July 13, 2012— -- Though the summer wedding season may be at its peak, today will be especially quiet for wedding vendors like Lethal Rhythms, a company based in Atlanta that provides professional mix DJ services in the Southeast.
That's because couples are hesitant to begin their matrimony on Friday the 13th, leading many businesses to offer discounts to ease their superstitions.
Kra Riddell, market manager for Lethal Rhythms, said she has no events planned today, not even an anniversary or birthday party. In fact, Riddell said, Friday the 13th seems to regularly affect general hospitality businesses in Atlanta.
"I think the Southeast is very superstitious," said Riddell, who has worked for the company since 2010.
Although there are plenty of client meetings scheduled today, the clubs and nightlife events for which Lethal Rhythms provides services also quiet down when Friday the 13th rolls around.
"It's very bare in the clubs. I feel like people stay inside," Riddell said.
Ridell recently became engaged, and though she is not superstitious she said she "definitely would not get married on Friday the 13th."
"I'm not a big believer in karma, but I don't want anything to help it," she said with a laugh.
Anja Winikka, site editor of wedding site TheKnot.com, said Friday the 13th is not "couples' wedding date of choice."
"Choosing a wedding date is important from the beginning and they want it to be special to them," she said.
Fridays are not as sought after as Saturdays for weddings, though Fridays and Sundays are becoming more popular as vendors offer discounts to couples who choose to wed on those off-peak days.
But Friday weddings appear to be significantly infrequent on Friday the 13th.
According to The Knot's annual weddings survey, there will be 2,845 weddings today, compared to 3,111 last Friday. There will be 4,190 next Friday, July 20 and 3,407 weddings on Friday, July 27. However, there will be a whopping 17,886 weddings on Saturday.
In April, when the last Friday the 13th occurred, the unpopularity of Friday the 13th was even more apparent.
On Friday, April 13, there were 1,764 weddings, only slightly higher than the Friday of the previous week, 1,449. That was Easter and Passover weekend, a typically unpopular wedding time.
By comparison, there were 3,329 weddings on Friday, April 20, and 2,303 on Friday, April 27.
Of note, April is not as popular for weddings and considered a "shoulder" month because it flanks the main season, Winikka said.
Jason Shukovsky, director of catering for The Crystal Plaza, a private mansion in Livingston, N.J., said Friday the 13ths are "a big more challenging to sell" so the company may offer a discount of 10 to 15 percent.
He said many clients take the discounted offer.
"We're a little pricier than some of our competition in the area. If we give them an opportunity to work a little more within their budget, it works out better for them," he said. "People are more bargain-conscious now, more than they have ever been, due to the economic times."
The company hosts about 370 events a year, one at a time, 300 of which are weddings, Shukovsky said.
Not all brides and grooms are swayed away from Friday the 13th because of superstition.
One couple intentionally chose to get married on a future Friday the 13th at The Crystal Plaza and will have a "skull and crossbones" theme. That date was already selected by another couple that was admittedly hesitant over the superstition around Friday the 13th. So Shukovsky offered that couple another Friday with a discount, which they gleefully accepted.
Sari Lindeman, sales manager at Bellagala, a full-service wedding boutique based in Minneapolis, said the company has eight weddings planned today, a "significant increase" in business compared to the corresponding Friday, July 15, last year.
"If they find the day they love and vendors are open to work with them, I think the Friday the 13th superstition goes out the window," Lindeman said.
Bellagala didn't offer deeper discounts on the three Friday the 13th dates this year compared to any other off-peak date.
One bride who chose Friday the 13th told Lindeman that she was leery at first out of concern about any superstitious guests. But in the end, she didn't allow it affect her final decision.
Bellgalla's staff isn't allowing superstition to affect its work either. Lindeman said the company is abuzz with the same excitement and energy as before any busy wedding weekend.
"As our profession, this is what we do day-in and day-out," she said. "It's not taken lightly because it's such an important day for our couples."