One of the first conversations you and your fiancée will have after you get engaged is about your wedding date. The first thing people will ask you is when you're going to tie the knot. You don't want to answer "as soon as possible" while your fiancée simultaneously replies "oh not for a couple of years." Setting your wedding date and announcing it to your bridal party and guests is the first big step in planning your wedding.
Tips on choosing your wedding date
- How long do you want to be engaged? One year is usually enough to book your venue and find the perfect gown, but if you need to save up for your wedding you may decide two years is better for you. Some brides only want a short engagement and set a wedding date six months after that big proposal.
- What season do you want to get married? Close your eyes and picture your ideal wedding. Are you outside surrounded by beautiful flowers with the sun on your face, or are you in a cosy candlelit venue next to a roaring fire? Weddings can have a very different feel depending on the season so set your wedding date during your favourite season.
- What can you afford? If your wedding date is a Saturday in peak wedding season you should expect to pay full price for your venue and catering. If you are willing to get married on a weekday, or out of season, the chances are your suppliers will offer you a better deal and you will have room to negotiate.
- Talk to your bridal party. While you can't set your wedding date to suit all your guests, you can check the commitments of key members of the wedding party such as your parents, siblings, and the best man and maid of honour. If there's somebody you absolutely must include in your wedding party, talk to them before you set the wedding date.
- Choose a significant date. Perhaps you want to get married on the anniversary of your first date, or exactly a year after you got engaged? Maybe you'd like to tie the knot on your thirtieth birthday? The patriotic among you might set your wedding date around Australia Day, while the romantics might prefer Valentines Day. Choosing a significant day for your wedding date adds a personal touch to your celebrations.
- Check your dream venue. If you have a particular wedding venue in mind, and you have your heart set on getting married there, get in touch and find out when they have availability before you set your wedding date. Determining your date according to your venue can often be simpler than looking for a venue that is free on your chosen wedding date.
Announcing your wedding date
Once you and your fiancée have agreed on a wedding date, you will want to start spreading the news. Generally the first people you should tell will be your parents, preferably in person but over the phone is fine if they live far away. The only exception to this rule is if you have children from a previous marriage; these should always be told your wedding date first.
After your parents, the next people to inform of your wedding date are your maid of honour, your fiancée's best man, and your siblings. Your other guests will probably hear the news on the grapevine, and you can tell them when you happen to see or speak to them, but it's not necessary to inform them officially until you send your save the date cards or your invitations.
Do we need to send save the date cards?
Sending a card to announce your wedding date around six months in advance is becoming more common for several reasons. With an increase in destination weddings guests may need more time to make travel arrangements and to request time off work. As your guests have ever busier schedules it's a good idea to let them know your wedding date as soon as possible; especially of you are getting married in high wedding or holiday season.
Although it is not compulsory to send save the date cards, knowing the wedding date in advance does increase the chances that your guests will be able to attend. Here are a few tips on sending save the date cards:
- Even if you don't send them to everybody, make sure you send save the date cards to out of town guests who will need more time to make arrangements.
- If you send someone a save the date card you are obliged to invite them to the wedding so finalise your guest list before you send out save the date cards and don't send them to your reserve list.
- Have fun with save the date cards as they are less formal that your invitations. Send postcards, fridge magnets, puzzles, or save the date cookies with your wedding date printed on the wrapper.
- Be clear about who will be invited on your save the date cards to avoid confusion. If children are not going to be invited make this clear so that guests have time to make child care arrangements. If you are inviting a plus one, try to get a name to put on the save the date card.