What Do You Need to Know to Pick Your Wedding Date?

What would you tell couples who are doing this right NOW?

by Stephanie Kaloi

wedding invitations and save the dates

When you get engaged, it can be super tempting to want to run out and Do All The Wedding things: Hire the photographer! Figure out who will be in your wedding party! Line up some delicious desserts! But you know what you need to know before you can do all of that stuff? You need to know where you want to get married and what dates they have available.

My husband and I originally planned to get married on the March equinox, which happened to be on a Wednesday in 2007. This idea was quickly shot down by a family member, who told us that it couldn’t happen because she couldn’t get off work that day (several months into the future). We were twenty-two and twenty-one and immediately decided that we weren’t designed to withstand wedding planning, and that is how we found ourselves at the courthouse on a Friday in February, two days after Valentine’s Day, calling our moms and telling them we were eloping in two hours.

Guys, don’t be like us.

I mean, elope if you want to! But if you and yours have determined that you are in fact not elopement people, then here’s my advice to you: pick a wedding venue, then pick a date, and hold firm to it. Unless there’s a death in the family, natural disaster, or some other catastrophe, stake out your calendar territory and celebrate it.

Having said that… apart from picking an original date that we liked because it felt beautiful, I’m not sure how else one picks a wedding date (apart from waking up on a Friday and saying, “Let’s get married!” that is). Tell me, APW, how did you pick your wedding date? What advice would you give to folks currently being peppered with “When is the date?” even though they just put an engagement ring on their hand?

Was it easy to pick your wedding date? Why or why not? What tips would you give to recently engaged couples who are trying to pick their wedding dates right now?

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! ? ? ?).

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  • Alecia B.

    We picked a season, then picked a venue, and looked at their available dates. There wasn’t a lot left at the beginning of September, and we wanted a fall outdoor wedding without our guests being chilly. September 30 was available and seemed to make the most sense. It’s not really a date with any emotional importance to us (yet!).

    • Lisa

      As someone born on your wedding date, I’m quite partial to it myself. Many good things have happened on it!

      • Eh

        You share a bday with my husband. I also noticed that you are married near your bday. Our anniversary is Oct 19 so I feel your husband’s pain.

        • Anonymous

          Why pain?? I’m getting married super close to my birthday (it was the only weekend that worked with my fiancé’s schedule and our venue’s availability). Will the rest of our lives be ruined?!

          • Danielle

            No not at all. Our anniversary, my birthday and my husband’s birthday are all within a month of each other, and no lives have been ruined :) We just don’t care too much about these things.

            It seems like some people take their birthdays pretty seriously, and don’t want to “share” it with another important date. Like, I have friends with birthdays around X-mas, who feel their birthdays are always overshadowed by the larger holiday.

            But you know yourself the best. If birthdays are really important to you, you will find ways to make it seem special.

          • Eh

            I agree and we do make both days special and it’s good that my husband understands he is hard to buy for. And is ok with one gift for both.

            I am a bit sensitive about making sure birthdays are special since my birthday always falls on or closest to a holiday long weekend. Everyone was always busy so my birthday was always pushed off to another weekend. My daughter shares a birthday with my BIL/SIL’s anniversary, a cousin’s birthday, a friend’s birthday, and will always be on or closest to a holiday long weekend (when we always have a family reunion). We have decided that we will always just celebrate her birthday on that day no matter when it is or where we are. It’s going to get tricky when she is older and wants to invite friends.

          • Danielle

            That seems like especially important for kids. It’s always nice when parents make a little bit of a fuss over their birthday :)

          • Eh

            I feel bad for my daughter since people will always have plans (if not because of the holiday, then because it’s a special day for them). The nice thing is she will get to spend the weekend with her cousins (who we live 8 hours from). And I will make sure we celebrate on the day (even if that is the day we are driving 8 hours).

            My parents thought that moving my birthday wasn’t a big deal (they also made my brother and sister celebrate their birthdays together since their birthdays are three days apart). As an adult I took back my birthday by declaring that I have veteo rights for the whole weekend. Some years we have a BBQ at our house and I don’t have to leave, other years we have gone to see my family.

          • Lisa

            My sister and I have birthdays that are three days apart. While my parents made sure we each got our own celebrations when we were younger, that often meant very long weekends of pizza and slumber parties. Now that we’re older, we’re just happy if we all get together in the general birthdaytimes vicinity and lump the two together!

          • Eh

            My sister didn’t even have her own first birthday party (there are pictures of her cake right beside my brother’s cake). The last time my brother had a birthday party of his own was when he was 6 and my mom was still in the hospital with my sister (the dr kept my mom in the hospital an extra day so she could rest instead of be at a house full of guests). When they were kids they always got their own cakes so they could blow out candles. I think what helped a bit was that my brother is 6 years older than her (so he grew out of having birthday parties by the time she was in full blown mode) and he is a boy (I think girls care about having birthday parties longer). As adults they live on opposite sides of the country so they do not see each other on their birthdays but they would probably be happy to get together and celebrate it together.

          • Eh

            lol no it won’t ruin your lives. My husband is hard to buy for so having to buy gifts close together makes things difficult (this year he bought what I was going to buy him for his birthday a couple weeks before his birthday – while I was with him at the store telling him he should just wait for his birthday). Two out of three anniversaries he has got a joint birthday/anniversary gift.

            We also have five birthdays within a month of Christmas which is also a pain.

          • Lisa

            Oh, no, not at all! My husband just bemoans having two gift-giving occasions near one another. This was also his last year of school, and we got married during the academic year so he found juggling his schoolwork and the celebrations to be a little stressful.

          • Eenie

            I personally enjoy having little celebrations spread throughout the year. As someone with a sibling who was born a day before my fourth birthday, it kind of sucked having to share. Not everyone celebrates their birthdays and anniversaries the same! I know someone who was married on his birthday and the couple is happy to be able to remember the date so easily.

  • Trinity

    We knew we wanted to get married in the fall and that we didn’t wait to wait more than a year. My husband and his family are huge Notre Dame college football fans, so we had to get married on a bye week. Voila, we had our date!

  • Jessica

    My husband was in his part-time MBA program, so we picked date ranges when he had a 3-week break from school so we could have the wedding plus a 2-week honeymoon with no school distractions. This meant waiting a little over a year since 1 break was during Christmas, 1 during 4th of July, but we wanted to get married in the fall anyway and we did in September.

  • EF

    we looked at our people, who was likely to come, and knew we had to pick a date that universities were (generally) not in session. a lot of people would be travelling far distances, so off-season travel would make it easier. and most importantly, partner’s mom had a cancer diagnosis, so we tried to map out a time where she’d still be healthy enough to enjoy it, but give us enough time to feel *ready*.

    and let’s all admit it, january weddings are awesome.

  • sofar

    The venue is THE most important factor for determining the date, along with weather in our locale (no way were we having a winter weather in the midwest). The fact that most of our family/friends would have to travel also necessitated having it on a Saturday. We found a venue in our budget that would hold our huge guest list and were like, “OK when’s the next available summer Saturday you have? Two summers from now? OK. Let us sign the paperwork.”

    Yeah, it was a long engagement and the venue basically picked the date for us. But it was fine. It gave us a date to plan for VERY early on and give our traveling loved ones plenty of heads up. It also made picking other vendors easier. “Are you available on X date? Nope. OK moving on.”

    Unless you have a photographer/DJ in mind you MUST have, I feel like you make your job harder by trying to find a date ALL your desired vendors are available. Find the venue. Pick a date. Hire everyone else.

    I also can’t IMAGINE picking a date before having a venue. I know a couple who sent out save the dates for 12/13/14, only to discover EVERY couple on earth wanted a wedding that weekend and there were no venues available.

    As for what I’d tell other couples: SO MANY PEOPLE will tell you your date won’t work for them. “Don’t you know that’s graduation weekend?” “Oh, but that’s during State Fair!!” “That’s the weekend of [fill in local sportsball game]!” “I HATE it when couples schedule on Columbus Day weekend! I always travel then.” Just worry about your immediate family members and wedding parties. Other people will bitch and moan. Let them. Some of them will still show up anyway.

    • Katharine Parker

      “I HATE it when couples schedule on Columbus Day weekend! I always travel then.” People are the worst.

      This feels like a good reason to be vague until your plans are set. Like with a baby name, people are way less likely to tell you to your face if they hate a name when they know that the baby is already named, because it’s obviously rude. They probably imagine that telling you that your wedding date is inconvenient is helpful, but once your date is set hopefully they keep their grumbles to themselves.

    • MrsRalphWaldo

      I got married Columbus Day weekend! We definitely followed that advice. We cleared it with parents, siblings, and wedding party, and then we sent out save the dates to ensure everyone had plenty of time to arrange their calendars.

  • Katharine Parker

    We just set the date (yay!), and it was pretty easy. My boyfriend and I want to get married in the summer, based on our work schedules and wedding weather, and there was only one Saturday left at the church we want. Done! Conveniently, our top reception sites are free then, too, so it feels perfect.

    I think you have to be flexible about the date or the venue, unless you have a super long engagement. If you really want New Year’s Eve or some specific date, that’s more difficult than just wanting a season or a month.

