A hell yes, you're engaged! The next step: when the hell will this thing happen? Setting the date sounds easy, right? If you set it, they will come. Let me tell you, it can be a little more complicated than that. So pull out your calendars and let's talk over 7 questions you need to ask BEFORE setting your wedding date.
How much time do you need to plan?
Allowing for a lot of planning time can give you more options, more budget flexibility, and less upcharges for rush orders. If you're planning a lot of DIY projects, want to work around a pregnancy, a move, or a job change, give yourself a few extra months if you can.
Perhaps the biggest bonus to planning the wedding as early as you can is that your chosen vendors will likely have more dates available to you. Photographers and your dream venue will often book months and months (if not years) in advance. This becomes extra important if you're thinking about a destination wedding.
When are your no-way dates?
Depending on your career, children's school schedule, planned vacations, and other scheduling considerations, you'll likely have dates that are just out. Block those out before you start eyeballing dates.
Planning a honeymoon?
If you're planning to honeymoon vacay anywhere near your wedding date, or just after, you'll want to think about the season and weather in your chosen destination.
If your wedding date is flexible and you definitely want to take your honeymoon right away, choose your wedding date during the season you want to travel. Watch out for high seasons where travel and costs are at their highest or when weather will be at its most volatile.
Who are your VIP guests?
You may have guests who are must-haves: the family members and friends you really want to be there. Check in with them about their availability before setting the date to make sure they'll definitely be available.
Are there any special dates to consider?
Your anniversary, the day you met, special dates between the two of you, and major holidays are all factors to consider when choosing the wedding date. Holidays especially add additional elements to the planning. Make sure you're aware of the major holiday weekends, long weekends, religious holidays, local event weekends, big sporting events, and other holidays or family birthdays before committing to a date.
We've gone through a whole slew of pros and cons specifically for holiday weddings like Christmas, New Year's Eve, or Valentine's Day here.
Do you have a theme?
If you're planning a specific theme like Halloween, fall foliage, a movie theme (aligned with a movie release!), or a summer camp vibe, you'll probably want to let that guide your date choice. But don't worry if you go off-roading with your theme. Nobody will care if you're celebrating pink and yellow flowers in the fall. Feel free to embrace the season you choose, though!
Would you consider off-peak timing?
June, September, and October are usually the most popular wedding months based on weather alone, so off-season dates may save you some bucks. Consider January, March, April, and November if you're looking for a slightly better deal on your venue.
Days of the week are also a big factor. You could consider a non-Saturday wedding or an off-peak daytime wedding to save even more money. Fridays are becoming popular, or think about a 2:00 p.m. Sunday cake and punch wedding or a brunch wedding! Here are some tips for weekday weddings.
More wedding date advice
What dates are YOU throwing around for your wedding?
Comments on Ask these 7 questions before you pick a wedding date
Something else to consider is if other friends and/or family are also getting married.
(Though hubby and I didn’t run into this issue ourselves, it has come up frequently here on OB)
You may think even a two-month span of time between weddings can be enough, but it tends to cause stress for all involved – especially if wedding party members are shared!
If your cousin set her date for June, don’t choose something in the spring or summer as well.
If your heart is set for a warm-weather wedding, then it may be best to hold off a year.
I had 8 days between me and my friends wedding. Couldn’t be helped but it was weird!
If you are religious, check to see if there are any dates when weddings aren’t allowed. Judaism has quite a few rules about when weddings are and are not allowed. This includes not overlapping with Shabbat, which nixes a Friday night or Saturday afternoon wedding, to entire weeks (in the summer) when weddings shouldn’t be celebrated. It doesn’t matter for everyone, but if you are working with clergy or have more observant people on your “must be present” list… add that to the list.
What helped us to pick a date was the fact that we wanted our reception in a specific venue, and they are popular and also have their own events. So we had to choose between mid-summer or mid-winter. Both are low seasons for this student organisation. And summer was not an option for us.
So we contacted the venue last week, to ask about available Saturdays in December this year or January next year. The only date they could give us was January 14, 2017. Not perfect, since this is my fiancés birthday, but yeah, you can’t have it all. But to be honest, we actually couldn’t decide on a date, so when we only got ONE from the venue, it was a huge relief!
So my advice is to be flexible with the dates if there are things (other than the time) that are important to you. Have a few possible options to pick from.
I totally recommend going off-season! We had a January wedding and actually got a few special deals from vendors for booking in the off-season. There was also basically a universal guarantee that nearly all our guests and vendors were available for our date. Plus, it was something fun to get us through the bleak days of winter.
a funny thing i ran into while finding a venue was the kentucky derby. you wouldnt think that was a big deal in chicago, but more then one bar that we were looking at held events every year for the derby and we would have had to do it on a different day.
We’re going with a Sunday brunch wedding in March to save on the wedding costs (although every single week my mother emails me begging me not to get married in March, because it will likely rain. Even though the wedding is indoors. And we’re in Seattle.)
From the research we’ve done on specific wedding venues, that will save us around $3K alone. Yay!
Ours came down to the weather we wanted (cool but not freezing) to suit our theme (steampunk) in the location we planned to have it (toowoomba, qld) and then what dates the photographer had available during the month of August. In September the prices of everything go up and its harder to get venues, equipment hire, etc due to other annual events that happen during that month.
I am very happy with the date(20/08/16), and its just over 1 year since the date of our engagement, 6 months to go 🙂
We got married on our anniversary. It was always something I wnted to do, and it happened to be on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend tht year, so it was convenient (no one had to work the next day), cheaper (Sundays are less than Saturdays, even if we weren’t quite off-season), and the weather was PERFECT. I was willing to compromise if we had trouble finding a venue, but being outside in early spring was very important to me.
I am also looking at getting married in Toowoomba QLD or nearby and would love any advice you have about local vendors? I just got engaged and I am a little overwhelmed with the beginning of planning.
Looking for some advice, We are definitely planning for a pandemic wedding next year, if everything is OK we will invite up to 25 guests, but if not it’s my daughter, granddaughter and my daughter’s partner. Perhaps my friend who happens to be a guy.
I have a venue that’s beautiful who offers “escape or elopement” packages at a very reasonable cost with a months notice, depending on the dates of course. We are Maple syrup produces in rural Ontario Canada and thanks giving is my first choice, first Monday in October in Canada. But here’s the difficulty, my father died at my uncle’s wedding many years ago at Thanks Giving weekend. My mom was only 32 and had 4 children under the age of 8. She can’t attend as she’s ill and across the country from us, so I’m concerned she’s going to be worried even though she tells me it’s fine. Do you think I should do a Christmas wedding instead? My parents were married on the 27th and that would work out great, however if we are still having problems with the pandemic Thanksgiving will allow us to be outside with more people, Christmas will be more limited as it will be mostly indoors.
You know I’ve lived with the guy for 16-years I didn’t think it would be this complicated. Damn *&$”!!
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