! Sheesh!

I book out one calendar year in advance. That means that I will not take contract or payment for ANY 2012 weddings until Jan 1, 2011. Last year I had 2 brides call me on the 1st to get their date. People are weird.

It's been tasting central around here, and I think its funny the brides who are scheduling their tasting now, wanting to talk design, and their wedding is next September. Good grief people. And then the brides who book the tasting and get huffy when I ask them what their vision is, "Well, I don't know! I haven't even picked out my photographer yet!" Those are the ones just wanting the "experience." Blech.

Jenn2179 Posted 25 Oct 2010 , 11:05am
post #4 of 16

I don't book more than a year in advance. If their wedding is more than a year off I tell them to call me back and schedule a consultation later.

costumeczar Posted 25 Oct 2010 , 11:36am
post #5 of 16

I'm about the same, about a year in advance. Although I did have one tasting yesterday for December of 2011, so it's not a hard and fast rule for me.

indydebi Posted 25 Oct 2010 , 6:18pm
post #6 of 16

jentreau, when you say a "calendar year in advance" but no payments before 1-1-11 ...... if the wedding is 3-1-11, then you won't book them until 3 months before the wedding or you'll take the deposit on 3-1-10?

jenmat Posted 25 Oct 2010 , 7:58pm
post #7 of 16

nope, I mean the year (2012, 2013)- so a deposit and booking is made for 2012 in the year of 2011, not before. For a 3-1-11 wedding, they could have booked Jan 1, 2010. I had 2 June weddings that did just that last year- booked for this coming June 18, 2011 on Jan 1 2010.
It seems really far in advance, but man, these brides really want to do things ahead of time lately! I can't tell you how many brides are 2012 weddings coming to these wedding shows and want to do a tasting. Seriously? Who knows if you'll even still be needing a wedding that far in advance!

indydebi Posted 26 Oct 2010 , 12:11am
post #8 of 16

gotcha! thumbs_up.gif

We should give these brides good credit, though. they ARE doing the research that we suggest they should ..... they ARE shopping and comparing well in advance, which is giving them plenty of time to budget and/or save money toward what they need.

I have a guy in one of my classes who is getting married in 2 years. He told me he was going to try to contact one venue and lock in their pricing now for the venue AND the catering. I told him Good Luck! I then explained that the venue MIGHT do that (odds are slim) but I dont' think any caterer will lock in pricing 2 years in advance. No way.

tracycakes Posted 26 Oct 2010 , 12:21am
post #9 of 16

I booked a wedding this weekend for May and dad paid the whole thing right then. We have a tasting on Nov. 6 2010 for a wedding on Nov. 5, 2011.

jenmat Posted 26 Oct 2010 , 2:27am
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

gotcha! thumbs_up.gif

We should give these brides good credit, though. they ARE doing the research that we suggest they should ..... they ARE shopping and comparing well in advance, which is giving them plenty of time to budget and/or save money toward what they need.




As always, very true. Most of these brides that plan so far out are ready to make decisions, sign vendors, and then relax the rest of the time. And they DO seem less concerned about money, simply because they have the TIME to budget effectively and choose wisely.
Well said!

leah_s Posted 26 Oct 2010 , 1:54pm
post #11 of 16

And then, I booked a wedding *yesterday* for 11.13.10. You read that right.

loriemoms Posted 26 Oct 2010 , 2:52pm
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenn2179

I don't book more than a year in advance. If their wedding is more than a year off I tell them to call me back and schedule a consultation later.




Same here. If they INSIST, I tell them they will have to pay the 2012 price...whatever that will be. It stops the cheap ones and keeps the ones who just want to get things done (we have a LOT of brides who are in grad school and they want to knock things off their list)

costumeczar Posted 26 Oct 2010 , 3:09pm
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

And then, I booked a wedding *yesterday* for 11.13.10. You read that right.




That's happened a lot this year...I think that there have been wedding magazine articles tlling people that if they wait until the last minute they'll get discounts because vendors are so desperate for business we'll cut our rates.

aligotmatt Posted 26 Oct 2010 , 3:09pm
post #14 of 16

My general rule is 1 year, but I'm not a pain about it. In Sept I booked a girl for Oct '11. She was like, do you want me to wait 3 weeks for the date so it's one year? What's 3 weeks, really. I suppose unless someone else is waiting for the date.

Last year I had a girl wait, it says on my website 1 year or whatever, so she waited. And then she called, and I told her I wasn't available for her date. I didn't tell her why, but it was the first week of school, my son was starting kindergarten, school starts on a Wed and my kids win. I just told her I wasn't available. She flipped out on me on the phone, cursing, yelling, saying that I was unfair and that she waited. I can tell you that is not the way to get me to maybe make myself available...

tootie0809 Posted 26 Oct 2010 , 3:15pm
post #15 of 16

My general rule is no bookings more than 8 months out. Occasionally, however, I will book out a little farther than that.

Irish245 Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 2:43am
post #16 of 16

Thanks everyone!!!

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