Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Step 5 - Set Your Wedding Date

(9 Months to 24 Months Before the Wedding)
This time of your life is very exciting and it's well worth the time and effort that you will be putting in to make your dreams a reality.  Now is the time to get out a calender and sit down with your partner to see if there are any special days or times of the year that stands out to be special to the both of you.

If your hearts are set on a special location such as a specific church, ceremony site, or wedding reception center, you will need to check right away on their wedding availability.  Popular venues book far in advance and with a few of them this sometimes could even be two years in advance so you will need to call them and get a sense of dates they have available. To book specific music groups, honeymoon locations, and around holiday seasons you may need to check out far in advance.

As you start with your planning you will need to keep in mind that if you have the ceremony in one place and the reception in another, you will need to coordinate the availability at both sites and you would like the distance to be within fifteen minutes apart and definitely not more than thirty minutes apart.  The exception is if the wedding reception is at a resort or at an estate mansion and your guests would not miss having the chance to go to an exceptional place.  If the wedding and reception are far apart you might find some guests going to the wedding and skipping the reception or vice versa, skipping the wedding and going to the reception.  A long ride between venues may be rough on the elderly or make young children restless.

If you should decide on an outdoor wedding you want to choose a time of year that's not too cold or hot.  If you want a big wedding and a high percentage of guests to come, you want to target a Saturday.  Fridays and Sundays are next best and Monday through Thursday are best for small and less expensive weddings.  Be careful having a weekday wedding, work may prevent some of the guests you want to invite, the ability to attend, so discuss the options with people you really want there.  Statistics show, that despite the increase costs of a late afternoon or evening wedding reception, the best weddings tend to be on Saturdays.  Most guests tend not to have conflicts later in the day on Saturdays.

Your ballpark figure of the amount of guests goes also goes into the decision making of your targeted wedding date. You might want to have your wedding at a specific venue but you have too many guests and the venue you want can only handle a certain amount of guests.  You want 250 guests, the venue only holds 130.  You also don't want a wedding at a large venue and your guest size doesn't comfortably fill the venue.  You want the venue to be comfortably crowded.

After you come up with a targeted wedding date, you will in turn want to create a wedding timeline and share your plans with your parents and other family members and with other close friends that you really want at the wedding to see if your preliminary dates will work with them. You want to avoid a scheduling conflict, that some relatives or friends have already booked a cruise on your wedding or the business trip or the business plan is due at the time of your wedding.  Also try to avoid having a wedding on a close relative's divorce date or check if it's okay to have it on grandma's birthday.

At this beginning stage you really have a targeted wedding date.  A firm wedding date will be determined later by your officiant's availability, finding a church or ceremony site, the availability of a reception site and caterer, your honeymoon desires, or by a musician you really want to play at your wedding, family matters, and financial concerns.  You don't want to spread the word out to everybody until you have a firm wedding date.  If you share the date on your wedding website or Facebook or blog etc. make sure you share it's a targeted wedding date.  You don't want wedding guests to start planning, take time off from work, book flights, make arrangements and a few weeks later have to cancel or change all of their arrangements.

So that's all that needs to be considered to Set Your Wedding Date, that's all for today, see you on the other side! Tomorrow!

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