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After months of floating along in post-engagement bliss, the “moment of truth” has finally arrived – it’s time to set the date for your wedding! While choosing your wedding date may seem like a simple task at the onset, there are many factors you and your fiance need to consider before setting a wedding date. To help make the decision less daunting, I would like to share a few factors that you absolutely need to consider before writing it on the calendar.

Setting Your Wedding Date Should Be Your First Step.

You can’t have a wedding without a venue, and you can’t reserve a venue unless you know the date or dates that work best for you. My advice: sit down with your fiance and select 3-5 dates, then rank these dates from most-to-least desired. Knowing this information before you start calling churches and event venues will make the booking process less frustrating for everyone involved. (Trust me on this one!)

Plan Around Your Careers.

While there’s no way to predict if something might happen in your respective careers, you and your fiance should consider any and all job-related conflicts that might arise before finalizing a wedding date. A great example would be, that accountants/CPAs should avoid getting married between January and May.

Length of Engagement.

Think about the ideal length of time you would like to be engaged, and also the ideal length of time you would like to have to plan your wedding. If you got engaged during the spring and your ideal wedding season is also the spring, you’ll likely be engaged for about a year. However, if you’re hoping to celebrate your wedding day within six months, you will be planning a fall or winter wedding. Know what’s most important to you and your fiancé, and be open to compromising on time and season if necessary.

Season.

Do you want to marry indoors or out? On the beach, at a hotel or in a cozy mountain lodge? Consider the style of wedding you’d like to have and the right season for it as you begin to think about your wedding date. Consider some of these seasonal elements:

Summer weddings are hot.

If you’ve always dreamt of saying, “I do” during the summertime though, just make sure you take the proper precautions. Some good ideas to consider: umbrellas for your wedding guests, mini fans, bug spray, sunscreen and cold drinks, to name a few. If you can’t stand the heat (i.e. you tend to get all hot and bothered and really irritable), think twice.

Lighting.

Throughout the year, the sun sets at different times in different seasons. Even though you might be planning your summer wedding during the winter, the sun will set much later on the day you and your fiancé get married. Research sunset times if you’re hoping to get married on the beach as the sun is setting or if portraits with the sunset as the backdrop are on your radar. Also, know the presence or lack of natural light will change the amount or type of lighting you will need to have present for your photos and at your wedding venue.

Weather.

No matter where you decide to host your wedding, weather will play a major role in your big day, and can help determine the best time of year to get married. You’ll always need a back-up plan on hand if and when the weather inconveniently decides to change (very common in Wisconsin!). Consider how the date you choose will impact your ceremony, reception, transportation, and guests’ experience. Thinking of having an outdoor ceremony in the middle of summer? You’ll need to plan for heat, humidity, and insects. Hoping for a garden party in April? Make sure you can bring that party inside or rent a tent that is sure to keep guests dry if it rains. For a December wedding, you’ll probably want to hold your ceremony and reception at the same venue to eliminate transportation in case it snows. If you don’t think you’ll be able to make adjustments and modifications based on potential weather issues, you might want to choose a different day or month. Study up on average temperatures and rain or snowfall over the past few years to give you an idea of what the weather could be like on your day. However, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to always have a back up plan whatever the season.

Budget.

You will want to consider getting married during a time when the majority of your wedding must-haves are in season, like food and flowers. You will also want to consider popular times when others are getting married, including seasons and days of the week. The spring and fall are the most popular seasons to get married, and Saturday evenings are the most desired day and time. There are always seasons, months, and days that are just as wonderful to get married that may not have quite as high of a price tag. Make sure to consider those too, and respect your budget.

Your schedule.

Many couples want to take a honeymoon immediately after the big day, so be sure you can get enough time off of work or school to accommodate your busy pre-wedding schedule and your post-wedding vacation. 

Meaningful dates.

One of the best places to start when narrowing down wedding date options is to consider dates meaningful to you, your fiancé, and both of your families. Think about whether you would like to get married on the anniversary of your first date or the date you got engaged. A few other dates to consider: the anniversaries of your loved ones, or even just the same day of the month as your anniversary. Side note: Think about meaningful dates to avoid, too. Check in with family members to make sure you can plan around graduations, significant birthdays, and weddings that might already be in the works!

Venue Availability.

If you have your heart set on marrying at a particular venue, you’ll need to check their availability early on. Many traditional wedding venues book weddings 12 to 18 months in advance, though non-traditional venues may be more flexible.

Wedding Professionals.

If you have dream professionals on your list, make sure to contact them early on. Sometimes the availability of these pros will drive when you choose to get married. By contacting your favorite pros, you will make sure to be on their radar. Should another couple contact them for the same date, the professional will typically contact you first to see if you would like to firmly reserve the date and time.

Guests’ schedules.

While the most important people at your wedding are you and your spouse-to-be, you’ll want to ensure you pick a date on which all or most of your VIPs are available. For example, is one of your cousins also getting married. I would suggest not picking a date too close to that event or you’ll be competing for guests who have to take time off work to travel.

Health of a family members.

Do you need to marry sooner rather than later on account of an ailing grandparent? If so, be flexible with your date and accommodate those who matter most to you.
Whew!  There’s a lot of thought that goes into picking the perfect wedding date. It’s definitely not a decision that can or should be made on the fly. Choose carefully, make a decision you both are excited about and move forward.  Side note: you will have other conflicts arise that will be completely out of your control. Again…out of your control. So…stand firm and know you are not going to please everyone. It will be the “Best Day Ever” because whatever day it is you are marrying your best friend and it doesn’t get any better than that!  

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