While your thoughts may be swirling around those hand-painted invitations you saw on Pinterest or those cute save-the-date magnets you adore, it’s not just one detail, but also a combination of elements that will define your celebration. It’s the hour, the venue and the formality of your attire that will eventually set the mood.
While you’re tossing around possible times and dates for the big day, consider these scenarios and some less-than-traditional options that may suit your style:
- Glance down your guest list. If the majority of your friends and family are out of town, make it an entire wedding weekend by planning activities for Friday and Saturday that will show off your home town, then build up to the actual ceremony on Sunday afternoon or early evening.
- Do you need to re-examine your wedding budget? There may be less expensive venue options on a Friday or Sunday, so think beyond Saturdays which are often booked a year or more in advance. If your wedding planning window doesn’t allow you time to land a prime Saturday slot, you’re likely to find your dream location is still available on an alternate day.
- The Sunday of a holiday weekend – think Labor Day or Memorial Day – is actually ideal, so guests have an extra travel day after the wedding. (Note: If you do choose a holiday weekend, alert your guests early on, so they can clear their calendars. Yes, now’s the time to order those cute save-the-dates!)
- If you’re not tied to a certain season because of work or school demands, remember that the months between May and October are the most popular for weddings, and therefore, the most costly and the most crowded. Unless your heart is set on an outdoor ceremony, don’t overlook the pure magic of a winter wedding.
- On Saturdays, the most popular times and venues are being juggled among lots of other couples, so you may have more bargaining power (and find you receive more personal attention) with vendors such as florists and photographers on a Friday or Sunday date. The same is true for hotel rates if you plan to reserve a block of rooms.
- Many couples have a childhood minister or another favorite officiant they are saddened to find out is booked every Saturday throughout the spring and summer months, but he or she may be completely available on several Sunday afternoons.
- This is also the time to rank your wedding day priorities. If you long to capture fabulous sunset photos, the time and formality of your event will revolve around that. Savvy photographers know how to research and monitor prime sunset times which should be the starting point for your planning.
- If you’re the lucky destination bride, your family and close friends have already blocked out time to join you, so with advance notice, a weekday celebration somewhere tropical is also likely less expensive and less crowded. Flights may offer better deals during the week, as well.
- Receptions don’t have to include dinner or even a buffet. If you’re planning a more casual ceremony – suit and tie, no tux and a shorter or mid-length gown – make it at the “brunch” hour (typically 11 am – 2 pm) which is increasing in popularity and offers a delicious array of breakfast-style menu options. One benefit of a morning ceremony is that you can invite friends and family to join the two of you later in the day for sightseeing, a sporting event or a casual dinner. You’re spending quality time with your favorite people and still have the entire next day free to escape to your honeymoon location!