  • Brooke

    For us we had a chain of events that helped us decide on a date. Prior to being engaged, we somewhat planned on a September or October (2017) wedding. Then my brother got engaged and picked a date at the end of September 2017. We then got engaged and decided we would wait until AFTER my brother got married (putting us well over a year-long engagement, something I absolutely did not want). After a few weeks of searching for options for our wedding that would happen in 15 months, I got a wild idea that we should elope. Cue me researching options for getting married on our cruise we have planned for January.

    After deciding that elopement was not what we truly wanted, we decided we would just follow through with our original plans to wait. But, news about my grandfather having cancer and one open house at a desired venue later, we settled on a date in February 2017 (we picked the last possible date to receive their “off season” pricing). Which gave us 4 months from the time we booked until the wedding date. We are currently in the midst of planning the most rapid fire wedding I could ever imagine, and I love it.

  • sage

    We haven’t settled on an exact date yet, but we are planning on one of 2 Saturdays in January 2018. The reasons were fairly straightforward… weather is not an issue where we live as winters are very mild. My sister is living abroad and not returning to the US until next fall, so we were originally thinking late fall 2017. We then crunched the numbers on what we would expect to pay in taxes with married status and realized it made a pretty significant difference. We figured we could put off the wedding until January (when nothing all that fun or exciting is going on otherwise) and put the extra 2017 tax savings toward the wedding!

  • Here’s how our process worked: We knew we wanted some portion of our day to be outside, so in the midwest, that meant May-September was safest. Then we investigated venues, found one in our price range, and got a list of dates that were available for that venue. We picked one that felt most convenient and ideal for us. Then we contacted close family and friends to make sure the date worked, signed the contract and we had our date. (And I will add that the date ended up being conveniently a couple weeks before my 26th bday when I’ll be kicked off my parents insurance and be able to join my new husband’s insurance in the nick of time)

  • Marcela

    We had to get married before moving to where my husband go into school for his DVM degree and he was adamant about not getting married before he finished his masters. That gave us between May 15th and August 15th to choose from. We had a lot of family that would be coming in from overseas to choosing a date that would not be “high season” for flights was important too. It had to be a Saturday, but NOT memorial day weekend, because that was “too hard” for people. This left us with 3 or 4 dates so we then shopped those around to the most important people to be there. A conference and another wedding struck out two more dates so finally we ended up with June first.
    It was a process.

  • Sarah E

    We were planning 18 months in advance, and not looking at traditional venues, so venue availability was less important when we picked a date.

    Basically, it was time of year (around the school calendar for my husband, narrowed it to May)

    Then weekend (after school stuff was done, last couple weekends)

    I checked in with one or two friends I knew have a harder time getting off work (even eons in advance), and they said “Pick whatever, we’ll make it work! Also, getting off on Memorial Day would be hard.” So we picked the non-holiday weekend, et voila.

  • louise danger

    the date we picked was based on the availability of our venue (a pavilion in the local state park) and consideration of the weather at a seasonal level. i’ve also secretly always wanted a ~cool~ date (easy for my dear mr danger to remember), and since we missed the big Pi Day last year, we decided to compromise with Friday, October 13. getting the built-in color palette was sort of a happy accident.

    it’s a little closer to his birthday than i’d like (until the wedding, our gift-giving occasions are spread pretty nicely throughout the year – Valentine’s Day, my birthday, his birthday, Christmas), and we are emphatically NOT doing anything halloweeny decor- or activities-wise despite the date, but i’m happy with it. also, having it on a weekday means that rental rates for chairs for the ceremony are cheaper, and rates for our photographer are a little better. also, it means that we pay per car for our guests to get into the park rather than per person, which would have been the case to have the thing on saturday the 14th.

    stuff we considered:
    the budget is pretty much the underlying cause of most ‘why we picked’ responses, though the weather is usually easiest to trust around here in the autumn these days.

    • Lisa

      Ha, you will feel my husband’s pain then on the gift giving because our wedding date is less than two weeks after my birthday. He has complained for the past two years that the dates are too close together! (At which point I remind him that he didn’t want to get married Halloween weekend and effectively chose our wedding date. His fault, not mine!)

    • savannnah

      I’ve mentioned this before, but our wedding date is 9/16/17 which is the day before my birthday and when people figure that out they are horrified and think we are legit crazy and have to tried to talk us out of it months after we put a deposit down. I’m a twin and always had to share that day and I am chill about it- I care much more about getting married in the early fall and a vain part of me is happy to say I’m getting married at 28.

      • Katherine

        I feel like those who make a big deal out of anniversaries and birthdays being close together are those who like to go all out for their birthdays. It sort of bugged me that our dating anniversary was so close to my husband’s birthday (I like to go all out for birthday celebrations), but he’s much more low-key about birthdays than I am.

        • K

          We don’t go crazy, but my husband’s birthday and mine are only 10 days apart. When we started looking at a spring wedding, I was adamant that I didn’t want to get married in May, when our birthdays are, because then we’d be front-loading all of our celebrations for the rest of our lives. I feel pretty strongly that you need periodic opportunities to celebrate throughout the year, or else you have many boring months where the calendar never reminds you to pause and do something special.

          (So since I refused to get married in May, we got married literally the last day in April, and then a few years later had our son, who was born 10 days before our anniversary. Now all our celebrations are crammed into 40 days in the spring instead of 30!)

          • Katherine

            I definitely agree with you on periodic celebrations – that was part of my hangup about our former anniversary in the first place!

    • Our Pi Day wedding anniversary is 12 days before my husband’s birthday. I was worried that they were too close together but he’s pretty lowkey about birthdays so it’s worked out so far.

    • emilyg25

      My birthday is one week before our anniversary. It’s not ideal, but we just don’t do much for the anniversary. It’s a good thing we didn’t worry too much about it because our kid was born one week after Christmas. No more spread out events!

  • toomanybooks

    How our date was chosen: We wanted to have a wedding when the weather was nice (so, part of it would be outdoors). We found a venue we liked that seemed reasonably priced and they priced holiday weekend Sundays like regularly Sundays (meaning, cheaper than Saturdays). When we found out that they had the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend (or is it Labor Day, I always confuse those) open, we booked it so we could get that discounted Sunday pricing while still having a day off for everyone the next day.

    We’d been considering doing the wedding on the anniversary of the day we met at a different venue because it was the last weekend that got off season pricing, but decided we didn’t want to take our chances with the cold and didn’t think there was enough room in the space. Really, it just came down to venue availability, pricing, and weather.

    It’s kind of absurd to me that people ask if you have a date set when you JUST got engaged and don’t have anything planned, but I guess they just don’t know what else to ask. I think it’s fair to respond by saying you only just got engaged and haven’t planned the wedding!

    • Katharine Parker

      I think most people are satisfied with, “we’re thinking spring 2018!” or something else vague–“probably not until next fall, we haven’t set a date yet!” Unless it’s your mom asking, asking when is the wedding is just a nice way to make conversation after someone tells you they’re engaged.

  • Kelly

    We were leaning towards my home city of Seattle, so I didn’t want to have to depend on the weather at all lol. We ended up getting lucky and being able to use an outdoor terrace though since weather was relatively cooperative. Check in with those closest to you only, we just had to make sure it wasn’t when my brother was graduating. We also wanted slightly warmer weather without paying peak prices, so we were able to get mid May at my first choice of venue so we were pretty fortunate!

  • Lisa

    We got engaged in August 2013 and decided that we wanted to give ourselves at least a year to plan the wedding, which we discovered was a good move once we started looking at booking our wedding in Chicago. (Seriously, some of the places we wanted were sold out 12+ months in advance, and our church only had 2 wedding time slots left for all of 2014 when we contacted them.) My husband was adamant about not wanting a winter wedding because he didn’t want weather to affect family who would be flying in.

    This left us with either fall 2014 or spring 2015. I casually shared this information with my sister when she called to announce her engagement six days after our own, and she said, “Well, we’re getting married in May 2015 so you should plan your wedding around that.”

    That left us with fall 2014, and as I said, when we contacted our church, there were two days left — the weekend of the Chicago marathon or November 1 (aka the day after Halloween). We didn’t have a reception venue yet, but the church and leadership there were important to us so we decided to go with it. We figured we would be able to find a reception venue somewhere within a 20 minute train ride, and we were right!

    So TL;dr, my advice boils down to this in order:

    1. Decide how long you want to be engaged and how long you want to be planning a wedding.
    2. Take into account your personal preferences for time of year you’d like to get married.
    3. If you have a preferred venue, check with them to determine availability.
    4. Consult any important family members/friends who are “must haves” to insure they don’t have conflicts.

    • Her Lindsayship

      Those 4 really sum it up perfectly. When we first got engaged the idea of just picking a date to become this huge important day we’d celebrate for the rest of our lives felt so daunting. Then I realized we already knew we wanted to get married next Summer and on a Saturday, and availability would be limited enough that there probably wouldn’t be much choice involved.

      Then, to credit number 4, the day after we booked our reception venue, we learned that our best man’s girlfriend was supposed to be at another wedding that weekend. It’s important to us that he enjoys our wedding day fully, and we think it would suck if she wasn’t there, so we were able to change it (our reception venue wasn’t terribly booked out yet). But I wish we had known beforehand. Other friends told us what other weddings they really needed to be at so we could work around if we wanted to, but I think she didn’t think she was important enough that we would work around her. I wish we had just asked before booking! But it worked out fine.

