Setting your wedding date
After becoming engaged, one of the first priorities for many couples is setting a wedding date. So what should you take into consideration before you circle a day on your calendar?
season & time of year
Summer is the most popular season to get married, with Statistics New Zealand reporting that 43% of marriages in 2007 occurred during the months of January, February and March. If you’ve always dreamed of marrying on the beach or simply want to take advantage of the warmer weather, summer is certainly a great time to get hitched. However, don’t discount the cooler months – they’re perfect for cosy, candlelit celebrations. Plus, you’re likely to have a wider range of dates to choose from if you have a popular venue in mind, and you may be able to take advantage of off-peak rates. Whichever season you select, remember that the time of year will influence the theme and colours of your day, for example, pastel shades complement a spring wedding, while an autumn celebration would suit a palette of gold and rustic tones. And don’t forget to take the climate of your honeymoon destination into consideration, too.
If you have your heart set on a particular venue, photographer or supplier, you’ll want to make sure you select a date when they’re available. Popular venues and suppliers can be booked months or even years in advance, so it pays to check their availability as soon as you can. If you’re having your ceremony and reception at different locations, you’ll have to coordinate availability at both venues. Aim to have all your key suppliers – including your venue/s, caterer, celebrant/minister, photographer and videographer, musicians/DJ, florist, transport provider, and gown designer/dress-maker – booked at least six to 12 months before your wedding day to avoid disappointment. If time is tight and your budget allows, you may wish to enlist the help of a wedding planner who will be able to source great deals and recommend reputable suppliers through their host of contacts in the industry.
length of engagement
The average length of engagement is about 10 to 15 months, but this is only a guideline – it’s really up to you! Some engaged couples want to tie the knot as soon as possible, while others prefer to take their time with the wedding-planning process. The more time you allow yourself, the more likely you are to be able to book suppliers of your choice, whereas a shorter time period may require greater flexibility. Either way, when you’re deciding on a date, consider how long it will take to save enough funds for your wedding and how much time you will need to plan the occasion.
day of the week
Saturday is the most popular day to get married, as this is usually convenient for guests who work full-time and for those coming from out of town. Saturdays are also ideal if you want to have a day-after celebration, as this can be held on the Sunday after the wedding. As Saturdays are in such high demand, you may need to consider other days too, especially if you’re getting married in summer. You could have a relaxed Sunday celebration, starting and finishing a little earlier in the day so guests don’t need to stay up too late. Alternatively, consider a Friday wedding that starts in the late afternoon so that your guests only need to take a few hours off work and can celebrate until late in the evening. Just remember that some guests may not be able to attend a weekday wedding if it requires them to take time off work.
date with special meaning
Some couples like to celebrate their nuptials on a day that has symbolic value to them. This may be a date with personal meaning such as your parents’ or grandparents’ wedding date, or the day you got engaged or first met. Or you might like to select a date that’s lucky or culturally significant. According to Statistics New Zealand, 290 marriages were celebrated on Saturday 7 July 2007 (07/07/07), compared with an average of 80 marriages on other Saturdays in the same month. This date is thought to have been popular because the number seven is considered to be very lucky by some cultures and individuals.
dates that are best to avoid
As with other aspects of wedding planning, each option has its pros and cons. It may seem like a good idea to get married on a public holiday, but this may incur extra charges from suppliers. Blooms are also more expensive on or near flower-focussed occasions such as Valentine’s Day. And before you set the date, check that your chosen day doesn’t clash with the birthdays or major celebrations of any close friends or relatives. You may also like to check with your family that they haven’t booked a holiday on any dates that you’re seriously considering, as well as confirming with your own employers that they are able to grant you leave for the wedding and honeymoon. If you have limited time for a honeymoon due to work commitments, opt for a shorter ‘mini-moon’ after the wedding, followed by a longer romantic holiday at a later date.
once you’ve set the date…
It’s a good idea to send out save-the-date cards or emails so your guests can mark this important date on their calendars. This is especially important for out-of-town guests who may not find out through word of mouth. And, as your wedding date will hold special meaning throughout your married life, don’t forget to celebrate your wedding anniversary each year!