Here's How to Pick Your Wedding Date
You're engaged? Congratulations! When's the wedding? Just kidding—we know, we know, this question will likely make you panic for a while. But your wedding date is the first question that will be asked by your family members and friends, guaranteed. The phrase "setting a date" is actually code for booking a wedding venue—once you've signed that venue contract, your date is officially set and you can start hiring other vendors and planning in earnest. But how do you actually go about picking a wedding date? We're here to help you choose the perfect day for your big day.
How Soon Should You Pick a Wedding Day?
The process of how to pick a wedding date is different for each couple, but a good place to start is to consider how much time you'll need to devote to wedding planning. According to the 2021 Real Wedding Study, the average engagement length is 16 months, and more than half of couples are engaged for over one year.
Giving yourself at least a year to plan your wedding can be helpful for most couples. A wedding date at least a year out will give you plenty of time to check everything off your list—from finding and ordering a wedding dress (which can take 9 to 11 months) to booking your wedding venue (some are booked a year in advance).
While picking a wedding date should be one of the first steps in the planning process, you can go about it in multiple ways. Some couples choose a date that's special to them first, and only consider venues that are available on that particular date. Others are more flexible, finding their dream venue first, and picking their date based on the venue's availability. If at all possible, we recommend going with the latter method so you'll have more venue options available.
Alternatively, if you are someone who stresses over big assignments, a wedding far into the future may hang like a cloud of anxiety over your head. In this case, you may want to consider shortening your engagement. There are no wrong answers here. If you plan a wedding date six months from your engagement, it'll be a full-on sprint to the finish line, but you will find a way to get it done with enough time, and some people thrive under pressure.
The Step-by-Step Guide to Picking a Wedding Date
Ready to get started? Get your calendars ready, it's time to pick a wedding date!
1. Brainstorm any dates that are symbolic to you.
How romantic would it be to marry on the anniversary of your first date, on the day you officially became a couple or on your grandparents' wedding date? 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 date 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. (Pro tip: You can tell your guests about any significance of the timing in your wedding ceremony programs.) Remember, though, if you're married to a specific date (pun totally intended), you may be somewhat limited with you venue options,
2. Pick your desired wedding season.
If you have some flexibility with your wedding date, we recommend choosing a season first. Consider the climate of your wedding's location: If you're set on getting married in an outdoor setting, then you'll want to choose a season when clear skies and mild weather is most likely.
Weather not only affects your wedding's style and location, it can also help set a mood. You might also think about your desired wedding theme and personality, and choose your season that way. 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 sounds like your vibe. Fun fact: Fall is currently the most popular time of the year for weddings, and October the most popular month.
3. Consider peak vs. off-peak dates.
Your budget may go a long way toward guiding you to the right wedding date. Peak wedding season is typically between May and October, so prices are inevitably higher due to the high demand. You'll have to compete with a slew of other couples for your venue and all your wedding vendors.
If you're looking to save on your wedding, choose a date in the off-season, where you're more likely to get discounted prices and a better selection of venues and vendors. While the low season for weddings is typically the wintertime, the months of December and February are busier (and pricier!) times of year due to holidays like Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. January, March, April and November tend to be better months to choose for savings in the off-season.
Days of the week also matter: Saturday nights carry the heftiest price tag, but don't discount weekday weddings. With remote work becoming more common around the world, your guests may have more flexibility in their schedules to attend a wedding during the week. And, you'll have wider selection of available venues and vendors at your fingertips, often at lower prices!
4. Is a holiday wedding right for you?
If you've always wanted a Christmas tree at your wedding, or you'd love a heart-covered wedding cake, sounds like you're a holiday wedding couple. Want to celebrate your Irish heritage? Opt for March, when everyone is already in the St. Patty's Day spirit. Try a wedding party in pastels and an Easter egg hunt in March or April. Have a Fourth of July celebration with flags, barbecue fare and fireworks. A plus: Some holidays fall on long weekends, which might make it easier for out-of-town guests to attend. On the flip side, some guests may not want their holiday weekends and longstanding travel plans upended by a wedding, so take that into consideration as well.
5. Check the calendar for other local events.
Every wedding location is different, and certain weekends may be busier than others. Be sure to check the calendar to learn when major sporting events, graduations, festivals and other events are taking place in your chosen location (the local Chamber of Commerce may be able to help you with this). Big events (for example, the Kentucky Derby in Louisville) may mean sold-out hotels, high airfares and heavy traffic—not what you'll want to deal with on your wedding weekend. And if you're hosting a destination wedding, consult a local wedding planner to ensure that you're taking local events and customs into account when picking your date.
6. Ask for the preferences of your VIP guest list.
Speaking of your guests, but only of the top-tier, wouldn't-get-married-without-them variety: If you have limited preferences, you may want to ask your closest loved ones about date conflicts and plan accordingly. Be forewarned that this is a slippery slope if you ask anyone outside your essential circle of parents, siblings and honor attendants. Keep it simple and don't budge once the date is set.
7. Skip certain dates.
There are definitely wedding dates you don't want to schedule. The weekend before tax day is not the best time to tie the knot—especially if one of you is an accountant or tax attorney. No matter what your career, you probably have your own crunch time at work, so don't marry then. You'll either be stressed or find it difficult to take off for your honeymoon. Also, your religion may dictate some times of year, or even days of the week, that are off-limits.
8. Find the perfect wedding venue.
Now that you have a few dates in mind, you can start researching wedding venues. One of the first questions you must ask a potential venue is about their availability (for example, you could say "We're hoping to get married in May of 2025, and are particularly targeting these dates. Do you have any availability during this time?"). If a venue is completely booked during your chosen season or workable dates, you won't want to move forward. However, if you fall in love with a particular venue, you might want to take another look at the calendar to see if there are dates that work for both parties. As we've discussed, flexibility can be key here, so don't discount weekdays or off-season dates.
What Are the Luckiest Days to Get Married?
Are you a little superstitious or do you want to honor your religious or cultural background by choosing a lucky date for your wedding? We get it. There's nothing wrong with making sure the planets align on your special day.
Jewish tradition believes that Tuesdays are a lucky day to wed. In the Torah, God says that the third day of the week is good. Meaning Tuesday are the right day for those who want to honor their Jewish heritage.
Got a little Irish in you? Then pick December 31st, New Year's Eve, for your wedding. This date is lucky for the Irish. Plus, what better way to start off a fresh year than with a new spouse at your side?
For those who want to honor Chinese tradition, dates with the number eight or nine are considered lucky. The word "eight" is close to the word for "wealth," and the word "nine" rhymes with "long-lasting." The Chinese New Year is also a highly auspicious day, though the date changes each year, depending on a complex calculation of lunar events.
Finally, history buffs should plan their wedding date for June. This month was named for Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. She is sure to look kindly on couples who honor her month.