For some reason, the one thing that happens the second you announce your engagement (and before you’re even close to when you can pick your wedding date). People look at your brand new ring, and ask you, “So when is the big day?” I’m never sure if they think you might have planned a wedding before you decided you were getting married… or if they think you pulled together the whole thing during the half hour car ride to your mom’s house to show off your ring.
Let’s start with what is, for most of us, the be-all and end-all of starting to pick your wedding date: What to consider when you want to pick your wedding date!
BRAINSTORM SYMBOLIC DATES
How romantic would it be to marry on the date you first met, on the day you officially became a couple or on your grandparents' anniversary? Some cultures use traditional methods to choose a date—for example, Japanese families check out the koyomi, an ancient astrological calendar, to pick the most propitious day. You may not be able to marry on the exact day you want—that special date could fall on a Monday, or like we previously mentioned, the venue you love may be booked—but you can probably get pretty close.
PICK THE SEASON
Weather not only affects your wedding's style and location, it can also help set a mood. Consider your wedding personality, then choose your season accordingly. Want free-spirited, fun, tropical-inspired cocktails and sun-dappled settings? Stick with a summer wedding. Dreaming of opulence, snowfall and holiday sparkle? Try a winter wedding. Rich colors, nostalgia and mulled apple cider are perfect for a fall wedding, and a spring wedding is probably your thing if freshness, pastels and a daffodil bouquet sound like your vibe.
YOUR VENUE’S CALENDAR
Knowing where you want to get married is almost always a top-level concern when you want to pick your wedding date. Sure, you might really want to get married on 7/7/17, but you have to find a venue that’s free that day, so wait a second before you monogram that dates on all your silver. The truth is that venues, particularly ones that are in high demand (or have low prices) can book up way in advance.
THINK ABOUT HOW LONG YOUR ENGAGEMENT WILL BE
There are advantages and disadvantages to short (and long) engagements. If you have four months, you’ll power through those decisions like you have a fire under your ass… because you will. If you have two years, at some point you’ll start to wonder if there actually is a wedding in your future. So, if you have a choice, pick a wedding planning timeline that works for you. (And hey, if you’re an over-planner and chronic worrier, it might be easier to be done in three months than to have three years to obsess.)
Budget may affect your choice. June, September and October were some of the most popular months to marry, so prices are inevitably higher. But if, for example, you're planning a wedding in January, March or November, it may cost less because 50 other couples aren't lined up behind you offering to pay top dollar. Days of the week also matter: Saturday nights carry the heftiest price tag but marry during the week and the world is your oyster (venues may even bid against each other to get your business).
CONSIDER YOUR ALSO ENGAGED FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES
We’re not supposed to be the sort of shallow people who think about who is getting married first, but… also… maybe you are? David and I had been engaged for an (endless-seeming) year-plus, when three months before our wedding date his ex called him to say she’d gotten engaged that week, and was getting married next weekend, and could we spend a bunch of money to fly across the country to come? Of course, there is no etiquette rule on the book that the one that puts a ring on it first, walks down the aisle first. So, if you know that you want to get married before (or after) your sister, or your BFF, or your cousin, consider that as you think about dates.