When it comes to setting a wedding date, there can be a lot of pressure for the couple to make a decision. Some brides and grooms already have a date set in their minds from the moment they get engaged. Others have no idea what month they want, let alone a date. If you’re in that boat, don’t fret because we’ve got you covered! To aid you in the first crucial step in wedding planning, here’s what to consider when choosing your wedding date.
1. Familial Considerations
Although not the most fun topic, family illnesses, aging grandparents, or even the more positive topic of the pregnancy of a close family member can greatly impact when you set your date. If there are key guests you must have at your wedding who perhaps will fare better sooner than later, be sure to work around their health or schedules so they can be in attendance. Additionally, if you know that key guests might be in the prime in the first half of the day, consider a brunch wedding so they can fully enjoy your celebration!
2. Your Ideal Weather
Is the winter better than the spring? Is June really the best wedding month? Do you dream of being surrounded by snow in the mountains? Or do you prefer a mild breeze and sunshine in the French countryside? Callista Osborn of Callista and Company says, “Consider the landscape and weather at your ideal wedding venue. Are there blooming trees that peak in the spring, colorful autumn foliage, or dreamy dustings of winter snow? Don’t let weather be a deterrent, but rather research average weather patterns, and plan accordingly from the start to keep your guests comfortable in the sun, rain, or snow.”
3. Tourism in Popular Destinations
If you’re planning a wedding in a city that often has tourists, be mindful of dates and months that are busier than normal. Going during busy seasons could make travel more difficult. Additionally, it would make it a lot harder to get gorgeous portraits with minimal to no people in the backgrounds. Jennifer Fox, a wedding planner in Paris, advises, “When choosing a wedding date in Paris, it’s key to take into account the time of year, especially during the busy summer tourist season. To enjoy the city’s most iconic landmarks at their most intimate (and with the best lighting), it’s best to plan for a sunrise portrait session a day or two before your actual wedding. This way you are sure to capture the city at its most beautiful, while allowing yourself more time to sip champagne with your guests on your wedding day!”
By choosing a wedding date that gives you flexibility to go early and explore the city with your photographer, you can truly take advantage of the city’s beauty. It’s great advice to add on a portrait session during a time when most people aren’t even awake! That would solve the busy background issue and then your wedding will a piece of cake too since tourists wouldn’t be at your venue!
4. Choosing a Meaningful Date
If you’re open to any season and time of year, choosing a meaningful wedding date that’s based off of special past events can be a beautiful nod to your history. You could choose the date on which you first met, had your first kiss, or your anniversary. Or perhaps you two are big fans of a particular holiday and want to incorporate that date and its festivities into your celebration. You truly can’t go wrong with choosing a date that has significance to your relationship!
5. Prioritizing Your Dream Vendors
Nothing’s worse than having your date set in stone only to realize your favorite vendor is already booked. If you’re that bride or groom who’s had their heart set on a specific venue or photographer and can’t have your wedding without them, let their availability dictate your date. Inquire and tell them how much you would love them to be a part of your day and that you’re willing to choose whatever date they’re available within a specific month or season. That way, you get your dream team of vendors and don’t have to brainstorm your own date options!
6. Be Flexible
Sometimes being flexible with your date can be a huge blessing. For my own wedding, we originally wanted April 6th (a Saturday). Our dream venue had lower food and beverage minimums for Sundays. As much as we had out hearts set on Saturday, the financial logistics and the fact that we would be able to make better use of our full budget by choosing Sunday were absolutely worth it!
You might also want to be flexible in case you realize your date overlaps a time frame in which traveling would be difficult or costly for you and your guests. Michael Masi of Masi Events adds, “Just last week we were venue scouting in Palm Beach with one of our new full service clients. They were initially interested in October dates. Being as they are from the Northeast and not South Florida, I advised them about the potential for hurricanes that time of year. So obviously weather is an important consideration when choosing your venue and location.
Beyond that though, it is important to be aware of other activities that may be annual or special occurrences in the destination of your choice. For this same client, they made the decision on the wedding venue of their dreams, luckily the venue was available for February not October. Hurricane issue averted! The dates available were February 1st and February 22nd of 2020. They were ready to move forward with the 1st, when I advised them that the Super Bowl would be in Miami that weekend, nearly two hours away from their venue, but still in the area. Before confirming the date, we check hotels, airfare and other travel expenses guests would be subject to in order to attend the wedding and decided that an over $500 difference in airfare tickets would be worth the move to the later date.” Way to go Michael for helping his couple avoid potential wedding disasters!
I couldn’t end this post without highly recommending that you hire a planner to help you make the right decision about your wedding date. Planners, working from experience, can foresee issues like traffic, weather, costs, and more when it comes to choosing your wedding date. Although you should wait until you have a date set in stone to contact other vendors, planners are a great exception to this rule. They’ll be a great asset to have before you even choose your date and venue!
Cavin Elizabeth is a wedding film photographer based in San Diego, California. Her wedding work has taken her all over the United States and abroad. In addition to being a photographer, Cavin is an educator and an avid blogger of wedding planning tips for brides and grooms. She authored the book A Bride’s Guide to a Picture Perfect Wedding, which teaches couples how to make wedding plans that are best for photography.