    • Eh

      I agree with your list and it’s more or less what we did just in a different order (consulting with “must haves” was one of the first things).

      My sister got engaged just before us. She decided she needed about two years to plan a wedding so that nicely worked with our plan to get married within about a year of getting engaged.

  • sparagmos

    Our process was basically a long look at things we did and did not want for our wedding. I know I tend to stress out easily, and so does my husband, so I wanted approximately a year to plan the wedding, knowing that we both had big families that we wanted to accommodate. He proposed in August 2014, so we were looking at summer/fall 2015. We live in south Texas, so we wanted to do it closer to fall for a better chance at good weather. His birthday is in early September and our dating anniversary had been ten days before that, which always made me stress out, so I requested a month of padding time between his birthday and our wedding date. He didn’t want to wait too long, so we went for October, with the idea that if nothing was available we’d schedule for November. We looked at the calendar for Saturdays in October (we already knew we wanted a Saturday, to accommodate as much of our crowd as possible), and one of the Saturdays in October was Oct. 17. 17 has always been my favorite number, weirdly enough, and though I didn’t take it as a “sign” or anything, it looked like a good date to both of us that we could remember easily, and the number had some small significance to us. When we went to visit venues, we also had the week before and the week after as backup dates, but luckily both the church we attend and the reception venue had Oct. 17 available. The most stressful part of booking the date was coordinating with both the reception venue and the church at the same time, to make sure we were on both calendars before we told anyone for sure about the date.

    I’ve left out a whole chunk of scheduling with my mom (who was convinced November was going to be the best option, even though I told her repeatedly that my now-husband would prefer not to wait that late), and my sister’s dance team schedule that caused a few issues. His immediate family didn’t have anything to schedule around, thankfully. We pretty much only scheduled around our immediate families, and everyone else got a wholehearted invite and no hard feelings if they couldn’t make it.

    The “When is the date?” questions four seconds after engagement was a weird phenomenon that I was mostly prepared for. I just said, “We’ll let you know!” until we had an actual date. But if you’re discussing general timeframes and the person asking is someone you know you will invite, most people will accept, “We’re looking at fall 2015” or something similar as an answer and not pester you about it anymore.

  • emmers

    Like a lot of other people, I found venue availability to be key. Other than that, it was making sure the date worked with a few key players’ schedules (mainly family). I would recommend only checking with your VIPs. Inevitably, there is no perfect date for your guest list at large, so it’s helpful to only check with the very-important-est folks.

    If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself to not get set on a particular date (nor to tell people about the date!) until actually checking venue availability. We originally wanted to get married in September, but then the venue didn’t have slots available until November, so November it was. It was a mind-shift, but I’m glad we were able to be flexible, since it ended up being a good date to be married, schedule-wise.

  • Lawyerette510

    My best advice is, pick the date that works for you, and the fewer people who you give input on the date, the better the process. Also remember, it is highly unlikely you will have 100% attendance, even if you let many people all vote on the date, because things come up. Keep in mind, the further out you are planning, the higher chance you will pick a date, and one of the people who said ok to that date will then have some conflict come up. Maybe an unexpected pregnancy, maybe a professional issue, maybe an illness or family obligation.

    I don’t say this to be a party-pooper, but I say it so that hopefully people don’t get themselves into knots about finding a date everyone in their lives can say ok to, especially if that date is many months (if not over a year) in the future.

    One of the silver linings of planning a wedding quickly: people’s availability generally doesn’t change. We picked the date and told people February 28, and we married May 12. When we sent the save the dates out, three people out of the 55 said they could not make it to our Monday, three hour drive from a major airport, wedding. We only had two additional people change from a yes to a no, and that was a couple who ended up not being able to come, because he was an attorney who had a judge schedule a mandatory mediation for May 12.

    • Amy March

      Agree very much with your point about things coming up- I think its best to only check on the date with very very important people for exactly that reason. And accept that people who told you they were excited and available when you sent a save the date may not actually be able to come.

    • Katharine Parker

      Thank you for making me feel better about not asking anyone’s availability before setting the date! We knew our families and wedding party would be available, but for everyone else, I plan to send out save the dates and hope for the best.

    • emilyg25

      We only asked our parents and my brother.

    • Eh

      I totally agree about limiting input of others on the date. Before I got engaged my cousins told me that they just needed 6 months notice and they would work it out. Only one of them was able to make it because one had a baby a month before and others couldn’t come because we got married during the school year (and they had school age kids).

  • Rebekah

    We got married in early May. My husband was in school and we got married out of state (in my home state), so we had to choose a time when he could get away for the wedding and honeymoon. My home state gets pretty uncomfortable in the summer, so we chose May because it would be cooler and because we’d been together for 6+ years and I was ready to be married already. My sister also got married in May (a few years before us), so I took care not to pick a day that would be close to hers, because she had previously made a statement about how that would be awful to share an anniversary.
    I checked with our top venues for availability, then with my husband for a preference, and then we picked one!
    We ended up having a 6-month engagement, but I’d been researching details for a while beforehand, so between that and my mom’s onsite help, it came together pretty well. http://apracticalwedding.com/2014/11/arizona-methodist-church-wedding/

    My advice boils down to this: Decide what your priorities are (Venue? Season? Guest availability?) and then go for it. The day becomes special to you once you choose it.

    • Lisa

      OMG, you had the wheel of cheese cake!

    • Danielle

      We also had life things that limited/determined our date, which really helped!

      I was finishing grad school in May and Husband was starting his program in late August, so we figured it should be sometime that summer. I thought August would be good since it would give us more time (we only really started planning in the spring), plus I am Jewish, and there were some holidays in June/July that year that I wanted to avoid.

      We visited a few venues, and the one we liked/could afford had some availability in August. We picked a date and that was that!

      Didn’t ask anyone for input, just told them, and that was fine.

  • So we are pretty weird in that the date came even before the engagement- wanting this particular day was actually what got my butt in gear on proposing! My birthday is exactly one month before his and I loved the idea of having our anniversary be one month before or after. The month before my birthday also happens to be beautiful in the local we were getting hitched. We chose our venue based on the date, instead of the other way around!

  • We were the weirdos who had a special date picked before we officially got engaged. I’m a chemist and the husbandperson is a mathematician – being blerds (Black nerds) is a big part of our lives and our relationship. Randomly in late 2014, we were talking about when we’d like to get married and throwing around dates, and he suggested Pi Day (March 14th). I checked a calendar and realized it was on a Saturday in 2015…and it felt like fate. We looked at each other and just knew that was the right day. Another date was not an option so we wound up booking our photographer and venue a year in advance, and before we officially got engaged cause we didn’t want to miss out on our dream date or our dream venue.

    Surprisingly we didn’t get much pushback from our friends and family, even though we were getting married in March in MN – once we explained the date significance, everyone instantly got it and thought it was a great choice for us.

  • Mia

    I cared about the venue, but moreso I chose two dates and if the venue didn’t have those dates available for us. My fiance is starting grad school (hopefully) in August of next year so we wanted to be married before then (and after April). I never liked the idea of a June wedding and May is full of high school and college graduations so we picked July 7th, 2017. It’s a friday and easy to remember for future recollections.. seven.seven.seventeen.

  • Eh

    We got engaged in October and we didn’t want to be engaged longer than a year (give or take a few weeks). We also did not want to get married when it was really hot out (on the request of my in-laws after my BIL/SIL were married on the hottest day of the year – so July and August were out). We also checked with my dad about his availability (he was a high school teacher so I wanted to make sure he could travel to our wedding). And we crossed out any months where my work has quarterly reporting (so March, June, September and December were out).

    Next decided on the general area we wanted to get married (e.g., where we lived, where I grew up or where he grew up). We looked at some venues (and I got emotionally attached to one, which was super frustrating because they were not the best at getting back to us). We wanted our ceremony to be at an old train station that has been converted into a theatre (venue I was emotionally attached to) and then have our reception at the golf course so we figured out what days both of them had available in October of the following year. There was only one Saturday that either had open and it was the same day so BOOM we had a wedding date.

  • Sarah

    We’ve been engaged since January 2016. We wanted a warm-weather wedding and didn’t want to wait much longer than a year – my fiancé wanted late spring, I wanted early autumn (we’re in Australia so opposite seasons to the US). Once we started looking at venues he realised how far ahead things get booked and agreed Autumn was more realistic. The place we liked best had March 4th 2017 available so that’s what we chose. So our decision was really just about practical considerations like weather and planning time and venue availability, but we also like that our date sounds like an instruction for entering our marriage: ‘march forth’.

    • Jess

      March Fo(u)rth!!!!! I love it.

      • Sarah

        Thanks! :D

    • Lisa

      I hope you play some great marches during your ceremony/reception!

      • Sarah

        That’s an amazing idea!!

