Planning a wedding really does seem like a thousand little decisions… and picking the date for your wedding is one of the first ones! Seems easy enough, right? But trying to coordinate one date that will work for you, your family, guests, wedding venue, and football schedule (yes, in TN that’s a HUGE factor!) can seem like a huge task.
Here’s a few things to consider that I hope will help you as you select your perfect date.
7 THINGS NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT SETTING A WEDDING DATE:
“There’s a huge local event/convention that weekend and all the hotels within 50 miles will be booked.”
The right wedding date is more than just a good fit for you and your families. Do a little research on the city’s calendar, look up the local football schedule, and be sure your guests won’t have a difficult time finding accommodations. Most large conventions are planned at least a year in advance! For the Knoxville area, our city has an online calendar of events HERE.
If you’re planning a Fall wedding in Knoxville - remember that the Tennessee Vols bye-week Saturday will be an extremely popular date! Consider having your wedding on a Friday/Sunday if you’re planning your date around a football schedule! I know to some that may sound a bit crazy - but it’s a huge factor for some Tennessee Vols fans!
“Your wedding day will be the hottest day of the year.”
Is there a time of year that your wedding location is more predictable? In East Tennessee, it’s a joke to think you can predict our weather! Your early May wedding could be 40 degrees or 80. Who knows? I’ve experienced both, only one weekend apart!
If you want a summer date for an outdoor wedding, a morning or early afternoon ceremony is the best way to avoid rain.
June is usually a bit cooler than July and August, and September through early October is still in our “summer” heat. It usually turns cooler around mid- October, and won’t warm up again consistently until mid- to late-April.
If rain scares you, the best bet is to select a venue that has an indoor option you’re comfortable with. Or if you’ve always dreamed of an outdoor wedding - Have umbrellas on-hand, or select a date where there’s less chance of rain. Such as a morning ceremony in June. July in East Tennessee tends to have frequent thunderstorms. August and September have less rain - if you can tolerate the heat.
Remember there could be good and bad aspects of any date - decide for yourselves what you will compromise on, what you’re comfortable with, or what you absolutely don’t want.
“You can’t get married then! That’s a holiday!”
Check the calendar for national & religious holidays! Do you want to make your wedding vendors and professionals work on Mother’s Day? Probably not. Some religions have restrictions on weddings during certain times of the year. Especially for church weddings, some forbid weddings during Lent or other religious holidays.
If you’re planning a church wedding, be sure to ask if there are any dates that are off-limits. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, consider the religion of your families or guests attending, or who you’ll have officiate.
“That date booked up months ago.”
The average engagement period is about 10-14 months. That means prime summer and fall dates for weddings can book up as far as a year or more in advance. If you are set on a specific venue - have backup dates in mind.
Of course, you can definitely plan your wedding in 6 months, or even 6 weeks! The reality is, if you want a prime reception site or popular wedding photographer, planning in advance helps! If you’re planning a wedding in a short time frame, you just need a little flexibility, as you may have to take even your 3rd or 4th choice for a certain wedding venue and photographer.
“Three-day weekends can be a perfect solution - or a major disaster.”
On the plus side, guests will have more time to travel to and from your wedding. But that can be outweighed by the holiday factor. Guests may have already scheduled a vacation or trip for that weekend far in advance. You may find some guests aren’t able to attend over a holiday weekend.
You also want to consider other events in the area. A major festival/marathon/parade on Memorial Day weekend, for example, may make it difficult to have a wedding that weekend (hotel rooms, traffic, roads blocked, etc).
Another factor: cost of travel. Some out of town guests may try to use frequent flyer or rewards miles to book their ticket, and that’s near impossible during a holiday period.
“Your wedding date is during the peak of floral prices.”
There are two dates that because of demand, floral prices could get as high as 4x the regular cost… Valentine’s and Mother’s Day. Florists are also extremely busy during those times, and you may not get your first pick of florist.
You also want to consider what flowers you’re wanting. If you’re flexible on the types of flowers, your florist will help you pick flowers that are in-season.
Calla Lilies in January, for example, are much more expensive! (I know. I wanted them for my January wedding. I ended up having fake callas put into my fresh flower bouquet! You couldn’t even tell!)
“If you get married any other day but Saturday, I’ll give you a discount!”
It’s a little known secret of the wedding industry - you can save a ton of money by getting married on any other day but Saturday.
How much? Of course, it all depends on the vendors! Wedding Venues may give a discounted rate or take a percentage off their regular published prices! The same goes for a lot of DJ’s and wedding photographers! (I do!)
Just ask! It doesn’t hurt to ask, and it shouldn’t offend anyone that you’re asking if they have any discount available. Just don’t assume they do! Everyone does business differently, and some professionals may have a little more flexibility than others, even in the same field. For example, I love Monday-Friday weddings. But I know a few other photographers that aren’t as available during the week. So they may not give a discount, because it’s actually harder for them to do a mid-week wedding. It never hurts to ask!
I hope these tips have helped you!
Let me know in the comments below what you think, or any other issues you’ve faced choosing your wedding date!
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Thanks for reading!