Should I schedule my wedding for the same day as a family member’s wedding?

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Wedding date overlap: Should I schedule my wedding for the same day as a family member's wedding?
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My fiancé and I have been together for over nine years. Each year we celebrate our anniversary on the day we made our relationship official, and on our 2016 anniversary — he proposed to me. After all the emotional dust settled from this, my first thought was: we'll get married on our anniversary in 2017!

Then I remembered, my half-brother's cousin already announced that they would do their wedding on that very date.

To me and my fiancé it seems only right to celebrate our marriage on the day that we will have spent a decade together. However, I would really like my half-brother to be there. Can I ask him to split his day between the weddings?

Heya, M! Let's start with your last question first: nope, you definitely can't ask your half-brother to attend two weddings in a day. Or rather, you can — but it puts him in an incredibly difficult position. Weddings are pretty intense social events for attendees, and even if you had a brunch wedding, while the other family member had a more traditional evening wedding, you're asking your half-brother to essentially spend 8 hours at weddings in one day. That's… a lot.

I understand that your relationship-a-versary is a super special day for you guys, and my suggestion would be to keep that day in your mind as your “real” anniversary… and schedule the wedding for a different time that month. You could think of it as “we've been together for 10 years this month” instead of “…THIS DAY.”

Alternately, if the day really is the priority, then you have to make the choice to prioritize the date of your anniversary over your half-brother attending. Only you can know whether that feels worth it, but my general guidance would be that relationships with family members you love are more important than anniversary dates.

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Comments on Should I schedule my wedding for the same day as a family member’s wedding?

  1. I’m actually doing something similar to the “we’ve been together for x years this month” thing. My fiance proposed on our 5th anniversary (2016) and we played aroung with getting married on our 6th anniversary (2017). But, we opted for a day later in the month for weather reasons (we’re in the North East). Going forward, we plan to celebrate our anniversary-month – starting with our dating-anni and ending with our wedding-anni. Maybe this’ll work for M too 🙂

  2. My fiancé and I split up the legal and social days for this reason. We wanted to pick a wedding date that the most people could attend, and since everyone is scattered across the country and has to travel, we picked a weekend day in the middle of summer. However, our relationship-anniversary is the end of October, and I wanted to get married on our anniversary so we always celebrate how long we’ve been together, not just how long we’ve been married. So, we did a small 5 minute courthouse thing with just our parents at the end of October so our papers say that’s our anniversary, but are now planning the giant family/friend wedding with actual ceremony and reception for next summer. So for me, compartmentalizing like this makes sense – it just depends on how important it is to you to have everyone there for the legal part. If you’re OK separating them, you can still have the big day close to your preferred date by a few days or weeks (instead of 10 months like me), then just make a little trip to the courthouse on your desired day to sign off and have that date on there.

    • We also did what Tasha did: separate the “getting legalled” from the wedding. We got legalled with only our parents and my grandmother in attendance and went out for our nice lunch together. It was also a chance for our parents to be in the same location and get to know one another better and discuss the wedding. It was a really special day, and will be our anniversary, even though we’re having our big wedding in June. Bonus: you can have whomever you’d like officiate your wedding, since you got all of the legal stuff taken care of beforehand. If you go this route, OffbeatBride has a few posts on getting legalled.

  3. I feel like there will be other bumps in the road with that date, like the venue that you and your fiance fall in love with isn’t available on that date, or your family is made up of huge sports fans and so-and-so is playing huge rival so-and-so that day and they have season tickets (if you think that’s ridiculous, well, try planning a wedding in the Southeastern US during college football season). I don’t even have to know what date you want–this just comes with the territory of wedding planning. My husband and I got married the day after our relationship-aversary because we got married on a college campus. Our relationship-aversary was a Friday and the students were still on campus and in classes, and we decided that the location was more of a non-negotiable than the date, so we got married on Saturday. We still celebrate the relationship-aversary as our anniversary, even though some weirdly pedantic relatives said, “But my invite said the 26th, not the 25th.” But we refuse to feel like “the clock started over” when we got married because the fact that we were together for six years before getting married is not for nothing, and that date is important to us.

  4. We got engaged on our two year dating anniversary and wanted to get married on that date a year later. But it would have been in the middle of the week which would have made it difficult for a lot of our close family and friends to make it. So we did the Saturday before.

    When choosing a date, it’s impossible to please everyone but I would agree to not have the wedding on the same day as your half brother if at all possible. He likely won’t be able to attend yours and family will be caught in the middle having to choose which to attend or go to both and have a very stressful, hectic day.

  5. I agree. Don’t do the wedding on the same day. Having all your loved ones there for your wedding is important. But getting legalled on that day sounds like the perfect compromise.
    My husband proposed on our dating anniversary and I had wanted to get married on our anniversary too, but it landed on a Sunday and the priest (my husband is catholic) said we couldn’t do it that day, so we did it the Saturday before. Now we officially celebrate the wedding anniversary, but the whole week we do extra nice things for each other.

