When Is The Big Day?

By Kristen Castillo

January 20, 2015 5 min read

Jordan McMullen, a vegan food and fitness blogger, is starting to plan her wedding. Though she and her fiance only recently got engaged, they're already thinking of the ideal date to get hitched.

They'd like to do it on a day that's far away from holidays and their respective birthdays and at an outdoor venue in the Northeast, which means they need to pick a time of year that has warm weather. The couple are also looking to use seasonal flowers and use local in-season foods, including fruit.

All couples have specific wedding wish lists of what they want and what they need to avoid.

One of the most important considerations is when to marry. From overly popular dates to holidays to local events, there are a lot of factors to think about when choosing your wedding day. Here's a rundown of what to consider before selecting your wedding date.

*Be Flexible

Don't get fixated on a specific date, suggests wedding planner Danielle Rothweiler. If you're too rigid, you may be excluding venues that you'd otherwise book for your event.

"Instead of 'must-having' Oct. 16, be open to Saturdays in October and so forth," Rothweiler says. "The more flexible you can be the better off you are."

*Look for Low Stress

Wedding planning isn't a low-stress process, but you can take it easy on yourself by holding your wedding during a down time in your life.

"Definitely consider what time of year is least stressful for you and easy for you to take off from work," says Mary Bradley, owner of Mary Bradley Events. "You want to be as carefree as possible and focus on enjoying your big day."

*Rule Out Holidays

Unless you specifically want a Christmas wedding or Valentine's Day vows, "avoid major holidays, religious observance and big-event days," says Marc Nathan of MNP Photographers Inc., who explains weddings on religious and national holidays "can decrease attendance."

*A Holiday Exception

There is one exception to the previous rule.

"As long as you're planning a great party with drinks and dancing, a New Year's Eve wedding is a great idea," says Rothweiler.

*Steer Clear of Local Events

Sure, a road race, a college graduation or an art festival won't compete with your wedding, but it can be a hassle in other areas, such as travel and accommodations.

"It's absolutely imperative to check the local calendars, keeping an eye out for any event that may cause road closures or booked-up hotels," says Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting.

*Avoid Dates of Major Sporting Events

Getting married during Super Bowl weekend may seem like a good idea, but will your guests be able to attend? And will those guests who show up be crowded at the bar looking at the big game? Save yourself the trouble of negotiating the details of this major football day by not holding your wedding that day.

*Choose Off-Peak Days and Times

By holding your wedding on an off-peak day and time -- for example, a Thursday evening or a Sunday brunch -- "you'll have better group rates, which is always a bonus for your guests," says Nathan.

*Avoid Sensitive Dates

Marrying on certain dates -- Sept. 11, for example -- can make guests uncomfortable.

*Consider the Weather

Light snow might be OK at a winter wedding, but a blizzard could really put a damper on the celebration. Consider tropical weather patterns, too.

"Some of the most popular wedding dates fall in hurricane season, yet couples ignore it," says Ely. "This is absolutely an imperative thing to consider. I've seen weddings displaced due to hurricanes and tropical storm-related mudslides."

Check the almanac for predictions on how hot, cold or stormy the weather typically is for the days you're considering.

*Avoid Family Birthdays and Anniversaries

Do you want to have the same anniversary as your aunt and uncle? Want to get married on your brother-in-law's birthday? Don't choose those dates. Further, don't pick a wedding date too close to when your friends are getting hitched. You'll feel stressed and bogged down by comparisons.

No matter what date you choose, realize that not every guest will be able to attend. But it's still worth carefully choosing a nuptial date to maximize the overall experience, guest attendance and your budget.

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