You’ve just gotten engaged. So what’s next, you ask?
Before you go ahead with any major planning (like booking a venue or caterer), you’ll need to select a general timeframe for your wedding.
Today, we’ve put together a list of things to consider before choosing your wedding date.
- Season & Weather: Do you prefer pastels and the fresh smell of spring? Are you and your loved one going for a summer, beachy feel? Do you love fallen leaves and autumn colors? Or are you hoping for some holiday lights? You’ll want to take your seasonal preferences into account, along with the average weather forecast. For example, if you’re planning for a summer wedding, you’ll want to make sure your guests are comfortable and be prepared for the heat.
- Budget: Lets face it: your wedding budget is an important factor. April-October weekends are very popular times to get married in Maryland, so rental rates are at their highest. Many wedding venues offer discounted rates on weekdays or during off-peak months (November-March), so if winter is your favorite season and the venue you’re looking to go with offers a lower rate, this may be a good choice for you.
- Guest Attendance: Your guest list is something you’ll probably be dealing with at a later time, but consider your important guests. You know, the ones that simply have be there. Also, take your career into account. If you’re an accountant, for instance, you may have a lot of accountant friends. Choosing a wedding date during tax season wouldn’t be the best idea.
- Scheduled Events: Depending on your family and friends, it may be unforgivable to plan your wedding for Superbowl Sunday or the World Cup Final. Watch the schedule of your family’s favorite team and either plan around it or incorporate it into the day! Also, check for pre-scheduled local events (ie. Preakness, which was on a Saturday this year). If there’s a local event that coincides with your wedding date, you may inadvertently increase the costs for your guests. Hotels and flights are more likely to be booked in-advance and, if a particular weekend has big event going on, flights and hotel rates will be higher or possibly unavailable. Depending on your location, traffic and parking could also be an issue for your guests.
- Date Significance: Many couples choose to get married on meaning dates such as the date they first got together, the date of their engagement, or even the date of a family member’s anniversary. Some like to choose fun dates such as this year’s “10-11-12.” My husband and I, for instance, take a liking to odd and prime numbers. We chose a date around our preference.
- Proximity to Holidays: Guests may or may not be able to get additional vacation around major holidays, so keep this in mind for any vital-to-attend out-of-area guests.
- Future Plans: Are you in-school and planning your wedding? We were – and it was a huge factor when it came to selecting our wedding date. Chad and I were in a long-distance relationship/engagement. He graduated in May and had out-of-state job training in June. Thus, we selected July. It was convenient for our wedding & honeymoon plans and we were able to sign a new apartment lease. Chad’s cell phone contract was even ending around that time, so we were able to join a new family plan. Pretty convenient, really.
- Vendor Availability: It isn’t unheard of for a couple to schedule their wedding specifically so that they have the opportunity to work with a particular vendor or at a particular location. For example, is there a particular photographer that you’ve been stalking via Facebook for the past year? If they’re booked on weekends and a weekday is an option for you, inquire about their availability!
These are all things to keep in mind when setting your wedding date, but remember: The final decision is yours and yours alone. (Also, be sure to keep in mind that, to obtain your marriage license in Maryland, you must pick a date that’s at least 2 weeks out.)
Regardless of what date you go with, you’ll be married at the end of the day. Come hell, high water, or Ravens/Steelers.