Choosing a Wedding Date

There's a lot more to choosing a date for the big day than simply picking your lucky number.  Setting and designing the other important features of your wedding--bakers, florists and garment shops, which all need sufficient time for preparations--may ultimately determine when you can realistically set your wedding date.  The location of the wedding itself is also a huge determining factor, as depending on popularity, you may need to book months to even years in advance to snag that dream spot.

Take a Peek at the Calendar

This may seem self-evident, but the most common mistakes couples make while determining wedding dates often regard poor planning around holidays, work schedules, seasons and even simply days of the week.  If you have your sights set on a particular venue, whether it be a childhood church or a fancy hotel, you must plan ahead in order to determine what dates and times are available.  Depending on the season you desire, as well as the the location itself--indoors versus outdoors--sometimes may be more difficult to book than others.  During this period, consider your reception location as well, as you need to make sure that both venues can be booked on the same day for reasonable times that fit your schedule.

While it is your big day, family and friends should also play some role in deciding the date, as these guests are often what make the day an even more joyous one.  Consider normal working days and hours, as well as guests who have children.  This may mean being aware of a traditional school schedule or choosing a date and time that guests can easily arrange for babysitters. 

Planning a destination wedding?  If you're not fronting the bill, make it easy for guests to find transportation and hotel accommodations by picking a less popular date or a weekend.

Some Other Tips

  • Check your own work schedule.  Give your boss advance notice of your leave, and be sure to check your company or employer's vacation policies.
  • Saturdays are number one.  Saturday is the most popular day of the week to hold a wedding because it allows time for out of town guests to travel, and gives everyone some more time to prepare.  Be wary, though, as Saturdays are often the most expensive days to book.
  • Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock.  Choosing the time of day you hold the ceremony often has big impact on the budget.  At certain times it is acceptable to just serve hors d'oeuvres, while at others it is necessary to serve full meals.
  • Tis the season.  Make sure you're aware of what holidays fall around your desired date.  You may have trouble getting guests to attend if they have prior holiday engagements, and officials to perform the wedding may also be harder to find.
  • Call ahead.  Try to book your wedding date at least nine months in advance.  This may seem like a long buffer time, but it will ensure you get the date you desire and leave room for all the other important decisions--from picking the gown to the cake and decorations.
  • Like a particular flower?  Make sure you pick a wedding date where they're in season.

Budget More Than Just Your Time

The average contemporary wedding costs £16,000 and the prices for everything from floral arrangements to DJ booking are continuing to rise.  It's important that you have other life expenses under control before you begin to plan your wedding.  No one wants to start off a marriage in debt!  Take the time to go over credit card bills, student loans and other items that may need to take priority over the wedding.  Once you have figured out a payment plan for non-wedding related expenses, you can then move on to the big day.  Set a budget that you want to stay within, and set price-tags for certain items.  If you're unwilling to skimp on the perfect dress, but are less concerned about dinnerware  for your guests, then plan accordingly.

If the budget ends up being your number one concern--for many couples it is--then you may need to determine easy ways to save cash.  

  • Friday night or Sunday afternoon weddings are much less expensive.  The trade-off is that this may impact the ability of guests to attend.  This goes for holidays too.
  • Buy decorations during sale periods.  If you're planning a winter wedding, try to buy your decorations a year in advance.  If you buy them right after New Years, you'll get up to 50% off and save yourself a headache that could otherwise interrupt marital bliss.
  • Make your own wedding favours.  This can be a great project for bridesmaids or groomsmen to take on.  It allows some down time to hang out during an otherwise hectic period, and also adds a personal touch that your guests will appreciate.

If you don't have the money right away, then you may ask yourself, "How long will it take me to come up with the cash?"  If you need at least six months' worth of pay cheques to cover the costs, then don't schedule your date before then!  There's no harm in browsing bridal magazines  in the meantime, but don't make any binding commitments that you cannot keep.

A Sunny Honeymoon

As important as the actual wedding ceremony is, the honeymoon should be equally as perfect.  If you want it to fall directly after your wedding, you will need to coordinate both dates.  While you may have always dreamed of a summer wedding in London, the sunny weather may not last if you plan to travel internationally.  Make sure you know the climate patterns for your honeymoon destination, and if possible, try to avoid travelling when hurricanes or other inclement weather is common.  This will help to ensure that both your travel and your stay will go smoothly.

With Some Luck

While luck shouldn't be the sole deciding factor when choosing a date for your nuptials, some cultures may have certain dates or seasons that they find more favourable than others.  While Western cultures may desire to simply pick numbers that have some personal meaning for them, Indian and Chinese cultures have specific standards for picking dates.  In China, for example, it is tradition that you try to pick a date with as many even numbers as possible.  Indian people, on the other hand, have certain auspicious days that they may wish to have their wedding, depending on the year and season. 

It may be worthwhile to research your cultural background if you are feeling indecisive about a date.  This can be a fun project that may bring a bit of good luck to the ceremony!  And if your head has been in the clouds (thinking about marrying your one true love), perhaps you should consult the stars while you're at it.  Utilizing astrological signs is one way to determine what days will be the most easy going, fortuitous, or best for a union.

Quick Picks!

Wedding Planning for Dummies 

Perfect Wedding Planning 

Wedding Planning Made Easy 

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Free Practical Wedding Planning Guidebooks 

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