When friends and family find out about your engagement, one of their first questions is usually “When is the wedding?” While it’s a natural question to ask, you don’t want to feel rushed in choosing a date before you’re sure of the kind of wedding you want. To keep the questions and pressure at bay, it’s a good idea to share the news of your engagement with only your closest loved ones, at least until you’ve done some brainstorming and planning. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up nine tips for how to pick a wedding date that makes sense for you, depending on your needs and preferences.
1. Have an idea of your location and budget
The date of your wedding doesn’t have to be the first decision you make. In fact, in most cases, it’s best to decide on (or have a general idea of) other matters first, such as the location of your wedding and your overall budget. Having an idea about these aspects can also make choosing a wedding date easier.
For example, the availability of your dream wedding venues will be a major guiding factor in your decision. Do your ideal dates match up with those venues? If so, be sure to take note. If the cost of the venue fits with your budget, and there are no other scheduling conflicts for a specific date, it might just be the right one.
2. Allow time for planning your guest list and other details
You’ll want to designate plenty of time to plan all of the practical details and logistics about your wedding. For example, between you and your partner, who do you want to invite? How many invitees are you envisioning? What does the day look like from beginning to end?
Depending on the size and scope of your ceremony and reception, the time you need to plan may vary and impact other aspects of your wedding, such as your venue. While the length of your engagement is ultimately up to you, make sure you have enough time to get all of the pieces in place before settling on a wedding date.
3. Determine a wedding season or month
The time of year to say “I do” is probably the first factor that comes to mind when choosing a wedding date. You may already have your heart set on a winter wedding or summer wedding, but even if you’re committed to a certain time of year, you may be able to save money by going for a date when wedding vendors are less in demand.
Of course, if you want to have an outdoor ceremony or reception, take the weather into account. Think about how hot or cold it might be, the likeliness for precipitation depending on the location and time of year, and if you have room in your budget to rent a tent.
4. Consider a wedding date during the off-season
The most popular wedding months are June and September, which means your favorite venue could be in high demand and may booked for up to a year or longer. Another option is to consider having your wedding during the off-season. Generally, your costs will also likely decrease outside of the most popular months. A wedding planner can help you determine which times are best in your specific area.
5. Go beyond a Saturday wedding
Saturday is by far the most popular day for a wedding. After all, it lands in the middle of the weekend when many people don’t need to request time off from work or school, making it convenient for guests and couples. But due to its popularity and demand, Saturday is also the most expensive day to have a wedding. If cost is an immediate factor for you and your partner, consider choosing a wedding date that falls on a different day of the week.
6. Work with your loved ones’ schedules
If you want to maximize turnout on your special day, making it easier for guests to attend should be one of your primary concerns — especially those who are closest to you. To the extent that it’s possible, try to account for people’s work and school schedules. For instance, if you’re in the US, scheduling your wedding on or around tax day (especially if you have friends or family members who are accountants) might not be ideal.
Likewise, you should take holidays and local events into account, as well. Depending on the holiday, it may be easier or harder for guests to attend. Above all, let your guests know a sufficient amount of time in advance. Save-the-dates can be a great way to let people know to mark their calendars and avoid unnecessary conflicts.
7. Determine wedding dates you want to avoid
Sit down with your partner, and take some time to brainstorm if there are certain dates you both want to avoid getting married on. For example, if someone within your family or friend circles passed away on or around the wedding date you’re aiming for, it might be best to reconsider and avoid that connection. Not only could the day spur negative thoughts on what’s supposed to be a happy occasion, but it could come across as insensitive among your guests.
8. Ensure the wedding date matches the wedding style you envision
If you’re someone who has envisioned their wedding dress, flowers, or style far before getting engaged and don’t expect that vision to change, it may affect the date you get married. For example, if you see yourself gliding down the aisle in a billowy, strapless gown outdoors, a wedding in the winter probably isn’t realistic (and doesn’t quite match). Thinking about your wedding style and preferences in this way can be a driving force in the wedding date you and your partner ultimately settle on.
9. Try a symbolic wedding date
All couples have at least a date or two that’s symbolic of their love story. It could be the date they met, the first date, the date of their first kiss, or some other memorable event. If this special date happens to fall on a day that works with your venue and is convenient for you and your closest guests, go for it!
Not only is it a lovely way to come full circle with your journey, but you can put an even bigger smile on your guests’ faces by sharing the significance of your chosen wedding date on your wedding website, save-the-dates, and wedding invitations. Joy makes it easy to display your wedding date on the welcome page of your site, along with a fun wedding countdown to amp up the excitement.
Choosing a date for your big day is a big decision, so make sure to discuss your preferences with your partner, closest loved ones, and anyone else who may be involved in wedding planning. By understanding your options and keeping your priorities in mind when choosing a date, you can have a perfect wedding any time of year.