  • Ashlah

    I would have loved to get married on our dating anniversary, but it was important to us to have our wedding on a weekend, and sticking to that would have meant a three year engagement. So we nixed that, decided we wanted an outdoor wedding, which meant July or August. I noted that 7/8 and 8/9 were Saturdays, and we figured why not have a fun, easy-to-remember date. We chose the August date because it’s further from my birthday and usually has better weather. (Bonus: summer wedding by default means people aren’t in school and there are no football games).

    We did not ask for anyone else’s input into the date. If we’d had a short engagement (ours was 20 months), we certainly would have made sure the date worked for important people, but with that much notice, we figured people who wanted to come would have time to make it work. Turns out our wedding date was the birthday of one of my young cousins, but it was completely fine–he’s a total ham, so we had the DJ make an announcement and people danced in a circle around him. they’re some of my favorite photos from the wedding.

    • Ashlah

      Oh, I will echo what others said about not getting emotionally or financially tied to a date before finding a venue. That was a little complicated for us because we picked our date (and some other vendors) 8 months before our venue opened booking for our date. We knew the date was available, but couldn’t actually book it until less than a year before our date. Thankfully it worked out fine, but it would have been tough if it hadn’t.

      • toomanybooks

        Related (ish): I just called the bakery I want to get my cake from – someplace I’ve been going since I was a kid – and they told me it was too far out and I should call back sometime after the new year! Lol at least I don’t have to worry about not doing that on time, I guess.

        • Lisa

          We had several vendors tell us the same thing when we contacted them 6-12 months out! This is what solidified my decision that, if we could have been flexible on the venue, we could easily have planned the wedding in 6 months or less.

    • Eenie

      We went with my half birthday to make it easy to remember! Also spreads out the craziness in October (four birthdays, dating anniversary, fall sports, hometown pumpkin festival, etc).

  • Kara

    For us, we broke down our decision into different steps:
    1.) Decide on a “season” to be married–like summer, spring, fall.
    2.) Estimate our guest list (since this will determine the venue/venue size)
    3.) Review venues that can support said guest list
    4.) Final venue that accommodates guests + season
    5.) Talk to VIPs and make sure they can do likely dates
    6.) Pick date on venue availability

    We got married more than 7 years ago, and we had an almost 2 year engagement, so we had some time to figure things out. To be fair, we didn’t start planning until about 8 months after we were engaged. We had to figure out who would be moving for jobs. My husband moved to my city after we were married–it made the most sense economically.

    • Eh

      My sister was engaged for two years and didn’t start planning until 10 months before her wedding (and at that point change the date, giving herself 6 fewer weeks). They had a hard time deciding where to have the wedding (where they live or across the country where they grew up).

      • Kara

        I understand your sister’s dilemma–we were also unsure where we wanted to have the wedding. It worked out fine :).

        • Eh

          She got married two years ago and it all worked out fine. She was really set on getting married where they lived but due to family pressure (his grandparents being unable to travel) they got married where they grew up. And then after seeing that some of our cousins with school aged kids had a hard time travelling to my wedding (which was in October) she decided to move her weekend from late in September to earlier in August. It was hard for her to give up the location and the date (which was of significance to them) to ensure that people they wanted at their wedding could be there.

          • Kara

            Sorry to hear your sister and brother-in-law had to change their desired date (which was significant to them) because of family pressure, but it sounds like it worked out. They were surrounded by the people they wanted at their wedding.

          • Eh

            Family is extremely important to my sister but it was still a hard decision to move the date and location.

          • Stephanie

            Just did this exact thing this week: gave up our dream venue to move both venue and date up to accommodate family. It was not easy and very conflicting and it helps to hear it worked out for your sister.

          • Eh

            It’s about reframing it. Your wedding/anniversary date will be important to you and your partner no matter when it is. Or you can celebrate a different date that is important for your relationship (I know at least two couples who celebrate the day they met, and for one of them it’s more important than the day they got married).

            Just remember, even after moving it some people probably won’t be able to come. Getting RSVPs with “No” for some family members she really wanted there was upsetting; however many of the people she wanted there who weren’t able to attend my wedding (because it was during the school year) did come (and the people that didn’t come, wouldn’t have come no matter when or where it was).

          • Stephanie

            So glad to see she was able to find a good balance and prioritize what was most important to them. We have landed on a Sunday as a result of shuffling around to prioritize family and I’m hoping we don’t have loads of drop-out as a result. Can’t make everyone happy, you can only do your best within your priorities and parameters. xx

          • Eh

            Based on reading your other post I think you will be fine. Your priority people have lots of notice and have provided input so they know it’s important to you that they be there.

            In my sister’s case it was related to a group of family members who do not like another group of family members (my family is neutral). One group said if people from the other group were there that they wouldn’t go. People from both groups came to my wedding the year before and there was unpleasantness (more than I expected since I was told that they could behave for one day). My sister knows that it’s probably best that both groups not be in the same room but it was upsetting for her.

          • Stephanie

            Gosh, that would be upsetting. It’s hard when people don’t act the way we would hope they would (i.e. putting another’s needs/day above their own).

    • Jess

      Yup…. This was pretty much exactly what we did.

      Figure out a rough time, figure out when our venue would be available, eliminate dates from the venue by checking with people, decision made.

      • Kara

        Yup yup. Pretty straight forward. :)

  • Katharine Parker

    I will say, as someone who is just starting wedding planning, there are pros and cons to every length of engagement and to getting married in any season. People seem to have lots of opinions on both subjects that are better ignored.

    • Danielle

      Take that perspective (on ignoring people’s opinions) and apply it to every stage of wedding planning. It will help you immensely!

      • Katharine Parker

        I’m already practicing couching everything wedding related with, “and we’re so excited about it!” Because people have a hard time saying, “roses are so lame” after you’ve said, “we’re going to do a lot of roses for flowers, and we’re so excited about it!”

        • Danielle

          Good plan!

        • Stephanie

          This is excellent advice!

  • Kyle Hutchinson

    Ack, we are doing this right now – currently we are saying “probably next fall, probably in Portland (Maine).” Reasoning being: I don’t want to spend more than a year planning a wedding, and we like Portland and a lot of our guests live nearby, but we don’t want to stick our out-of-town guests with expensive hotels (summer) or unpredictable weather (winter).

    But we really need to get our asses in gear! This thread is throwing me into a mild panic attack!

    • Lisa

      You should really be fine! I’d suggest contacting a few venues in which you’re interested before the end of the month to see what kind of availability they have for fall 2017. :)

    • Katharine Parker

      You’re fine. Really! You only need one venue you like to have one open date :) The other stuff will fall into place.

    • Jess

      Oh, no, you’re good. That’s pretty much what I was saying this time last year (Next September or October, somewhere near here).

      Go ahead and start figuring out what venues are open/walk around to see them (This can be fun if you’re not too panicky! You don’t need to make a decision ASAP!).

    • Eenie

      You got time! But sooner gives you more options for dates and venues :)

    • tempy13

      Portland is where I was born, mostly lived, and have settled here again. If you need any direct help or wish you could visit a venue but can’t, shoot me an e-mail and I can help! I love nothing more than praising my hometown and helping all people celebrate their love and lives here!

      • Kyle Hutchinson

        Thanks! I have lots of great family in the area and we visit frequently so I think we’ll be all set once we overcome our own inertia but I appreciate the offer!

        • tempy13

          Awesome!! I wanted throw my support at you, just in case. I just realized we have almost the same last name! Maybe we’re related in the distant past when surnames were more fluid and/or were changed through immigration. Not trying to be creepy internet stranger lol!! Good luck and any wedding in Portland Maine will be gorgeous!

  • AmandaBee

    Our decision was pretty much made for us. We wanted to be married before I finished my PhD – I loved the idea of a fall wedding, but with other things going on in the fall (job searching, working full time, collecting dissertation data) we knew it wasn’t a good season. Spring was also super busy for similar reasons.

    So that left us with summer (5 months from our engagement) or winter (12 months away). With winter we were concerned about travel and overlapping with the holidays, so we decided we’d do summer if there was an available venue and otherwise do winter.

    We ended up finding a venue with a July date we liked, so we went for it! I think we ran the date by both respective parents and then settled on that.

    TL/DR: If your work is seasonal like mine, select a less busy season so can really enjoy the wedding process. Then go from there!

  • Alyssa

    Well, I’m not one to really share because we were like you and your husband, Stephanie — we were like “wouldn’t it be awesome to have our wedding on the Summer Solstice?” and as it turns out, that’s on a Wednesday in 2017. BUT. It’s working for us anyway because we’re going abroad for our wedding (to celebrate alongside Paris’ Summer Solstice Festival — Fete de la Musique!), but for the 2.5 seconds we were looking at US venues, it made the most sense to get the venue first, then work everything else around it.

  • Kaitlyn

    Money and our dream venue dictated our wedding date. I always dreamed of having a June wedding, but getting married in April saves us $5,000. And I’m a fairly reasonable person so I couldn’t justify spending that much money just for a calendar date.

