The moment you announce your engagement, your friends and family are sure to ask, “So when’s the wedding?!” Before you get overwhelmed by the deluge of questions about your wedding date, here are a few key things to consider:
1. Season. Do you want to marry indoors or out? On the beach, at a hotel or in a cozy mountain lodge? Consider the style of wedding you’d like to have and the right season for it as you begin to think about your wedding date.
2. Budget. Believe it or not, it’s more expensive to marry in June than it is in November. If you’re on a tight budget, consider marrying in the off-season. Alternatively, venues are often cheaper to rent on non-Saturdays — meaning any other day of the week. Marrying on a Friday, Sunday, or during the workweek can be a tough thing to ask of your guests, but if you’re having a relatively small wedding and give people plenty of notice, we’re certain your friends and family will understand.
3. Destination. Dreaming of a destination wedding? You’ll want to investigate the weather patterns in your desired wedding locale before making any commitments. Keep in mind hurricane season afflicts the Caribbean and many of our eastern states, so do some thorough research before you book a venue. Also, keep in mind the flexibility of your wedding guests: Destination weddings are often smaller than at-home affairs, but if there are VIPs you want to have at your wedding (think elderly grandparents) you might want to consider tying the knot closer to home.
4. Your schedule. Many couples want to take a honeymoon immediately after the big day, so be sure you can get enough time off of work or school to accommodate your busy pre-wedding schedule and your post-wedding vacation. Also consider the busy times of year in your profession: accountants, for instance, will probably want to avoid marrying between January and April.
5. Significant dates. Numerically-significant dates (like 12/13/14!) often fill up fast. Last year, thousands of couples rushed to marry on 11/12/13. These types of wedding dates make your anniversary date easy to remember. You could also choose to marry on a day that’s significant for you — perhaps the anniversary of the first time you met, or your first date — or on a date that’s special to your family, like your grandparents’ wedding anniversary, for example. You can explain the significance of your chosen date in your program, on you wedding website, or somewhere else at your wedding.
6. Venue availability. If you have your heart set on marrying at a particular venue, you’ll need to check their availability early on. Many traditional wedding venues book weddings 12 to 18 months in advance, though non-traditional venues may be more flexible.
7. Guests’ schedules. While the most important people at your wedding are you and your spouse-to-be, you’ll want to ensure you pick a date on which all or most of your VIPs are available. Is one of your cousins getting married on the other side of the country? Don’t pick a date too close to that event or you’ll be competing for guests who have to take time off work to travel.
8. Photographer availability. If you want to work with a popular wedding photographer, you’ll need to get in touch with them soon after you begin your wedding planning to check their availability. Be flexible, though, and know that there are plenty of great photographers out there if you just can’t nail down your first choice.
9. Health of the marrying couple and family members. If there are ongoing health issues affecting you, your spouse-to-be or members of your family, you’ll want to take that into consideration when setting your wedding date. Do you need to marry sooner rather than later on account of an ailing grandparent? If so, be flexible with your date and accommodate those who matter most to you.
10. Holidays. There are pros and cons to marrying on or near a holiday. On the one hand, if you marry around a holiday like Christmas, your friends and family may have traveled back home already and no extra travel costs are required. On the other hand, families are often very busy around Christmas and food and venues prices shoot sky high. Some venues also book up quickly around the holidays for family gatherings. But tying the knot around a holiday like Labor Day, however, can be a boon for marrying couples: You can often get a better price on a venue on a Sunday, and your guests won’t have to take extra time off work over the long weekend. Plus, attending a wedding on a long weekend is a nice excuse for a little getaway.