I was chatting with a bride to be the other day and I asked her “What’s the most challenging thing about planning a wedding, in your opinion?”. Here I thought I’d get some response about staying on budget, getting organized, or booking services but no. She said, “trying to pick the wedding date”.
But it’s true. Once you have the wedding date set you can do everything else. Book the venue. Send out invitations. Make reservations and bookings. You know, all the things that go into planning a perfect wedding. But you can’t do any of this stuff without having a date set first.
Usually we are planning wedding months in advance. It’s not only a challenge, it can be stressful trying to choose a wedding date so far ahead without knowing what everyone’s schedule will be like. Sure, if you know in advance everyone can schedule around your special day. But even the weather could do something unexpected without being able to see a rough forecast.
Our Best Planning Tips For How to Pick a Perfect Wedding Date
Pick a season for your wedding date
Generally most couples know what time of year they’d like to get married in. Summer is wedding season and for good reason; the weather is better and you can have outdoor celebrations and photos. Don’t rule out spring, fall, or even winter weddings though!
Summer might be green and lush, but autumn colours are great compliments to a wedding. Spring means new beginnings and can help fit into the ‘next chapter’ theme a wedding brings. And lastly winter is an opportunity to take some breathtaking snow-themed photos.
After you’ve discussed roughly what season you’d like to hold you wedding in you can start to narrow down the dates.
Look for wedding date conflicts
A conflict is something that’s going to impede your wedding in some way. Maybe your city has a summer festival that results in all the hotels being booked up each year? Or you might live somewhere that has extreme weather seasons that could possible damper your wedding day? Take a look at your area’s event calendar and talk to your wedding party about possible conflicts.
Some common conflicts are:
- Extreme weather
- Large events or festivals (especially annual ones)
- Major holidays
- Back to school and other ‘busy’ or ‘must attend’ seasons
- Close family and wedding party birthdays (unless you want to celebrate on those days)
- Other major family events or parties (an anniversary, graduation, family reunion, etc, unless there’s no schedule conflict)
Take advantage of complimentary scheduling
Schedule compliments, on the other hand, can actually help your wedding planning. Look for events that can coincide with your wedding or otherwise make it easier for out of town guests to attend. Maybe you have ample space and summer weather means they can bring their campers? Or you might want to consider planning your wedding on a long weekend that isn’t a major holiday.
Some complimentary events to your wedding are:
- Favourable weather seasons
- Less important long weekends
- Special dates that honour family members or close friends
- Another event over the same weekend out of town guests could also attend (as long as there’s no conflicts)
- Less expensive times of year to travel
Set a date
Now that you’ve narrowed down the time of year and roughly what dates are best to use or avoid, you can really start getting into choosing a date. Look at your personal schedules and see if there’s any dates that work great for both you and your spouse to be. Set a tentative date, then check in with your wedding party and confirm it works for them. If there’s a major conflict someone very important can’t avoid, consider choosing a new day.
Now you’re all set! That wasn’t so bad, right?
If you’re still struggling here’s some more things to consider:
Do you want an outdoor or indoor wedding? If it’s the former, look at previous year averages to see if some dates tend to have better weather. For an indoor wedding, check what dates your venue of choices has available.
How many guests do you plan on inviting? For a larger wedding you need to be more aware of accomodations. If you’re hosting less out of town guests it will be easier to find them places to stay even during busy hotel seasons.
Is there something special you want that’s timing-specific? Maybe you want to get married while the cherry blossom trees are in bloom, or you love the colours of fall. Time of year will affect your scenery especially if you’re doing outdoor wedding pictures.
Are your professionals available? If your dream photographer only has one weekend next summer open and you desperately want her then that’s your wedding date.
See also: Questions to Ask Your Wedding Caterer
How much time will people need to take off work? This will affect attendance. If you have your wedding on a Tuesday (it happens!) then you’ll have an easier time booking venues and services, but you’ll also require guests to take more time off work. Especially if they’re travelling. A long weekend means less vacation days used, but higher flying costs.
How long do you want to wait? Depending on when your engagement was, you might not want to wait as long or plan something so soon. If you’re hoping for a certain engagement length that might dictate your wedding date choice.
Will it be a destination wedding? You’ll probably want to plan one of these in the winter time so it can be a wedding and vacation all in one. You should also make sure that the time of year doesn’t coincide with any off or stormy seasons.
It’s Your Perfect Wedding Date
At the end of the day it’s your wedding. If people want to attend they’ll make the effort. If they legitimately can’t, that’s part of throwing a wedding. Not everyone can make it! So really, the perfect wedding date is the one that you pick for your wedding. After all, a wedding is about you and your partner, not everyone else.