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 think 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.
So, how do you choose a wedding date? Start by talking to your VIPs, particularly 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, siblings and any other key family members to send you a list of specific dates that they aren't available within that timeframe. 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 all 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 some fantastic venue options you hadn’t considered).
Now that you’ve got some dates in mind, and possibly have a planner on board, it’s time to start looking at wedding venues. Yes, you read that right: It's best to start looking at venues before you choose a wedding date! Schedule tours at any venues that are real contenders for your wedding and bring that list of preferred dates along with you.
If you are open to a few different dates—instead of having a single Saturday in mind—you’ll have more venues to choose from and you'll be able to consider the pros and cons of each venue more thoroughly.
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 a year or more, just to get it on the calendar.
Once you’ve visited a number of different venues and have settled on the one you love, it's time to seal the deal. Put a deposit down to reserve the space, notify your VIPs of the day you’ve officially chosen and let the wedding planning begin!