Ask Team Practical: Wedding Dates


Ask Team Practical: Wedding Dates | A Practical WeddingIt’s a brand new year, which means a lot of brand new engagements (Hi Leigh Ann, congratulations!), which means a lot of head space devoted to picking wedding dates. Earlier this week we talked about off-season weddings (because they save you so much money), and today we’re talking about picking wedding dates, and the inevitable conflict that comes with the territory. It’s hard to pick a wedding date that works for everyone, and it’s not uncommon to find out that the date you were shooting for is a problem, in one way or another. When that happens, what do you do? Well, lucky for us, it’s Ask Team Practical Friday, and Alyssa is here with her always sage (and hilarious) advice.

We talked before about starting to set dates, but what happens when you set a date and then you run into a snag with guests or your wedding party?  That’s what our brides Desiree and L. are facing.

Desiree writes:

My fiance and I finally decided on a date that worked for us.  He is a touring musician and he leaves at the beginning of July so we decided on June 11th to give us some reconnecting and set up time before the wedding and to give us some marital bliss time before he’s off again.  Plus, I really like the number 11.  I feel like the number looks like two people standing side by side. (I know that is cheesy). [Editors Note: Is not.]

Anyway, I told my Maid of Honor (who is my closest friend for 20yrs) our date. She said that her daughter’s last day of school is on the 10th so it might be a little tricky but she could make it work. Her situation is amplified by the fact that she is moving at the end of June so she is worried about being there for her 7 yr old daughter on her last day with her friends.  But she assured me she could make it work.

So my fiance and I continued to tell people via word of mouth our date. And as time went on and I talked to her about the wedding she would gently bring up her concern over not making it to the rehearsal dinner.  I told her that I understood if she couldn’t make it and that being there the day of was enough.

Well, we are only 5 months away from the wedding date and she tells me that her daughter’s recital is the day after my wedding which is going to make it even more difficult for her to be there for me. She also said that if there was any flexibility on the date she would be so happy because she really wants to be there for me.

I understand and empathize with her situation.  She is a great friend and I know she wants to be there and she even said she would fly out for just the day.  I want her to be there too but it isn’t very realistic.  Unless we change the date…. Do we change our date?

If we don’t change it I am afraid I will be sad she isn’t there and I squelched her opportunity to be.   Am I being a bad friend and selfish if we do have the opportunity and we still don’t change the date?  I am already tired of having to consider and juggle so many outside factors to do something so personal as get married.  It is reeeaalllyy stressing me OUT and making me a little bitter!  HELP PLEASE!

L has a similar situation:

I am of the “pre-engaged” set, my guy and I have been dating for 4 years and my ring is being made right now and I am just (im)patiently waiting for it. I’ve already bought my dress. [Editors Note: Babydoll, you know you're getting married and you've bought a dress? You're engaged. You're just waiting for a ring. Own it.] We’ve picked a venue and we were really hoping to have our wedding 9/15/12. It’s a good time for an outdoor wedding where we live, and our anniversary is the 15th of June, his parents is the 15th of December, and my birthday is the 15th of August. Just an all around great number. Anyway, none of our friends know about any of this.

One of his close friends got engaged this past fall and we found out last night that they are hoping to get married 9/8/12. No date has been set yet, but that’s the date they’re looking to book. Out of allllll the dates in a 2 year span, that’s the one they picked. I’m really, really bummed. I acted like a baby and started crying when I found out. I don’t know what to do. I wouldn’t mind not having it the 15th — I’d be OK with the following couple weeks but the further we push it, it will get colder and colder and then our lovely outdoor wedding will not be fun/we’d have to spend more money on heat lamps. But isn’t the entire month of September “out” now, anyway? Their wedding will be a car ride away/night in hotel and so will ours (for all our mutual friends — probably 8 friends total). And I don’t want to “steal their thunder” especially since they got engaged first [Editors note: Again? They went public with their engagement first is all. We're splitting hairs here.] We can’t really say anything to them about it, especially since we’re “not engaged” and I don’t want to seem like a b*tch. I’m just so bummed. What would you do?

Ok, all: say it with me. You should only change your date if it benefits you or your partner first, and everyone else second. And by everyone else, I mostly mean your parents. Period. The End. Fin.

Okay, first, go read this post on how your wedding is not an imposition.

Done?  Good. Now you have to believe it.

Your wedding really and truly needs to be on the day that works best for you and your partner. (With input from important family members in there too.) No one deserves a wedding month.  Seriously, they don’t. As Meg says, “Your wedding is not an international event.” If a guest has two events close together, they’re going to have to deal with it and get over it.  If it’s that big of a deal, they can choose to not come.

If you are running into scheduling issues after having deciding on a date, look at who your wedding date is burdening or inconveniencing.

You or your partner? Change the date. Probably. [Meg's Note: We booked our wedding date, and then David changed law schools, meaning he had to miss the first week of his new law school for our honeymoon. We didn't change the date. It was fine. Weddings are a great excuse for lots of things.] If another major event comes up that makes Date A hard to handle, you can consider changing to Date B, if it’s going to cause added stress on your wedding day.

Your parents, parental figures, siblings?  Think about changing it.  And if they are contributing to your budget in any way, seriously consider changing it. (Also, your in-laws are included in this category. They are your partner’s parents.  Respect that.)

VERY close friends?  How are you going to feel if they genuinely can’t make it? If the answer is “It would hurt,” then think about changing it.  Just THINK about it, though. Maybe this is the kick in the pants you need to realize that while your wedding is important, it won’t stop the world from turning for a day, much as we might wish it to.

Friends, acquaintances, co-workers or distant relatives are the ones having a problem with your date? Don’t change it. They can send a card.

So, sure, saying that’s all well and good.  However, the problem doesn’t lie in deciding (or not deciding) to go with a date, but when L’s bride friend finds out that she is having a wedding shortly after hers, or when Desiree tells her best friend she just can’t change the day for her.

In your case L, if the bride complains about your wedding date, make sure you acknowledge her issue.  Sometimes the soon-to-wed think they deserve all the attention on them,  because, well, that’s what they’ve been told to expect. And honestly, we should feel for them in a “I know you’re under a lot of stress” kind of way (and because all of us have our moments). Even a laid-back bride might get stressed at the thought of having a friend’s wedding very close to theirs, so just put yourself in her shoes and be as patient as you’d like someone to be with you. Make it clear that you don’t expect people to choose, but if they do so, it’s the guests’ decision and not yours.

Be sympathetic about the timing, but not apologetic.  You’re not DOING anything to them. You’re doing what’s best for you and your partner and it unfortunately happens to conflict with what’s best for them and their partner. If you’re old enough to be married, you’re old enough to deal with minor disappointments.

And this is optional, but if it helps, tell them the reason you picked the date. Especially if there is a pressing reason that necessitates that date, such as your venue is booked up, you or your partner is shipping out, you’re knocked up and you want to get married sooner to keep Grandma’s head from exploding… It might make the other bride feel a little better if she knew there was thought put into it.  If she freaks out, don’t worry about it too much. A) She will calm down with time and B) We do not reward bad behavior…

If any of those eight overlapping friends complain, just shrug.  No justification is needed.  Sometimes life is complicated and they need to deal with it.

Desiree, in your case, you’ve already gone through all you could with your friend.  Honestly, the most important part of your email is that you said that you set the date in order to have some marital bliss before your honey goes back on the road.  That’s enough reason right there. It’s wonderful that your friend is trying to be there, but if she can’t, she can’t.  She’ll still be your maid of honor, she just won’t be able to be there on your wedding day.  Also?  She already reassured you that she could make it work and now she can’t, and unfortunately she’ll just have to be a little sad about that. You both should mourn that a bit, but in the end it’s your continuing friendship that’s important.

If you stick to your guns AND your date, there are a couple of caveats:

You should always be understanding to guests who cannot come, and recognize that you knew this could happen. Just as people aren’t allowed to throw fits about your date,  you can’t throw a fit about them not coming for whatever reason. Even if you had your wedding on a completely isolated day in a very uneventful day, people still might not be able to make it.

Life’s tricky. You can switch your date and then have the same people who couldn’t come to the first date still unable to come to the second. There are no guarantees that changing your date will ultimately fix your dilemma, so keep that in mind if you are changing to appease someone other than yourself or your partner.

And if it turns out that changing your wedding date is what’s best for you, try not to get stuck on a date because of meaning. It’s SUPER sweet, but celebrating your anniversary is about celebrating your marriage. Even if it doesn’t happen on the anniversary of your first date, it happens. And that’s what makes the date amazing, not numerical symmetry.

Who else has had a date snafu? How’d you work it out, and how did you deal with people who had conflicts?

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  • A-L

    Thankfully we didn’t have many people who had issues with our date. We had actually taken into consideration most people’s schedules (and airfare rates) when setting our date (weekend before Thanksgiving). But there was one person who had an issue with our Sunday wedding that started at 5PM because her surgery day was on Mondays (and like 90% of our guests, she needed to fly-in). But I took the wise Alyssa’s point of view (even before she posted it…wow, ESP!) and just stuck to my guns, and thankfully that friend was able to make it work anyway. And when the actual wedding weekend came, nobody complained, and actually lots of people complimented us on the date because it allowed people to turn it into a mini-vacation. So do what works for you!

  • http://fionalynne.wordpress.com fiona lynne

    After we got engaged, the first two months we kept the news to ourselves to give us time to enjoy the idea before the wedding chaos started. So when we first told my dad, we already had a date in mind, that fit into very busy work schedules and my complete lack of holiday days. The fact that it was only four months away was visible shocking to my dad at first but when he stopped hyperventilating they realised it made all the sense in the world.

    The hardest part was that we had two dates on the invitation because we got married in my home country and had the party the next weekend in our current country of residence. It meant that some people had to miss one or the other for visa/money/time issues which was sad but understandable. The harder part to accept was that some wouldn’t come to either but as Alyssa wisely says “just as people aren’t allowed to throw fits about your date, you can’t throw a fit about them not coming for whatever reason.”

  • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

    I had always wanted an October wedding. I live in Upstate NY, and foliage peaks right around the 3rd week of October, and the weather is usually warm enough to enjoy it (enjoy it with a light jacket or a sweater, but definitely outside). My birthday is in October, and it’s my favorite month.

    However, my husband’s father owns his own business building large display sets for trade shows. Most of his clients are in the airline industry, and the airline industry’s largest, most expensive trade show is in October. It’s so large it can only be held in one of four venues in the country – Atlanta, Orlando, New Orleans*, and Las Vegas* (*up until recently, Las Vegas wasn’t an option, and it hasn’t been back to New Orleans since Katrina, so for a large chunk of time, it could only be in two places).

    Anyway, this is a sizeable chunk of their income. Three of their clients have booths at this show, one of the clients being their “major important” client. It’s a lot of work, and his mom, dad, and brother travel to the show and are usually gone for 2 1/2-3 weeks out of the month. In 2010, they left the day after Columbus day and didn’t get back until right before Halloween.

    On top of that, my husband’s other bro is a women’s soccer coach at a D-1 college. He was allowed to miss non-conference games for good reason (brother’s wedding? check) but not conference games. The first weekend in October? Conference game. Columbus day weekend would have cut it too close to the show for his parents, and the last weekend in September was homecoming for a major university close to our venue. Every hotel within a 50 mile radius was already booked up.

    So. That left two weekends. We knew we were going to go with a Friday, so it left 9/10/10 and 9/17/10. (Unless, that is, we wanted a Labor Day weekend wedding, which we did not.) Husband is from Long Island, and 9/11 really got to him. He nixed 9/10 off the bat, not wanting our anniversary to be “so close” to 9/11. It may sound silly, but as evidenced by the letters, dates and meanings can be important to people, and he wasn’t comfortable with this.

    So. 9/17 it was. A full month before I actually wanted to get married. It butted up against a professional conference I was scheduled to attend (we ended up parlaying it into a longer honeymoon, as we were initially only going to take a long weekend). It was also, I found out after we booked the venue, 2 days before the wedding of my cousin’s dear friend. My uncle and the bride’s father are neighbors, and my cousin and this friend were in each other’s weddings. When I found this out, I started to panic. “Maybe we should think about the last weekend in August? Or maybe we should buck up and choose 9/10? Or maybe Friday of Labor Day weekend might be nice for people (even though for a large portion of our guests, this would be the second wedding on a holiday weekend that year, and the THIRD for Husband and I) …”

    Then, husband told me to STOP. Because, really, we couldn’t do this any more. Any date may or may not have conflicts. Some conflicts are worse than others, and some people you really need to be there. But life happens in the midst of this, anyway, and can cause someone important to not be there, either, for one reason or another.

    • Paranoid Libra

      Irisira, I know how your hubby feels about 9/10 being too close. I grew up an hour away from NYC down in Jersey. That date has seriously scarred me and I love the number 9. It’s my numerology number and to me my lucky number. It also made me feel like September is completely out of my options because of it all. Growing up I was fascinated by 9 and 5. I consider them both lucky numbers and was obsessed with getting married on those days, Sept 5th or May 9th. Sept 5th is even too close for comfort for me, but maybe me having a Sept. day can help me re-own it and bring happiness to Sept just like the winter weddings can give happiness during the dreary cold part of the year.

      Although I too am an October baby and love the month dearly.

    • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com ka

      We’re going to be anniversary twins–my fiance and I just chose 9/17/11, over 9/10/11–which IS a cute date, but as NY-ers too, it was too close to 9/11 to feel right. (It also had bad numerology for us, but my inner astrology/numerology hippy is too deeply closeted to disclose that.)

      • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

        Hooray for date twins!

        It’s funny, because the weekend before our wedding (9/11, of course), I happened to be at lunch with my mom and a couple of her friends, and it was a GORGEOUS day. Sunny, warm, amazing. Not unlike that Tuesday in 2001. I can’t remember who, but someone at the table said something about someone they knew going to a wedding that day.

        “I’ll bet the bride and groom chose it because they got a killer discount.”

        “Why would you say that?” asked my mom.

        I looked at her. “What’s today’s date?”

        Pause.

        “OH. YEAH.”

        I then told her, when my husband and I were booking venues, that day was the only one not booked in a sea of Saturdays in surrounding weeks/months. (Another reason we wanted a Friday or a Sunday – we planned in 8 months and most places were all booked up by then.)

      • Jessica

        9/17/2011 is my wedding date too! It was actually chosen by our reception location- In April 2010 they were fully booked all the way through until that date. The 7 used to bother me, too straight for my tastes, but I’m growing to like it.

  • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com/ Kinzie Kangaroo

    Donnie and I wanted a fall wedding, but his brother is about to go off to college on a full-ride football scholarship and it was pointed out to us that if we have the wedding in the fall, he will not be able to make it. So now we’re looking at late spring, which will still be lovely except there will not be sunflowers everywhere, which has been my dream. It’s a small sacrifice to make, though, to have Donnie’s brother there.

    But now we’re considering Memorial Day weekend (of 2012). I just can’t figure out if more people will be able to come because it’s a holiday weekend, or if no one will be able to make it because they already have annual plans or something or because travel costs will be through the roof (though most of our people are local or are within driving distance). Has anyone else gotten married end of May?

    • http://www.christytylerphotographyblog.com Christy

      Hi you! We got married on Memorial Day weekend of 2009 and it ended up working out fabulously for my guests (many who were from out of town… either a long drive or plane ride away). I made sure to get the word out early (via word of mouth around my family & friends initially) so that people knew not to make vacation plans for that weekend if they wanted to come to the wedding. And given that you’re thinking 2012… you have plenty of time to do that! :)

      We also held our wedding at a location that worked well for making a mini-vacation out of the wedding weekend for lots of people. (It was a campus-like resort on a lake in WI… with a main lodge area, but also little ‘guest houses’ people could rent for large families, etc.) Because we didn’t invite kids to our wedding (except for my nephews) – we made arrangements for babysitters for those from out of town – so they would still be able to come and bring their children. Most people ended up staying for the entire 3-day weekend and it became a reunion of sorts for my family. It couldn’t have worked out better actually.

      So plan away for Memorial Day I say! :) As long as you give people enough advanced notice – they will be able to make it work. And most people liked it even better – because they had an extra day to travel and recover from the wedding by having Monday off of work. :)
      Good luck hon!

      • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com/ Kinzie Kangaroo

        Thanks Christy! I think this is what we’re going to do! Seems like if we give enough notice with an early Save-the-Date, we’ll be all set. I’m starting the process of checking with some very important people first, making sure they don’t have solid annual plans for Memorial Day Weekend, but then I think we’re going to go for it. :)

    • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

      I have several friends who did and it worked out well for them! Some families have Memorial Day traditions, though, so keep your friend group in mind.

