Updated: Feb 28
Congratulations on your engagement! As you enjoy your celebrations you'll be answering lots of questions from your family and friends, and one of the questions they'll ask is "have you set a date yet?!?"
So.... Have you?!?!
This will be the first thing to think about when planning your wedding, and this first step is one of the most important decisions you'll make together!
Luckily, I have a few tips to get you started...
1. How long do you need to plan your wedding?
It's worth thinking about how long you think you'll need to plan your wedding. If you set your date for a short time away, you might struggle to get everything done. Usually, wedding dates are set for between 12 to 24 months away from your engagement date. This will give you plenty of time to prepare and plan, and my 'Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist' uses an 18 to 24 month timeline to help you keep track of your tasks. However, if you're doing away with tradition and eloping somewhere special, you might only need a few months to prepare.
2. What will fit around your work schedule?
Okay - so this one sounds so boring, but think about it! If you work in retail, you'll be run off your feet in November and December and so will have little time (or energy) to do those last minute wedding jobs. If you're working in a school, maybe a school holiday would allow you to get that last dress fitting in? Or if you're in the car industry - March and September will probably already be tiring enough, without adding last minute plans on top! Sometimes thinking about your workload rather than a specific season makes the whole experience of your wedding much less stressful.
And speaking of seasons...
3. How much does the weather matter to you?
There are pros to booking both summer and winter weddings. Here are a few...
--> Good weather... This can't be guaranteed of course, we live in the UK! But if you're lucky enough to have an amazing warm British summer day, it's impossible for you & your guests to not be filled with joy and happiness.
--> Outdoors venues... You can make the most of the stunning grounds of the hotel you've booked. Or you can book a marquee or a barn wedding safe in the knowledge that it will at least be warm if not dry.
--> Summer styles... Festival and boho styles work best in the spring and summer, with all of the pretty wild florals and rustic decor. They might not have the same effect in the winter!
--> Amazing photographs... Talented photographers can capture every memory perfectly, no matter the weather - but there is a lot more opportunity for those bright and beautiful shots when the sun is shining.
--> It's cheaper... Book your Big Day between October and March and you're pretty much guaranteed to save money. There is much more demand for venues, photographers, florists etc in the summer months and so prices can be higher. During the winter, suppliers often offer discounts and special offers.
--> All-shoes-on-the-dancefloor... Let's face it - if it's chucking it down outside, your guests aren't going to be milling about outside in the sunshine like they would if it was summer.
Winter weddings make for dark & cosy, fun nighttime parties with everybody indoors together celebrating. This is the reason autumn and winter weddings are my favourite!
--> Nice weather bonus... Chances are that if you've set your date for a summer wedding, you've planned everything in the hopes that the weather will be good and might be gutted if it's not. In the autumn or winter, a crisp sunshine is an absolute bonus, and you won't be too disappointed if it doesn't happen.
--> Availability... Not only will your suppliers be more available during the October to March months, but your guests are less likely to be away on holiday too!
4. What day of the week is best?
Saturdays are by far the most popular day for a wedding, as most people are already off work or school and so they are easier to arrange; but there are benefits to setting your wedding date on a weekday or Sunday instead...
Because Saturdays are in such high demand, suppliers and venues often charge more to secure your date. Fridays are usually the next choice after a Saturday, as they give your guests an excuse to book a long weekend and are great for a full three days of celebrations. Other days are usually cheaper by far, and could be an opportunity for you to save on your budget.
5. Are there big events on already?
We've all heard the stories of someone at a wedding who puts the football on during the wedding breakfast - but what if it's a BIG sporting event? What if everyone wants to watch it?!?! I've stumbled across newly married couples who have aired a special screening of the World Cup for their guests during their reception, to make sure they would actually turn up! But if you don't want to be outshined on your big day, it's best to double check nothing else is sharing the spotlight with you on the special date you've chosen.
It's over to you!
Time to brainstorm some dates together and work out what fits best for you. Have fun with it and don't stress too much - you will probably already have an idea of how much time you'll need and which season you like best.
Good luck, and get in touch if you need help!