The excitement of your engagement (huge congratulations, by the way!) can start to ebb once you both realise the enormity of the task of planning the big day… And one of the very first tasks on your to-do list will be to choose a date for your wedding.
Your wedding date will probably be heavily influenced by availability – yours, your chosen venue’s, and that of any wedding suppliers you’re keen to work with. But before you try to make your lives bend around the needs of others (all too easy a trap to fall into when you’re wedding planning), take a little while to think about when would be best for you two.
A wedding date choice that suits you two first
This is your day, and you’re going to be putting a lot of time, energy and money into making it match your idea of an ideal wedding. So start by putting yourselves first before you even think of looking at venues or talking to suppliers.
Ideally, when would work best for you both to get hitched?
There are lots of things to consider here, including:
- Your work commitments. If you’re a teacher, you’ll be tied to school holidays; if you’re an accountant, you’ll want to avoid tax return season; if you’re one of Santa’s elves, the end of the year is going to be busy for you… you get the idea.
- Your family and friends commitments. If you know a whole bunch of your mates are also getting married, you’ll probably want to choose a date that’s far enough away so that your friends don’t have celebration fatigue when yours is the third wedding weekend in a row. Likewise, if one of your siblings/cousins has announced their wedding date, choose one that is not going to get your parents or close family approaching meltdown because it’s so close.
- How much time you have for planning. Planning a wedding is full-on stuff and there’s lots to do. If you’re super busy at work, you have small children, or you’re going to be apart a lot for whatever reason over the coming months, choose a wedding date that will give you a realistic amount of time to do all the arranging (without going deranged!) Decide how much time you can commit to wedding planning per week and work it out from there. And maybe don’t leave it so long that you’re just bored with it all by the time the big day finally rolls around.
- Family planning. Of course, there’s no need to ‘wait until you’re married’ before you have children anymore. However, if you are keen to have children as soon as possible, consider how pregnancy/having a small child will affect your planning and your wedding day. You might want to get hitched quickety quick and have a wedding day and honeymoon free of childcare issues, or you might prefer to plan your big day around having a baby with you (bearing in mind that these things don’t always go according to plan with timings…!)
What time of year is best for a wedding?
The season you choose for your wedding is again quite likely to be decided by your venue. If you’re tying the knot in your garden, on the beach, or you’re having a festival style wedding in a field, you’re really going to need to choose a summer date to maximise your chances of good weather.
Summer weddings are the most popular, because you’re more likely to have blue-sky photos, be able to be outside, camp, and all those lovely warm-weather things.
However, that popularity means that venue and supplier availability might pose a problem, as might your big day clashing with others’, so that your friends are torn between two invitations (only joking – naturally they’d pick yours!) You might also have to contend with key people having already booked their holidays.
And of course, even though the weather is more likely to be good, it’s not guaranteed (especially in the UK!), so you will need to have contingency plans, as well as good supplies of suncream if the sun does show its face and threatens to burn your guests to a crisp.
Autumn weddings can be absolutely beautiful weatherwise as well, although obviously, the risk of gloom and rain is higher than in the summer. You’ll have a good mixture of enjoying autumnal sunshine but also snuggling up as the temperature dips later. You’ll also have some great golden hour picture time and the colours are great, especially if you’re at a venue with lots of trees.
Autumnal weddings normally mean more venue and supplier availability too. AND you can have a Samhain handfasting or a Hallowedding, if you want to embrace the spirit of the season.
Winter weddings are hygge and gorgeous. It’s true that you can probably wave goodbye to an outdoor ceremony (although imagine if it were in the snow…?? Oooh…!) but think log fires, candlelight, mulled wine and the like…
Weddings around the winter solstice or Christmas can include nods to the festive season if you’d like them to, as well. I love singing carols at a wedding – it’s like all the happy stuff rolled into one!
Again, availability of venues and suppliers is likely to be good at this time of year. But if you are looking for a New Year’s Eve wedding, for example, be prepared to pay quite a lot extra!
Spring weddings bring with them the hope and excitement of the blossoming year. Spring marks a beginning, which makes it a symbolically perfect time to choose for your wedding. If you go for late spring, you have the advantage of potentially good weather too.
Is Saturday the best day for a wedding?
It’s true that Saturdays are by far the most popular day for weddings in the UK.
But savvy couples also know that getting married on a weekday (or a Sunday) has its definite advantages too.
There’s much better availability of venues and suppliers, for example, and it’s often cheaper, as some venues charge less for midweek weddings.
My husband and I got engaged in the autumn of 1999 (yes, I’m that old…) and we eagerly set about planning our wedding for the next year. It was only then that we found out that the world and his dog had been waiting to get married in the millennium year, and everywhere (and everyone) was booked up.
…until a kindly person at a venue suggested we went for the Friday before the August bank holiday.
This was a genius move, as not only did we have our pick of the suppliers (Friday weddings were quite a rarity then) but also we had the bank holiday weekend to extend the celebration into. AND (ok this is hard to say without sounding very shady indeed but here we go) it meant that quite a few of the ‘duty’ invitees didn’t come because it wasn’t an easy day to take off… (kudos and enormous thanks go to the friends and family who moved heaven and earth to be there with us!)
What about ceremony timing?
As you’ll hear me say allll the time, there is no right or wrong, and you don’t have to do what everyone else does.
That said, a few thoughts about timing to finish off:
- If you have a ceremony in the middle of the day, try to choose a time when guests are likely to have had a nibble to eat first. There’s nothing worse than a 12 or 1pm wedding on a hot summer’s day when people have travelled for a long time and are hungry and thirsty, so go nuts for the fizz and canapes with messy consequences…
- If you do want to start earlyish, why not go for a late morning ceremony? Then your main meal can be (properly) lunchtime, giving you more party time and more dancing energy later (before your pizza van arrives).
- Or how about an intimate evening ceremony? If you’re having a smaller wedding, this might be the perfect way to celebrate, with a meal together afterwards.
So… when’s your best time to have a wedding?
And whenever it is, do give me a call if you’d like a fun, gorgeous, bespoke ceremony.