When Vanadis and Carl Jones picked Aug. 18 as their wedding date, they thought they had simply chosen a convenient summer weekend.
But the Joneses of Wheatley Heights were surprised to find themselves competing for reception space with hundreds of other couples.
Several traditions collided to make Saturday a wedding date that was especially in demand. Some couples are drawn to palindromes — dates like 8-18-18 that are the same forward and backward. The number eight is also considered lucky in East Asia, and only three dates this year have so many of them (August 8 and 28 are the others).
Other couples are among thousands nationally who dream of a Saturday ceremony, the most popular day to get married, according to industry experts.
According to The Knot, which provides wedding planning tools, Aug. 18 was the most popular 2018 wedding date among couples registered with the service.
"We'd picked it back in November," said Carl Jones, 57, just before his reception at The Coral House in Baldwin. "When we started looking for a catering hall, that was the hard part."
The Dover Group, which runs a handful of Long Island venues, including the Milleridge Inn, the Coral House and the Sands at Lido Beach, said some of their venues had to run a lottery system because Saturday was so heavily requested. The Joneses entered a lottery with hundreds of other couples for the space and won.
As the Joneses enjoyed their reception, another lucky couple, Taryn and Arnum Wapples of Briarwood, Queens, prepared to walk down the aisle outside the hall. Taryn Wapples said she had picked the date on purpose.
"I loved the symmetry," Wapples, 33, said. "I met so many brides getting married today, so it feels like a huge moment. It's like a sisterhood."
Butch Yamali, owner of the Dover Group, said his catering halls hadn't seen such a high demand since 2014, when couples requested Dec. 13 (or 12-13-14) in droves.
Saturday, 14 weddings were held at Dover catering halls. At Lido Beach, the Town of Hempstead clerk's office planned to perform four marriages as part of their summer destination wedding package.
A couple getting married Saturday at the Milleridge Inn in Jericho had booked their date in March 2017 and another couple also recently came in to book a palindrome date more than a year in advance, catering manager Katherine Redash said.
“I think the women pick it so the husbands don’t forget their anniversary,” Redash said with a laugh. “It’s just a novelty.”
Palindromes aren’t the only popular days. Redash said many couples come to them wanting a December wedding. Pi Day (March 14) is popular with couples who like math and some even request pies to be served at their reception. Redash said couples who like Star Wars clamber for May 4 (also known as Star Wars Day).
September, June and October are typically the most popular months overall to have a wedding, according to The Knot’s 2017 Real Weddings Survey.
At East Wind, a North Fork wedding venue, summer Saturdays are always popular, general manager Lou Ambrosio said. The venue typically hosts between five and seven weddings on a summer Saturday and they were expecting six, he said. Still, he expected some of those couples to care about the date.
“It’s just a personal thing to have those numbers for people. It could be superstitious or lucky, it could be anything,” he said.