Planning a Wedding: Choosing the Date and Venue

17th June 2013

When considering the date and venue of your wedding it may be necessary to make a trade off. As it may not be possible to get married in your dream location on that special date, it is important to consider which aspect is the most important. If the location is important then you will need to be flexible with the date; if the date has special meaning, you may need to be flexible with the venue. Here are some important considerations for both:

Considerations for Choosing a Date

Wedding date

Special meaning – having the date relate to your relationship in some way can make it all the more romantic. For example, getting married on the date you met, the date of your first kiss or Valentines’ Day are popular options.

Budget – weddings during the months of June to September will be more expensive, as will weddings on a weekend. Getting married on the weekday will likely allow you access to more locations, often at a reduced price. However this may be inconvenient for your guests.

Guests’ Schedules – it is important to consider those people who you really want at your wedding. Although the choice of the wedding date should be the decision of the couple, to ensure immediate family and close friends can make the wedding it is important to also consider their schedules. Find out any planned events or holidays, for example your brother’s university exams, and work around those. This is essential to ensure those most important to you can make your special day.

Bank Holidays – although getting married on a bank holiday can be an excellent idea – guests will be off work and as a couple you may often have the day off together in the future – guests will often already have something planned, public transport will be less frequent and more expensive, and traffic may cause delays. Also research whether any other events will be happening on that date – some guests may not be happy if your wedding is during a major sporting event, for example!

Honeymoon location– the location of your honeymoon may require you to travel at certain times of year. If wanting your honeymoon soon after your wedding, as is the tradition, this will narrow down potential wedding dates.

Considerations for Choosing a Venue

Wedding Venue

Special meaning – some couples may have their heart set on a specific venue for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it is the place you met, your local church or another significant location.

Size and capacity – it is important to understand early on how many guests to expect at the wedding as this can be a crucial factor when deciding on a wedding location. With regards to the reception, capacity may vary depending on the style. If opting for a stand up buffet the capacity will likely be larger than having a sit down meal.

Type of wedding – A church is still the most popular venue for weddings, and in this case it is important to consider the location of the reception. Do you want a church reception, or a reception elsewhere? If elsewhere, it is important to consider the distance between the church and the reception. Can guests make their own way there, or can transport be provided? If opting for a civil wedding it is easier to have the wedding and reception in the same place – however, again, you may decide against this and the same considerations as church weddings stand.

Entertainment – You may choose to have some form of entertainment at the reception – whether a live band, DJ or photo booth – and it is important to ensure there is enough space at the venue.

Wedding theme – Hopefully by this point you have a wedding theme in mind, making it easier to decide on a type of location. For example, a traditional or medieval style wedding would suit a castle or other historical venue; whereas a large summer wedding could be held outdoors.

Budget – It is important to consider the budget before planning any major aspect of your wedding. Some trade-offs may be required; the more spent on the venue, the less can be spent on other aspects of the wedding. What is most important to you? Different venues will often be suitable for different budgets. Castles and other historical venues will often be very pricey, whereas renting a local social club or pub is a cheaper option. Having a clear budget for the venue will allow you to narrow down your search, making it easier and quicker to make a final decision.

Weather – when deciding on a venue, it is important to consider how suitable it is for different types of weather. Summer weddings can be more safely organised outdoors; whereas if the wedding is to be held during the winter, consider how easy it would be to access in bad weather conditions.

Accommodation – If it is necessary, will there be available accommodation for guests in the venue or nearby? Or, alternatively, are travel arrangements easy to organise? It is important to consider the ease of which guests can travel to and from the venue.

Venue restrictions – Some venues, for example churches, may have restrictions to certain aspects of the wedding. Some venues may not allow external caterers; others may not allow music after a certain time. Some historical venues do not allow high heels in case of damage to the floor! It is important to be aware of any restrictions and to understand if they can be worked around.

The Final Decision

The decision of venue vs. date is a complex one. Many couples struggle to decide which factor is the most important. The considerations above will help you to understand how to go about making the decision, and to understand which compromises may be required. However if planning a long engagement, being able to book the wedding a year or two in advance can often guarantee that dream location on the date of your choice.

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