    • Amy

      we actually toyed with memorial day of this year, and when we opted for a different weekend (we have so many travelers and thought the plane fares would be through the roof that weekend), we actually had people questioning why we didn’t do it on that long weekend instead. lesson: you just can’t please everyone. luckily, no one got nasty about it – just turns out they wouldn’t have minded paying more and having perhaps an extra day to spend. And every year on Memorial Day I know lots of people who have weddings. It’s actually a really popular weekend – so i say go for it and start telling people sooner than later!

    • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

      I was a bridesmaid in a wedding on memorial day weekend 2009, and it went fine, but the bride did tell me she had a lot of people unexpectedly unavailable, apparently because of the holiday weekend. I guess it varies from group to group, so as others have said, maybe check with your vip types to make sure. but it was a lovely time of year for a wedding!

    • Emily

      We had a Memorial Day weekend wedding, and I think there were probably more people who couldn’t come because of that (annual family trips, etc) than could, but it’s really a toss-up. For the people who could come, it was nice to give them some extra travel/sight-seeing time.

      Funny story, having it on a popular holiday weekend (on a Saturday) makes it somewhat likely that the next year, someone (in our case, my husband’s twin brother) might decide to get married on your anniversary, on the Sunday of the long weekend. If you want a great party for your first anniversary without having to plan anything, it’s a fun perk. :)

      We picked the day because it worked best for us and our families, but it just so happened to be two days after my law school graduation (across the country), which also limited the number of my law school friends who were able/willing to make the trip. I think that was the much harder issue in terms of people being unavailable than the holiday weekend.

      I say, go for it – it’s a beautiful time of year!

      • http://www.twitter.com kahlia

        Emily, my husband’s only sibling is getting married a year minus one day after us, and we didn’t even do it on a holiday weekend (July 24th)! We’re actually kind of annoyed, though, at having our first anniversary plans decided for us… but we’ll probably take off the morning after (on our anniversary) and spend a night or two alone, away from all the craziness & big group of people.
        Ok, I’m sorry, that sounds rather negative. Attitude check (changing my outlook) time: how great that we’ll be already dressed up & can toast our first anniversary with champagne at midnight! :)

        • Emily

          I know exactly how you feel! I was NOT happy about it, but at this point I’ve resigned myself to it and just plan to have a good time. It does help to joke about it – we keep threatening to have my husband (the best man) thank them in his toast for throwing us such a lovely anniversary party, and even the special reenactment of our ceremony that they did, etc…

          • http://www.twitter.com kahlia

            Yes, that comment was kind of my way of forcing myself to accept it. It’ll be nice, anyway, and it also helps that their ceremony & reception will be so very different from ours. Plus we’ve got a bit of practice letting things roll off & not get to us. (Psst, ask me about the time his sister wore a floor-length, grey-so-pale-it-totally-looked-white dress with a white organza wrap to our wedding! ;)

            I definitely think your partner should mention the “anniversary party” in his best man speech! But only if everyone knows he’s joking and is actually ok with it, of course!

    • Carrie

      We got married on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, 2010. I don’t think the holiday weekend really changed much for our guests — most of the people who couldn’t make it, it was an issue of travel being hard for them in general because of money, health, or work schedule. They probably wouldn’t have been able to make it on a different weekend, either. And plenty of people did come.

      Travel costs weren’t through the roof to our city, because it’s not really a vacation destination. If your wedding is in the Florida Keys or Hawaii or something, travel costs might be an issue that weekend; otherwise it’s probably not going to be a huge difference. And if most of your guests are local or driving-distance, it’s even less of a big deal. Just block your hotel rooms early, if you’re doing that.

      I would go ahead and do it (well, obviously!) Bonus: If you have the wedding on Sunday, you might be able to get cheaper rates on venues and catering. A Sunday wedding meant we could have the reception at a local restaurant and pay zero room rental fee — just pay for the food/drinks. It ruled.

      • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com/ Kinzie Kangaroo

        You and my fiance are geniuses — I hadn’t even though about that perk but cheaper Sundays is definitely an argument for doing it that weekend. We were talking about wedding dates on the way home from work today and he brought that up. I was blown away! Especially since we’re probably going to get married in a local movie theatre so the rental will definitely be cheaper on a non-Friday/Saturday!

        These are a whole lot of swell reasons to do the wedding that weekend, so I think I’ll pass this string of comments on to my fiance and then start looking more seriously at reception venues!

        • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

          Be careful of that, though. A lot of venues and caterers have wised to that trick and charge Saturday rates on Sundays of holiday weekends. My cousin did July 4, 2010 (which was a Sunday) and it didn’t save them anything …

    • http://made-of-sun.blogspot.com/ Trisha

      We had a Memorial Day weekend wedding. It was really important to us, and has a lot of added perks, like the extra travel day for people, and having an anniversary weekend. There were a couple of people who weren’t able to come, but no one that was integral to the day. Overall it worked out really well for us. I say go for it!

    • Ashley B

      I’m able to go to a friend’s wedding this year because it’s on Memorial Day weekend, so I only have to take one day off work!

  • Anna S

    In 2009 I went to two weddings that were a week apart from each other (the Saturdays directly before and after Thanksgiving). They were for my childhood best friend and my boyfriend’s sister, respectively. I was going to school in NY at the time and both weddings were taking place in PA. I thought it would be /hellish/ trying to go to one wedding, have Thanksgiving with my family and with my BF’s family, and then be in another wedding (I forgot to mention, I was a bridesmaid in the second wedding).

    I flew home on Friday night and went to the first wedding Saturday morning, a week later I flew back out the Sunday after the second. I did go to all three Thanksgiving celebrations that there ended up being that year. But you know what? It was actually really great. I saw a ton of friends and family. I had a really relaxing time. I made it to all the preps and rehearsals and everything that I needed to. I didn’t have any time to write the two term papers I had due the week I got back, (but I didn’t really expect there to be any time anyway).

    My point is, even if you feel like you’ll be inconveniencing your guests you might actually be doing them a favor. If the weddings had been two weeks apart, there would’ve been no way I could’ve made it to both, either logistically (midterms the week before, term papers and presentations the week after) or financially (flying twice during the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving? I would’ve been hemorrhaging money). So don’t get too caught up on what will probably or probably not work for all your guests; most of the time things tend to work out better than you thought.

  • katie

    I really appreciate Alyssa’s comment about telling folks a reason – being upfront really helps.
    I was engaged in October and we set our date in early December (shortly after big brother got engaged, everything went smoothly between organizing our dates).
    So we were set for October, and then in January husband’s close cousin got engaged. Just about the next day they were contacting us about how we’d feel about their wedding the saturday after our’s. They share 5 aunts/uncles between them, and while it might have been easier for one uncle coming from overseas to bundle a trip to the states, that’s asking a lot of other relatives.

    I won’t go into all the pieces of the drama, but it was there. At the heart of it was the changing circumstances – we never got a straight answer as to why it was so vital – the story changed 3 times as to why they needed it. And suddenly we were considering altering our honeymoon so we could attend, which I was not wild about.

    I totally get that a bride doesn’t get a month, and I think the situation would have been much different if there weren’t so many changing reasons – definitely felt like we weren’t being told the whole story. And while it was the two grooms that were family, I was hurt that the other bride never, ever acknowledged the situation. I was in the conversation and included her in correspondence, and nothing in response. It would have gone a LONG way for her to say that she understood where I was coming from since we’re both brides trying to navigate chaos.

    We ended up proceeding with our wedding and honeymoon as planned and everyone understood our reason for not making their ceremony. That was definitely the hardness and most stressful part of our planning, and it stretched on for over a month. I really appreciated having friends around to have, “really? Really?” conversations.

    We can’t control the calendar, but we can control how we act, and that goes a long way.

    • Abby C.

      “We can’t control the calendar, but we can control how we act, and that goes a long way.”

      I think you just came up with my new wedding mantra. Thank you for the wisdom!

    • KD

      For sure – if you have a reason it makes all the difference in the world.

      I have to admit I was selfishly slightly bothered that my best friend (I was standing up in the wedding) of 20 years chose to get married on my birthday. For the record, she knows I’m not a big birthday person, but Saturday birthday are few and far between – AND she had zero reason to choose that date. If there had been a good reason it wouldn’t have bothered me, but I was kind of confused why of all the dates she chose that. So leading up to the wedding I was focusing on how I would be wearing a really unflattering bm dress on my bday.

      Then the day came. I was with many of my best friends, celebrating my best friend’s love – seeing her happier than I had in the 20 years Ive known her, dancing the night away… what more could I have actually asked for on my birthday?

      The point I’m trying to make is – YES a reason is good to justify it for leading up to the event. However, sometimes people will be thinking selfishly at first like I was, but I’m guessing more often than not they readjust their ‘tudes because they love you. That is why they’re there after all.

  • http://townhousetohome.blogspot.com adria

    Pick your date and own it, like Lauren said.

    I’ve been to two weddings in one weekend, and two weddings two weeks apart, both of which required travel and overnight stays, and both were for a bunch of mutual friend/overlapping stuff…no one cared. Okay, if there were people who were bothered by it, they kept their mouths shut, which is what should happen.

    One thing I’ve learned over and over again in this wedding planning (or life, really) process is that you can’t please everyone all of the time. You just can’t.

    If you can’t imagine your day without your best friend, then reschedule, but if it’s anything less than that (like “I’d be sad, but I’m sure I would get over it because I know she wants to be there and I’ll still be surrounded by 100 other fantastically awesome people in my life.”) then don’t change the date.

    • Amy

      And to Adria’s point – when you hit a certain age, I feel like your friends are kind of used to being invited to like 8 (or more) weddings in a year. I’ve certainly had weekends in June/July when I’ve had 3 weddings in one month, it just happens.
      L – if you were getting married over the summer nobody would blink an eye over having two weddings within a week, it happens. So try not to stress too much!

      • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

        Yes. Definitely. And you know, during those years, we all do what we can, and send well-wishes to cover what we can’t.

  • LauraB

    We got married in high summer on a Monday. We had no declined invitations out of 100 guests.

    Monday worked best for us because of time off work and the fact that the venue package was 50% cheaper than on a Saturday.

    To be honest, we barely thought about inconvenience to our guests. That may sound selfish, but if they couldn’t have made it, we’d have understood. I’m sure some people thought it was weir or inconsiderate, but we never heard anything about it.

  • http://www.misallocationofresources.blogspot.com Jenn

    We got engaged and set a date so early (his soccer number, to help him remember. Seriously.) that I didn’t worry about too many conflicts. Then one of my bridesmaids got engaged, and she picked a date 2 weeks after me, even though she would have preferred the weekend right after, because she wanted to make sure we would be back from our honeymoon and could attend her wedding. I thought that was so thoughtful of her!

    Now our fall looks like this: our wedding in DC in mid Sept, my friend’s wedding in Minneapolis 2 weekends later, and then f-hubs good friend’s in Houston 2 weeks after that. I’m just excited we have so many friends getting married!

  • Anna S

    Oh! Something I forgot: I recognize the logic to the statement “just as people aren’t allowed to throw fits about your date, you can’t throw a fit about them not coming for whatever reason,” but I have to tell you: that is a lot easier said than done.

    The short story for that is that when my parents got married my mother’s sister (my aunt, H) didn’t reply to the invitation and my parents only found out about two weeks before the wedding that she and her family weren’t coming and didn’t intend to come. She was, in her words, “too busy for that” and my parents “didn’t give her enough time.” She also cited her daughters (10 and 9) as being too much trouble to wrangle.

    Invitations went out to all 30 people they invited (a small, family and close friends only affair) just a bit more than three months in advance of the wedding. With such a small wedding H’s presence was noticeably missed. She lived four hours away (my uncle, brother to H and my mom, lived more than a day away and made it with no problems).

    My mother holds no ill will against H for this, even now 30 years later, but it’s clear that it still stings to think about. When my sister and I first heard the story we couldn’t believe the callousness. Not enough time? You had months. Your daughters were too much to handle? What about the family who came from out of state with two kids under 7? Too busy? It is your sister.

    I know I’m being harsh; it was 30 years ago and it didn’t even happen to me, but that doesn’t stop me feeling the way I do about it, no matter how much I try to forgive her. My solution? She just won’t be invited to my wedding. She’s probably be too busy to come anyway.

    • clampers

      Kill them with kindness?

    • larah

      We decided to find a venue in our budget and to our taste before we picked a date. Once that was done and we knew their availability we talked about 2 things..one who was most important for us to have there and 2-so very unromantic, but practical what times of the year are booked with other big events that might cause challenges for us to celebrate anniversaries in years to come (ie holidays, family birthdays, major events like graduations, end of school, etc.) I have a large family and knew of a few dates to look out for, his family is small-but all teachers-so we looked at summer and picked a day. August 6th it is. We are about to send save the dates out and while I hope everyone can make it-its not my issue if they can’t. It’s our special day and will work for us….that’s what is most important. Plus I feel that a smaller wedding is more intimate, and what could be more special!

    • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

      I see where you are coming from. It’s one thing for a guest to say they are very sorry and not able to come, it’s another to be flippant about it. I have an aunt who told me, “You are crazy; we’ll be up north,” when she found out my date without a hint of “I wish we could be there.” That stung a bit. But oh well.

  • Clem

    I had no very strong feelings about the time of year or the date we got married. Because we got engaged on New Years Eve, we thought autumn 2010 would be nice, but then it transpired that my sister was going off to volunteer in Zimbabwe for six months, from the end of September. And September itself was entirely taken up with the events surrounding a friends wedding. So then we thought May 2011 would be lovely, but D’s mother had a conniption about that as apparently it’s bad luck.

    So we looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, said ‘meh. June 2011 it is’ I never imagined I would be a June bride, as I assumed it would be hugely expensive, and I think it really can be, but we are very lucky in that our venue charges the same, regardless of the time of year you get married. And because we had a full 18months to plan, we were able to book most of the vendors we wanted. And now I am excited to marry in June – roses! long evenings! seasonal summer food!

    One of my bridesmaids however, is having real trouble with her date. She and her fiance have their hearts set on a September wedding, but because of work commitments, can only do the last weekend in Sept. They told her fiance’s parents, who seemed fine with this, and then her fiance’s father promptly accepted an invitation to speak, and I think help organise a conference thousands of miles away that weekend. He didn’t do it to be mean, he is an absent minded professor type and just forgot. But my friend and her fiance are seriously upset, and I really don’t know what they can do. They REALLY want a September wedding, but they can’t get married without the father there. I’ve suggested they move the wedding to October, but there are various difficulties with this as well, and short of waiting till Sept 2012, I’m really not sure what they can do.

  • http://www.christytylerphotographyblog.com Christy

    I really don’t think the two-week apart weddings are a big deal – honestly. I’ve gone as a guest to many-a-wedding that were close together (and even been bridesmaid in a few back-to-back) and it didn’t cause any problems. The only reason the other couple may be upset is that if they are heading out for their honeymoon immediately after the wedding – obviously, they won’t be able to make it to yours. Other than that – I say own it! :) (Especially because 9/15 is a great day… my birthday!) ;-)

    • Aly

      9/15 is my birthday too! I totally agree it’s a great day :)

    • http://kristythecoffeegirl.blogspot.com Kristy

      I’m with Christy. Yes, own it!

      Multiple weddings in the same month – even if they’re just a week apart – aren’t really that big of a deal. In October of 2009, I was invited to 3 weddings (on 10/3, 10/17, and 10/30), AND I got married on 10/10. I made it to the one on 10/3 (and 10/10, of course), we missed 10/17 because of the honeymoon, and we made it to the 10/30 wedding. Many of the same people were at our wedding, the 10/17 wedding and the 10/30 wedding, and I didn’t hear anyone say anything negative about the close dates – and none of the shindigs were in the same city. Your friends & family truly are just excited to be there to support you. So go for it!

  • Cass

    This is actually one area of the wedding (as opposed to the marriage) that my parents had a surprising amount of wisdom and insight on. As a kid they always told me “pick the day that the church is open” and “your wedding is about you, not everyone else, so do what makes you most happy.”
    And you know what? We ended up picking a date when our school schedules were most accommodating and the church was open. It just so happened to be the date of my brother-in-law’s best friend’s wedding. He had to decline to be in the wedding party for that wedding. Owning your wedding date can really show you how important the important people in your life are.
    Luckily, his friend’s wedding is in the evening, while ours is in the morning, and my sister and brother-in-law can both be part of my wedding and go to their friend’s wedding.
    Whether my brother-in-law is there or not really doesn’t change the fact that, at the end of the day, I’ll be married to the hunky man of my dreams.

