@greeneggsnsam Hi! Welcome to the forum. I'm getting married around the same time except this year.
I'm not too sure how comparable the rates would be as i'm flying out of Toronto, Canada, but I do know that December is considered high season for travel so it's a bit more of a costly month to book.
Palace resorts have a lot of perks if you book as a group. I'm not sure how that would work if you're all planning to book on your own, but there may be some risk in doing that with availability and having to ensure that your guests book before the resort is booked etc etc.
I'm actually very glad we went with a travel agent as she was able to really organize the entire group and make sure everyone paid their final payment in time. We are now two months away and the resort is almost fully booked. My travel agent actually made an inquiry to add an additional room to my room block and they said the resort is booked up.
If you get an agent and they designate a room block those are guaranteed rooms for your guests and it will also count toward all of the group benefits that palace offers.
If you have any other questions, feel free to DM me! I'm two months away now