Picking a Wedding Date–My letter to engaged couples

Dear Newly Engaged Lovebirds,

Congratulations on getting engaged! The first question everyone asks is, “when will the wedding be?”  By this point your Pinterest boards are probably bursting at the seams with wedding ideas and you’re going to have to narrow your options down. The thought of when to have your wedding is probably not that much of a consideration to you other than wondering if you should go with red roses and a plaid theme, or maybe a spring wedding would be prettier. But other than the groom, your wedding date will most likely be the most important decision you will make. (If you’re Mormon you’ve got the whole Temple issue which is super important too, obviously.)

Here are the facts:

Ultimately nobody cares what food will be served. In two years no-one will remember. Nor will anyone care what flowers you picked or what kind of band was playing. People will maybe remember that it was nice or tacky, but for the most part weddings are forgettable. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but there you are. Most people won’t even remember what the bridesmaids wore. As a matter of fact, in twenty years you will be utterly appalled at the bridesmaid dresses you chose and probably your own wedding gown too. I know you don’t believe me but ask anyone you know who got married in the 80’s or 90’s. They will all tell you it’s true.

You wedding isn’t about the two of you. It’s about two entire families. The TV shows and magazines may tell you that it’s all about the bride (and maybe the groom a tiny smidge too), but honey, it’s not true. You are going to have to give in more times than you want in order to keep the peace. Get used to it because compromise is what marriage is all about. If you refuse to accommodate anyone’s needs or wants but your own you might have a prettier wedding but everyone–including the groom and especially your mother–is going to hate you.

So let’s talk about the date. We’re gearing up for the Christmas season and there are always a jillion weddings this time of year. Sometimes it coincides with school breaks for the happy couple, but sometimes a date in December is picked for no better reason than the couple thinks that falling snow seems romantic. Here are all the reasons why a December wedding is a bad idea:

1) It’s super inconvenient. Unless everyone you know lives within two hours of you, your wedding will require travel by guests and participants. Not only is it more expensive, but the weather is pretty iffy. Nobody wants to get stranded at an airport or shell out $2000 to fly out the week of Christmas.

2) Schedules are packed at Christmas. Especially for people with children. There are work, church and school parties, not to mention recitals and concerts. If you are expecting high schoolers or college students to come, it’s not going to work if you plan the wedding during finals week. No matter how special you are, people really don’t want to cram one more thing onto their calendars in December. It’s just too much. Instead of feeling joy for you they’ll probably be worrying about their to-do lists.

3) Everyone will be freezing during pictures. Yes, a bride in the snow is so lovely. All that white; it’s so dreamy and ethereal. Unfortunately Grandma isn’t so thrilled about it. Neither are your bridesmaids who will be wearing the strapless dresses you chose. Neither is your adorable flowergirl who is screaming in every picture because it’s 27º. This may all seem dumb but pretty much the only tangible proof you’ll have that the wedding took place will be photographs (and bills). Plan accordingly.

3) People’s budgets are tight. You want a nice wedding present, right? Well, there’s a lot less money to spare at Christmas. People are usually stretched thin, money-wise. And if they’re about to max out their credit card, do you think they’d rather spend the money on their son’s Christmas or on a wedding present for their cousin’s daughter?

4) Your anniversary will suck. This is certainly the strongest argument for not getting married at Christmas. You and your fiancé might be years away from having children now but at some point you probably will. And guess what’s going to happen then? You will not be able to take a week off from Christmas festivities to go on a fantastic anniversary trip. You will have way too much going on (see point #2 above). You will be spending money on Christmas presents for those kids and it probably won’t work with the budget.

Why do you think so many people get married in June? All the best flowers are in season, families are a lot more free to travel and you’ll be able to take anniversary trips when the weather all over the world is gorgeous. At the very least you could pick the end of January. Sure, it may not be the best for you, but it’s not all about you, remember?  Just whatever you do, don’t get married on Valentine’s Day (all the restaurants and hotels are booked solid and your anniversary will forever more be a pain. And flowers are out-of-the-world expensive so forget your husband ever getting you an anniversary bouquet.)

I’m not trying to burst your bubble, sweet Engaged Couple. I’m just trying to keep your wedding guests from cursing you under their breath.

Love always,

14 thoughts on “Picking a Wedding Date–My letter to engaged couples

  1. I could NOT have said it any better! This is exactly what I have been saying for years….and no one has listened! Thanks for speaking truth! Engaged couples..PLEASE LISTEN!

  2. December 11th is my anniversary. December 23rd my birthday.
    What was I thinking?
    My husband gets me one gift for all three. Yup, anniversary- birthday- Christmas rolled into one wonderful gift, like a blender that was on sale at Kohls on Black Friday.
    Sing it sister….
    I thought, “oh how smart I am. The tree in the sanctuary will be my decoration, easy poinsettia flowers, lovely evergreens…so simple!”
    Little did I think we would poor and frazzled every anniversary for the rest. of. our. lives.
    Yes, a spring wedding. Choose a spring wedding!

  3. I read about 20 blogs and this is the only one I ever comment on. But I can’t help it. But it is embarrassing.

    I also agree with what you said. But I will say that I tried to please everyone else as I planned my wedding and I wish I hadn’t so much. 13 years later my sister got married and didn’t try to please anyone and she got the wedding of her dreams. She was so darn happy about the whole thing. I don’t mean about the December date…you are 100% right about that, ditto Thanksgiving weekend. But if you want peonies instead of roses, or a cathedral length veil even though it twice as expensive or your college friend to play an acoustic guitar song even though your mom says it is tacky you should go for it because you only get married once.