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

    The one wedding-guest nightmare I had was my own fault: my best friends set a date for their wedding, then-boyfriends best friends (who we lived with) picked the same date. Same time. Two hours geographic distance. I went to my best friends but left the reception early to try to do both–and his besties ended their reception early. Very irritating.

    We sat down with a calendar and all of the google calendars we manage and circled dates that were out because of birthdays/school/work/whatnot. We tried to accomodate the people most important to us (not immediately after birth of a child or during my sister’s conference that she can’t miss), then picked it and went with it. We told everyone six months ahead so that they can plan with that in mind, and after that it’s their choice.

    Then C’s besties picked a date two weeks before ours, and he flipped. I laughed and told him there’s a reason we’re all friends, that so what if they get better presents or all the mutual friends are weddinged out. Ours will be ours and as long as they’re back from honeymoon (they’re officiating ours) it’s no big. Re-framing helped a lot!

  • http://redheadreports.blogspot.com Ali

    My fiance and I changed our wedding date for his would’ve-been-groomsman because his wife was having a baby close to our first date. However, four months later, he told us he still won’t be able to make it to the wedding.

    So, like Alyssa said, even if you change your date, it doesn’t guarantee that person you’ve changed it for will be able to make it for your new date either.

    It sucks when your best friend(s) can’t come to your wedding. My fiance and I have 3 best friends that aren’t going to make it. We’re both really sad, but it’s absolutely impossible to choose the “perfect” day that will work for everyone. Even if it’s “perfect” when you choose the date, things come up. Circumstances change, and people suddenly have to back out.

    • abby_wan_kenobi

      Or other things happen. My bestie had kidney stones and was hospitalized two days before our wedding. She managed to come for the ceremony and the first hour of the reception but she was really heavily medicated and in an unreasonable amount of pain. It was really sucky and we were both so disappointed, but there was nothing to be done about it and the wedding was still really fun (for me). So even if you find the perfect date, you have to prepare yourself for some unexpected guest list changes at the last minute. Such is life.

    • Kashia

      My best friend (and maid of honour) is having a baby that is supposed to be due about three weeks before my wedding. She doesn’t live in the same town so would have a short flight or long drive to get here for the wedding. And you know what, it’s okay. The boy and I had picked our date before she was pregnant, and we aren’t changing it.

      And if she can’t make it because the baby is late or she is just plain tired because she has a new-born…I will miss her like h*ell, but it will be okay. I’m so excited to get to be an auntie. And the way I look at it is that having a baby kind of takes priority over a wedding. Right now I’m looking into the possibility of skype during the ceremony. (Meanwhile she’s looking at postpartum dress options in case the baby comes a bit early and she feels up to a wedding, or even just a little bit of a wedding).

      But either way she’ll still be my best friend and one of my fiercest supporters.

      • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com ka

        We busted out Skype at a friend’s wedding last year for someone who couldn’t make it — I have a little netbook that I just broke out at the reception and the missing friend was able to say hi to everyone and talk to the bride, and it worked out great!

        • Kashia

          That’s awesome, and I’m glad to hear that Skype worked out for someone else.

  • http://rachelhills.tumblr.com Rachel @ Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

    When my partner and I got engaged on New Years Eve, we pretty much immediately decided we’d get married sometime in September/October/November… ironically because the proximity to a good friend of mine’s wedding. We live on the opposite side of the world to our home country, and getting home is an outlay of a couple of thousand dollars. Timing our wedding close to my friend’s is the only way I could get home to attend her wedding.

    Then, another pair of good friends who got engaged last year set their wedding date for early November. And now our wedding date is set two weeks after one friend’s, and one week before another’s.

    I’ve read enough wedding blogs and forums in the past month to know that for many people, this would be a terrific faux pas. I’m pleased to say that in this case, both of my bride-friends are fine with it – the one with the wedding date closest to ours even wrote back “the closer, the better!” when I emailed her checking she was cool with us choosing a date so close (she’d previously suggested we share tables and chairs if our dates were a week apart).

    I know this might all sound a bit Mary-Sue, but just wanted to share a positive story to show that wedding planning doesn’t have to be a competition over who gets the biggest spotlight. And better yet, timing my wedding within weeks of theirs means I’ll be back home to attend both their nuptials!

  • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com/ Annie

    We haven’t had any major date stress so far, but one piece of advice I got about wedding planning in general is “Some people are going to be hurt no matter what.” Whether that’s by the guest list size or the distance needed to travel or the date, you will not be able to make everyone in your life happy. And that’s not the point of a wedding. You’re getting married and doing the best you can to have most of the people you love there. Handle any disappointments the best you can, but you can’t expect to make it an absolutely perfect day for everyone involved.

  • http://as-food-to-life.blogspot.com meredythbyrd

    We set a date that worked for a good friend coming from France, and another good friend who was in her brother’s wedding shortly before. It’s outdoors and the day, July 30th, was to have a full moon. Then my uncle “helpfully” reminded me on Facebook that people coming from his state, Georgia (like my lovely cousins) would be starting school on Monday. One of his sons, my cousin said they’d be there no matter what. But we’re pushing it back one week and if they still can’t make it then… that’s their problem. As my dad put it: “my family is pushy, but they’re not the ones paying!” I really would like them to be there, I know my aunt would really want to be there. But I have other concerns and them not coming wouldn’t be an overwhelming tragedy. Not to go all Bridezilla, but this is OUR day. Not theirs.

  • Barbra

    When I was in grad school in Texas, I had a weekend with my cousin’s bat mitzvah on Long Island on Friday and Saturday, and a college friend’s wedding on Sunday night in Connecticut. I flew to Hartford, rented a car, drove and took a ferry to Long Island, drove and took the ferry back to Connecticut for the wedding, and flew home. It seems like a pain, but it was awesome! I was almost happier to attend the events because it was difficult, and I had acknowledged to myself how important they both were to me.

  • Amy

    Just wanna say, everyone here is responding very rationally. Of course the bride doesn’t get her own month – this is absurd! however, i imagine that people in this dilemma, while they know it is unjustified, still dread their friends’ families’ irrational backlash. it’s hard to have that conversation, even when you know you’re not in the wrong. chances are, unless that other bride is also reading this blog, she might truly believe that she has this right. so basically, it’s a sucky conversation to be faced with, but i guess you just have to know in your heart you’re doing the best you can, for you and your team.

    • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

      My uncle had a somewhat irrational backlash to our wedding being two and a half months after my cousin’s. He got over it, but his initial annoyance (I presume) was because they had a 16 month engagement, and we chose an 8 month engagement. I didn’t want a long engagement! He got over it pretty quickly (once he realized how ridiculous that was) and ended up being totally fantastic.

      My aunt, however (my OTHER cousin’s mother) told his fiancee, shortly after THEY got engaged, that she in no uncertain terms could do her wedding in October of the same year, because that was “too many weddings for the family in one year.” I responded to my mother, “Yes, that is too much joy and mirth in our family for one year! We simply cannot have that!” I, personally, would have been thrilled to have all of us cousins wedded in a few months of each other – the three of us are only a couple years apart in total, and we grew up quite close as a result.

    • Paige

      What if it’s the groom making a bigger deal then the bride? My brother’s wedding is a month before mine. When I originally took his opinion into consideration he said he would prefer I pushed the date back a couple months. I then explained that if we get married any later I wouldn’t be able to get married until December (I work at a winery and grape harvest is September-November, and I work 12 hr/day 6 days/week during that time). He backed off at the time, but since then he’s been pushy about me changing my date.
      My mom wasn’t really on board with the date we picked either, but her’s was a silly reason. We had mentioned to her using either 7/9 or 7/16, so she looked up in the Farmer’s Almanac, seriously, and told me that the 16th is supposed to be unseasonably hot. I was able to sit down and say, this is the date, it doesn’t matter if it’s hot. And even if it is hot, we can put a “bring your swimsuit cause we’re going swimming!” on the invitation.

  • abby_wan_kenobi

    One of the things I’ve heard a lot (on wedding blogs and from friends) is this desire to get married on a “special” day. An anniversary, a lucky number date or on of those 07/07/07 type dates.

    It reminds me of the advice my mom gave me when we were struggling between breaking the bank on an all out luxury vacation honeymoon and scaling down to keep our savings intact. I told my mom we were leaning towards the luxury option because we really wanted our honeymoon to be special and we’ve never splurged on ourselves like that. Mom (always classy) called bullsh*t on that. “Your honeymoon will be special because *it’s your honeymoon*. You could spend it in your basement and you’ll always remember it fondly. It isn’t the trip is special it’s the time you spend it with your new spouse.”

    She’s totally right, and I think it applies to your wedding date as well. We were married on June 19th and now the 19th of every month is a little specialer. It didn’t mean anything before but now that day is full of new memories and significance and it’s the date engraved inside my husband’s wedding band. Nothing could be more important than that.

  • Julie

    My partner and I got engaged and, in October, set a date for August. His daughter became engaged over Thanksgiving, and set her wedding for the weekend before ours. It’s no big deal, as it is the only date available for their venue, and just makes travel/logistics interesting.

    HOWEVER, my daughter has recently announced that she’s pregnant. The due date? Two weeks before our wedding. I have no choice but to deal with things as they happen, but we’ve now gone from interesting to AAACK!

    • abby_wan_kenobi

      My husband’s brother and his wife had (very premie) triplets 4 weeks before our wedding, very far away. My BIL was a groomsman and they didn’t find out they were pregnant until a few months after we’d set the date. Nothing to be done about that. At the last minute he was able to fly out just for the day, arrived an hour before the ceremony and left at 6am the next morning. That was a huge happy surprise, but we’d have understood if he couldn’t make it. We’d much rather have 3 healthy little babies in our lives than a wedding that went exactly as planned.

      As special as the wedding is, it’s still one day. I get to be those kids’ aunt *forever*. Way more awesome.

      • Sarah

        Indeed. Sometimes life just gets in the way.

        A dear dear cousin (the husband has no siblings, but does have cousins he grew up with that he considers his sisters) gave birth about 2 months for our wedding, and there were complications. Their little girl was in NICU on the day of our wedding … so, OF COURSE, they could not fly to us.

        We were bummed, but knew that they needed to be where they were. It was so, so much more important. Not even a question. Our wedding was fine without them, and we were able to go see them afterward, and get on with the business of having a new baby around. =)

      • Kayakgirl73

        One of my husband’s brother’s couldn’t make our wedding because his wife had a premie three months earlier and it was too much to deal with three under three by herself. They are also foreign service and overseas. It was very understandable but my husband was quite sad about it. Neither we nor they knew they were expecting when we sent the date. Baby was a total surprise, she didn’t discover she was pregnant until 20 weeks. BIL was to be a Best man along with my husband’s other brother. We still listed him in the program and such.

    • Paranoid Libra

      Good Luck with the AAACK!!! And I hope your daughter gives you a healthy happy grandchild to be at your wedding.

      My friend actually had her water break at her cousins wedding. Didn’t tell anyone until she was leaving that she’s going to go have her kid now cuz she knew that when the water broke, the baby wasn’t minutes away from coming so she just relaxed and danced it up and decided when was the right time to get out to give birth to her little girl.

    • Julie

      I’m sorry; I should have clarified. My wedding is the least of the reasons why I’m currently going AACK. I will be there for my daughter, no matter what. Babies before the wedding, during the wedding, or after the wedding, because that’s the way I roll. It’s the fact that I can’t really plan (because I’m OCD that way) that’s making me a little nuts.

  • http://arielgraphy.blogspot.com/ Ariel

    Because of the international nature of our wedding we gave the majority of the guests about 6 months notice. But it didn’t really make a difference. People’s situations changed within that 6 months numerous times. Three months before the wedding my Maid of Honor told me she and her husband were being transfered to Japan and they wouldn’t make the wedding. Huge bummer. Around the same time one of my Husband’s two attendants had to back out due to his international family commitments. It was a mess, but we didn’t change the date to make it easier on either of them (and to be honest, neither asked). Luckily, we had other friends that were willing to stand up with us on short notice and in the end it turned out my Maid of Honor didn’t get transfered and she came to the wedding as a guest.

    We were not so lucky with the date of the second reception in NZ. We really wanted to wait until the weather was better (a summer wedding in Ohio means a mid-winter wedding in NZ) but his family refused to wait and very strongly insisted it be as soon as possible after the wedding. This was a very difficult decision for us. We really didn’t want to do this. We knew it would cut our honeymoon short (due to the limit on his vacation days from work) and add a painful 24 hour flight to the end. But as the majority of his very large family wasn’t coming to the US for the wedding, and are a very vocal and opinonated family, we didn’t feel we had a choice. We gave in for future sanity. (And in a month we are going on what we call our second honeymoon. Just a vacation with no family obligations involved.)

    On the other issue, our dear friends (that got engaged a few weeks after us) were getting married two weeks before us. They couldn’t be at our wedding because of thier honeymoon and I couldn’t be at thier wedding because I was flying out to the US for my own wedding on that day. But my now-husband made it after he dropped me off at the airport and even served as the videographer. We were all bummed, but understood. When we all returned from our honeymoons we got together to celebrate after the fact. The four of us get together every month the week between our two dates and toast to our new marriages. We missed the days, but we celebrate the marriages.

    • Sylvia

      Thats so true! However much notice you give and however thoughtful you are about accommodating everyone’s preferences, things are GOING to change in the meantime at least for one or two people. Its like trying to herd cats!

    • Sylvia

      Also, huge sympathy on all the crap you had to go along with because of tricky in-laws and their expectations/demands – it’s easy to think that everyone will be as understanding and ‘practical’ as the people on here – clearly that is not always the case!
      And I love the sentiment in your last line – “we missed the days but we celebrate the marriages” YES!!!

    • JUST JENCIL

      Its so wonderful to hear about how you and your friends get together every month to celebrate your marriages! Such a beautiful sentiment and I can image a wonderful time to look back on pictures and think about the future!

  • http://www.ecovintageweddings.com Sara

    About two months before the wedding, my aunt emailed me and told me that changing our date would work better for her, because she had to take her daughter to Hawaii for a choir concert. I was flabbergasted – I would never, ever think to ask someone to change their wedding date to accommodate me.

    I calmly told her that we weren’t in a position to change the date, and that we had picked our date for a variety of reasons, including my work schedule, my husband’s work schedule, our impending plans to move one month after our wedding, and the significance of the date (my husband’s parents were married on the same day 26 years ago, and my parents were married nine days later, 30 years ago). But for us, the significance of the date came last…that’s not to say that if the significance of the date matters to you that you shouldn’t take it into account (we definitely did), but it was lower on our priority list (just like invitations were higher on our priority list than an annoying DJ – we had an iPod wedding dance).

    • Amy

      I don’t understand the logic of people like that. Do they not understand this thing called a “deposit” that may or may not be refundable? Geez.

      • Aine

        Yeah. I can understand *6* months or more before the date- people think they’re being helpful because you’ll be hurt if everyone can’t come, and this info is for helping plan. But 2 months is ridiculous. Even without deposits, my church requires 6 months’ notice for all weddings, and I know that’s pretty common.

      • katie

        ha! This is definitely one of those, “really? REALLY?” moments. At least (hopefully) you can laugh about the absurdity with someone.

  • Eat Broccoli

    Count me in for, we picked a date in the middle of no where (March) and only 1/3 of the people are showing up. Its really about what works for you. Foe me its less people=less money and less people=more intimate wedding.

  • Sylvia

    Ahh, this is a really tricky dilemma.
    When we got engaged in June, we were faced with a really tough decision – I was leaving my job in September to study for a year and really didn’t want to procrastinate through the whole course (and fail!) by planning the wedding so it was a choice of planning it really fast or waiting until after the course then starting planning. What made this complicated was that G’s gran was 95 at the time and not in the best of health, but an incredibly important part of G’s small, close family – so we wanted to get married as soon as possible to optimise the chance of seeing her on the day and sharing it with her. The flip side was that my brother was posted overseas with the air force from August until December. So we had to choose – plan a super-fast wedding for September in the hope that Gran would be there but knowing my brother couldn’t be, or wait eighteen months and have my brother there but probably not Gran.
    So, we planned the wedding for September knowing that my brother wouldn’t be able to come. It ended up being on a Friday – when you book a wedding twelve weeks in advance you have to be a bit flexible on the dates! Luckily almost everyone we invited could make it.
    Sadly Gran passed away in July so neither of the important people we wanted to accommodate ended up being there on the day – sometimes thats just how it goes. We made our decision based on the best we could do at the time and I still think it was the right one for us.
    So I think what we leant was to be thoughtful, to look after the important people as far as you can and then to be strong in your choices.