    I did have some issues with April though, as my birthday is April 22. I enjoy my birthday, though I don’t do anything huge for it (my bff and I share a friend celebration as her bday is May 3rd and then I’ll do something small and special with my fiance, along with a family bday party. Okay, maybe that is a lot? haha). Anyway, I didn’t want my bday and anniversary to compete, but my bff pointed out that in 10 years, birthdays become cake with your family on a week night hahaha

    Also, we’re in New England so April can be finicky. It’s either going to be 40 degrees or 80 degrees, so we have a warm weather contingency plan (outdoor cocktail hour if it’s warm enough, otherwise the whole thing is inside). It didn’t occur to me to check for Easter that year, but my future mother-in-law made sure to vet that one. Also also, we like that since April in Rhode Island isn’t exactly tourist season, our guests won’t be paying an arm and a leg for hotel rooms, etc. I couldn’t consciously get married in June in RI knowing that my family was paying $200+ for a hotel room :(

  • Jess

    Small addition to the general advice of pick a general time (year, season), figure out the venue, get a list of dates available, eliminate dates thru you-or-parent-or-sibling-or-grandparent-or-wedding party availability (unless you’ve got a lot of VIPs, that’s pretty much the only people I’d worry about).

    Consider the events going on locally. Are there football games or festivals that may eat up some hotel rooms or make transportation difficult/pricey? Are there religious holidays that interfere with the weekend?

    • Lisa

      Definitely worth the consideration. We didn’t understand why our prime wedding time slot (3 PM vs. 1 PM) was still available when we went to book. It turned out to be because it was the weekend of the Chicago Marathon. This made it impossible to get a hotel block, and we put out several warnings to guests to reserve their rooms before the runners’ confirmation e-mails went out.

      We actually ended up having a fun time with it. One of our guests was in the Marathon, and our hotel was a block away from the race route so we went down early the next day to cheer him on. In hindsight, I would have insisted more on the November date even though my husband didn’t want to get married that late in the year.

    • LP

      I’d like to second the local events. The RNC was starting the Monday after our wedding, and even though we were getting married 35+ miles south of the RNC, we could not block hotels. Fortunately, we only had a few out of town guests, but we were engaged 18 months so I didn’t even think of it when we were booking our venue.

  • H

    I think my advice would just be – if you pick an “inconvenient” date for whatever reason (a Sunday night, holiday, random Tuesday afternoon) understand that your date will mean some people can’t make it. That may hurt your feelings, but it’s the truth. Don’t hold it against those people, but also don’t cave to a more convenient date if that’s not what you want. It just goes back to that old APW maxim, your guests are adults, and your wedding is not an imposition!

    • Amy March

      True, true. I think if you do go for Tuesday afternoon, people are going to take that as you valuing your special date more than them attending. Your guests are adults, and they may just be adults who think you made it pretty clear that their attendance at your wedding doesn’t matter to you, and react accordingly.

      • S

        I think there are two kinds of people in this world: the kind who is invited to a Tuesday wedding and thinks, “Well, they’re making it pretty clear that my attendance doesn’t matter to them, aren’t they?!” and the kind who’s either like, “Oh, exciting, a wedding! I’ll make sure to take those dates off – long weekend, woo!” or “Oh, bummer, I won’t be able to get time off. That’s disappointing, but I hope they have a great time.” I think both kinds are totally valid and everyone is entitled to their feels…but I will admit to feeling infinitely relieved that I have more of the latter kind in my life than the former.

        • laddibugg

          I think you have to know your crowd (like with anything)
          If most of your friends are in the 9-5 M-F crowd, and you are too, a weekday, especially mid week wedding seems a bit impractical. If your people are a mix…you’ll probably get a better turnout.

          Choose whatever day you want, but don’t get pissy if your day doesn’t work for most of your guest list.

  • Alexandra

    We didn’t want to be engaged for more than six months. We also didn’t want to give people such short notice that nobody would be able to come to Hawaii (where we live) for the wedding. Five months after getting engaged worked fine. We were both working at the same school at the time, and deliberately planned our wedding for the first weekend of a two week vacation in the fall. Nice honeymoon to the Big Island was therefore possible. And now we like to plan trips for our anniversary during that same vacation (done this twice during the three years we’ve been married).

    Our closest friends were not able to make it to our wedding because they were both having babies at that time. That was a bummer but not worth changing the date for, in our opinion.

    • emmers

      “Our closest friends were not able to make it to our wedding because they were both having babies at that time. That was a bummer but not worth changing the date for, in our opinion.” Yup! Because inevitably someone else would have a baby (or xyz reason) if you did change the date.

  • Alex Eichler

    Here’s my current panic – we are “pretty sure” we are getting married on July 1, 2017. We are “pretty sure” we are going to have a church (Catholic) ceremony and then an outdoor TENTED/SHADED reception. We are this close to signing with the reception venue, but I’m nervous about unpredictable summer weather. Will people have a terrible time if they’re sweating? Will people avoid dancing and shaking their booties so they don’t pit out in their fancy clothes? Should we try to find something indoors? (For reference, we are in the midwest on the Ohio River, which was cool and perfect this year for July 4th weekend, but could literally be 95 or 65 degrees.)

    • Kara

      People will still party/dance. Have no fear. If it’s hotter than hell, make sure there’s plenty of water to hydrate. My friend had her wedding on the TX coast in June. We were all sweaty messes, and we had a blast :).

    • Lisa

      This is totally a matter of personal opinion, but I prefer indoor receptions. I grew up in the Midwest near where you’re talking (Indiana), and the weather is just so unpredictable during the summer. You could have a glorious day, or there could be an awful thunderstorm, or you could be in the middle of a heat wave.

      If you’re really set on the outdoor reception though, you should do what makes you happy! I’m just a stranger on the internet. I would highly recommend having a Plan B though because even a tent outdoors can flood during a rainstorm.

      • lamarsh

        This is why I am both waiting till June for my Midwestern wedding AND having everything indoors. The weather in the Upper Midwest is way too erratic and now it is just one less thing for me to stress about.

        • Lisa

          Exactly! Husband’s best friend was planning to get married outside in an Indiana September, and the remnants of Hurricane Isaac were passing through on their wedding day, which meant it poured rain almost the entire day. The bride was super stressed out and checking the weather every ten minutes because she had her heart set on an outdoor ceremony and photos.

          They got lucky for about 45 minutes and were able to get outside pictures while family members dried off the chairs. We got 3/4 of the way through the ceremony before it started sprinkling. As soon as the bride walked back up the aisle, everyone ran inside as soon as it poured.

          And this is only one story of a Midwestern wedding thwarted by rain! I attended another where it started storming in the middle of the ceremony, and everyone had to run inside to the barn to finish it up. Point being: Midwestern summers do not lend themselves well to strictly planned outdoor activities.

          • lamarsh

            Hahaha, yep. I went to two Midwestern weddings last summer: the first one it downpoured for three days before. When it stopped raining a few hours before the ceremony it was 95 degrees and incredibly humid. The ground was soaking wet and you could just feel the water evaporating up into the air. The other one was in August and it was 60 degrees and raining the entire day. There’s just no rhyme or reason to any of it.

    • Amy March

      Yes, I think you should try to find something indoors. Midwest in July? I think you’re more likely than not going to have very hot and very humid, and that’s just unpleasant. At least with an indoors option if you do get a hot one.

    • Katharine Parker

      Are we having the same wedding? I’m also getting married in the midwest in July with a Catholic ceremony and considering a tented reception. The tent is beautiful (on a lake, gorgeous scenery), but I think we will end up going with a different place because I’m worried about the heat and humidity. Our other top pick has a patio space so people can move in and out, but dinner and dancing will be inside. Do you have any options that are more indoor/outdoor?

      • Lisa

        I think this is the best compromise if you’re wanting outdoor event space. If the evening is really nice, you can even throw open the doors for a more seamless feel.

    • Katherine

      We also had this same concern, and ended up opting for an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception. Even though our day ended up being beautiful, I definitely don’t regret doing so; we had too many concerns for our older relatives. It could be done though! If your heart’s set on it, I would look into misting fans and having plenty of water readily available.

    • emmers

      I’ve been to 4 fully outdoor weddings. 1 had perfect weather. The others were cold or hot. But I really enjoyed all of them! As a guest, yes, the weather was often uncomfortable, but those are some of the most memorable weddings I’ve been to.

      Eta, in reference to dancing, I love dancing. In both of the 100 degree weddings I attended, I just wore dark clothing so my sweating was less obvious;). The dancers will dance- just make sure there’s plenty of water!

    • LP

      We got married this past July 15th and are also in Ohio, although we are in the Cleveland area. We chose to do a Friday evening wedding, knowing that the weather could very easily be chilly or horribly hot. It ended up being perfect. And actually, we got married outside too and the venue said they’d only had to move two weddings inside the past season. Have a little faith, it’ll work out the way it should and yes, people will still dance.

    • ART

      FWIW, the day we got married it was so warm that our cheese platter and compostable plastic cups melted in the sun. I had been worried about it all through our engagement, and one day a family friend said to me, “I mean, people have parties when it’s hot…” and I thought yep, this is a party, everyone will be fine as long as we provide shade and plenty of water, and they were.

    • Ashlah

      I attended a wedding in nearly 100 degree heat and danced my booty off, and our wedding was in 90+ degree heat, and our guests danced their booties off. Less than it might have been otherwise? Maybe. But at neither wedding did I hear people complain endlessly about the heat, or lament that the wedding was held outdoors in the summer. Caveat: It does not get humid where I live.