  6. The thing is: the only family we share is our father, who died four years ago. None of the invited people to the other wedding would be invited to mine, except for my half-brother. So we wouldn’t be leaving out whole parts of a family or splitting up parents. To clarify: it’s not my brother who’s getting married. It’s my brothers cousin from HIS mothers side. I don’t think they’re even that close.
    But thanks for your input OBB’s!

  7. I think it would help make your decision to ask your brother how he feels. Maybe he doesn’t really want to go to his cousin’s wedding and would love your wedding as an excuse not to go; on the other hand it might be really hurtful to him if you chose the same day or maybe he is a party person and two weddings one day sounds fun to him.

    Another option besides being legaled that some have mentioned is if you are planning a honeymoon make that the day you do something really special over the top like spend the night in a castle. Our first date was on Halloween which is mainly what we celebrate, but we got married the weekend before which allowed us to go on a Transylvania tour and to be there on our date anniversary which for us was the perfect way to celebrate. If you weren’t planning an extended honeymoon than think of spending that day at a bed and breakfast or something nearby, you could even ask people to help fund it as part of your wedding registry, than although you weren’t married officially that day it becomes part of the event and a special memory to celebrate each year.

  8. I am definitely in the “specific dates have great significance” camp, but having got married five days after our anniversary, I’ve found some real advantages to having two separate-but-close-together anniversaries, and I wanted to share my experience.

    We celebrate the 8th of February as the anniversary of us, and when it came to pick a wedding date, I felt very, very strongly that it should be February. The 8th wasn’t a go-er for various logistical reasons, so we opted for the 13th as the closest Saturday after.

    When the 8th rolled around, we therefore had the perfect excuse to put down the wedding spreadsheets, exchange gifts, and go out for a nice celebratory meal. It was a really good way of stepping outside the wedding whirlwind and just enjoying spending time together doing normal things. I’d recommend it to anyone for any reason, but the inherent specialness of the day made it easier to ensure that it was actually honoured.

    And it just keeps on giving:
    Almost a year on, we realised that the dates were so close together that we really may as well take time off work and combine the whole thing into a sort of multi-day romance-palooza.
    So, we are now looking forward to nights out on the 8th (ten years together!) and the 13th (one year of marriage!), bridged by a long weekend in Vienna.

    Ultimately, in our case, we’ve been celebrating the 8th for the best part of a decade, and it has taken on a sort of symbolic meaning that will endure. Both of our wedding rings have figure-eights hidden somewhere in the design… it seemed appropriate to show recognition for how we got to where we are. And both days, going forward, will retain their own distinctive little traditions.
    It’s like having our own personal version of Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

  9. I had a similar situation. My hubby and I had always celebrated our anniversary on September 25, and we had been together 9 years when we started planning the wedding. My cousin was planning to get married on the 26th last year, in a location 3 hours away. I couldn’t ask 90% of my family to attend 2 weddings in a weekend with a 3-hour difference. Ultimately, my husband and I decided to schedule our wedding for a month later, October 25. I wasn’t too heartbroken over it, because I really wanted a Fall wedding. September, to me, is still too hot and the leaves haven’t begun to change enough to be considered Fall. Now, on my wedding day, it was still in the 60s and I wore shorts to my venue….but it was still perfect that we got married 10 years and 1 month after we started dating.
    Hope my story helps you make a decision! Good luck!

  10. If it’s only one guy and you are cool with him not attending, go for it. We wed on our anniversary and it was very important to us.

  11. We got married on Halloween and that date was absolute non-negotiable to us. Halloween also happens to be my father’s birthday, my mother’s birthday is the day after, and we knew a lot of people might not be able to attend because of taking their kids trick or treating and other Halloween traditions. We were right and about five couples didn’t show because they went trick or treating with their children instead. But to us the date was the most important thing about the wedding. If I were you I would plan the wedding for the date you truly want and just be super honest with your half-brother about it. If I were him I would definitely attend my sister’s wedding over my cousin’s especially since you clarified that he’s literally the only cross over who’d be invited to both.

  12. It’s a great thought to get married on your relationship anniversary, it’s neat and tidy and a lovely idea. However as pointed out in quite a few posts it’s frequently just not possible but each of those people went on to have a wonderful day anyway.

    The difficult thing here is it’s not totally impossible (in which case it would be easier to let go of), it’s totally possible but only if you put one person in a difficult position and I can’t see how you wouldn’t. His private preference may well be your wedding over his cousins but making him choose and live the consequences of what his cousin and their family feel about him pulling out (totally agree two weddings on one day is not possible energy wise even if somehow just about logistically possible and bear in mind if you do try and make it logistically possible every choice you make will be defined by that) is a whole other thing. I don’t know what I would feel if a sibling (and I have half sibs and full sibs so get the blended family thing) put me in that position banking on our relationship trumping the other wedding, I really don’t.