    • http://redheadreports.blogspot.com Ali

      I’m sorry to hear your Gran passed away before your wedding. It must still feel good that you tried your best to include her in your big day, though!

  • Abby C.

    Oh. My. God. Once again, APW has the most perfect timing.

    Last night was actually my first wedding crying jag. Yuck. Over what? Dates. My FSIL is waiting on a proposal from my fiance’s brother. They’ve been together 8 years, and a few months ago FBIL sent out a mass email to all four parents (they’re all overseas) asking for permission to marry her. They all said yes, and everyone is thrilled. The ring is bought, and as far as I last heard, he’s going to propose in March. When FH and I announced our engagement and said that we were considering May or June 2012, FSIL blurted out, “Oh no! 2012 is my year! Can’t you get married sooner?”

    Two things, in retrospect, I should have realized. 1) I’m engaged, and actively planning, she’s not. As far as I know, she doesn’t know the proposal is coming, though clearly they’ve discussed marriage. 2) No one gets to lay claim on a year. Or even on a specific date. We can’t hold off on getting our dates firmed up based on a proposal that hasn’t occurred yet. We need to forge ahead.

    But for a few weeks, I was in agony over her off-the-cuff comment. I didn’t say anything to her in person at the time, but I stewed about it behind the scenes. I had scary visions of pushing my wedding back to 2013 (really, really, really don’t want to do that) or ending up at the city hall with only his parents there. I think part of the reason it bothered me so much is that I don’t know FSIL well yet, and I’m perhaps hyper-aware that I’m the newcomer in a very close-knit family.

    So, we’re going ahead. And realisticly, even if she’s dead-set on a spring wedding in 2012, then she can just pick a date a little earlier or later than me. She’ll have time to work around my date.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      ” . . . is my year!”?????

      You’ve GOT to be kidding.

    • abby_wan_kenobi

      If it helps at all, two of my husband’s brothers got married two weeks apart. It was before I knew my husband but apparently there was some friction at first but eventually everyone just dug into the logistics and made it work. Now the couples are planning a 10-year-anniversary trip together. Just a little something to suggest to your FSIL :)

    • JUST JENCIL

      Don’t judge her too harshly, as Alyssa said, everyone has their moments. And as I’ve come to encounter when it comes to weddings, there tends to be more of those moments than not and each is more irrational than the last. Smile, let it go, and try to have some fun wedding planning moments together after the proposal.

      Keep in mind, some of this frustration from her might come from being engaged (seriously, if she thinks 2012 is her year and has been dating for 8 years, she’s engaged), but not *officially* so in the eyes of others. This has been discussed in previous posts and when people are stressed about what others think, irrational comments can slip. Good luck with your planning and best wishes for your future!!

    • http://redheadreports.blogspot.com Ali

      My brother did something similar with trying to claim “his year”. The only problem was, they’d been engaged for three years and never set their date. In fact, they’d discussed getting married in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Every year, they’d change it. So when we got engaged, all we knew is that they MIGHT get married in the summer of 2011, so we avoided interfering with that, by choosing either the spring or fall as our options.

      We ended up setting our date for April 2011, and they set theirs for July of 2011. But apparently he was mad because he didn’t get the whole year to himself.

      Sometimes people just get irrational and forget that other people’s lives do not revolve around them.

      • Amy

        The only time I can even slightly (and I do mean slightly) understand the claiming of a “year” is among families where it is still the norm for the parents to pay for a significant amount of the wedding. And even then I have issues with idea of claiming an entire year.

        • Abby C.

          Yeah, I could understand that, but not in my case, where in both our cases the grooms are from the same family and neither boy would hear of their parents paying for anything.

        • http://as-food-to-life.blogspot.com meredythbyrd

          I completely agree with this. In my dad’s side of the family we get together once a year to see the cousins and aunts and uncles. Since some of us cousins have been getting to the marrying age this has become part of our yearly meet up. My first cousin did it about 6 or 6 years ago, and his brother 2 years ago. It’s a nice way for all of us to work in a visit as well as go to the wedding. I can see that if people from all over the country or world can’t afford to get together more than once a year a person might be upset by her FSIL choosing a year she’d hoped for. That being said, I don’t know the circumstances of this wedding, and to wait for someone who isn’t even engaged while the other one is being planned is ridic. Take turns!

          • C

            I agree that your FSIL’s response may be more about the insecurity of being in that not-quite-engaged-to-someone-you’ve-been-with-for-a-long-time place. In saying that I don’t mean to put her down in any way. I just know from experience that the almost-engaged-but-not time can be stressful in itself (“is it really going to happen? like really? Or…”).

            My fiance’s brother was with his now-wife for 9 years before they were married. We knew it would be uncomfortable if we were engaged before them as their journey to the altar was a bit of a saga. (actually ours has been too, but it’s a saga that’s 6 years shorter!) Happily they got engaged shortly after we started talking about marriage. Actually it was wonderful when my fiance called me to tell me – he said ‘Guess what? We can get engaged soon because M. just proposed.’

            In the end we waited until after they were married to get engaged – they had a short engagement so all of this worked for us. Not at all saying that other people should wait for their siblings to get married before they do! That’s sounds like some kind of Jane Austen hangover. If M and C had taken much longer I’m sure we would have kept moving!

            I guess I’m just saying that maybe your FSIL’s response is about the difficult in-between thing – perhaps with not a little sibling competitiveness thrown in. My fiance and his brother get along really well, but my fiance is still wary of our wedding being compared to theirs.

    • http://explainingitall.blogspot.com Claire

      This is what I’m worried about! My fiance’s younger brother got engaged exactly a month before we did, and although I didn’t care, I barely knew my future sister-in-low (still don’t, actually, because they live several states away) and apparently she felt like we were stepping on her toes. Now it turns out that we may get married about a month after them, too. We’re trying to look on the bright side – being from a traditional family, they’re having a very traditional church wedding, which we are emphatically not having, so we’re hoping the close proximity of the weddings allows his parents to get all their satisfaction in one dose and temper their reactions to some of the elements of our wedding they may not be crazy about. I’m just worried that my FSIL and I won’t get off to a great start if she’s possessive about things like that.

  • Lethe

    Just to play a little devil’s advocate – the drama in date scheduling, for me, doesn’t come from the logistical difficulties of making it to two weddings that are close together. Instead it comes from the way it can divide a family’s emotional energy. My close-in-age cousin got engaged a few months after me, and then scheduled his wedding date for two weeks after mine. While there’s no need to make an international incident of it, I can’t lie – it did hurt my feelings, because now there’s another wedding for my family to fuss over, and the couple didn’t even acknowledge to us in a friendly way that the dates were close. Granted this situation is a little more complicated because a lot of people in our family are not coming to my (gay) wedding due to religious objections, whereas his (straight) wedding meets with total approval. I know it’s not completely mature, but part of me is just saying – did you really have to do that? I’m already struggling to communicate to people in my family that this is an incredibly important thing to me, and now you give them a comfortable, “legitimate” wedding to think about and fuss over instead?

    Ugh!! ….But to my credit, I haven’t said anything to them about it, and don’t plan to. It’s unlikely that it’d get an understanding reaction so I’m just trying to let it go.

    • http://somewhatbookish.wordpress.com Carrie

      This is hard. My wife and I got engaged right before Thanksgiving 2008, with no set wedding date (we were waiting for it to become legal in DC where we live), and then her brother got engaged a month later and set the date right away for August of 2009. I know my wife really worried that her family would treat his wedding as the “real” wedding and hers as just some silly “gay” thing – and it was a little stressful at the time. That said, when we did get married this past May, her family (and mine) did totally respect our wedding, even the ones who may disagree with marriage equality as a political issue, even the ones who didn’t come, still acknowledged the fact that we got married, and that was important and meaningful. So I hope, that even if not everyone you hope will come to you wedding does, you still feel that acknowledgement and validation of your marriage. Because, holy crap, you are getting married! How awesome is that?

    • http://whyareweallsostupid.com sarahdipity

      This post makes me a little teary. I hope you have a supportive community that will be there for you.

    • JUST JENCIL

      Hang in there! It’s hard to let go of those feelings sometimes, but remember they are real, therefore totally justified, but good for you for being so supportive of your cousin. Best of luck with your wedding and try to keep the thoughts positive, your future marriage is real and exciting for all those around you, even if they don’t express it all the time!

    • Lydia

      We had decided to get married in late summer this last year, only to find out that my partner’s* brother was engaged, and planning a wedding in late summer as well. It was about a month before ours.
      After that it was like her mom, who we visit regularly, totally forgot that we were getting married too.
      She would ask something like “have you gotten a dress for the wedding yet?” and when we asked “which wedding?” it was never ours. That stung.

      Privately, I was all pissy and resentful about the straight weddings scheduled before ours until they happened. In the end they were beautiful, and I was all happy teary and supportive as a guest, and felt better. But I think it was ok for me to be pissy and resentful. It hurt, even if that wasn’t the straight couples’ intent, or even their fault.

      I wouldn’t suggest talking to the cousin about stealing your thunder unless you are already close emotionally. But if people you are close to act like that wedding is the one that matters, and yours isn’t important, try to call them on it.

    • Lethe

      I really appreciate all of you guys’ comments and advice…it feels good to be able to express frustration about this and feel understood. You’ve gotta be able to acknowledge the feelings you’re having before you can let go of them. So…thanks for your help. :)

  • N

    I wish this had been posted a year ago! We had a heck of a time setting a date. My brother had just joined the military and it was really important to me that he be there. I knew with the military that there are no guarantees, but our original planned date would have meant that he 99% would not be, and I just couldn’t do it. For us, we made sure that parents, siblings, and bridal party could be there. But it’s not necessary to be that broad–my mom’s best friend couldn’t make it to her wedding, they are still best friends over 25 years later.

    Our big complication was that WHERE it would be was up in the air too, which of course influences the When. For about 6 months of our engagement I knew neither when nor where we were getting married which…made me a little crazy. I wanted to plan and I was just going in circles. All this is to say that if you are having a similar struggle, I feel you, and it is okay to be freaking out about it cause it is a hard thing to deal with. But once you do have a date you like–yes, stick to your guns. Your sanity will thank you.

  • http://militarywomenspeak@gmail.com Kelsey

    Concur with all the practical advice above. I love APW conversations! I would only like to add one thing. There is a time for everything, and everything will happen in it’s time. Your wedding date isn’t what you hoped or expected it to be? Apparently, God has other plans. Such is life. No matter what day you wind up with, on that day you’ll be getting MARRIED. It’s going to be awesome, and it’s going to happen exactly when it’s supposed to. And, not everything is going to go right, even if you come up with the perfect plan! Try to remember that some really fantastic things can happen when you’re thrown for a loop, even if it doesn’t seem so at first. Enjoy your engagement, and good luck planning ;-)

    • http://militarywomenspeak@gmail.com Kelsey

      PS If picking a wedding date is really causing you to stress, consider eloping. I know this doesn’t work for everybody, I’m just saying…

    • http://carmarblogs.blogspot.com CarMar

      Exactly! When we got engaged, we soon realized there were only two weekends in the following year we could get married (thanks to the uncertainty of his med school schedule). One was in December and one was in June. I had always thought I wanted an outdoor August/September wedding, but quickly realized it didn’t matter – we were getting married and it would be awesome no matter the time of year! And, thanks to this past week’s posts, I’m realizing the December date would have been equally awesome!

  • Aly

    This is a great discussion- the wedding date thing is the first thing that was really hard for me in wedding planning. When we got engaged, I was all set to be a totally laid back bride, not care about things that went wrong, be totally relaxed…..fast forward to 2 weeks later, we set a date and then found out my 2 best friends would be unable to come. I was a wreck! And at first I was almost angry at myself for being upset, because I planned on not being a crazy, emotional bride, but I realized it was ok because this was a big issue. It was really important to me to have my best friends there, and I wasn’t being a bridezilla for being upset about it (of course, I would have been a bridezilla if I decided to cut off the friendship because of it).

    My fiance was so great about it- the reason we set the date was for his school schedule, and he offered to see if we could change it, but I knew that was a bad idea. He’s a med student, and we were already getting married at a bad time, and trying to push it back a few weeks would have really hurt him. Our only option was to push it back an entire year, and I was not ok with that. I wanted to be MARRIED! So we stuck with the date, and I sent each of my friends a note saying I understood their situations and wasn’t mad at them (I was a little mad at the universe), and asked that each of them try to make a trip to see my new husband and I sometime in the year after we were married, so we could drink wine, look at pictures and celebrate together. And honestly, I think this will be great because then I’ll get to spend a whole weekend with them, whereas at the wedding I would be distracted by a bazillion other things. It still sucks that they won’t be there, but I’ve accepted it, and its ok. Remember that there will still be plenty of other people there who love and support you!

    • Amy

      May I just say that is probably the nicest and most graceful way to handle the situation? Kudos to you lady.

  • N

    I just want to add something that I wish I had known when setting a date: someone else’s wedding (your friend’s sister, another person from college that you don’t know but lots of your guests do) date will be that date too. Especially if you are doing a summer wedding. Don’t worry about it. It’s inevitable.

    • Brenda H

      Haha, YES! I think of my sister with this comment — for her it was kinda weird to have people getting married on August 29th when that was her anniversary, it wasn’t a popular day in her year because of the day of the week. She got over it but found it ‘weird’.

      The best was when she found out my boyfriend’s birthday was August 29th – she teasingly mentioned how it wasn’t allowed, again because she found it weird to think of. I told her tough luck since he’d beaten her to it by almost 30 years! ;)

  • Erin

    We originally planned to get married during the summer. We chose the 17th of July because the anniversary of our first date was the 17th of November, and it made sense with our school schedules. But before we got too far into planning, we started to second guess ourselves. His sisters were flying in from Switzerland for Christmas, and we doubted they would be able to afford another trip the following summer. My grandmother was ill, and I didn’t think she would be around on July 17th (it turned out that she wasn’t). The flower girls were moving in January. Many of our family and friends participate in an event that eats up all of the weekends in June and early July. More and more, July 17th looked like just about the worst day to get married that we could have possibly picked.

    One afternoon about a year before our original date I turned to my then-fiance and said “What about a Christmas wedding?” I’d always thought winter weddings were beautiful (long coats! Christmas decorations! snow!), and it made sense for a number of reasons. We knew that some people wouldn’t be able to come due to the holidays, but we thought that a lot of out-of-town family might be willing to fly in for Christmas AND a wedding, while they might not have done so for Christmas OR a wedding. We looked at the calendar, discovered that Christmas was on a Friday that year, and booked a venue for that Sunday, the 27th (we thought we would need the 26th to prepare, have our rehearsal, etc, which was a FANTASTIC decision, and we got discounts both for the winter date and for choosing a Sunday).

    And then I called my dad. Who informed me that he couldn’t get the day off, as it was his year to work Christmas weekend, and no one would possibly be willing to trade him. I was crushed. I had already booked the venue (dumb on my part, I know, but I was excited and didn’t want to lose the date, since we were only 6 months out). After a lot of crying, I was walking around and saying pathetically “Well, I guess it doesn’t matter much if my dad isn’t there.” And then I called him back and said “Walk in to work tomorrow and tell them your only daughter is getting married and you need the weekend off. If no one will trade with you, I’ll move the date.” Luckily for me, he found someone willing to switch him, and all was well. A lot of family flew in that might not have for a July wedding, and only a few people were unable to make it.

    All in all, I learned two lessons. 1) Sometimes, when you aren’t particularly attached to your date, moving it can make sense if there are a lot of small things conspiring against you. 2) Always check with the major players before deciding on a date, or risk serious trouble.

  • http://whyareweallsostupid.com sarahdipity

    First off: “[Editors Note: Babydoll, you know you're getting married and you've bought a dress? You're engaged. You're just waiting for a ring. Own it.] ” This exactly! Now I know why I got so many strange looks from people when I had no idea what we were going to do when we announced our engagment. L you’re engaged or at least way more than I was before I got my ring. Congrats!