      If it’s easy enough to find a fun indoor venue (or a venue with both options), go for that, but try not to sweat it (ha) too much. And provide water, shade, and fans if it’s hot. Handheld fans were a hit at our wedding.

    • Danielle

      Hey! We live in Ohio and got married here in August, over a year ago. I think this a “know your people” kind of situation.

      Husband is a Midwestern dude with Midwestern family who are pretty low-key. My family is from New York City and are, shall we say, less low-key. There were going to be some old people, people with health problems, and babies in attendance.

      Originally we booked an indoor/outdoor space that had no air conditioning. It seemed fine in April, when we first visited. But then we visited again in July (with my non-low-key parents – not the best idea) and it was really, really hot in there. I panicked for a little while, looked into the cost of renting industrial A/Cs for the space (hint: very expensive), and in the end I convinced my husband to switch to a different, air-conditioned, less charming building on the property. The day ended up being over 90 degrees and I’m really glad we did it.

      However! You really know yourself and your people best. I was incredibly anxious up til the point where we switched buildings. The peace of mind it brought me was worth its weight in gold. But if you’re a generally non-anxious person, and most of your guests are pretty laid-back, it will be fine. People will deal with whatever happens.

    • Rose

      I’m sure it depends, but what we did with out church ceremony and outdoor reception was reserve the church hall for the entire evening. It came out to a few hundred dollars, but it gave us so much more confidence in what would happen if the weather was weird (it’s so unpredictable in Colorado in September, it could have been 90 or it could have snowed). We didn’t want to have it there, ideally, but it would have been better than trying to be outside if the weather had been dreadful (which it wasn’t, it was perfect in the end). Any chance you could do something like that? Have an imperfect indoor back-up?

  • emilyg25

    We knew we wanted to get married soon, and we knew we wanted our wedding to be outside. In our area, the best weather for that is in June and mid August to mid September. I didn’t think I could pull off a wedding in 5 months (I totally could have), and my dad started school in September, so that left just one weekend that wasn’t my birthday. We didn’t have to work around the venue because it was a family home.

    My advice for choosing a date is to think about how you want things to feel and what stuff you like (we knew we wanted a summer BBQ), check with your preferred venue, and ask your VIPs if the time works for them.

  • MrsRalphWaldo

    My now husband works in a field where he and most of his friends are required to work every Saturday. We knew that he’d be able to get time off for the wedding, but if we wanted everyone who was important to him to come, we’d have to get married on a Sunday. We also live in the southern US and I wanted an outdoor venue, so a summer wedding was out of the question for us. We also didn’t want to do winter, for the same venue constraints. That left us with spring or fall, and fall is our favorite season. From there we determined that September would still be too hot and November would be too chilly to be outdoors in the evening. Once we chose our venue, the specific weekend fell into place.

    For us, we had figured out (plus or minus a few weeks) when we wanted to get married, and simply had to find a venue to finalize the date.

  • Katherine

    Our decision was based around three factors:
    a) We could not get married quickly due to our financial situation, as well as my being in school. School isn’t a barrier to everyone, but it was important to us for me to have graduated.
    b) Autumn is our favorite season, but autumn in Texas can still be insufferable, so the later in the season, the better.
    c) The date needed to occur around but before the time that bar exam results came out so that I wouldn’t be all-consumed with stress and worry.

    We essentially picked three dates in late October and decided to select our venue based on date availability. We didn’t have any problems with this because we ended up booking our venue 16 months in advance, but I could see problems arising if we’d been set on a certain date and waited longer to look at the sort of venues we were interested in. Factor C ended up being moot because it was based on my taking the Texas bar exam, which I ended up not doing (and thus getting my results two months earlier), but we got the rustic, autumnal look we wanted regardless. And we lucked out with a 70-degree evening!

  • Erin

    We got engaged in early October. His sister was leaving for Italy for the spring semester, and we didn’t really want to wait til summer (for some reason, it never crossed our minds that MOST people would find a 9 month engagement to STILL be on the short side). We’d been long distance for 4 years, he’d been living in my town for 4 months, and just wanted to be married already.

    In addition, I was really into the idea of a winter wedding. I work in academia, so I had several weeks of low-stress easy-vacation work time coming. We looked at the window between holidays and his sister’s departure and BOOM. January 7.

    In retrospect, maybe a 3 month engagement was insane, but I kind of loved it. The rush made us really decide what was worth it and what wasn’t, and we didn’t have to wait to HAVE this great party we’d planned.

  • Not Sarah

    Picking a date has been so stressful. We limited our specifications to parents and siblings and ended up with the following list of restrictions:
    1. At least six months from now
    2. Not in March/April (someone is an accountant)
    3. Not in May through early September (someone works in construction)
    4. Not October through March (someone is busy almost every weekend with sports)

    Considering that we started planning in October, restriction (1) ruled out November/December/January/February unless we wanted to wait more than a year. We decided to mostly ignore restriction (4) because it made it impossible to pick a date and that one was more flexible than the other restrictions. We finally settled on mid-September 2017 and no one seems to have problems with that. It was a huge series of “Let’s do this date!” and then someone would “remember” a problem with that timeframe several times over until we landed on mid-September.

    Sigh! We finally picked a date (our anniversary) and then the venue we loved the best wasn’t available on our actual anniversary. It was available for the Sunday, so we went with that, which resulted in my mom asking “why not the long weekend?” (We hate people stealing our whole long weekend for their wedding) and “why not the following weekend on the Saturday? were there any other Saturdays available in September?” (well the one other Saturday available interfered with our friend who offered to bake a cake because she’s Jewish…)

    It’s almost done! Once I get the wedding venue person on the phone to provide my deposit… Then we can send out save the dates to people traveling :)

  • Anon

    As to the people wanting to know when, I’d suggest telling them you are celebrating your engagement for a month before jumping into any planning. We decided that we’d only do fun planning for a month. We looked at photographers, we looked a venues, we discussed dates. We tabled things we disagreed on.

    We picked a season/time of year that would work with our lives (needed to be after the school year). Then we emailed our VIPs and said, these are the 3/4 dates we are considering, are there any reasons you couldn’t make it to one of them? We chose the one with the least amount of definately can’t come (ours was almost a year away, so it was really only 2 people (both because of graduations from law school/PhD school) who absolutely couldn’t make it). We also let everyone know the date via email as soon as we booked it because we knew many people would have to travel.

  • JenC

    We started with our honeymoon as that was a priority for us. So we worked out whether we wanted a mini-moon and honeymoon later or a honeymoon straight away and we decided that we wanted a two week honeymoon straight away. Therefore that limited us to when we could have the wedding either because of Mr JenC’s work, studying or school holidays pushing travel prices up. This left us with an engagement of 3-4 months or it had to be at least a year and we decided we needed a year to save but we also decided we didn’t want to go over two years.

    We got engaged in November 2014 and possible dates for us were November and December 2015, January-March 2016 or Oct-Nov 2016. We decided November and December of 2015 were too close to Mr’s brothers wedding anniversary and we’d already had our wedding compared to theirs so we decided to limit that going forward. Oct and Nov 2016 just felt so incredibly far away, so that narrowed it down to January to March 2016. January felt too close to Christmas so that was out. I then realised that this was a leap year and I wanted to get married on leap day but because it was a Monday and we have several relatives who we wanted there who are either teachers or in school so that wasn’t feasible.

    We shifted our focus to the Saturday before leap day and it just worked as a nice date for us. There’s five weeks between our birthdays so it’s two weeks after mine and three weeks before his. We also had our first date on the 27th (although not February) and so we were together for 70 months on the day we got married. The day after was also my grandparents 57th wedding anniversary so we used them as a lucky charm. We liked all the 7s we had (27th, 70th month, 57 years for my grandparents), maybe we just started attaching more emphasis to the number the more we liked it but it just seemed to work for us. I then ended up being 7 minutes late for the ceremony (through no fault of my own) and we’ve put an offer in on our first that is also number 7. I know I’m grasping at straws but I like patterns like that. Fortunately our dates managed to be outside the peak period and with an engagement of over a year we were able to book a (cheaper) wedding package and the venue wasn’t already booked.

    TL:DR work out your priorities and if that influences when you can have the wedding. Then work out the rough timeframe that you want to be engaged for and work through any other months that don’t work for you. Then consider important friends and family you want there – can they take leave if needed, can they travel? When you find a date you like and that works you’ll find significance for you as a couple wherever you look, making it your special date even if it wasn’t before.

  • Sara

    My favorite holiday is Halloween, and we live in the deep South where our outdoor wedding literally could not happen except for a couple of months out of the year. So October was the winner, and then we tried our best to plan/predict around big college football weekends, which I don’t care about but my SO does. That was basically the entire thought process. We never asked anyone else for their input, just decided ourselves.

  • raccooncity

    Here was our flow of thoughts:

    1. I like the fall in Canada, so we went with an autumn month.
    2. My partner is an accountant and our original “anniversary” was during a quarter end so we never could properly celebrate, so we opted to avoid quarter-end months.
    3. November has no stat holidays in my province and is generally a pretty bleak month, fun-wise, so we decided getting married then could add a little bright spot to November.

    From there we just picked the actual date based on venue availability.

