Picking the perfect wedding date is one of the first challenges newly engaged couples face. There are many factors that go into picking the perfect date. Who do we want to attend? What can we afford? Is your dream venue available? These and many other questions will ultimately guide you to the perfect date for your big day.
1. For many couples, the most important question to ask is, who do you really, really want to be there? If having your 102 year old great-grandmother witness your special day is your primary consideration, this may drive all other factors. In this case, you probably won’t have a destination wedding on the floor of the Grand Canyon or on a remote beach in Malaysia. However, if you are only planning on having a few close friends or immediate family, you may have much more latitude. Similarly, what are the availability or limitations of the key participants, like parents, siblings, the maid of honor or the best man? Are they willing to travel, do they have vacation days? For these reasons, the “who” is often the driving factor on the “when” of your special day.
2. Next is budget. Many couples dream of a large destination wedding with all their friends and family, but the cost and logistics involved may be a reality check for some. For most couples, planning a wedding is all about setting priorities and finding compromises that can be made. You may need some time to save up for the big day. Perhaps your dream venue offers discounts during the off-season—which could make a Fall or Winter wedding more desirable.
3. Are there an extenuating circumstances that need to be considered? Perhaps your bride is graduating from medical school, the groom might have an upcoming military deployment or the happy couple may be expecting their first child—any of these types of special circumstances may impact the wedding date. Typically, this will either drive an accelerated wedding…or a delayed wedding. In my case, we decided to plan the big day for after my return from a year-long deployment.
4. Once you have an idea for who you really want to be there, your budget and how you wish to work around any special circumstances, you are ready to decide on a location. You really can’t finalize an exact ceremony date until you have a venue 100% locked down. If it’s a destination wedding and your key participants have flexible schedules…it may be as simple as calling your favorite all-inclusive island resort and making a reservation. But more likely, you have now settled on a target city and a desired timeframe…like “next Spring.” Now the search for a venue begins. Unless you have a very specific date already in mind, the availability of the venue will likely drive the final date you settle on. Some popular venues become fully booked a year or more out. Local knowledge can be a huge help, lean on any family or friends in the area. Locally-based wedding planners can also be a valuable resource. Publications like The Colorado Wedding Magazine also have information on great wedding venues and countless planning tools. However you find your perfect venue, there is no better feeling than locking in a confirmed reservation for your special day.
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