    We had both of these situations happen to us as well as additionally family problems with scheduling. We’d been secretly ring shopping for awhile when my good friend’s now husband surprised her with a proposal. We managed to consider this wedding date when we selected our date but then two other friends also got engaged. One scheduled their wedding was two weeks before and the other two weeks after. We live halfway across the country from our friends and went to the first close wedding but missed the two that were within two weeks of our wedding. Then one of my best friends (she was almost maid of honor but I knew she would not enjoy the role because she was shy and was super thankful I “let her off the hook”) who kept saying she could make it work ended up not making it work. And she wasn’t the only friend that thought they could make it and then couldn’t Plus we apparently scheduled our wedding on my uncles’ annual hunting trip to Montana (I had no idea). All of these situations were very hard for me. My husbands side of the guest list was a very high percentage accept with none of the tears so the comparison made it even harder.

    However, from this I have learned the following things: You might be sad that your friend/family can’t be there on your wedding. However, the day of it did not diminish the great joy you will feel to be getting married. And if your friendships are good ones they can withstand this. I snuck away for 10 minutes at the reception and called two of my friends and left them voice mails and got lovely voicemail in return. We also planned get togethers over Christmas when we were all around to celebrate the fact we all got married and are embarking this new phase of life together. I think to be happy with these sad/hard situations you have to embrace the joyful parts.

  • http://www.wedding-for-two.com Ellie

    Our friends got engaged after we did and picked a date 2 weeks before – for a wedding that we all had to fly to. I felt really stressed about it initially, but it wound up being a lot of fun to have weddings so close together. Our biggest concern was that they might not make it to their wedding or would have to cut their honeymoon short – but they are grownups. These things happen – dates conflict. It’s simply difficult sometimes.
    A couple of my favorite people in the world were unable to make it to our wedding. And I’ve missed the weddings of some very dear people. But a wedding is a single day in your entire life and you will get past it.

  • Michele

    I had the same exact dilemma as L. We were in the pre-engagement phase (truly though, because we had been together 6 yrs and I had been ready for at least 2 yrs, but my fiancee was not even though we had discussed it). It was during this time, when i was becoming restless, that a good friend announced his engagement and that it would be in the following October (and he asked my boyfriend to be a groomsman). I was quietly upset because October is when I wanted to get married (even though we weren’t engaged yet) and I didn’t want to have to wait a whole other year. A few weeks later my boyfriend proposed and we started talking dates. I told him that I really had my heart set on October (we live in New Orleans and it is literally the ONLY month that it’s not hot and humid or cold and rainy, and it’s after hurricane season. And an outdoor wedding is the only thing that makes sense for us). The only date available at the venue we wanted was the week after our friends wedding. My fiancee was so incredible and could see that I was very anxious about it. He took care of the booking and told me very calmly that our date is our date and it doesn’t matter if it’s the weekend after another wedding. It doesn’t make it any less special. I am so grateful to him for that and am looking forward to a wonderful month of festivities. Plus, we’ve only had one complaint, from a groomsman for both weddings, and he was told quickly (by both grooms) to get over it.

  • Eureka

    [Long time reader, first time commenter.] This is such good advice. I just wanted to add a word of thanks/acknowledgment for all the people who quietly go out of their way to be there. My fiance and I are getting married on 4/30/11 and my younger brother is officiating. He’s never expressed anything other than great joy (and, okay, a tiny bit of nerves) about the day, or the date.

    But I recently found out that one of his spring classes requires a two-week trip abroad (his office is sending him through a master’s program this year). Because this is a rigorous program AND it’s paid for by work, he could legitimately feel a lot of pressure not to rock the boat. It turns out that he specifically selected the class, not with the best trip or the most interesting reading or the most relevance to his field, but the one with the professor who didn’t blink when he said he’d need to join the trip late because of his sister’s wedding.

    And he never said a word about it to us or gave a hint that our date might be hard for him. (I only heard the story recently in another context.)

    • Abby C.

      What a seriously awesome brother.

  • http://christinehennessey.blogspot.com Chrissy (The New Me)

    Long time reader, first time commenter!

    My partner and I have been discussing getting married on our 10 year anniversary, which is 11-11-12. Still a ways off and even though we’re not “officially” engaged or even “pre-engaged” (mostly because I don’t like that word) it’s a pretty solid plan. I actually don’t want to be engaged at all – I just want to send out invitations when the time comes and skip the whole “OMG-we’re-getting-married” part. Since I’m anti-engagement rings, this works out well for us. The thing is, without an official engagement and a date nearly two years away, I don’t know when I should send out my surprise invitations. Sooner seems better than later for all these sticky date setting reasons but I also want to put off the wedding-planning-mania for as long as I can. Or just keep secretly planning it. This is not a helpful comment, but I wanted to leave one and make friends with APW. So at least that’s been accomplished!

    • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

      you could start spreading the word at some point (probably no earlier than this fall?) that you’re having a big 10-year anniversary bash (a la Dan Savage) and then closer to the date, send the surprise-it’s-a-wedding! invitations. OR wait until people arrive for the party and go into surprise-ceremony mode, I’ve heard of people doing that and sounds like a lot of fun. but the big anniversary bash idea could give you the excuse to get save-the-dates out without people bugging you about wedding themes and colors and whatnot.

      • http://militarywomenspeak@gmail.com Kelsey

        That would be SO cool.

      • Sylvia

        A girl I know did exactly this – 10 year anniversary “surprise! It’s a wedding!” Literally NO-ONE apart from the couple knew. Amazing!

        • Amy

          Oh! I like this idea! Or – as a friend of a friend did, she planned on a super fun dressy Halloween engagement party. And then, surprise! In the middle of the party they got married. Everyone loved it, and talks about it to this day.

      • http://christinehennessey.blogspot.com Chrissy (The New Me)

        Oh, wow. That is such a good idea! I will definitely put that on my list of possibilities. Thanks so much!

  • L

    Hi ladies! L here. Thank you for all your great advice. We are “officially” engaged now, as of last weekend! We have plans to hang out with the other couple soon and while I’m nervous to broach the subject with her, you’ve all made me feel much, much better about the whole thing. I love the APW community. Thank you :)

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Woo to the hoo. :)

    • http://cobaltandblue.tumblr.com ML

      congrats!

  • JUST JENCIL

    Our first pick of a date didn’t happen. Like Alyssa said, I mourned my loss and then got over it. I was actually more upset at the reasons I was being told by parents (the moms really) why we couldn’t have the date we originally had (It was 4/1, April Fool’s day, also the day of our first date, and really fitting for us): It landed on a Friday which is inconsiderate to other guests, the weather can be iffy in our area in the very beginning of April, and I don’t think you really want April Fool’s day. I tried not to let that get to me, but it did hurt and we eventually changed our date.

    We finally picked 4/16 (the day after tax day and his dad’s a CPA, but he was super nice about it and wanted us to enjoy the day we picked and told us not to worry he would make it work) because we would be married the week before Easter, so we could spend our first holiday as a married couple in a new exciting place experiencing different customs. I love our date now and am so excited! I wish I didn’t let our families negative attitudes get to me with the first date since there was no pressing matter on why we shouldn’t have picked that date, but I’ve learned since how to use the shame blasters and not let others talk me into being shamed. Part of that is moving on, accepting the choices you made – no matter what the reason, and letting go of what could have been.

    • Amy

      As someone who got married on April 17th (and I work at one of the Big 4 so I feel you on the CPA father-in-law consideration), April weddings are awesome! You get gorgeous greenery, brand-new flowers blooming (and all the pretty wedding-porn flowers actually tend to be in season!). Plus, people generally aren’t overwhelmed by the summer-wedding season yet, and you get to avoid most of the crowds on your honeymoon. And hey, if it rains, cute shots with umbrellas!

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

    As much as one might try to find the perfect date that works for as many people as possible, there still can be unexpected events (serious unavoidable stuff) that could change everything. For me, that meant my best friend/MOH was unable to come to the wedding at the last minute. There was no way to change the date to make it work, though my husband seriously mentioned the idea because he knew having her and my parents were non-negotiable in my heart. But with only ten days before the wedding, when all my side was flying in internationally….uh, not possible. And it was frustrating because we had worked soooo hard to find a date that worked for our family and bridal party, and made compromises in certain areas to keep this date because it was “the date that worked for everyone,” but then something happened that we could not control. It was hard not to have my best friend there (and I still am sad about it, when I happen to think about it over a year later). But sometimes life doesn’t go the way we would ideally want, and that’s particularly hard to deal with when we are talking about an important life event like a wedding.

    So all this to say….somebody won’t be able to come, and it might even be someone whose absence makes your heart ache. BUT. Even then, it will be okay. The day will still be amazing and joyful and momentous, and you will still be surrounded by people who love you- both near and far. It is completely possible to experience overwhelming love and joy and community even if you also miss certain people at the same time. We humans are capable of holding a lot of conflicting emotions at once, it seems. I found it really helpful to remember that our circles of community radiated out far beyond those people who were physically there with us that weekend, and we were surrounded by people who love us, even people sending us well wishes and love from other countries. And it’s good to remember there are ways to do wedding bonding across distance with those very special people who might not be able to come due to things outside of their control (phone calls, texting, live streaming of the wedding, etc), and/or to celebrate the marriage together at a separate time. Choose a date you think works best, recognize that most likely no date will be perfect for everyone, and focus on being excited about each and every person that can make it and that’s about all you can do.

  • Veronica

    Choosing a wedding date can be scary, but a relief when it’s over. I’d been dreaming of getting married in Austin at the peak of bluebonnet season – late March/early April. However, since Chris was in grad school, getting married in the middle of the semester wasn’t a good option. (Grades? Who cares about that?) So, we initially looked at Memorial Day, but worried about it being too hot and travel being too expensive. We had to fill out an application form for the church to get married there – I think to prove that one of us was Catholic enough – and we had to put down three possible dates. Memorial Day was the only weekend between finals and his internship, so we thought “What the hell,” and put down a few dates in January, over winter break.

    Of course, we then ended up having a January wedding, which was great. It was less time planning (a godsend), the weather turned out to be sunny and nice but not boiling, and we got to attract all out friends from cold climates to Texas. I do agree that you should tell people your date the moment you’ve officially set it. About 80% of our guests were from out of town, so giving them early notice helped them make travel plans. But sometimes, the date you end up with works out even better than the date you originally envisioned!

  • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com Sarah N.

    We got married on a Thursday. Not a Friday, not a Sunday, THURSDAY. We had been dating for nine years when we got engaged, and when we started talking about dates, my fiance said he had always thought we’d get married on our anniversary. We discussed it, realized our ten year anniversary was a Thursday, and did it anyway.

    It meant quite a lot to both of us that we keep it on our anniversary, and we knew we’d get flak (justifiably so!) from our family and friends. So when we made the decision, we started telling people immediately, almost a year out. They bitched & moaned… and put it on their calendars. And you know what? They all came. We had a handful of people who couldn’t come for one reason or another (mostly being out of town, travel expenses, babysitting, etc), but no significant people missing.

    Now, the great majority of our (very close knit) family and friends are local and could easily leave work a little early for a Thursday wedding. The only people traveling were close family or the wedding party, all who would be in town for over a week anyway. We knew all this going into it, so having it on a Thursday wasn’t that huge of a problem. Know your guests, and what is or isn’t a Big Deal.

    I wouldn’t have changed the date of our wedding for the world. And when I remember the tears and laughing from our wedding, the packed dance floor, when I look at pictures of overjoyed family and friends– I know they would have been there for us no matter what. Guests appreciate it when the couple considers their thoughts/feelings/needs, but they are there FOR YOU. Alyssa is totally right– this day is about the two of you, and that is what is most important.

  • Sarah

    Oooh, I’ve got a doozy.

    We set our date (more about that later) and booked our venue. A few weeks later I’m talking to a good friend (also engaged) and he mentions the date they wanted at the venue they wanted was booked, and how disappointed they were. Turns out … it was booked by me. Talk about an awkward conversation.

    They ended up picking a different date (6 days after us … we were married on a Sunday, they got married the following Saturday) AND a different venue. And once the initial awkwardness/disappointment was over, we’re all FINE.

    Ok … how we picked our date. The husband was going back to school on September 1st, and it was important to me that we 1. have time to enjoy being married and settle in a bit before he had to jump back in, and 2. that we get married AFTER his birthday (it’s a long story). Which left us August. At that point, we found a venue we liked and asked about their available Sundays in August. They had two available, and we went from there.

    It turned out that our date was NOT convenient for a lot of people. One cousin flew in for 12 hours (I’m not kidding … I’m still stunned), another friend spent his birthday setting up centerpieces. ( and yes, we had cake and presents for him ::smiles:: ). Then there was the husband’s father’s family (yes, all of them) … when it came time to plan the family reunion (that happens every 4 years), his dad did NOT speak up about the wedding. The reunion ended up being scheduled 2 weeks before our wedding … which meant the entirety of the family could not afford to make the two trips in such a short time.

    Yes, it sucked. Yes, I’m still sad that I haven’t met the husband’s grandparents and other relatives. And yes, they were all disappointed and sad they couldn’t make it. But we all survived. And life went on.

    So for those who are worried about things like this … I PROMISE you … it’ll be ok.

  • http://www.newlymrss.blogspot.com Jessica

    A couple of thoughts: We got married on 9/5/09 – Labor Day weekend. As it turns out, that date happened to be my great-grandparents’ wedding anniversary; it was a lovely coincidence, but not a deciding factor for us.

    Things that were part of the decision:
    We had lots of family and friends traveling from far and wide to be there, so having a long weekend mattered to us.
    I was in grad school and working at the same university. We needed a wedding that worked with the academic calendar. We agreed to have a honeymoon after the end of fall semester, so the three-day weekend at the start of the semester also allowed for a built-in relaxation time post-wedding.
    We wanted to be married outside, in a garden, at a local nature center. The garden’s peak bloom times and availability helped us narrow down the date.

    Things that didn’t matter:
    Several friends, good friends, couldn’t make the wedding because of other weddings/impending due dates of their own children/campaigns for political office. we accepted their regrets and made plans to see and celebrate with them after the fact.
    Several friends, good friends, planned their own weddings for the rest of the month of September. In the weeks following our own wedding, we attended three other weddings. No joke. And it was great fun. It rocked to watch our friends experience the same kind of joy we had just felt. It rocked to celebrate these marriages as a married couple. It rocked to get to wear my own rehearsal dinner dress and bridal shower dress again, as wedding guest dresses. :)

    So I echo what others have said – decide what matters to you and your partner and do your best to make that happen. Take everything else in stride, and cry it out when you need to. Good luck to all the ladies planning!

  • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

    great advice Alyssa! as usual.

    I kind of always loved the idea of a springtime wedding, and then saw that the first day of spring was a Saturday in 2010, and basically had kittens (Zach liked it too of course). And then it turned out that was also his parents’ anniversary (39th, so we weren’t stealing a huge milestone anniversary or anything), and they loved the idea of our getting married that day.

    We thought it was set but we had a bit of a scare when a friend-of-a-good-friend, who got engaged a bit before us, started talking about the same exact day. Thankfully they were not set on that date, and when they found out we had really set our hearts on it, they went with the following weekend no problem. I was really relieved they were so agreeable about it, I would never have fought them on it and really didn’t want to make my good friend choose between our weddings, so we would have just had to go with a totally different date. It would have been fine, but having it work out the way it did was awesome. Except for my friend who had to party at 2 weddings back to back – but she didn’t seem to mind too much, a week is plenty of time to recover from a hangover. :)

  • Subsequent Sarah

    [Another longtime reader, first-time commenter!]

    ‘As Meg says, “Your wedding is not an international event.”‘

    My wedding IS an international event, damnit! I live in England, the boy works in Asia, and the wedding is where I grew up in NY.

    Now that I have the completely unproductive first comment out of the way… we got engaged in Dec ’09 and picked a date in May 2012. The boy wanted warm weather. I wanted a date that was far enough away that I wouldn’t go crazy trying to plan across two oceans, and that also wasn’t right on top of my PhD submission deadline (ahhh). Working around holidays and Jewish holidays, we picked a date. It’s still so far away that nobody has had a reason to complain (yet). Great!

    But then the boy decided he actually wanted to live in the same country as me (yay!), and we realized we needed a marriage license to get him a visa. In the span of 2 weeks, we went from happily planning a wedding in May 2012 to rapidly planning a shotgun immigration wedding on the beach in Hawaii at sunset (I was going anyway for a conference, and he was tagging along for fun). Our shotgun elopement was supposed to be 12/10/10… but it POURED that day. In a part of Hawaii that hardly ever gets rain. And the airline lost my luggage. I was not a happy camper.