    • Eenie

      I had to check with all my accountant friends to figure out when busy season ended! We wouldn’t have done it for just one person, but we had eight invited and there’s blackout dates with mandatory Saturdays for a lot of February through April (we married April 23).

      • raccooncity

        It’s so weird, although I guess a lot of jobs have busy times – but they seem less arbitrary (like obviously a farmer is busy when they are planting things and harvesting things). My husband’s work goes on the calendar year so they’re busy quarterly and suuuuper busy in January/Feb. Fiscal year workplaces are more like what you’re describing. To me, it’s all just this abstract thing.

        • Lisa

          My mom’s side of the family has several farmers, which we hadn’t thought about until my aunt mentioned that she wouldn’t really know whether she would be able to attend until a couple of days before the wedding because of the harvest. Whoops!

          • NotMotherTheresa

            Yup! None of our super close people were farmers, so we didn’t think anything about it until the RSVPs came rolling in, and we had about 15 people respond that they’d do their best to attend, but that they wouldn’t know their availability until the last minute because of harvest season.

    • Amber

      No Remembrance day off? I thought that was a federal holiday. My bad!

      • Not Sarah

        It depends on which province you are in and who you work for whether you get it off.

  • JC

    My sister and brother-in-law picked February because they’ve always hated Valentine’s Day but felt compelled to be romantic during that month. Now they have their anniversary to celebrate, in their own way, and maybe even pick up a discount or two on restaurants/hotels.

  • Jen

    Oh my goodness! As with anything else, identify your priorities as a couple and use those as guideposts.

    For example: We got engaged in Summer 2015 and knew we wanted to get married within about a year. So, as we researched venues we found out availability for the following wedding season. Ultimately at the venue we chose we were faced with 2016 Fridays, Saturdays that were too close to friend & family weddings, or waiting until 2017 (too long for us!). We made sure our parents and siblings (AKA the only people, at the end of the day, who HAD to be there) were available on a Friday in late summer, and booked it.

    Since my priority was great photography, we did make sure to start interviewing photographers shortly after we secured a date. This venue/photographer booking period felt like a whirlwind. After those two things were crossed off the list, I felt comfortable sitting back and relaxing (and brainstorming details!) for a while.

    Trying to please others could result in disappointing yourself. Remember your priorities and it will fall into place.

  • Lauren

    We knew we wanted to get married during quintessential New England fall- around mid-September through late November (depending on where you are). Particularly, our 10 year anniversary was on 10/15/16. There were a few venues we loved but dates were not optimal for us (Sunday of Labor Day weekend, is 10/22 too late?, etc). We ended up going with our gut for our date (you expect me to remember a new anniversary after 10 years?!) and “settling” on an venue with an outdoor ceremony area and crossing our fingers it would all work out. It was the most amazing day. The venue we weren’t crazy about at first was phenomenal, the mid-October date was not cold like we were worried about, and it actually turned out to be the only Saturday in October it didn’t rain!

  • E.

    We chose summer because I’m a teacher and my fiance will be leaving his job early summer to start law school in the fall. Next, we asked around to our most important people if there were any dates that wouldn’t work for them, though we made it clear we couldn’t promise anything, just that we would try. At the same time we talked to our photographer and potential venues about dates they had open and luckily they all aligned for July 22! It’s within a few days of my sister’s anniversary, which felt a little weird, but oh well.

  • CII

    We picked our date mostly based on our officiant’s availability. We aren’t religious and I knew I wanted the judge for whom I had clerked for two years to officiate our wedding. So we picked a time of year generally that we wanted to get married (September or October), found 2-3 dates that the venue we wanted were available and let him pick from those.

  • Rose

    We didn’t pick a date until months after we’d gotten engaged, although it did turn out to be over a year before the wedding, still. For us, date and location were somewhat conflated; my sister absolutely couldn’t get any time off in the first or last month of the school year, which meant that if we wanted it during those times, we needed to have it in the city where she and my parents lived. My constraints with field work (I was gone from June-August, and I didn’t want to get married and then immediately leave, and I didn’t want to be getting married the instant I got back) narrowed it down to September in Colorado (near my sister) or October in New York (her family) or North Carolina (us). Neither of us really wanted winter or early spring (I wanted so many flowers, and to at least try to have the reception outside in the yard). We gathered information and approximate budgets for each of those options, and Colorado was clearly the easiest for us, which meant September.

    We didn’t want to do the holiday weekend, so we ended up having two options. We checked with immediate family members, none of whom had a preference. I’m pretty sure that was the point when we checked with the venue for the ceremony, which was free either day. So in the end we got married on the day we did just because I liked the date of 9-12-15 (so satisfying!) better than 9-19-15.

    We settled on the date/location a little bit more than a year before it; we were flexible about the length of our engagement, and the time of year mattered to us, so it worked pretty well. I thought it was a reasonable amount of time to be planning.

  • Louise

    Well I’m a teacher living in Seattle, so my number of dates was limited to begin with. August and September are the only safe months rain wise, but I go back to work mid August. So, it was between the first two weekends. I finally narrowed it down to August 11 because that’s when the Molly Moon’s Ice Cream truck was available. Yep, I have priorities… 1. sunshine, 2. ice cream. Everything else was way more flexible!

    • Vanessa

      That ice cream is so good :)

  • Stephanie

    Oh gosh, this post is speaking to my soul as a recently engaged woman (and first time poster!) who just set her wedding day on Sunday and feels awful about it/inconveniencing people.

    My partner and I get engaged last month (woohoo!) and immediately set our guiding principles as: 1. our family and most cherished friends have to be able to make the location, 2. married outside, 3. killer dance party. We told family that we would only be looking at dates in June and July as we didn’t want to take our 7 nieces and nephews out of school and asked them for conflicts within those eight weeks. Five were knocked out. We found a venue we loved on a date that worked at Lake Louise in Banff National Park (Canada) and excitedly shared the news with our family who we expected to be 100% supportive as they are so happy for us to be getting married. My partner and I toasted to our future beautiful wedding and all was going swimmingly. ::insert record scratch here:: My future sister-in-law came back that they had an additional conflict (a mandatory volleyball practice for their daughter for a national tournament her team may or may not qualify for) and that, as such, they couldn’t guarantee my partner’s niece’s attendance.

    He. Was. Crushed.

    And as guiding principle #1 was that our closest family and most cherished friends had to be there, we scrambled over the last week to move the wedding to my partner’s hometown and not compromise on the outside thing. If I’m honest, I’ve been bummed. Lake Louise had been the dream; it was hard to let go of it. The only venue we could still get excited about (and not feel like we would harbor future resentment over moving from Lake Louise) only had Sunday availability. So. I want to believe in my heart of hearts that our guests that can swing it (because I understand Sundays are hard), will still dance and have a wonderful time, but I’m not as pumped as I feel I should be. I feel like I should apologize. The wedding will now be in Atlanta (tons of flights! Easier logistics than Canada!) and yet…. sigh. Priorities are hard. Dates are hard. Families are hard. And yet I have to trust that it will still be worth it because our best people will show up no matter what, right? Right?!

    Thanks for reading that novel. It’s been an emotional week! Happy to be here. xx

    • Amy March

      You don’t owe anyone an apology!

      • Stephanie

        Ah, thank you! I’m just having a tough time getting my heart on board with that. As we’ve been sharing the date with with our closest family and friends we’ve gotten some “I’ve never heard of a Sunday wedding, you should do Friday instead” (not an option, venue all booked) and “I think it’s fine, but you have to realize that people are going to leave early and not party as much”. Which really strikes a chord as priority #3 is the dance party. My solace is that most of our guests will be traveling no matter where we did it (we’ve lived all over and our guest list reflects this no matter where we picked). Thanks for the affirmation and validation. Sometimes you just need to write it out, you know? X

        • Sarah

          Never HEARD of a Sunday wedding? I’m more of a Saturday night partier personally, but anyone who says they haven’t even heard of getting married on a Sunday is either a liar or a dunce.

          Realistically, people probably won’t dance and party as hard on a Sunday night as they would on a Saturday, and you should manage your expectations accordingly. People have work/school etc the next day, they’re hungover/worn out after Friday and Saturday night, it can be harder to get cabs or public transport home late on a Sunday night, etc. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have the dance party!! Just start it earlier, pick your music carefully and serve a lot of booze.

          I think your wedding is going to be awesome. And anyone who would’ve taken a Friday off work to come to your wedding can just as easily take the Monday off to sleep in and nurse a hangover.

          • ElisabethJoanne

            8 years ago, right out of school, I was that dunce. I still feel awful about it.

            Friends had a wedding on a long weekend across the country. It never occurred to me it could be on a Sunday. (In my defense, I really had never heard of a wedding on a Sunday, especially among church-going people like my friends.) I booked my flights with a Sunday return date without the invitation in front of me. Didn’t realize my mistake until later when I did the online RSVP. I didn’t express a good attitude about it when I RSVP’d, either.

            I ended up attending the pre-wedding event for out-of-towners, but not the actual wedding. I can’t really explain why I didn’t try to change my flights. Dunce, like I said.

