Once you get engaged the first thing most people will ask is - “So, when’s the wedding?”; and while it may seem simple enough there are a few things you need to take into consideration when deciding on a date.
It is after all, one of the more important decisions to make, as it can impact every aspect of your big day as well as play a big role in the look & feel - and atmosphere. You may have an idea of how you envision yourself walking down the aisle or what you want your cake to look like; but until you decide when you'd like to get married, you can't commit to anything.
The best place to start is to decide on a season; think about the style of wedding you would like - do you want an indoor or outdoor wedding, a hot-chocolate by the fire feel or more of a tropical cocktail feel? Remember that the season can help set a mood as well as influence the way people behave.
Although spring and summer are the most common wedding months, all the seasons have their pros and cons:
If you are looking at a destination wedding you will want to make sure what time of year is the best time at the specific destination.
Along with your wedding style you need to keep your budget in mind, with spring and summer (round about October to April) being the most popular wedding seasons they do tend to be more expensive - so, if you are working on a tight budget you may consider getting married in the off-season (venues also often have specials running during this time). Another option you can look at here is to get married on a day other that a Saturday; getting married on a Friday, Sunday or even a weekday will work out cheaper - but keep in mind that it can be a bit more challenging for your guests. However, if you give them plenty of notice this should not be too big of a problem.
Another important aspect to look at when choosing a season is work commitments. For example - if you work in the financial industry, setting a date during the same time as year-end may not be the best choice; or you are busy with your law degree, you may want to wait till you have graduated or have a break from the exams. On this note, you may also want to make sure that you will be able to get enough leave for the honeymoon during the specific season you are considering.
Once you have narrowed down the time of year, you can start looking for venues. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for the more popular venues to be booked up to a year in advance. So, when looking at venues find out from them which dates they have available in the months you have chosen, this will help you to make the final decision on the exact date.
The venue is the most important supplier to look at when deciding on your wedding date, however, if you have your heart set on using a specific photographer (or other supplier) you may want to just confirm with them that they are available on that date - and be sure to book them (along with the venue) asap.
In general, we recommend that you do not try to schedule your wedding date according to your guest’s schedules - this can end up turning into a never-ending game of rescheduling. Your wedding day is about you as a couple and you don’t need to accommodate everyone else’s calendars. If your invitees truly want to celebrate your day with you they will arrange their calendar around your wedding date.
That being said, you may want to consult with your nearest and dearest - those people you cannot imagine not being at your wedding - to make sure they do not have any conflicting schedules.
Some other aspects to just keep in mind is any health issues that may force you to get married sooner rather than later - perhaps your grandmother’s health has recently started declining. Also consider any other weddings there may be, perhaps you have a friend who has already set a date in the same month you are looking at.
Holidays and Events
Getting married on a special holiday may sound perfect to you but remember that you are not going to be the only ones there. Holidays are usually times that people spend with their loved ones and they may not be so keen to spend it at a wedding.
You also want your wedding day anniversary to be unique, so you can celebrate it for years to come because of the meaning behind it, not share it with Christmas or New-years.
Another thing to keep in mind is that costs go up dramatically with holidays, so everything from the venue cost to the flowers and even travel and accommodation. Your wedding is about the two of you, but you also want to make it an event that your guests are excited about and can afford to attend
If you really want to get married on a specific holiday you can always consider a morning wedding (Morning vs. Evening wedding). This will allow you and your guests to not only celebrate your wedding but also spend time with their families on the holiday.
When you get to the stage where you have your potential dates narrowed down to a month or two and you are not sure which one to go with, you can consider any dates that may be meaningful to you as a couple or as individuals. Perhaps the day you met, your first date or even the date you got engaged - you may even want to honour a family member who is no longer alive by getting married on their birthday or anniversary; or perhaps one of the dates happen to be your lucky number.
Take your time
Planning a wedding (planning schedule) is not always a simple feat, but the important thing to do is to pick a wedding planning timeline that works for you. Shorter engagements of 4 or 5 months will force you to power through the arrangements and also gives you a shorter stress period; where as a longer engagement of 12 to 15 months will sometimes make you wonder if there is actually a wedding in your future but will also give you time to plan every detail to perfection as well as save up so you can pay for everything.
This list may make it sound difficult to decide on a date, but in reality it is often easier than you’d think. The venue you want may only have one date free, or there are only two weeks during the year where you could get time off to go on a honeymoon. Sometimes practical considerations will win over a romantic idea, and that’s perfectly okay – the date you choose will become significant and special once you are married.