One of the hardest parts of planning a wedding is the very first thing you have to do after you're engaged: You have to choose a wedding date. While most of wedding planning is about you and your spouse-to-be, the date can get political (or emotional) quickly. Here's how to navigate a minefield of opinions and requests and come out on the other side relatively unscathed.
Your parents. Their parents. Siblings. Anyone you want to be in the wedding party. All of these people will expect to have a say in what date you choose for your wedding, and we haven't even started to talk about what the weather might be like in the part of the world you've chosen, or whether your dream wedding planner is free that weekend. Sorting through all of this information can be a daunting task, but if you break it down, you'll have a wedding date in no time.
Pick a season.
If you know you'll be getting married in a certain area, narrow down the season (ideally a 6-8 week period) when you'd like your date to be. Hoping to marry in the mountains? Avoid the muddy spring season and remember that it rains almost every afternoon through the summer. Dreaming of a ceremony on a Bahamian beach? Hurricane season is June through November, and March might leave you with a whole lot of spring-breaking onlookers.
Find out which dates won't work.
Call or email your VIPs and ask them to let you know which dates during your selected season are no-gos. Will your parents be travelling internationally? Does your fiancé's sister have final exams? Have everyone involved make a list of non-negotiable dates, as well as weekends where they have plans but are flexible about changing them. Don't forget to look at your own work and personal schedules so you're not saying "I Do" the same weekend as your college bestie.
Make a calendar.
Mark all of those unavailable weekends on a calendar, then put down the flexible ones in a different color. You now know which weekends you won't be getting married, which should hopefully leave you with a few options when everyone is available.
Spread the word.
If you're left with a single date that's the best option, let everyone know before you contact any vendors. Ask your VIPs to save the date, but to also keep it to themselves until you've put together a guest list. You may want to pick at least one backup date, but keep that to yourselves unless something comes up.
Above all, be as diplomatic as possible. Don't take it personally if you'd always wanted to get married on Columbus Day Weekend but none of your family is free — that's why you're asking for their input in the first place! Take everyone's information into account and give them a chance to have an opinion, then make an informed decision so that everyone you really want to have by your side can be there with you to celebrate.