          • Stephanie

            Oh man, haven’t we all done things in the past that make us cringe with the wisdom of time? Not that you need an internet stranger to tell you so, but you should forgive yourself and know that you have a different lens and perspective now. X

    • idkmybffjill

      I want to just add a quick note, as this was a really hard lesson for me re: Priority #1. It’s possible some of those people might let you down in some way (both our MOH & Best Man accidentally booked plays with shows on our wedding date. My MOH worked it out, our Best Man left, did the show quickly, and came back) – make sure you remember that at the heart of it, the only people who MUST be there are you and your future husband. If I’d meditated on that more thoroughly I’d have saved myself alot of heartache.

      • Stephanie

        This is such a good reminder. I always try to remind myself that if you give with an expectation of something in return (in this case, attendance), you’re not really giving at all. So it’s an A++ reminder that even though we moved things around to accommodate family, it still might not work out. And that’s okay. I’m really happy that your MOH and Best Man were still able to make it work for you, but I’m sure it was very stressful/emotional ringer-y at the time. X

  • Greta

    Most of what everyone else says is totally spot on. Pick a venue first, find out when they are available, consider weather/timing/guests travel time, then go for it!
    Don’t worry about making sure ALL your guests can make it. Consult your few must-haves, but in my experience people will either make it or they won’t, and if you change the date it’s only going to be a conflict for someone else. If you really want to have as many people as possible there, a few things you can do:
    – give people ample heads up (a year for airplane travel)
    – if you have a lot of people with school-age children, consider not having a wedding in the school-year.
    – think about holiday weekends – some people are more available because it’s a 3 day weekend! Some people have annual plans they won’t be able to change.
    – if you have lots of other friends getting married – consider a non-summer wedding. It will be much less likely that you’ll have a conflict with another wedding if you’re getting married in November instead of in August.

  • Vanessa

    We were focused on September right away for a few reasons – it’s a year from when we got engaged, my allergies have usually calmed down by that point (a HUGE factor for me) and the aspens will be changing color here in Colorado and will be gorgeous. Beyond that our pick was limited by venue availability and by our very close friends’ wedding in August – we wanted to have more than 3 weeks between theirs and ours, as a large number of our guests will also be their guests.

    • Crystal

      We picked September too. Mostly because Pittsburgh weather is ridiculous and August would probably still be too humid and October can sometimes mean snow.

      We chose a Monday to cut costs as well as the guest list down. Most vendors charge less on week days and not everyone will be able to come.

  • Kadee

    At the time, picking the date seemed so daunting and it felt like there were so many conflicts between our schedules and families schedules, but it all worked out.

    We got engaged in July 2015, and were floored when people were asking when the date was mere hours after a ring was presented. So we started talking about options and quickly arrived at Fall 2016. We both work with the public in museums, and summer is the busiest time so we knew that was out, and winter didn’t interest either of us, so we ended up with either spring or fall. Spring 2016 seemed too quick and Spring 2017 was a longer wait then either of us wanted, so Fall 2016 it was.

    Que immediate freak out from his (very sweet, well meaning, but slightly jumpy) parents. They work in academia, as does one of his siblings, so they really wanted summer and what about school? We explained that summer was not an option for us, and anything prior to Labor Day wasn’t possible with our schedules, but that we would absolutely use their academic calendar and confirm any potential dates before pulling the trigger.

    Later, when we looked at weekends between Labor Day and Halloween, Indigenous People’s Day (Columbus Day) weekend looked like our favorite, with back up options the weekends before and after.

    Later as we looked at venues, what quickly turned into our favorite had that Sunday available, but the Saturday was spoken for already, which we were bummed about. Then we realized that they gave a discount for non holiday Sundays, and they didn’t count that date as a holiday Sunday, and that was that! Everything else came after.

  • Amie Melnychuk

    For us, it could only be one long weekend. Then the struggle was to find vendors available. All of our guests would need to fly or drive to Toronto, then drive up to our city. We wanted it on a long weekend, but not Canada Day because it would be too hot and that’s prime lake time. We are in a university city, so Labour Day weekend was out with the students moving in. August Long it was! And it turned out to be exactly a year to when he proposed.

  • Cassie

    Since we typically take a vacation near the end of August (and got engaged in August on one of those trips) my Dad suggested picking a wedding date near that so that our anniversary would fall during a time we enjoyed going away. Before that we had been all over the calendar with potential dates, and this really helped to narrow it down to a much smaller window.

  • AGCourtney

    Fall is our favorite time of year (our daughter is named Autumn, haha) and the weather seems to be most reliable in Minnesota then, too. So, we had tentatively decided to get married the fall after I graduated from college. When we officially started planning a year prior, we realized that Hermione’s birthday fell on a Saturday, and that was that. Then our realtor scheduled our closing date on Harry Potter’s birthday. It was a magical year.

  • NotMotherTheresa

    We had three major considerations: Weather, the schedules of our nearest and dearest, and when our anniversary would be. We’re both practical to a fault, so I knew that if our anniversary was a stand alone event, we’d probably never do much to celebrate it. On the other hand, if it was close enough to something else, like a birthday or Valentines Day, the events together would give us adequate justification to do *something*.

    As for weather, summers where we live are absolutely miserable, and winters are generally fairly mild EXCEPT that it usually snows once or twice a year, and when it does, literally everything shuts down and people act like they’re in some apocalyptic nightmare. Since I didn’t want to risk our wedding weekend being the weekend of the Snowpocalypse, that left us with fall and spring to work with.

    In terms of our nearest and dearest, we had several people graduating, and well as several others who had teenage children who would be attending senior prom and graduating. Between those types of events, that largely knocked out late spring for us. However, depending on who Your People are, your your mileage will vary–harvest season may be an issue if you live in an agricultural town, deer season may cut the guest list if you come from a family of avid hunters, etc. But for us, Graduation Season was the one that was really off limits.

    After factoring in those considerations, we finally decided on September–no major conflicts, decent weather, and it would be close enough to both of our birthdays that we’d be able to justify some kind of joint birthday/anniversary celebration each year.

  • Christy

    My wife insisted upon a date she’d remember. Her first ideas were July 4 and “New Years” (I’m still not clear on if that meant day or eve.) I pushed for a spring wedding (our birthdays are in the fall, and I always want presents in springtime) so we chose April 1. It was a Friday so we didn’t feel too discourteous and so we found a venue that would work for the date.

    • Sarah

      I love this!

  • Rebecca

    We knew we wanted the end of summer so we could get married on the beach but escape peak season, which took us into Feb or early March (in Australia), and then we asked our must-attend list (immediate family, close friends) if they had anything on and scheduled around them! Plus my sister needed six months notice to get time off work and flights to Aus. We’ve booked a private house for the reception so venue availability wasn’t such a big deal.
    Feeling good (summer + beach) and having the people we cared about there were important to us, so that’s what we prioritised in setting the date.

  • stephie

    We just signed our venue contract for Sept 17, 2017. Last week my future father-in-law came over for dinner and we informed him that we were thinking August/Sept next year, depending on our preferred venue’s availability (this makes it easier in case they are booked for certain dates). He immediately told us he preferred August because he wanted to go to Europe for a few weeks. Venue was not available in August. Has he booked his flight yet? No. So we called him and told him sorry but we couldn’t accommodate his preferred date. Guess what? He is booking his flight for the week after the wedding. The people who care to be there will make it work.

  • Kara E

    Honestly? You can’t make everyone happy (really, you can’t), so figure out your top priorities, clear with the most important people and let folks know.

  • LynnK

    When we got engaged in October 2015, we first talked to our close family/friends about their schedules. One parent requested we not get married around May 2017. (Ideally before then). We chose a weekend in October 2016 close to our dating anniversary. We had an indoor wedding, so weather wasn’t as much a concern. Also our venue (church hall) had a pretty flexible schedule, but if they hadn’t, that would have absolutely influenced our date decision.

  • Currently planning my wedding, and for my fiancé and I venue availability is most important, alongside budgeting (we’re setting aside X amount per month and are trying to stay under $8000 for the wedding). We’re not so attached to a date, but we (especially me) are particular about where we get married…so I suppose it just sort of depends on what’s most important for you! I could definitely see how some people are attached to a certain date first and foremost (like the date you first started dating, said I love you, etc.).

  • Rebekah Abeja

    We were totally selfish with it. We got married at his parents house, so we had no restrictions on dates. We picked a Friday because the date was attractive to me, 11.13.15. A lot of people didn’t come for various reasons – it was too far, they couldn’t get time off, school schedules interfered, etc. We just cleared it with our immediate families and then let everyone else decide if it was a priority to them. Low expectations and no hard feelings.

  • bean213

    Our date is almost entirely practical. I’m a teacher, so my romantic fall wedding wasn’t going to work for me (more power to you if it does for you – I would just pull my hair out trying to get a wedding together, coach a sport, and survive the toughest part of the school year all at the same time). We live in the midwest so winter/early spring felt like a catastrophe waiting to happen. July/August can be uncomfortably warm, too, and we wanted to have it outside, so June became our best bet! We had a venue in mind and got their one remaining Saturday in June 2017. If they weren’t available, we probably would have looked elsewhere rather than adjust our timeline.

  • ريتشل

    Not related to picking a date, but can anyone give me information about the invitation set in the picture for this post? I would LOVE to get something similar for my own wedding!

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