Setting the Date

You need one. You can't put off choosing one for too long, because you can't plan your wedding if you don't know when it's going to occur. Chapter 1 discussed the pros and cons of long engagements, and some of those factors (e.g., saving your money over the next two years so that you won't be burdened with extraordinary wedding debt) may come into play here. Your work schedule could be an issue. Or maybe you have a special holiday or a particular season in mind. Whatever the case, you can go no further until this little task is taken care of. Time to get to work.

That's the Day!

Some couples have a certain date in mind, and come hell or high water, they are going to be married on that day. Special dates may include holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries (like the anniversary of the day you met).

Fact

One perk to choosing a holiday wedding date is that no one will be likely to forget your anniversary. It'll be etched in the minds of your friends and family forever.

If you're leaning toward choosing a multipurpose wedding date, consider some of the potential future cons. Will your anniversary be lost in the shuffle of another important date, for example? Will you wish, year after year, that your anniversary gift wasn't always tied up with your birthday gift? Consider some of these possibilities when selecting a date for your wedding:

Many of your guests may already have other plans — particularly if you've picked a long weekend and/or a major holiday (such as Christmas week).

Your anniversary will never be acknowledged as its own special day.

In the event that things don't go as planned, your birthday will be ruined forever.

You will never, ever get a table (or good service) at your favorite restaurant on Valentine's Day, even if it is your anniversary.

One bride confesses now, ten years after her wedding:“My anniversary is right around Mother's Day — sometimes the dates coincide. We didn't have children when we got married — now that we have small kids, we try to just combine the two things, because we can't really go out for special dinners twice in the same week. Both days usually end up being kind of blah. I think we're going to try alternating years — one year we'll go all out for the anniversary, and the next year I'll get a Mother's Day.”

Fact

If your heart is set on a spring or summer wedding, start planning as early as possible. These are the most popular months for weddings, and unless you're planning on having a backyard ceremony and a barbecue reception, you'll have a heck of a time finding a caterer, a church, a florist, a minister, and a band on less than six months' notice.

Work, Work, Work

Your work schedule is a big consideration when you're choosing a wedding date. Teachers often choose the summer months for their weddings for obvious reasons; accountants avoid the month of April for theirs. These occupations have their definite busy seasons; your work schedule may be less clear. If there's something huge looming on the horizon where you work — you know, for example, that next spring you're going to be sent to work in Asia for three months — try to avoid having your wedding date coincide with a potential work crisis.

If you're on active military duty, plan your wedding cautiously. In this current world climate anything can happen, and you'd hate to throw away all of your money on a wedding that had to be canceled when you were called overseas. It may be wise to either have a small, inexpensive wedding or postpone the wedding altogether until you're discharged.

Good Things to Know

The least expensive time to plan a wedding is in the winter months (between November and January), and the most expensive time of the week is Saturday evening.

If your heart is set on a Saturday (because for many people it's simply the most convenient day to schedule a wedding, especially if you're counting on the company of out-of-town guests) and saving money is a major concern, you can opt for an earlier reception. You won't have to serve as large a meal as you would in the evening, and the savings will be substantial.

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  4. Setting the Date
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