    Since it was just the two of us, we decided two hours before the ceremony to switch to 12/14/10. It worked for us :) Only a few people know we’re married now, and we’re back to planning a wedding with family and friends in May 2012. To us, weddings are about celebrating with community… not about when you actually sign the paper. But it’s a funny middle space that we’re living in now.

    • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

      that is an awesome story. congrats! :)

    • JUST JENCIL

      “To us, weddings are about celebrating with community… not about when you actually sign the paper. ” Can’t exactly this enough.

  • Bino

    Desiree – I hear what you’re saying. But as others have commented, she’ll either make it or she won’t. Maybe she should have an honest talk with her daughter about the situation, and it’s entirely possible the daughter would be understanding if her mom had to miss her recital. She could even put it in the context of how much her daughter is going to miss her friends when they move away, and how you are a friend that she has known for a long, long time and she wants to be there for you on this special day.

    And L. – I remember wanting my wedding on a different day originally, and it didn’t work out. Truth is, a year and a bit later, I don’t even remember the situation or the original date I wanted because I have such wonderful memories from October 11, 2009. No matter when you get married, it’ll be awesome.

  • http://www.chilingwang.com chilingwang

    We have a date in May, which conflicts with relatives’ vacation schedules, friends’ vacation schedules, and graduations. Whenever someone has told me that they were going to be in [spectacular vacation city] during the planned wedding festivities, I told them that we would be happy to know they were having a good time. I don’t really expect anyone to change their life plans to accommodate my wedding date. And, I appreciate that people don’t expect me to change my wedding plans to accommodate their life. Also, as a wedding photographer, I work many weekends. My good friends know to give me their wedding dates well in advance, so I can clear that day on my calendar.

  • Caitlin

    We got engaged last June and decided to get married on July 30, 2011. Mostly because where we are getting married did not have any booksing for the rooms (It’s a bed and breakfeast) and because it was a bit less busy for them. Plus we live in Idaho and were pretty sure the snow would stop by then ;) . So one aquiatance (sp) and one somewhat friend who I met and realized I went to high school with her Fiance decided in the last week they are getting married on the same day. I was kinda mad. I pouted and stomped for about….five mins. Then I got over it. Mostly because I am already that much farther ahead in planning and it would suck to start all over again. And it’s their day too. Planning a date can be quite tricky, working around peoples schedule, potential bridemaids pregnancys (Ok you should do a post about that because that one does make me a little bit annoyed), and a busy tourist summer where we are getting married so go with what works best for YOU. Because guess what, that one whole day is yours, enjoy it!!

  • http://www.soyoureengayged.com Wasabi

    I’ve heard a lot of “But that’s my birthday/birthday weekend” from guests when picking a wedding date. It’s one of my big pet peeves. After changing the date twice because of my in laws weather concerns, an aunt said, “But that’s my birthday month!” We are inviting 100 people. Every date we could choose would be somebody’s birthday month. Come on!

    • Morgan

      Our wedding was the birthday weekend for two of my cousins (both named Kim). During the speeches, I wished them both a happy birthday, jokingly apologized for co-opting their weekends, and then offered to buy them a drink (it was an open bar). It wasn’t a big deal. And besides, they got to celebrate their birthdays with their whole extended families!

      • http://www.soyoureengayged.com Wasabi

        That’s a perfect solution!

        • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

          I’ve also heard of some couples getting a small cake with candles for the birthday guest in question and leading everyone in singing Happy Birthday to them.

          But seriously, people can deal. I can’t remember the last time I had a birthday get-together on my actual birthday, and I think I’d much rather spend it celebrating a friend’s wedding anyhow – what a great gift!

          • FM

            We did this. We had one birthday on our wedding day, a couple more within a few days of our wedding, and a few more within a couple of weeks of wedding. We had a cake and sang happy birthday to them all.

    • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

      wait a minute, now people get birthday MONTHS??? uh-uh. i’m pretty sure no one is so spectacular that one day isn’t enough to celebrate their birth.

  • http://KimRossi.me KimRossi

    This post, and the subsequent comments, could not, could not, could NOT have come at a more perfect time for me. My fiance and I just put a hold on a great location while we check one last place out this coming weekend. Already one of my aunts have begun complaining. We’re thinking about getting married the Sunday of Columbus Day Weekend. A holiday weekend that, admittedly, not everyone gets off from work. My aunt has already raised concerns about it, and I immediately started getting stressed before realizing … wait, but if we have a wedding on a Saturday afternoon most of our guests would have to take the Friday off of work to get there in time anyway!

    Moral of the story – I eventually realized that no matter what, people were going to have conflicts. But sometimes it’s hard to remember that rationally and not get all emotional. So thanks to ALL of you ladies for reminding me.

    • http://militarywomenspeak@gmail.com Kelsey

      What is it with people, seriously? Conflicts, yes, those sometimes happen and are understandable, but all these complaints? I mean, a serious scheduling problem is one thing to be discussed rationally and respectfully with main players, but I do not understand how people so quickly turn an invitation into a COMPLAINT! How about THANK YOU for inviting me to this special occasion, I’ll check my schedule and let you know if I can make it? The end. “But it’s my birthday weekend”, or the million other reasons I’ve seen here are a little silly (way toned down version of what I wrote at first). I think in most cases, most guests are out of line to throw their complaints around so thoughtlessly. Because, you know, the newly engaged don’t have anything else to think about besides YOUR BIRTHDAY. So, a note to the complainers: a lot of work and thought goes into planning a wedding, in case you weren’t aware, so how about a little respect? We love you, but really, your RSVP will suffice.

      Too much?

      • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

        Nope, just right.

        +1

  • Wench

    Pick it own it
    love it
    a month after we got engaged my cousin did too and as we had already picked our date as timing was tricky for my husbands family I called my cousin, congratulated him and told him our date explaining that I thought our 90 year old grandmother might kill us if we picked the same day. He laughed and said they could no way organise their wedding in 8 months as we did so we were ok. A month later I was told by another relative that his wedding was the week before ours at the opposite end of the uk!
    Gulp
    so I cried a bit and felt bad for family members who due to age or money or life could only go to one and then we decided to own our date! And at his wedding which we attended I was told we had had very poor planning to pick dates so close and was told it wasn’t very considerate at which point my very soon to be husband said ‘yes, but we picked first so it’s not for you to make my wife feel bad’ and he got me a glass of champers
    OWN your date – they’ll get over it

    • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

      way to go, husband :)

    • Wench

      It was at that point that I thought the exact same thing – and then I got the giggles that he’d called me wife!

  • IrMcK

    In my set of friends, two in a our group (actually 4, since they were marrying internally) got married in back to back weekends that involved plane flights/hotel rooms. It was actually awesome, as I don’t get to see this group of people as much as we used to see each other. The wallet took a hit, but seriously, why have money if I can’t spend it to party with my friends at their respective weddings?

    • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

      I feel so fortunate to (finally) be in an income bracket where I can take this attitude, too. I haven’t had this yet, but if I do, I am. Yay. :)

  • Morgan

    We picked March hoping my dad would still be alive. (Sadly missed by a few months.) And then I figured out which Saturday nights didn’t have Flames games. (Insert joke about Canadians and hockey. It’s funny because it’s true.) Then our date was picked for us because our top venue only had space on one weekend in March.

    For us, the venue dictated the date. We picked the season, but the date itself wasn’t entirely up to us. If you’re planning a short engagement, be aware that you might want to have picked a venue before announcing the date. Even in the dark winter on the prairies, there was less availability for venues than I expected.

    It did work out well – 23 months to the day of our first date, so we get to keep the 20th as our anniversary date for everything!

    • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com ka

      “For us, the venue dictated the date.”

      I was totally going by this too. I thought it was soo logical. One of my close friends who’s also planning her wedding was doing the same thing. And for whatever reason, we were treated like lepers by venues, dress salons, and so forth for being “dateless” engaged ladies. (Thank god we at least had rings! I think being a dateless/ringless engaged lady is level of self-assurance I am no where near.)

      I bitched about it here: http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com/2010/09/chicken-eggvenue-datecart-horse.html Ironically, we wound up choosing a non-traditional venue that had nearly all of 2011 open, and in a desperate attempt to narrow it down we picked a date our first choice photographer had free.

  • LBD

    When my fiance and I decided we were most definitely getting married here in Seattle, and not in either of our home-states on the East Coast, it significantly narrowed the wedding window for us. We wanted to get married outside. I wanted the best chance at some sunshine. The best chance of that happening in Seattle usually falls after the 4th of July, and before about mid-September.

    Once we had our window, we started talking to venues, because guess what, everyone ELSE wants to get married in Seattle when it’s warm and sunny too. One venue we really liked only had one date available in July that was less than a week before the boy’s birthday. I asked him how he would feel about our anniversary being so close to his birthday, and he wasn’t excited. So we kept looking and found an even better venue, and set it for mid-August.

    There was some drama. It still is pretty painful, so I don’t want to go into details. Suffice to say, I had to make a decision between what date/time I felt would make my partner and I most happy, and the attendance of my only sibling. Since I felt my sibling had been given enough warning of my impending marriage to have made other decisions or at least talked to me about it first, we’ve decided to go ahead with our plans, particularly as my sibling can be quite flaky. I can’t not say though that it hurts a whole hell of a lot though that they will not be present. I don’t think I’ve cried so much in a long ass time.

    But you know what, I’m still glad we’re getting married when we are though. Besides parents (whom you like, I’m totally all about chosen families), seriously, no one else matters as much as you and your partner being happy with the date. Alyssa is totally right.

    Luckily, among all the marriages going on for us this year, they’re pretty well spaced out. March, June, July August, sometime-in-the-fall. I feel hella fortunate on that one.

  • Erin B

    We decided to get married 8 months after we got engaged, which seemed fine by us, but was apparently almost impossible–according to The Kn*t. And we quickly realized that our date would have to be the most flexible piece of all, if we wanted to book our venue anything less than 2 years in advance. That’s why I ended up getting married on my birthday. Wouldn’t have been my top choice, but let me tell you–the relief at booking the venue FAR outweighed any emotional attachment I might have had to a certain date. And as it turned out, it was the only weekend in a month and a half that was not rainy or hazy with the smoke of forest fires. I guess what I’m trying to say is, you never know what day is going to work out the best in the long run. Yep, lots of people couldn’t make it, and I was sad, and later realized many of them wouldn’t have made it no matter what day it was. Yep, I got surprised by birthday cupcakes during the rehearsal dinner. And the best part, of course: my partner is never going to forget our anniversary.

    • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

      We came close to doing this as well – my bday was a Sunday, and because we, too, were doing 8 months, Saturdays were out (unless we wanted 9/11/10, and my husband was NOT OK with that, being a NYer). We had narrowed down to 2 venues – one that only did night events (which we would do a Friday) and one that ONLY did day events (which would make Sunday an easier choice for most). The Sunday that happened to work best in our range of dates was, as it is, my birthday.

      The Friday of that weekend, however, was not good for other reasons, so we instead got married 2 weeks before that. So, I told people that my husband was robbing the cradle as, on our anniversary, he is SIX WHOLE YEARS OLDER THAN ME! (For two more weeks!)

  • http://thinkingwedding.blogspot.com Rhiannon

    We’re getting married on Easter Saturday (yay!) which is the same as my cousin’s due date.

    Oh well.

    • http://emilys22.wordpress.com emilyrose

      We are, too! I was worried that some family members or friends would be bothered by the proximity to Easter – wouldn’t come due to other plans, wouldn’t stay up late partying due to church in the morning, etc – but we took a poll and most people just shrugged and said, “well, Easter happens every year, and your wedding is just this once.”

      • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

        We’re going to a wedding the day before Easter. They chose it because bride is a teacher, so this enables them to take their honeymoon immediately following the wedding (Spring break).

        Traffic will be hell, but otherwise we’re looking forward to it. The weather is generally pleasant in late April. :)

  • clampers

    We chose our date based on weather alone. (We’re taking an adventure-camping honeymoon and obviously want nice weather for that.) I only had one semi-complaint, and it wasn’t even really anything at all. My mom said, “Gee did you thinking about how hot it might get in the church in the middle of high summer?” And I said, “Eh, who cares. All the more reason for a short ceremony!” And she totally agreed.

    Anyone choosing a date based on weather: Get the Farmer’s Almanac. Sounds incredibly dorky, I know. But their long-range weather reports are quite accurate. You can download a digital copy too, which is what I did.

  • Serena

    I am kind of in a similar situation to L and struggling with it. I have been engaged for about 6 months, we picked our date about 4 months ago, booked a venue, put down a deposit and sent out save the dates. Last week one of my bridesmaids got engaged (which is awesome and I am so happy for her), and I was surprised that they had already picked a date… exactly 2 weeks before our wedding. I was really taken aback by how much this has bothered me. Both of our weddings are destination weddings and we have a lot of mutual friends, so I feel like having our dates so close together is going to make it difficult, if not impossible, for most of our mutual friends to come to both. They are going to have to pick which one to go to, decide between them, and it just bums me out. I’m well aware that the world doesn’t revolve around my wedding, but I was hurt that my bridesmaid didn’t even think it was worth having a conversation with me about how I felt about us having our dates so close together and how it was going to affect us and our guests. I know it will all work out in the end, but it’s something I’m still struggling with today.

  • Rachel H

    “…try not to get stuck on a date because of meaning. It’s SUPER sweet, but celebrating your anniversary is about celebrating your marriage. Even if it doesn’t happen on the anniversary of your first date, it happens. And that’s what makes the date amazing, not numerical symmetry.”

    THIS is what I’ve been trying to tell my friend who is getting married for the second time. The date will be important because you are getting married, it does not need to be important for any other reason. If you can’t get the venue you want until a day or a week later, the original date will still be important to you. And the new date will be special because YOU ARE GETTING EFFING MARRIED.

    My date story: We were dating for 6.5 years, engaged with no ring and I wanted to get married by the end of the year. I chose a date we both had taken off of work for a convention we couldn’t go to and he lost his job a week after we made it official to our friends and family. It still worked out. The date meant nothing to us except that missed convention and oh yeah, it was the day we got married. And it will always be that day.

  • Annika

    For L:

    I was the “first engaged” one in a conflict similar to yours. One of my best friends got engaged about 8 months after I did, and I already had “claimed” 6/12/10. She had already agreed to be a bridesmaid, and we have many mutual friends, and she ended up getting married 6/26/10, just two weeks after me. It turned out great! We both knew we wouldn’t have as much time to help with each-others weddings, but we’re good friends and we were able to be there for each other on the day(s). What I’m saying is, talk to your friend, it might be ok! Best of luck and congrats!

    ~AFB

  • Cody

    Holy mother of pearl, picking a date was such a huge issue for us. I will try to be brief… We got engaged mid-October, and wanted a wedding sometime in March. So, we started checking dates with our parents, grandparents, best friends, etc. The overwhelming response was, “Hey, it’s your day, do whatever you gotta do and we’ll be there!” Until we spoke to my husband’s twin brother. There was no way he could take any time for work off until the summer. So, we moved it to June. Then, same twin brother’s wife wasn’t going to be out of school until July. So we moved it to July. Then, same people tell us they really weren’t planning on taking a California trip until even later next year. Two weeks of this, and our wedding spiraling to a date way farther than we’d wanted, my head was going to explode. The biggest issue for me was that it felt, pretty quickly, that they just didn’t care about making it to the wedding. There was also an issue of the guest list, that I won’t really get into, other than we wanted a small, intimate ceremony and suddenly the guest list had exploded to 200 people.

    Enter my amazing, wise mother. She recommended we have the small wedding of our dreams whenever the heck we wanted, and then throw a big party later when people could actually make it. Solution! We moved the date way forward, and got married January 1st, and are now throwing a party in the summer. This worked for everyone, and anyone who was a real friend was more than supportive. Turns out the twin brother and sister-in-law have still given no signs that they’re interested in coming to the summer party, no matter when we throw it. Honestly, we could plan it for any date in the next 2 years, and I think they’d find a reason not to come. When that happens, you just gotta let it go.

  • Ruth

    I’m not sure if this will apply, but I got married on New Year’s Eve and a dear friend of mine was married on New Year’s Day. We both attend the same church and have some overlap in friends. It was not a big traveling expense for our mutual friends, but there were still gifts and whatnot. However all the guests seemed delighted to attend the weddings and share in the joy of a couple they care about even if they had been to a wedding the previous day. All that to say, those days worked for us and our families, so that is what we chose. I was glad we could make it to each other’s ceremonies, but that was not a make or break situation.

  • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

    Here’s my two cents as a former bride and a bridesmaid several times over:

    A date that works for you and your partner is the most important thing. Family (as in parents) get input too. But I would say that if you are set on having certain people in your wedding party in a certain way (ie you want them all to fly in and hang out/help a week early) and anything less would seriously upset you, then you need to at least check with them before presenting the date as a fait accompli. It’s a lot easier to gently tell a friend, “Hey, that date falls in the middle of exams or our annual family trip” etc. when she’s asking you if a date is okay rather than saying, “Here it is! Book a flight!” At that point you feel like you just have to suck it up and “make it work.”

    • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

      *nods*

      There is a youth leadership group I am an active volunteer for and have been on the planning committee for several years. The yearly seminar is ALWAYS the weekend following Memorial Day (usually 1st weekend in June but sometimes it lands weirdly in May). When my cousin got engaged and was discussing summer dates, I told her that while I would find a way to “make it work,” that I would be sad if it was the first weekend in June.

      Her response? “We already nixed that because the florist I want to use (whom she had used for other things in the past and wanted to use again) is on vacation that week!” *sighofrelief!*

      I would make it work, because she’s my cousin and I was her bridesmaid, but I was SO relieved to not have to make that decision.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    When we got engaged we looked at our calendar and figured it could be October or November. My apartment contract was up in November so it was good moving time anyway. And my grandma had forbidden anyone in the family from having a December wedding, and even though she’s no longer on this earth, that rule still stands.

    We asked family if they had anything going on then (his parents were going to be in Hawaii for one of those weeks and his brother was doing something). Then we looked at my class schedule and figured out when I could disappear for a week and not miss anything too important.

    Then we picked a date and stuck with it. We did change our family meal the day before from a lunch to a dinner, but that was the only change.

    The advice in this post is great. If it affects you or your spouse, change it. If it affects IMMEDIATE family, think about it. Everyone else, it’s just not worth the stress. In the end you really only need you, your spouse, and the person performing the marriage. It can be real hard to accept that at different points when you really want someone at an event, and you might be a bit “bridezilla” (has that word been banned here? I forget) or cry about it for a bit, but in the end it all works out.

  • http://www.mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com Sarah

    Picking our date was really tricky. We had so many things to balance. Our plan was a ceremony at a city hall (a very pretty one, but still open only on weekdays), which meant we would be getting married on a weekday and not a holiday weekend.

    We needed to pick a date when my kids are out of school since we’re talking about a weekday. A huge part of our plan was including a vacation with my family (parents, brothers and their kids), which meant that we needed to pick a date when my brother’s kids were out of school, too. Then I had to take a look at my custody schedule and eliminate half of the available weeks. We eliminated winter break as a possibility because my fiance and I didn’t want to get married during the holiday season (we had both been married once before, and both strangely had December anniversaries). All of this left us with about 6 weeks between July and August.

    Oh, and we picked a Monday instead of a Friday because it’s less crowded at city hall on Mondays.

    We’re not crazy about the time of year because it makes for bad vacation weather for most of the world (too hot, monsoons, etc.), but it was the best date for the people who were most important: us, our kids, my immediate family. We hope other people will come. I know some of them are planning on it. But we also expect many people to not be able to make it to the ceremony, the reception or both.

  • http://pinchofthis.wordpress.com Jen

    I definitely need to start reading earlier in the morning. I’m so far behind on comments!

    Alyssa, great advice. As always.
    Last year two friends of mine from highschool (we have a very close group of about 15 from highschool) got married on back to back weekends. I’m telling you – it didn’t matter one.bit. Not one.

    Actually, we were all so excited just to be able to see each other again so close together since we’re all spread out all over the place now.

    also, thank you for the “own it” comment.
    You convinced me that I too am engaged and can drop the “pre”
    umm. yay!

    • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

      yay for you :) congrats on the engagement!

      • http://pinchofthis.wordpress.com Jen

        Thanks!

        I guess this makes APW the first to know! ;)

    • Zan

      Congrats Jen!

  • http://letthemeatlentils.wordpress.com LC

    OMG, Alyssa, thank you for this post. I am having this dilemma right now.

    We are between Oct 15 or 22 for our date. Both are available at the venue, both work for all family members. The problem is that two close friends of my parents can not make the 15th date because they have another wedding they’ve already committed to. My mom is sad about this, and would prefer the later date. My parents are paying for the wedding, so I’m trying to be extra understanding.

    I’m worried the 22 will be too late in the year, and will increase the chances of it being too foggy/cold (wedding is in SF proper). On the other hand, 22 is mine and my sister’s lucky number and I completely believe in numerology (make fun of me all you want, it’s true). I’m so torn between one freaking week’s difference, I don’t know what to do. I was literally hoping the venue would be unavailable one of the weekends and make the decision for me. Maybe you all can help???

    • http://arduousblog.blogspot.com ruchi

      Dude, October is one of the best months to get married in San Francisco.

      You’re not going to get fog in October (as opposed to in July when you would.)

      You could get freezing cold and rain, but that could happen either weekend. Honestly, if I were you, I’d make the decision not based on the weather, and have a rain contingency plan.

      But October is usually gorgeous (at least that’s what I’m telling myself … we’re getting married in SF in November and I’m hoping it’s reasonably warm!)

    • Laura

      Sounds like the 22nd is a good choice for you for a couple of reasons, and the only issue is the weather? Like Ruchi said, the weather could potentially be bad either weekend, so I wouldn’t let weather fears stop you, if that date works better! Good luck with your decision!

    • katie

      agreed – don’t go for the weather! I had an October wedding and was fearful my ladies would freeze – I searched all over for shawls to have on hand. Ended up crazy sunny and almost hot. Besides, I’ve seen AWESOME wedding photos in fog, and having umbrellas/shawls/tights on hand is fun.

    • kyley

      My very best friend got married two years ago on October 30th in SF proper. The entire weekend was sunny and beautiful and perfect.

    • Alexandra

      LC, those were my main two choices, also. I had wanted the 15th because it was closest to the full moon, and would have moonlight, but that was too close to my sister’s birthday, and then our venue ended up being already booked for that date.
      So we’re getting married the 22nd, and the fact that it is twice the year ['11] makes it pretty awesome numerically. I’m mildly bummed about the lack of moonlight–doesn’t rise till nearly 3am on the 22nd–but there’s so much other awesomeness. (I’m in SF, too.)
      I remember this past year ['10], October 23rd was crazy-storming, yipes–but a few days later it was gorgeous, with a beautiful, multi-cloud, orange and pink sunset–hopefully we’ll get one of those! ;p
      GL!

  • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

    Alright, everybody’s doing it. Here’s my story:

    My best friend in nursing school had been engaged and living with her fiance for a couple of years. They’d thrown around dates for a wedding but weren’t taking any steps in that direction. Then I ended up engaged in July 09, and due to our schedules/weather we planned a wedding for the following August. It was supposed to be the 14th, but when we started checking with hotels we realized that the Blues Fest (biggest event of the whole summer, drawing thousands of visitors) was that weekend. So we quickly switched to August 7th and stuck to it. We started booking things, including a honeymoon immediately following.

    A month or so later, my friend tells me they’ve planned their wedding. For August 13th. …. At first, I was a little bummed that we had to cut the honeymoon short (we were both in each other’s extremely small wedding parties). BUT guess what? It ended up being awesome. Although we didn’t help each other much with planning, we were going through the same wedding planning madness at the same time. And when we got to their wedding and she was totally spazzing, I knew exactly how she felt and was able to help her calm down. And we had a killer time partying as brand-spanking-newlyweds!

  • http://moreofthisandlessofthat.blogspot.com Ms. Loaf

    When I was getting married, my mother told me that getting married A YEAR later than my brother was “stealing his thunder” and even though we were both engaged at the same time (as were my SIL’s two brothers), my mother explicitly excluded my fiancee and I from the engagement party she threw for the other three couples.

    Fuck the idea of “stealing thunder” and not being engaged w/o a ring. People give me shit about using the terms married and divorced to describe my relationship with my now-ex, because we never made it to the legal wedding. Only YOU get to define your relationship and decide how it’s going to run.

    More than two people get to be happy and celebratory at a time, I say. The more happy & love the better! Let’s banish the concept of thunder-stealing altogether.

  • Kayakgirl73

    We ended up getting married on Halloween, because of our venue being already booked up nearly a year in advance. Not my first choice by far, I got all kinds of cracks about it and still do. I also wonder what anniversaries will be like when we have kids. My husband says to just celebrate another day which is what we might do. This your for our first we went away Columbus day weekend to Charlottesville and we took a day trip to Harper’s Ferry on our actual anniversary. Two celebrations much fun.

    It was a fun day, nothing Halloween themed other than candy for favors which was a hit. We did lose some folks who didn’t want to miss trick or treat with their kids. But we lost others at the last minute to unexpected illness or in the case of his grandparents his grandmother falling and breaking her hip the month before the wedding. People are always not going to be able to make it even some that would normally move heaven and earth.

    Maybe some day I’ll wear my gown as a Halloween costume that would be a riot. I’ve slowly begun to own my anniversary date, it wasn’t my wanted spring wedding which didn’t happen due to proposal timing, church rules, etc. but it was my wedding and beautiful and it was a very happy day and we married which is the most important thing. Plus our engagement anniversary is November 8th so we can always celebrate then.

  • http://craftosaurus.blogspot.com craftosaurus

    Friends of ours got married the week before we did, and I’m here to tell you that it was AWESOME. I had about five minutes where I was all “but we’ll be so busy then!” but then I came to my senses, booked our hotel room for their wedding, and set an artificially early deadline for getting our prep work done.

    I ended up enjoying their wedding so much *more* because I was so present in the what-does-a-wedding-mean stuff. When they said their vows, I thought about the vows we had written for ourselves the day before. When I saw them quietly enjoying their reception (before the dance party started, natch), I nearly burst with happiness for them and anticipatory happiness for us.

    There was sone overlap in our guest lists, but it never caused an issue. Plus, now they’ll always be “our friends who got married the week before us,” which makes me smile to think about.

  • http://emilys22.wordpress.com emilyrose

    Choosing a date turned into a surprisingly huge family issue for us. We wanted a quick engagment, and after a June proposal started planning an October wedding. Then his grandmother got ill and the family asked us to wait and set a date after she’d passed away. Then his father had an insane emotional breakdown and begged us not to get married at all. Then we chose a new date in February and they told us it would be snowing so we must change it (this is for a Southern California event, friends), then we chose a date in March and they told us that Spring weddings are much nicer and March isn’t technically Spring yet, then we chose a date in April and they told us that Fall weddings are actually the nicest of all. Each suggestion actually came in the form of literally threatening not to come. Once we chose a date and held our ground (after even more complication due to a family bar mitzvah and a groomsman’s international plans), they actually seemed to calm down a bit. We realized that being firm about our decision was comforting, somehow, to his parents – giving them the impression that they could have an opinion on the matter became an opportunity for exertion of unhealthy control based in unhealthy disapproval of our relationship. So, date’s set whether they decide to attend or not. We’ll see!

  • MK

    Well, we wanted to get married in 2010, in December, between Christmas and New Years, and both of those were on Saturdays. So, we got married on a Wednesday night. Yep. “Wed”nesday.

    Weird… well, yes, but since a lot of people have off that week (we’re both grad students and luckily we had many teachers in the wedding party), it worked out okay!

    I had to re-read the “your wedding is not an imposition post” fairly often, but it worked, and it was wonderful. People still came to upstate New York, in December, on a Wednesday. I know certain numbers, and seasons, and dates are important, and sometimes its okay to think outside the box.

  • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com Basketcase

    We had an interesting time of picking our date…
    DHs brother and sister BOTH got engaged about the same time as us and announced dates immediately, that matched the date they started dating…
    So everyone assumed we would be doing the same.
    But if we had, we would have had to wait a whole year after BILs wedding, because our “anniversary” was only a few days out from theirs. And I’m sorry, but you cant have weddings that close to a siblings wedding. it just doesnt work all around…

    Then we had to factor in the two 90th birthdays in DHs this year and the related “oh, you should do it closer to this one, then more of the family will be in from overseas” – yes, but that would mean a mid-winter wedding! Given how sick I was this last winter, I’m really glad we didnt!

    In the end, we picked a date that had no real significance, apart from that it was the night after Guy Fawkes and only two weeks after the end of ski season – so if we had decided to have the mountain wedding we originally planned, we would still have snow!

  • MinnaBrynn

    We got married Friday morning. My husband’s sister got married Saturday afternoon. The two weddings were just over 24 hours apart, and a 2 hour drive apart. We got a lot of flack from strangers and distant family about how weird that was or how each couple would steal the other’s thunder. Honestly? It wasn’t a big deal. The four of us had a single conversation about dates – didn’t pick them then, just discussed ideas. What happened? Two totally different weddings, in totally different venues, with totally different dresses, totally different ceremonies. No one was weddinged out or had too much cake or was hung over at the second wedding. No one confuses which wedding had what happen. For us, it worked. No. It more than “worked,” it was actually pretty perfect for us!

  • Kathryn in VT

    So helpful! We picked our date (very recently) in a sort of haphazard, that-works!-why-not? sort of way. The family is all on board, mainly because we’re both lucky enough to have family members who’ve told us that whatever we decide, they’ll make it a priority to be with us on our wedding day.

    So here’s my dilemma: weather. I wasn’t expecting to stress out about this, because I don’t have any illusions about having a “picture perfect” day. We’re having our wedding at home on our farm, with the reception either in our barn or in a rented tent. I’ve told myself that if it rains, I can throw on my muck boots and grab an umbrella. If it’s cold, I’ll have a cute sweater on hand. That’s all the practical side of me speaking. The completely impractical side of me is scouring almanac listings of weather in our location for ten Septembers back, fretting about temperatures and precipitation. Does any one have any advice on just letting go of this? Or charming stories about rainy-day or unexpectedly-cold weddings that were still a blast?

    • katie

      Just commented on weather above with San Fran gal – sounds like you already have a great attitude! Continue to go with it – maybe cluing in your bridesmaids about back-up shoes, or buy some fun clear ponchos you can return easily? I think the best wedding photos come from the random moments, and stormy weather/cuddling in the cold can do just that!
      One thought would be to have a convo with your photographer in advance to check on their attitudes about shooting in off weather. Hopefully you’d have someone embracing the creative moments it can make.
      If it’s not too hard, maybe also consider easy warm drinks with a vendor.
      And…as we told a friend getting married during a storm – it’s harder to untie a wet knot!

  • Stephanie

    Hi Alyssa,
    Thank you so much for writing about this topic from two different perspectives. This is exactly the kind of no-nonsense logic I need right now. My amazing David and I announced our date 11 months in advance so that we could choose the date that was right for us. It was important that we take full control of the date because let’s face it; we’re the ones saying the vows to each other and no one else. The date has to be right for us period. Now, everyone we know, including my sister, has chosen dates around us. There is a small part of my brain that does not want to talk about other people’s weddings right now but Meg is right, our wedding is “not an international event”, so we can’t be upset when other people pick their dates. All we can do is choose to stay in the moment of our own planning process and if that means we don’t return their calls right away and we’re a little late getting back to them on email – well, at least everyone knows why we’re busy.
    Thanks again Alyssa,
    Stephanie

  • Emily

    First time commenter. This was ABSOLUTELY the hardest part of wedding planning for my partner and me. In August, my older sister got engaged and set her wedding for September 2011. In October, my boyfriend proposed (after 8 ½ years of dating), and immediately the date drama started. My partner and I did not want a long engagement (we’ve already waited 8 ½ years) so we were also looking at dates in 2011. We had a few more factors to consider:

    1) I wanted to pick a date that would work for my Grandparents. They are my highest priority guests after our parents. My grandfather is 86 years old, and it is becoming more difficult for him to travel. Plus, they live in Florida and only travel to Wisconsin during the summer.
    2) My brother is in the Marines and deployed to Japan until July of 2011.
    3) Some of our good friends are getting married in July & August.
    4) My sister was upset that she had to “share her year,” and we could not get married too close to her date.

    It was a tough decision, but we selected Memorial Day weekend. We chose a date that can accommodate my grandparents, but it means that my brother cannot attend our wedding. Of course, a month after booking the venue, we found out that my grandfather might have open-heart surgery this spring so my grandparents may not be able to attend. Plus, despite choosing a date 4 ½ months apart from her wedding, my sister was still mad that we are getting married before her.

