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?