To many, setting the wedding date is as simple as grabbing the nearest calendar within two minutes of getting engaged and picking a date at random that you like the sound of.
Sure, that’s fine and we wouldn’t criticise you one little bit if this is the way that you did things. However, with just a few weeks to go you may well be able to modify the flower arrangements, or change the route for the Bridal car, but one thing you cannot do is change the Wedding date. So with this in mind, we urge you all to have a little think, take some time, have a read of all we have to say and then, and only then, choose a date at random that you like the sound of!
There are a whole range of things that you will need to consider when setting the date. On top of this there are a few days each year that need to be given a second thought before opting for them. This article outlines all the various avenues that you should explore before going ahead and jumping straight in.
So without further ado, let's make a start.
Where Do You Fancy Going on Your Honeymoon?
At certain times of year, specific destinations are considered a no-go areas. Severe weather effects certain parts of the world at different times and monsoons, heat-waves, floods and more can certainly inhibit your fun! If you have an idea of where you would like to go, ask a travel agent when it is best to avoid travelling there ir check out our Destinations section as this may rule out certain dates for your Wedding.
When are the Bank Holidays in the Year You Plan to Marry?
We all know that as soon as a Bank Holiday arrives, the motorways are crammed with slow-moving caravans, the airports are packed with Brits heading abroad with not enough sun tan lotion, and most importantly, it chucks it down! Getting married on a Bank Holiday weekend will undoubtedly result in not all the guests being able to make it, with pre-booked holidays a common reason why. Traffic to and from the venue could be a problem for guests travelling from afar and accommodation for guests may be difficult to come by. Overall, whilst it is not impossible to hold a Bank Holiday Wedding, you need to think long and hard about who you plan to invite before booking one.
What about a midweek wedding?
A midweek wedding should ensure that you can get most of the things you want, even if you leave it till the last minute, whilst you may also save some cash along the way. But again, think about who you are inviting. Schoolteachers for example may find it particularly hard to get the day off work, so again think about your guests.
Are there any constraints?
Modern religion is more flexible than its counterpart of years gone by, but there are still certain constraints that you will need to consider when choosing the date. For example, in the case of Church of England weddings, because of the ministers other duties, Sunday weddings are uncommon, and they may also refuse to carry out a ceremony during Lent and Advent. Other religions too have constraints, so make sure that you check this out before deciding upon a date. Civil weddings also have certain time constraints that you should be aware of. For marriages within England and Wales, you can get married any day of the week but only between the hours of 8am and 6pm, although Registry Offices are usually open only from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays. There are no such similar constraints North of the border.
Are there any mad sports fans coming to the wedding?
The UK is a sports obsessed nation. Each year, live and televised sport is watched by millions across the country. It’s quite likely that either the Bride or the Groom is a big sports fan, or if not, then I would put money on it that at least a couple of the guests are.
The football season kicks off in mid August and runs till early May and at Weddings these days it is not uncommon to hear the ‘beep beep’ of text messages piping goal updates to guests during the Reception and subsequent ‘Arsenal have scored’ messages being verbally passed from one table to another. To some, this causes absolutely no problem, but to others it would drive them mad – this is your day after all, not the Gunners Day!
It’s not just football either, cricket, tennis, rugby, golf, you name it, there seems to be sport on every day of the year. Think about who will be there – does a soccer mad Groom really want his wedding day on the day of the FA or World Cup Final? Does a tennis mad Bride want her Big Day to clash with the Women’s Final at Wimbledon? Do the rest of the rugby team that the Groom and Best Man are part of and have invited want to miss the Rugby World Cup Final? I think you see where we are going. Look at the guest list and their sporting habits, get a sports calendar for the year you are planning and think carefully.
How Important is the Weather?
Overall, the weather often plays an important part in deciding when to get wed. Summer weddings are the most popular but even then, this isn't a guarantee of sun. Also, if any of the Wedding Party are big hayfever sufferers, a Summer wedding can play havoc.
Winter weddings conversely don’t always bring snow – hail, slush and sheet rain are much more common – and obviously travel can become a bit of a nightmare.
We predict that Autumn and Spring weddings will grow in popularity over the forthcoming years (primarily due to the changing climate) although again you still are not guaranteed good weather and depending on you and your partners professions, you may struggle to get time off work for that three week cruise around the Bahamas you are after!
For those of you after a little piece of mind, you could think about enlisting the help of one of the number of companies across the UK who use sophisticated meterological tools to produce long-range weather forecasts. Of course nothing's ever guaranteed, but it's a much better way of picking your date than the old 'finger in the air' technique!
Whatever date you opt for, we at least hope that we have managed to highlight some of the potential factors that you should consider before choosing. They say you can change your friends but you can’t change your family – and likewise, you can change pretty much anything for your Wedding Day, but you can’t change the date.
For those of you wanting to find out more, we've a whole host of other wedding planning articles on our site packed full of expert information and helpful advice, not to mention our online wedding directory that's filled with wedding planners, toastmasters and more.