There’s one thing that every single wedding has, no matter the budget, culture, or style: a date! But there’s a lot more to setting a wedding date than just picking a day and starting to plan your dream wedding. We’ve asked our experts to walk us through when (and how) to decide when your wedding will be. Now start planning!
Your partner popped the question and you said “yes” before the ring box was even open, but resist the urge to jump at choosing your wedding date just as quickly. The two of you may know exactly when you want to walk down the aisle, but there are a number of other factors at play. Your wedding is your special day, but it’s also about bringing your family and friends together to celebrate with you, so it’s important to keep them in mind as you look at the calendar.
Start by talking to your VIPs, particularly both of your parents and especially anyone who will be contributing financially to your wedding. If you and your S.O. have your hearts set on getting married during a certain season, choose a range of dates that fit your vision, then ask your parents to send you a list of the weekends when they’re not available during that time. Compile a calendar and black out the dates that won’t work, leaving you with a variety of options when the most important guests can be there. Don’t forget to include any previous engagements the two of you have on your calendar, and ask your parents to put a hold on all of the potential dates you end up with, just so they don’t make any other plans before you’ve set your wedding date.
If you’ll be hiring a wedding planner, he or she is the person to talk to next. With a few dates in mind, your planner will be able to check their own bookings and let you know if they are available to plan and execute your wedding—even if you haven’t narrowed it down to a single date quite yet. Your planner will also be a wealth of knowledge when it comes to choosing a venue for your wedding, so hiring a planner before you’ve booked your venue gives you access to all of that insight (and might lead you to an option you hadn’t considered!).
You’ve got some dates in mind (and possibly have a planner on board), so now it’s time to look at venues. Yes, you read that right: Look at venues BEFORE you’ve chosen a date! Schedule tours at your favorite venues, and bring that list of dates that you and your parents created along with you. If you are open to a few different dates instead of having a single Saturday nailed down, you’ll actually have more venues to choose from, since some might be available for one or two dates on your list, while others may be available on entirely different weekends. You’ll be able to consider the pros and cons of each venue more thoroughly because you’re not limited to the ones that are available on a single day.
Having your ceremony and reception at separate venues, such as a house of worship and a hotel? If you have a few different dates to work with, there’s a higher likelihood that the availability at each space will line up—again meaning you don’t have to settle for option D on your reception venue list just so you can get married in your childhood church. All of this makes it much more likely that you’ll find your dream venue without having to put your wedding off for an entire year just to get on the calendar.
Once you’ve visited venues and have chosen the one you love, put down a deposit, notify your VIPs of the day you’ve chosen, and start planning your wedding!