    1. You should definitely stand up for what’s important to you. Especially if it’s something thats not a huge deal like music or your hairdo. But I’m very wary of a Bridezillas who refuses to bend because it’s “her day”. Which is why I’m already telling my children that if they get married at Christmas I won’t be coming.

      Compromise is incredibly important. Not necessarily giving in–it is your wedding after all– but knowing what is worth fighting for and what’s good to just say OK to keep your relatives happy.

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. You are, of course, right. I have no confidence a single engaged woman is going to give a rat’s backside what you have to say. But at least it’s off you chest. And, vicariously, minel

  5. You are SOOOOO right about being ware of any anniversary around the same time as any other holiday or birthday. Two celebrations at once means one of those celebrations gets neglected. And if you are a parent, it’s your love life dwindling into a hug and a promise while you unselfishly make time for the kids. If you want ANY romance on those anniversaries, you had better schedule the wedding during the most boring, vacant time of the year.

  6. oh man… how true this is. our wedding was exactly one week before Christmas and it was NOT my choice! i really wanted to get married in April, but my husband-to-be was adamant that we not wait four more months. 🙁 i predicted everything you said in that post– that it would be cold (which i am not a fan of) and that our anniversary would always be second fiddle to Christmas. i will say that 13 years later, i have to give my husband props for always trying to make our day special, even with all the holiday craziness going on around us. we don’t ever take a week-long vacation over our anniversary but there’s nothing wrong with getting an anniversary card that says we are going on a trip together AFTER the holidays are over!

    do you also have a december anniversary? is that why you have such strong opinions on this one?

  7. OH, so true, so true!! Although I don’t have a Christmas anniversary, I do have a Valentine’s-ish anniversary. And not because I wanted a romantic Valentine’s Day wedding. No, I’m much too pragmatic for that. It happened that we put an offer in on a house that ended up closing in mid December, and we couldn’t wait until my desired June date to stop paying 2 apartment rents + 1 house payment. It also happened that the Olympics in Salt Lake came during the last 2 weeks of February, so I got a 2 week break from teaching. So with finances and the break in mind, we went ahead and picked Feb 16. NOT Valentine’s day itself, but even being a couple of days from it has poisoned our anniversary. We don’t do both a Valentine’s day gift AND an anniversary gift, or a Valentine’s Day Special Night Out AND an Anniversary Special Night Out two days later. Hoping for a thoughtful, romantic card for Valentine’s Day is a BIG hope. The chances of another one two days later? Nonexistant. And we certainly don’t have Special Sex two days apart. Because fancy lingerie and something really creative in the bedroom 2 days later is just too much to ask! But honestly, the biggest problem with the date we chose is President’s Day, which always falls the weekend closest to our anniversary, making flights and hotel prices increase 50%. Seriously, brides need to think VERY carefully about these things and avoid holiday weddings (any holiday, even the stupid ones) like the plague! (And I think you should submit your letter to every bridal magazine out there!)

  8. I agree with you 100% and would like to add a few extra points for potential brides and grooms to consider from my own experiences. (I’ve warned my kids too.)

    1-If you are having a destination wedding. Please be considerate of your guests with children, even if they’re older. Hotels want everyone checked out by 11am, if your wedding (sealing) is at 12pm, I will have to rent the room for another night but not get to enjoy it because your reception is that night in the next state over. Should everyone’s kids mindlessly wander the streets? (Hm, it seems I may still feel a little resentful about this one….)

    2-If there is another big production going on at the aforesaid location and your wedding is scheduled for the last 2 days of it, costs incurred increase; also, room availability will decrease dramatically. (Which is why we couldn’t rent the room for the rest of the day even though we scheduled when we received the invite, 6 months in advance.)

    3-If you are going to wait to take pictures after the wedding, mid-summer in the mid-afternoon in the mid-west with humidity skyrocketing and kids are cranked about having to wear nice clothes while they waited, crammed in someone else’s small room, don’t be too surprised that pictures will suck when everyone is hungry, hot and tired, plus the lighting is terrible and blinding. Take the pictures with everyone else, before hand.

    4-Do not change your wedding colors 4 months later, a month before the wedding and expect someone to sew all new dresses for the bevy of little girls in the line. Ain’t gonna happen, and it didn’t. Death to Tulle.

    5 -If you have any thoughts about going all out and whatnot for your wedding, I suggest you take a wee gander at the Awkward Family Photos site. No matter how wonderful you think it all is, 10-20 years from now, it’s gonna look dated and dumb to you and your kids. I promise, you’re gonna laugh and perhaps even cringe a little.

    6-Relax and realized that the only real thing that matters on this most special day is the commitment that you and your special someone are making. Let all the rest go.

  9. My sister chose 3pm to get married. My kids, who were supposed to be her ring bearer/flower girl had nap time from 2-4 or 5. I spent weeks adjusting their schedule. Every week up an hour early, nap an hour early. The day of the wedding comes, I am getting my hair done and my husband lets them sleep in, thus throwing weeks of planning off. They made it down the aisle without tantrum, thank heavens, but fell asleep in the pews and were not in any pictures.

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