“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.” ~ Al Bernstein
You’ve imagined your wedding, figured out your budget and have narrowed down a few possible venues. It’s now time to slide another piece of the wedding puzzle into place: the wedding date.
Setting the date involves some puzzle pieces of its own, so here are some clues:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream wedding will require spring or summer. If you want a Halloween theme, you’re limited to late October or early November (unless you can manage to land squarely on October 31, but that’s not always possible or even necessary). A Christmas or winter theme means a December or January, or possibly February affair. If you are set on a theme that entails a particular month or season, that will help you to narrow down the date.
A major component encompasses the location and setting you envision. You’ve either selected a few finalists or you have your heart set on a particular venue, based on your desires, pocketbook and other sentiments and practicalities. Thus, the availability of a venue will help you to close in on a date.
Month and Day
Just as with travel and other types of planning, it’s easier to obtain reservations for wedding venues at certain times of the year and on certain days and dates. Travel and accommodations should also be kept in mind for family and other guests who will be traveling to your wedding.
For the wedding itself, depending on which website or etiquette book you consult, there will be some variations in opinions as to the best wedding months; sometimes those opinions are based on location. But a consensus of sorts is that summer remains the top choice for weddings and, therefore is the busiest and costliest choice (June, July, August and September); autumn is a close second (October); spring is third (probably due to its unpredictable weather), with the exception of June, which is really late spring/early summer; and winter (January, February and March) is last with the exception of December. Weekends tend to be pricier than weekdays; but while Saturday is the most expensive, Friday and Sunday are less so. Thus, holding your wedding in an “off month” or “off day,” the cost will likely be much more affordable and even might net you additional perks that vendors often offer to draw in business, such as discounts on photo and video services or catering. Flowers, as well, will be less expensive, with the exceptions of Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day.
Dates/Days to Avoid
It’s best to avoid holidays because of the cost, competition with holiday parties, and conflicts with the plans of others, either religious or secular. Avoiding days that obvious conflicts with the plans of anyone in your family, wedding party or special guests is advisable. Holding your wedding around any large conventions, festivals, parades or other observances that are scheduled in your location is also not a good idea. Finally, I would work around those months in which the bride and groom have birthdays in order to spread out the celebrations. My husband and I have spring birthdays and our wedding anniversary is in autumn.
Another consideration is travel. If you expect a large number of out-of-town guests, travel and hotel reservations are usually less expensive during the week.
Of course, you don’t want to postpone your wedding beyond the general timeframe you envision just to secure a particular venue or meaningful date. Remember, any date you select will become meaningful in the scheme of things, and compromising on the venue might turn out to be in the best interests of others and in the overall event.
History and Mystique of the June Wedding
The popularity of June as the premier wedding month seems to stem from mythology. The month of June is named for Juno, Roman goddess of marriage. Thus, superstition and romance may have played a part in June’s reputation as the best month in which to wed. And, speaking of equality in marriage, Juno was apparently able to throw thunderbolts just like her husband, the supreme Roman deity, Jupiter!
June is also the month when the seasons turn from spring to summer at the Summer Solstice in June in the Northern Hemisphere; this will occur next month on Sunday, June 21. Thus, the lovely June weather in many parts of the world probably has played a big part in the month’s popularity. Some historical customs might have been involved, as well.
The Time of Day
The time of day that you hold your wedding can impact your pocket book and that of your attendants and guests. Evening weddings are usually the priciest because they are more formal, with fancier food and drink (especially at sit down, plated affairs), dressier clothes, music for dancing, and higher priced venues.
Morning nuptials can be more cost effective when followed by a wedding breakfast, and even better if it’s a buffet. Afternoon affairs could offer an elegant luncheon buffet and champagne (or sparkling wine), but even a sit-down luncheon can be less expensive than a sit-down dinner. A mid-afternoon wedding could offer a beautiful tea service with finger sandwiches, scones and wedding petit fours. A late afternoon or early evening ceremony could be followed by a cocktail reception with hot and cold passed hors d’oeuvres and/or a sushi bar, champagne and wedding cake. The earlier in the day, usually the less expensive the food and drink are. The venues for these less formal events can be less costly, as well.
Save the Date Cards
Wedding invitations are mailed approximately six to eight weeks prior to the wedding to allow for R.s.v.p’s. If your wedding date is several months into the future, once you have set the date it’s a smart idea and currently customary to send Save the Date cards to all whom you intend to send wedding invitations (Save the Date cards should never be sent to anyone who will not be invited to the wedding.) This is a courtesy to your invitees so they can begin to plan, especially if there is travel or a weekday wedding involved.
Your Save the Date card may be less formal than your invitation, but it would be nice to keep the motif coordinated, if you have selected one. If not, it should reflect the style and personality of you and your intended. And, it can be as informal or as elaborate as you like. For example, if you are organized this early in the planning stages and have selected your venue, you might want to include a post-card type photo of the venue or location, if it is particularly beautiful or romantic — a beautiful beach, cliff-side manor or mountain top retreat — and simply include your names, date of wedding, and location. If you don’t have the venue picked out yet, but if you plan to set up a wedding website (see below), simply include your names, the occasion of your wedding, the date, and indicate that an invitation will follow and details will be on-line soon.
Tip 1: If you plan to set up a wedding website, try to do so before you send your Save the Date cards so that you can keep your message simple and include the website address on it for additional information. You don’t have to have your site completely finished to include the address. Guests will keep checking back! The other benefit of a wedding website is you can change and update the information, if necessary. Save the Date cards might be static, but social media is not!
Tip 2: Most people today have access to a computer and will be able to visit your wedding website whenever they wish. However, if you are inviting some guests who do not have access, consider sending out two Save the Date cards; one that will go to the majority with basic information and a referral to your website for details, and one that contains additional information when you have it. Most likely, the number for the latter type of guest will not be great and you could also call them and personally deliver the news and keep them updated via the old-fashioned, or traditional, methods!
Tip 3: Do not include any registry information on your Save the Date; that information should be included only on your wedding website. A wedding couple should never, ever, appear to be expecting or, worse, soliciting gifts. Wedding and other types of gifts are given freely and received graciously.
There are many styles of Save the Date — romantic, funny, chic or sentimental; here are some sites that have many interesting and fun ideas: Brides.com, pinterest.com, etsy.com and theknot.com. Have fun!
See You in Two Weeks
Happily, I’ll be on vacation for the next two weeks. But I look forward to being back with you on Tuesday, June 9, when the topic will be Your Wedding Website.
Until next time,