    When I feel sad about these things, I repeat to myself that no matter who is there, Ben and I will be married, and that is all that matters.

    Side note: After I told my sister our wedding date, she made me promise to not get pregnant before her wedding. Pssh, that isn’t even a possibility unless we experience a birth control failure, but it still made me mad. I assumed a 35-year-old woman with three children would be a little more mature about these things, but I should not have been surprised. This is the woman who asked me how much we are spending on the wedding, if my partner’s parents are paying for the wedding, and how much my engagement ring cost.

  • http://fiveseven.typepad.com/blog/ Heather

    L, I had (have) a similar situation. My ring was being made (I was impatient!) but we had a date picked and money on the venue, so it was a done deal. Then, my future sister in law, who had been engaged for 6 months without talk of a date, told us they had chose the weekend after. I too burst into tears. We decided to let the cat out of the bag and tell them. We all agreed that it was fine. We will each have our day and it will be awesome. We just hope their mom can take the stress. Don’t change your date. Everything will work out.

    Congratulations!

  • Jess A Saurus

    Definitely own your date. ESPECIALLY if there’s a great, mushy and/or practical reason for choosing that date. We picked ours for mushy and practical reasons..when we were first engaged, we chose 6/11/11 just as a good run of the mill summer date. We were to be married on my parents farm in Iowa. Here comes the practical reason we chose our NEW date…my parents brought it to my attention a few months after we were engaged that June happens to be when the fields start being worked, and that means MANURE. Yep, like I said, practical. Now, I’m not necessarily concerned with what guests will think of certain choices, but we certainly didn’t want being surrounded by hundreds of acres of poop covered fields to be one of those choices.

    When discussing new dates, we chose September because August was just too hot. 9/10/11 was one of our options, and at first we both kinda laughed at the cheesiness of the date…well once we snapped out of our snarkiness and realized that September 10th was our dating anniversary (yeah we’re quick), it was declared fate and our new date.

    Fast forward to 10 months prior to our wedding when I see “10 months til our wedding!!” on the man’s cousin’s facebook. I quickly did the math on my fingers and messaged her asking if they were getting married 9/10/11. Yep, of course it turns out they are. But this is a distant cousin whom I had just met last summer and he hadn’t seen ANY of that extended family in 8+ years!! The thought didn’t even cross my mind to ask anyone to change any plans, and honestly my only thought was “well that sucks”. I consulted the man and we decided to keep the date and just deal with the fact that about 20 family members of his wouldn’t be attending. However I’m not quite sure they would have come anyways, as it is a 5 hour trek and they washed their hands of the man’s family when his dad started moving around for work. I mean seriously, I was NOT concerned. The messaging on facebook only consisted of her trying to act as if us loosely telling her we were going to have a summer wedding affected her decision, me telling her it would be okay, don’t worry and me asking what time and where their plans were to see if there were any way possible family could attend both. Since nothing more was said I figured the topic was dead.

    Wrong. His mom recently saw that side of the family when an aunt died, and another aunt had the audacity to ask if we had already ordered our invitations and couldn’t we PLEASE change our date. Now, this is why I LOVE my futher mother-in-law, her response was: “Why, it’s not like any of you would come anyways.” I thanked her for that, and appreciate her help in owning our decision to stick with our 2nd date. Despite my desire to message her and rip her open explaining that 9/10/11 will mark the 5th anniversary date that my best friend and roommate finally realized we were soul mates, I realize that knowing that on my own and having people present that are actually aware of that fact is what’s important. I don’t need to stir up drama nor do I need to encourage another bride to do the same.

    OWN it, and they will come.

  • Sus

    Last summer, two of our friends got married on consecutive weekends (actually, scrap that – four of our friends). There was no ‘stealing of thunder’ – actually, it was awesome! I got to spend two weekends in a row with some of my favourite people! I think all the guests felt similarly. The only shame was that the first couple couldn’t come to the second wedding, but I’m sure they were having more than enough fun on honeymoon to make up for it. xxx

  • Catherine

    My best friend and I are getting married to brothers in a two week span AND we have a lot of the same guests. They were engaged first but don’t care that we picked a date so close to theirs. It was how our schedules best worked out plus it gives us the unique experience of having someone in the same position in life to share (because lets be completely honest, my fiance does not care about paper chargers or crafting)

    On a side note, the guys went to the cake tastings without us.. totally uncool

  • Leigh Ann

    Hi Meg! I’m counting on you to keep me sane for the next 10 months. Starting with this post: I found out today that my long-engaged friend for whom I am MOH is planning her wedding for September in Seattle. This is not quite a month after we go to Boston for a wedding where Owen will be a Best Man, and not quite two months before we want to have our own wedding. It’s going to be a hectic year, but I am embracing it!

  • Sandy

    Ugh! This is totally something in the forefront of my mind. My BF and I started dating in April of 2009, about 4 months after his sister and her fiance started dating. I had been recently divorced and was struggling with the idea of even thinking about marriage in a positive way, let alone as something I would want to do again. Over the last 1.75 years though, I have fallen crazy in love with my BF and realized that I want to marry him and be able to call him my husband. In the meantime, FSIL and her fiance (spoiler alert!) got engaged last March. They are both undergraduates and planned on a long engagement, waiting until after graduation to get married. They are planning for 8/25/2012 and have begun “actually” planning, by paying deposits and the like.

    BF and I have begun talking about getting married and are planning a wedding. A proposal is coming, (He wanted to do it although I was ready to ask him) but we’ve begun planning just between the two of us to get an idea of a the budget necessary for the wedding we want. We are caught conflicting desires. We both agree on a fall wedding, September or October. Both of us want an outdoor ceremony/reception and we live in Wisconsin (which has foliage that rivals that of the more well known “fall” states). So now we have to choose between September 2011, soon but not too soon, and September 2012, close to little sis.

    Because of our VERY different tastes and circumstances, (2 kids getting married in a very traditional church wedding/dance reception at age 22 and 2 adults getting married at a zoo with board and yard games at the reception) I worry less about getting married close together than I did at first. Also our guest list is very different since she plans on around 300 and we are looking at 50, with only about 10 overlapping. I did suggest that the BF ask her, quietly since we still haven’t announced anything, how much comfort room she wanted. The big reason why I’m comfortable with this? I want to get married in 2011 instead. I can’t wait anymore; he’s perfect and I want to call him my own.

    Good luck to everyone in their quest for the perfect date. Remember, there are no stead fast rules about weddings, no matter what anyone says. Do what feels right!

  • Madeline

    I’m attending weddings this year that are two weekends in a row in June, and I’m pleased as punch. These are two fabulous couples whose marriages I want to celebrate. One is in Lake Charles, LA, and the other is in Georgetown, TX. I’ll probably fly into Houston and borrow my mom’s car to get to both of them. And it’s going to be awesome.

    Also, I totally agree about weddings not being an imposition. Best example ever: one of my best friends went to something like ten weddings two summers ago, three of which were in the same weekend. That’s right, THREE. As in, one Saturday afternoon, one Saturday evening, one Sunday. Moral of the story: people will come to your wedding.

    • Madeline

      Oh! And! My fiance’s cousin’s Bat Mitzvah is the weekend before our wedding. In Vermont. This girl has my fiance wrapped around her little finger, so we’re going to make it into a mini-pre-wedding-vacation, and all the Vermont relatives will be at our wedding in Texas the next weekend. We found out about her Bat Mitzvah shortly after we set our date, and we decided we’ll probably need a break from wedding planning at some point close to the wedding, so this actually works out perfectly. The only thing we’re changing is that now we’re going to send out save-the-dates, which I hadn’t planned on doing originally (because I kind of hate them).

  • http://theflyingwoman.wordpress.com/ kelly @ the flying woman

    Oh, the comments! This post appeared a bit early to be “oh-my-gosh” timely for me, but I remembered it, and specifically hunted it down, because I needed a shot of APW sanity. I’m still troubled, but reading has been helpful! Here’s our wee saga, plus the bits that now have me wringing my hands. Sorry if this becomes ridiculously long, but I’m a bit stressed about it and would love perspective if any ladies have it.
    Partner and I could give a d*mn about number symmetry; we picked a date based on his school breaks, the number of vacation days I could rack up at work, and how much time we needed to sock away cash for a groovy party. Amidst those three considerations, there happened to be a three-day weekend, smack dab in the best part of Seattle’s summer (Labor Day weekend). Sold! We found a charming little place, booked it, told the fam, tra-la-la we were on our way… until a few blithe months later, when we actually started counting how many people we wanted to share the day with (right, should’ve done that first, I know). Suddenly our charming little place was… little. Really little.
    One serious conversation later (“Sweets, what about… well, what about looking at a different place?” “No! Nonono! We already checked that off The List, d*mmit!”) we found a beautiful spot that is bigger, closer, *cheaper,* and available on the same day we’d already started to send through ye olde family grapevine. We booked it the morning we saw it, did a little happy dance, and already got (most of) our money back from the first place.
    Problem solved, right? This is where it becomes a saga, and a hand-wringer. Enter two phone calls.
    Phone call #1: Partner’s (middle) brother, who he is *very* close to, will become a daddy within an estimated 3 weeks of our shindig. We are thrilled for him! Babies! But he might not be able to come? Sadface. But — babies!
    Phone call #2: my (only) brother, my big brother who loves me even though I was an awfully bratty little sister and whom I love right back, will either be a) moving to Germany with wife and bebe in tow, mere weeks before shindig, or b) deploying to the Middle East for who knows how long, ETD two months before shindig — and it almost goes without saying that he wouldn’t be able to just pop back stateside for Labor Day weekend. U.S. Army… sigh. Partner is a veteran, and says it would’ve wrecked him to miss a sibling’s wedding on deployment. His knee-jerk reaction is to (tell my brother we will) change the date. [If you didn't catch that, Partner told my brother we could change the date. Should've predicted *that* one before I handed him the phone....]
    So the question here is not “do we love our brothers.” Given. We’re in no way upset that they’re missing “our month,” or any hooey like that. There’s no anger or animosity or anything along ‘zilla lines — there’s just the uncertainty of trying to decide to change the date and scramble a bit (a lot?? move it from September to June, into the middle of classes, when almost all family has to fly in & might have already started planning??), or stick with it and *potentially* miss two of our three siblings. It’s not like there’s much non-refundable money on the table, and there aren’t any vendors locked in, but…. Gah!
    I’m sure it will all work out in the end and I’ll have the peaceful composure that so many of these commenters have. We’ll “do what feels right,” as you’ve all wisely said — I’m just not yet sure what that is. Until I figure it out I’m having a stressful moment about it… but reading APW is always a help. Thanks!

  • Lulu

    I got engaged in February of 2010. After some consideration we picked 9-10-11 as our wedding date since it is two days after our five year anniversary and I had been wanting a fall wedding. One of my close college friends got engaged over Christmas of this year and I was obviously thrilled for her. She was thinking of wedding dates in Spring of 2012 which I thought would be lovely. The day after I mailed our save the dates I see online that she picked her wedding date. I go to congratulate her only to see that the date she chose is 9-10-11. At first I assumed it must be an honest mistake, and that she must have forgotten when my wedding was planned for (I say planned because everything is booked and scheduled and has been for months). Her response? “I knew your wedding was in early September but I was hoping it was the weekend of the fourth.” Umm, WTF? I have no intention of asking someone else to change their wedding date, but I’m not sure if my next step should be to laugh or measure the amount of steam coming out of my ears!

  • MonkeyGirl

    I just want to be one person to take a stance for the other side. Names, and occasional facts, changed.

    In early 2009 a couple we are friends with, Abe and Amy, got engaged. All of us were in the same group of friends in college, and have stayed friends, so both of us are friends with both of them. They set a date for July 2010.

    The husband runs a company with another friend from college, Bob, and Bob’s brother. Bob proposes to Betty at the end of 2009.

    Bob and Betty are both from the same group of friends. All four have the exact same group of friends from college, the same friends from the other side of the country (where they all four lived near each other for a few years) and the same friends from post-college. Bob and Abe are to be groomsmen for each other. This is not a case of 8 people overlapping. This is a case of the bulk of the people overlapping, including some relatives and almost all friends.

    Betty wanted to set a date for that July, and was horribly offended when Amy told her she was not allowed to. While Amy could have phrased that better, I am so grateful she did it. Both weddings were a chance to reconnect as a group and see people we care about, but having them that close, especially for the overlapping people who had to take time off work and/or travel across the country, would have meant many people choosing one or the other and hurting someone. It also meant each man would have neglected groomsman responsibilities in planning his own wedding.

    As someone who has had a lot of weddings to go to and budget for, I really don’t think it is that crazy to ask someone to reconsider a date set within 2 weeks of a date already set if the overlap of attendees is significant–if it is one couple, or even 2 or 3, that is different.

  • http://www.wildroseinontario.blogspot.com Penny

    My fiancé and I got engaged about a year ago (on Valentines’ Day!). We set our wedding date for June 18, 2011 after changing it a few times so it would jive with the church, the reception hall, and the photographer. We passed this date out by word of mouth to all our family & friends.

    Around Christmas another friend got engaged, and ended up booking his wedding for — June 18, 2011. I was pretty disappointed. They picked the day because of thier venue, and we are not close with them and have been living out of town for a couple years now, so I wasn’t mad, just upset that some of our closest friends are also their closest friends, and would have to choose — either not come or come and still feel like they were missing out.

    Anyway, it’s too bad, but after a week or two I realized that everyone will be able to come to our ceremony, and the reception is really just a party to celebrate the wedding, and there is no point getting upset about a friend not being able to make a party. We are just lucky to have friends we care so much about in the first place.

  • Mary

    I think there are a lot of factors that go into stepping on other people’s toes when picking a wedding date. My opinion is that its nearly impossible to not get married on someone’s wedding anniversary or close to someone else’s wedding day, especially in the summer. That said, you should think twice if the date you choose is a best friend, sibling, parent, etc anniversary or wedding day.

    My in-laws dislike me intensely for reasons I do not understand. I planned my wedding and thought it would be polite to include my husband’s siblings in the wedding party. They acted very in appropriately at our wedding and basically ruined it.

    Years later, after not hearing from my sister in law, she calls my husband and says she is engaged, is planning on marrying on New Year’s Eve, and though they haven’t talked in a long time, she would be heartbroken if hhe didn’t attend. She hammered this point several times in the conversation.

    New Year’s Eve, etc go by, no wedding invite or anything. Our 5 year anniversary was in July, and we booked a flight to London (from USA) to celebrate our anniversary. 3 weeks before our wedding anniversary, we get an invite to his sister’s wedding. It is on our wedding anniversary. It was not on a weekend. We already paid for our trip. We didn’t attend.

    In this instance, I think it was another lame attempt at his family to put my husband in a situation of pick: us or “her” (her being me). Childish, immature and unnecessary. Now they are stomping their feet about it.

    If they really wanted us (er, him, they don’t care if I’m there) to attend, they could have let him know about the date in advance and ensured that he could make arrangements to attend (most people work during the week!) more importantly, they could have kept in contact and not ruined our day.

    In short, sometimes these things happen unintentionally,,but sometimes people do this stuff on purpose. Personally, I’d rather have my own wedding anniversary, separate from immediate family members, that is mine to celebrate, unless I intentionally picked that date to honor older relatives’ special dates (with their blessing, of course). I would not want to share a wedding date with someone that I am not on good terms with…

  • Becky

    My best friend got engaged in January and is looking into booking venues for this September. She amazingly found one venue with an opening, but she hasn’t booked it yet because she is on a waiting list. Problem is, I will be out of the country on this same date. I have a very expensive trip planned, a trip I planned for, saved for, and booked 6 months ago. The trip includes non-refundable deposits on two resorts, and plane tickets already purchased. The location we are traveling to is in high demand, and completely booked already (which is why I booked over a year ago to be sure they had a spot available). She has asked me to change my vacation for her wedding, and I’m not sure what to do? I could understand if I was travelling locally or wouldn’t be loosing a lot of money I’d already deposited or used for the plane tickets? I’m having a difficult time deciding the best way to approach the situation. I will be devastated if I can’t attend her wedding and stand beside her on the big day, on the other hand I sort of can’t believe she has asked me to make the changes/cancellations. I understand that weddings are amazing important “once in a lifetime” events. But this vacation for me and my bf is really the same amazing important “once in a lifetime” event that we planned for ourselves. Thought? Suggestions?