Ever since you announced that you’re engaged, friends, family, and strangers at the grocery store have been asking you, “Have you chosen the wedding date?” While this question may make you cringe a little, the truth is, that before you hire caterers, design your bouquet, order your dress, and lock down the enviable wedding band you’ve had your eye on, you have to choose a wedding date.
That said, with so many moving parts, it can be very hard to know where to start in choosing a wedding date. So, I’ve put together a few considerations to help you as you choose your forever anniversary date.
Which came first, the venue or the date?
If you have strong convictions about a specific wedding date or a specific wedding venue, more often than not, you have to make a compromise somewhere. That said, it’s not impossible to get everything you’ve ever wanted… if you’re either the luckiest person alive or you plan far in advance.
If you have your heart set on a specific date: Perhaps you want to throw a costume wedding for Halloween, get married on the anniversary of your first date, or take off in your getaway car under a canopy of New Year’s Eve fireworks, I encourage you to simply plan ahead and keep an open mind about your wedding venue.
If you have your heart set on a specific venue: Here’s my advice to you: It’s always easier to book the venue of your dreams if you’re at least somewhat flexible on the date. If the venue is most important to you, call the venue as soon as possible to get information about its availability. Many venues will place a hold on a date for specified amount of time, so if they have your dream date available, take advantage, place a hold on it, and plan a tour of the property at your earliest convenience.
For more information about choosing a wedding venue, read my post, How to Find Your Perfect Seattle Wedding Venue.
The season in which you choose to get married is the backdrop of your wedding day. Whether you choose to get married in the dead of winter or under the hot summer sun, how you decorate, how you dress, and what you serve your guests for dinner will all be affected by the season.
When deciding your wedding date, think about the overall aesthetic of your dream wedding.
Your wedding season will set the mood, so choose a season that reflects the personality of your dream wedding.
Pro tip: It’s important to also consider the high tourist season of the location you choose, especially if you’re planning your wedding in a remote area with limited lodging. Make sure your guests will have a place to stay by reserving a room block in a local hotel or renting rooms ahead of time.
Climate considerations such as likelihood of rain, snow, hot overhead sun should impact your decision about choosing an indoor or an outdoor venue. If you plan an outdoor wedding in the Pacific Northwest, make a rain plan and consider the comfort of your guests.
It’s also important to consider possible limitations due to things like avalanche warnings, fire bans, or wildfire smoke. Many venues, especially venues in the Pacific Northwest, have restrictions during certain times of the year. Your wedding venue should be able to give you information about their year-round climate and special considerations. If you want to have a wedding in a national or state park, ask them about climate considerations such as their fire ban and wildfire high season so that you’re not met with any last minute surprises.
Depending on your location, wedding venues typically have varied prices throughout the year. Prices are highest during peak wedding season (late spring through early fall) and lowest during the colder months (late fall to early spring). If you are on a tight budget, one of the quickest ways to get costs down is to choose a date that lands outside of peak wedding season.
Prices also vary throughout the week, and are highest on the weekend. The most budget-friendly options are usually Sunday through Thursday.
If you are planning a destination wedding, it’s also important to consider the peak travel times for that location. Make sure you plan your wedding far enough in advance to take advantage of low travel costs (plane tickets, rental cars, lodging, etc).
Create a list of VIP guests (close family + friends + your wedding party) and talk to them about their upcoming availability. Don’t send out a group text to everyone on the guests list (what a nightmare!), but do make sure that you’re choosing a date that will allow you to be surrounded by your guests of honor. It’s hard to plan around multiple people’s schedules, so don’t ask for too much advice. Consult only the most important guests and choose the date that’s best for the majority. Once the date is set, don’t budge.
Pro tip: If you know that you’ll have a lot of important out-of-town guests, give them plenty of notice so that they have enough time to buy their plane tickets, secure lodging, and plan their trip.
I hope that this guide clarifies the most important considerations for choosing a wedding date. I know that choosing a wedding date can seem very overwhelming, but between venue availability, seasonal preferences, and budgetary constraints, finalizing a date usually isn’t all that difficult once you just sit down to do it.
Remember that once you’ve chosen a wedding date, everything else can fall into place and you’ll be free to begin planning your dream wedding!
You know what comes after choosing your wedding date and wedding venue? Hiring your engagement and wedding photographer! When you’re ready for the next step, I’d love to chat! Check out my portfolio and Fill out my contact form for a quote.