Congratulations—you’re engaged! Now that you’ve taken some time to bask in that we’re-getting-married glow, it’s time to start wedding planning. Availability at your venue of choice will likely have the biggest influence on the date you get hitched, but there are several other elements you’ll want to consider when making this important decision.
To help you through it, we consulted with wedding planner Lisa Costin and astrologer Tracey L. Rogers. Read on for all the expert info you need for selecting your wedding date—including what holidays to avoid, how far in advance to book, and even how the moon cycle could influence your choice.
Meet the Expert
Wedding Date FAQs
How soon after getting engaged should we pick our wedding date?
There’s no hard and fast rule here. Some couples like to enjoy the engagement period and take their time planning, while others prefer to get straight to work. That said, the average length of an engagement in the U.S. is 12 to 18 months. If you’d like to get married in under a year, Costin recommends securing your date about four weeks after getting engaged. “Allow enough time to speak with family and friends regarding the best date and any prior commitments, she says. If you’re okay with an engagement closer to the 18-month length, it’s okay to book your date further down the line. Either way, how long you wait after you get engaged to pick a date is less important than how much time there is between when you send out save-the-dates and the actual wedding, as you’ll want to give guests ample time to request time off work and book travel if necessary.
What are the most popular months for weddings?
Though it varies with geographical location, Costin says Saturdays in May through October are typically peak dates. (Couples that want to avoid high heat—especially with an outdoor wedding—may choose to avoid late July and August.) In recent history, the most popular wedding date in the U.S. has typically fallen in October, but early November has been gaining in popularity as well.
Peak dates will be even more competitive in 2021 and 2022 due to weddings postponed by the coronavirus pandemic. Avoid disappointment by booking your venue as soon as possible, or being more flexible with your wedding date.
What are the least popular months for weddings?
Colder months—late November through January—typically see fewer weddings, but that doesn’t mean those celebrations are any less magical.
What holidays should I avoid?
If you’re looking at a larger guest list that will include more distant relatives and friends, it’s best to avoid family-oriented holidays, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. “Guests are often spending time with family or vacationing on their own then,” says Costin.
What holidays are okay?
New Year’s Eve is popular, and for good reason—the occasion already has a celebratory tone, and what could be more festive than aligning the beginning of your married life with the beginning of a new year? Costin has also planned many weddings for July 4th weekend. “Confetti cannons at midnight and fireworks displays are always fun!” she says.
Can my wedding date affect my budget?
Your wedding date can majorly impact costs associated with your wedding. Many venues (and some vendors, particularly caterers) have seasonal pricing, with costs being significantly lower in months that see less demand. The same is true for different days of the week—weekday weddings and Friday and Sunday weddings typically have lower rates than Saturday weddings. Floral availability and cost can also be impacted by season and holidays such as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.
Tips for Picking Your Wedding Date
Check-in with VIPs.
We all have them: the people we couldn’t imagine getting married without. Before picking a wedding date, make sure it works for parents, close friends, and anyone else you feel is a must-attend.
Talk to your vendors.
Maybe there’s a photographer you’ve followed for years or the band that played your cousin’s wedding was the best you’ve ever heard. If there’s a key vendor you can’t imagine having your big day without, be sure to check their availability on your wedding date before making it official.
Avoid big sporting events and conventions.
If a sizable portion of your guests will be coming in from out-of-town, it might be harder for them to find accommodations if your wedding is the same weekend as a major city-wide event. In a post-pandemic world, pay attention to when marathons, big-name concerts and festivals, and, in certain college towns, even when football games are taking place. Though booking a hotel block for guests well in advance can relieve some of this worry, you still might be faced with street closures and traffic that could put a damper on the flow of your wedding weekend agenda.
Consider other weddings with overlapping guest lists.
If you know another wedding will be occurring in the same year as yours that will have a similar guest list (a sorority sister, a sibling, or cousin), make sure the two events are properly spaced out—especially if they’ll be happening in different locales. “I would allow at least three to four weeks between dates, depending on the guest list,” says Costin. “If it’s mostly young, frequent travelers they may not mind hopping from one state to the next, but I’d allow buffer time so the weddings don’t feel back-to-back or repetitive in any way. Otherwise, you may find guests choosing between one destination or the other.”
Do extra research for a destination wedding.
“Pay attention to local weather patterns, be mindful of hurricane seasons, and avoid peak travel times such as spring break, as travel and lodging costs could be much higher than normal,” says Costin. You also want to give guests extra notice (nine months to a year) so they can plan and save, especially if the occasion calls for overseas travel.
Astrology and Your Wedding Date: What to Know
Looking for a little cosmic guidance when it comes to selecting your wedding date? We asked pro astrologist Tracey L. Rogers to weigh in.
Auspicious Wedding Dates, According to Astrology:
- A New Moon. “If we’re talking about getting married, new moons are typically the best time because it represents planting seeds, starting something fresh, and growing from the ground up,” says Rogers. Luckily, they happen once a month, so you’ve got options.
- New Moon During Libra Season. “The libra sign is connected to relationships, companionship, and togetherness,” explains Rogers. Coincidentally (or maybe not?), Libra season occurs between September and October—two of the most popular months for weddings.
- New Moon During Capricorn Season. “This happens during the winter, but Capricorn represents longevity, endurance, and determination,” says Rogers.
- A Solar Eclipse. Though rare—they only occur two to three times a year—solar eclipses are also considered auspicious. “These are basically supercharged new moons,” says Rogers.
- Jupiter Transit. Jupiter is the planet of abundance,” says Rogers. “It’s known to be very benevolent, and bring meaning, fulfillment, and prosperity.”
- Saturn Transit. Saturn is connected to hard work and discipline, but most significantly represents where we tend to master things over time. If you’re looking for a little good juju in the longevity department, consider this a great time to get hitched. “A Saturn transit kind of seals a marriage,” says Rogers. “If Saturn’s involved, y’all are gonna be married forever.”
Ominous Wedding Dates, According to Astrology:
- Venus Retrograde. Per Rogers, Venus deals in our love languages and relationships. “When this planet is in retrograde, we have misunderstandings with our partner, and it’s usually a time to reassess and reevaluate,” she says. Thankfully, Venus retrogrades once every 18 months for a six week time period, so the window to avoid is a small one.
- Void of Course Moon Transits. “Avoid setting anything in motion when the moon is not making any kind of connection to another planet,” advises Rogers.
Mercury in Retrograde and Your Wedding Date
When it comes to Mercury in retrograde, we hear about it regularly because it happens fairly regularly—three to four times a year—and is tied to the staples of our day to day routines: transportation, communication, technology, what’s happening in our environments, etc. “When this planet is in retrograde, our gadgets stop working, there are misunderstandings, we lose our car keys, there are traffic jams, and other little nuisances and frustrations that interrupt our regular movement,” says Rogers.
While some astrologers might advise you against signing contracts or making major decisions during this time period because things could go awry, Rogers is more realistic. “You still have to live your life,” she says of planning a wedding during Mercury retrograde. “It’s not going to ruin the wedding, there just may be some hiccups. And if you know this in advance, you’ll adapt and adjust where necessary, as opposed to thinking everything is ruined.”