Chances are, if you just got engaged then you know the first thing everyone asks after seeing the ring and hearing the proposal story is about the date. When are you getting married?
Of course, you should bask in the wonderful light of newly-engaged glory for a bit and not stress about the details right away. But sooner or later, you’re going to have to let family and friends know when you’re tying the knot — if not the exact date, then the approximate season and year.
To help you make the most informed decision possible about choosing your wedding date, we’ve pulled together some quick facts and figures for you to consider before nailing down the big day.
The average engagement in the US lasts around 13 months. There’s a reason why. Pulling together a wedding in just 6 months is quite the feat. Wedding planning is hard, so make sure before you pick the date that you’re giving yourself a realistic timeframe.
Consider your venue at the same time. If you have your heart set on a date (and you’ve told everyone) and then you find your dream venue doesn’t have availability that day, it could cause a lot of stress. Take time to research venues you’re interested in, visit them, and narrow down options. Then, figure out a few potential dates and see if venue availability matches up.
Look at your calendar. Now black out all major holidays. While a Christmas wedding might seem romantic and festive, believe me — your guests (at least some of them) will grumble. After all, it’s one of the few days they have off of work to spend with their families.
Time to get detailed
You probably don’t have a wedding theme or colors yet, and that’s more than okay. But keep in mind what you like and what you really wouldn’t like for your wedding. If fall colors don’t really do anything for you, then maybe that November wedding might not be the best idea. Springtime allergies got your eyes puffy for 3 months? Think twice about an outdoor spring ceremony.
Most weddings are on Friday, Saturday, and sometimes Sunday. This is going to mean your vendors will be more expensive, since those days are in high demand. But, having your wedding on a weekday might be difficult for guests to coordinate, even if it is cheaper. Similarly, May – September is big-time wedding season, so prices will be higher then too. If your budget is tight, it’s good food for thought.
Think of your close, must-have friends and family for your wedding. If there’s any special cases (maybe your best friend spends half the year in another country, or you know a close relative is scheduled to have surgery in the spring — I don’t know, these are just hypotheticals), you should consider them before setting a date. It would be awful to put down a venue deposit and then realize the date just won’t work for your nearest and dearest.
While I mentioned you should ask your nearest and dearest relatives, you absolutely should not ask the opinion of all your guests. This is a slippery slope, because ultimately the same date just won’t work for everyone. It’s just not worth your time or stress.
Don’t tell guests your wedding date until you have your venue locked down — that means your deposit is paid and the paperwork is signed. Things could always change, and minimizing back and forth is always a good thing.
If you’re talking to someone you know you’re not going to invite and they ask your date, stay tight-lipped and vague about it. Saying “Oh, probably sometime next spring” keeps things open-ended, and doesn’t sound like an invitation. If you say “April 21st at the Hotel Vitale in San Francisco”, the area gets a little more gray and assumptions could be made by the person in question. Do this as a favor to yourself to avoid the awkward “you’re actually not invited” conversation.
Hopefully these tidbits are helpful to you brides — we know that choosing a date is hard, so we wish you the best of luck! Recently married brides or wedding professionals: anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!
All photos via Mandi Nielson Photography.