So, you’re engaged – congratulations! You’re probably already filling your Pinterest boards with photos of THE dress, flicking through glossy wedding magazines, and visualising the moment when you finally walk down the aisle to exchange vows with the love of your life.
But before anything can progress with your wedding plans, you’ll need to make one crucial decision – your wedding date!
It’s the question that you’ll hear immediately after you announce your engagement: ‘So when is the big day?!’. If you haven’t already considered your wedding date, you might be surprised to know there are many different factors that come into play before a decision can be made.
Not only will you have your own personal preferences, but there are also practical and logistical considerations to take into account too. Choosing the perfect wedding date all comes down to finding that balance between personal and practical, but trust us – it’s not always the easiest decision to make!
Your chosen wedding date will impact the rest of your wedding planning decisions and will have a flow-on effect to your styling, your budget, and even your guest list. We know how important this decision will be, so we’ve compiled our top tips below as a comprehensive guide to choosing the perfect wedding date – the smart way!
Things to consider: personal preferences
Your wedding is going to be one of the most special days of your entire life. It’s a day that should be a true representation of you and your partner and a reflection of your unique personalities. With this in mind, taking your personal preferences into account should definitely be a priority when it comes to choosing your wedding date!
Before you start thinking about the practical side of things, it’s best to sit down with your partner to identify what your heart and emotions are telling you when it comes to the date of your wedding. This includes your wedding vision, seasonal styling elements, and any dates that you have emotional connections with.
Your wedding vision
Have you already defined your wedding vision? Close your eyes for a moment and picture yourself on the day of your wedding. What do your surroundings look like? What does the atmosphere feel like?
Are you picturing a bright, tropical celebration, exchanging vows barefoot on the beach and dancing the night away under the stars? Or does your wedding vision look more luxe and sophisticated, with warm candlelight and layered textures setting the scene?
Whatever it is that you’re dreaming of, let these thoughts and feelings be your initial guiding point towards the season you choose for your wedding date. Your wedding vision will likely give you a clear indication of whether a summer, spring, winter or autumn wedding is going to be the best suited for you.
Another personal preference you might like to discuss would be any significant dates that you have emotional connections with. This might be the day you both met, the day you officially began dating, a birthday of a family member you wish to honour, or any other date that holds a special place in your heart.
Make a note of these dates and check your calendar to see which season and day of the week they correspond with. If any of these dates align with your wedding vision, you might just be onto a winner.
Seasonal styling elements
There are two styling decisions for your day that are dependant on the season: your dress and your flowers!
If you’ve already picked out your ultimate dream dress either on Pinterest, through magazines or your own imagination, think about how your wedding date is going to affect this.
A strapless dress might leave you freezing in the middle of winter, while a thick lace gown won’t be so suitable for a warm summer’s day! It’s important to be comfortable on your wedding day, so if you are non-negotiable on the style of your dress then you’ll need to think about these details.
Likewise, if your floral arrangements are a huge priority to you then you should research the seasonal availability of your dream flowers. Some particular flowers like peonies are strictly only available for a certain few months of the year, so keep this in mind when working out options for your date.
Thing to consider: practical considerations
Remember when we spoke about finding that balance between both personal and practical considerations? This is where details like your budget, guest lists and supplier availability become super important in your decision making process.
At the end of the day, weddings are an industry in themselves and so it’s likely there will be seasonal costs associated with your chosen wedding date. If you’re working towards a strict budget, this is going to be a huge consideration for you. Be aware of the following pricing variations before you lock in a final date:
- Peak season: the most popular months for weddings in Australia are from March to May and again from September to November, due to the desirable weather conditions during these times. Certain wedding vendors might have higher costs associated with peak season due to the demand they experience with bookings. This usually occurs with vendors that only have the capacity to take one booking per day, like wedding venues or wedding planners.
- Weekdays vs Weekends: it goes without saying that Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are without a doubt the most popular days of the week to host a wedding. If budget is an issue for you, you might want to consider a weekday wedding to save a few dollars. Some vendors will offer a reduced rate for mid-week weddings, as it allows them to fill up their calendars on dates that may otherwise remain empty.
- Penalty rates: don’t forget that wedding vendors will have staff and labour overheads to cover in order to provide you with their services. This means that penalty rates are likely to be applicable if you choose a Sunday or public holiday to get married.
Guest list logistics
Have you thought about your guest list? It’s safe to say you’ll want to spend your wedding day surrounded by your nearest and dearest, so don’t forget to keep your guests in mind when choosing your wedding date.
Before you send out those wedding invitations, it’s worth checking in with your immediate family, bridal party and any other VIP guests that you can’t imagine celebrating without. Let them know the date/s you have in mind, to see if there are going to be any obstacles with them attending.
Are you flexible with your wedding suppliers, or do you have your heart set on a particular venue, florist, planner or photographer? Wedding suppliers can be in high demand, so if you have strong feelings about certain vendors then touch base with them before locking in your final date.
Wedding suppliers book out well in advance, with some suppliers booking out quicker than others. A quick email or phone call to check availability for your chosen date can help put your mind at ease before making your final decision. Don’t forget that most suppliers will require a deposit from you to reserve the date, so don’t leave this until the last minute once you’ve locked in your date!
Another practical detail you need to consider before choosing your wedding date is the time you require to plan, save and prepare for the day.
Planning a wedding is a huge task (we’re talking around 250 hours involved on your behalf!) so you really need to allow yourself enough time to be organised. You don’t want to find yourself feeling stressed and overwhelmed, or running out of funds, due to a fast-approaching wedding date.
Think about how much time you realistically need to plan and budget for your day, and use this as a guide when it comes to choosing your date. You can use our 12-month wedding planning timeline as a great example of what planning a wedding really looks like!
If you really want to set your date sooner rather than later, think about the things you can do to relieve some of your time. This could mean hiring a wedding planner, or utilising wedding planning software to help organise your tasks and communicate with your guests.
Dates to avoid
Keeping the above points in mind, there are dates that you might want to steer away from due to the implications they have on your budget, guests and supplier availability. These include:
- Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. Not only will all of your costs be much higher due to the penalty rates, but many wedding vendors close down during the Christmas period leaving you with limited suppliers to choose from. It also puts pressure on your guests to work around annual traditions they may have, like spending Christmas with extended family or taking a vacation.
- Valentine’s Day, due to the inflated pricing on floral arrangements.
- Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. These dates also put pressure on your guests who may have special family traditions.
- Any dates that fall on Friday the 13th, if you’re superstitious!
- Any dates that major sporting events take place, particularly grand finals. Do you really want guests checking the score on their phones the entire night?!
Follow your instinct
By taking the above tips into consideration, you should now have a deeper understanding of the different factors that can affect your wedding date. From your wedding vision to your flower choices to your budget, there are so many considerations that come into play.
Choosing the perfect wedding date is simply a matter of weighing up the pros and cons of both your personal and practical requirements and following your instinct to make a final decision. Prioritise the details that are important to you, and your wedding date should come easily after that.
And here’s the good news: once you’ve chosen your wedding date, you can actually pencil it into your calendar and start counting down the days. This is where the real fun begins, so enjoy every moment from here!