    The thing is there is no end to the lovely ideas you can have when wedding planning (or living a life frankly) but there is a limit to which you can make real, sometimes the limit is financial, sometimes emotional, sometimes logistical. To my amazement, when planning my wedding I actually found myself letting go of what I thought from the beginning was my biggest dealbreaker and ended up having my ceremony in the one place I swore I wouldn’t (my local register office which is really ugly) but my reception somewhere amazing, I have ZERO regrets. It was also a profound relief to stop chasing the lovely idea of getting married in the very beautiful Gothic town hall in my city when we just couldn’t afford it (we did photos outside for free instead!). For me in the end reality of the day itself was so wonderful in ways I couldn’t have known during the planning process, that those lovely ideas I gave up (even the really big one) ceased to matter, in the end they were just lovely ideas.

    Finally, as someone who didn’t get married on their relationship anniversary, (not even close ours are three months apart) I’d also just like to say we’ve never had a problem with two excuses for celebrations and special dinners!

  13. Honestly, I really don’t see what the big deal is about him attending two weddings on the same day (assuming the weddings are in the same city and at different times of the day). I am kinda surprised there are responses saying otherwise. I’ve attended two weddings on the same day and it was not a big deal at all. Have yours in the morning if the cousins is in the evening or vice versa.

    That said, if there are other circumstances I don’t know about that would prevent him from attending two weddings on the same day, then you’d just have to make your choice about which matters more to you and not hold it against him if he can’t attend.

    • Well I guess it’s different for everyone but if I had a second wedding on the same day I’m not sure I’d totally relax at the first one (I hate having two events on one day) but that I totally recognise that that is due to my issues, specifically my lateness anxiety!

      Something else that occurs to me is if the first wedding is allready set which seems to be the case here then surely the second wedding ends up being planned around the first, kind of in the space left over. Even if achievable that seems to me like a pretty undesirable option as it’s hard not see it impacting on almost everything ?

      • You’re right that it’s different for everyone and just because I wouldn’t have anxiety about it certainly doesn’t mean I don’t want to be sympathetic to people who would have a problem with it! I’m just thinking from the perspective that sure, he might be a bit stressed with two events, but it’s just one day, ya know? And since she said up thread that he’s not that close to the cousin, I’m assuming maybe he can leave the cousin’s reception early or something to make it work. (And coming from the perspective of Cousin, I would have no problem with my own no-so-close cousin saying, “hey awesome party, congrats again – sorry I have to leave early but sis is getting married this afternoon!”) But again, I don’t know the brother so maybe she knows him well enough to know if it would be a problem for him or cousin.

        You’re also right that she might feel her wedding is sort of “leftover”. I think I might personally have a hard time with that, but if she doesn’t feel that will be an issue and if she really wants the date (which you can tell from her letter and responses that she really desires it), I would make the location near cousin’s location and time it so that brother has plenty of time to do both. And obviously there can’t be any hard feelings if he can’t make it or misses part of the festivities.

        Also, I wonder if she’s just asked the brother what his feelings would be. That’s probably the best route.

        • That’s a good point about the cousin being totally fine with her cousin leaving her wedding early. My cousin was an usher at our wedding on Halloween, he stayed through dinner, and then split because … actually I have no idea why he split. Point is, I didn’t care. There were plenty of people there to hang out with who I’m actually closer with than my cousin.
          I didn’t realize he’d left so early until the next day!

  14. First, CONGRATS! Happy engagement! Hope the wedding planning goes well for you.

    Second, yes try to avoid it, but at the same time, this day is very important to you and not doing it might always bug you. We were put in a bit of a similar situation, we quietly booked our wedding date before we were engaged, so when we announced our engagement and then our wedding date, turns out my soon to be SIL had THREE weddings that weekend, and only mine was in our local town. (I was a little annoyed with my soon to be husband, as I had checked with all the necessary people BEFORE we booked, where he clearly hadn’t even though I had asked him, anyway.) Ours was Friday, the one on Saturday was on the other side of the country and her boyfriend was a groomsmen, and the one on Sunday was the next city away from us, and she was a bridesmaid. We talked about moving the date so her boyfriend could attend, but the next weekend would have made our anniversary Sept 11, which we weren’t excited about for obvious reasons. My sister gave us advice to not move our wedding for his sisters boyfriend, which totally made sense and so we proceeded. They got engaged shortly after this, and as much as I still feel bad, and she still guilt trips me about it (even though she was a bridesmaid, that was a mistake), I am very glad I stuck to my guns and don’t have Sept 11 as our anniversary.

    If you do decide to do your day, talk to your half brother. Tell him how important it would be for him to be there, yet you would completely understand if he isn’t able to make it. Explain the significance of the day, and how it means so much to you to get married on that day, but you feel terrible that you’ve put him in that spot. This shows you didn’t just do it mindlessly or selfishly and made things difficult for him, and if he’s a reasonable person, he’ll understand.

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