If you know that the traffic backs up between 4:30pm and 5:30pm, wouldn’t you avoid that time to leave from work?
Wouldn’t you plan to come in a bit earlier so you can could leave right around 4:15 to avoid the massive rush hour?
Setting a date for a destination wedding is much like trying to avoid that traffic jam. The city you are looking to wed in has a season that is busy, a season that calm, and a season that is terrible for weddings.
In setting a date, it is your responsibility to select an appropriate time for both you and your wedding guests.
The following are some things to consider before setting the date for your destination wedding.
Consider The Local Wedding Season
One of the first things you should consider is the local wedding season at your destination wedding location. Some places, like Hawaii are great year round, whereas others like the northeastern US is not ideal for a wedding in the winter.
In fact, most weddings in the northeast occur in the months of July and August with a few in June and September. So if you are getting married in Boston or New York, your choices are already limited to 3-4 months out of the year.
If You Are On A Tight Budget
Say you’re planning a destination wedding in Boston. July and August are two very busy months so plan your wedding either before or after those two months. To save more, you should consider having your wedding on a Friday instead.
Local Holiday Season
While you are researching your location for potential wedding dates, look up when traditional holidays come around. For example, August is known as a holiday month in Europe. Many companies will have limited staff while most of their employees are off on a vacation.
While most local festivals won’t affect your wedding plans, it is better to be aware of them than to take the chance of booking a wedding on a busy weekend.
For example, Carnival is a festival in Rio De Janeiro that occurs every year before Easter. Planning a wedding during the weekend of Carnival would not only be ridiculously expensive for you, but the flights and hotel costs for your guests would be astronomical.
It would be worth your time to research which local festivals cause sellouts at hotels.
Choosing a date for a wedding is a very personal thing. For some couples it comes down to choosing a specific date – the day they first met, for example, or the time of year they realized they were in love. For other couples, vacation times or family commitments may play a larger role in the decision.
Identify key family and friends without whom the wedding just cannot take place. Call each one individually and present 3-4 weekends that work for you. Take an informal poll to see which weekend works best for everyone. Remember that the further ahead you plan (more than 12 months is ideal), the better chance you have of securing the date you want.
Should you plan a destination wedding over a holiday like fourth or July, Thanksgiving or Christmas?
It depends on the type of family you have.
Our family, for example, considers the 4th of July to be a big deal. It’s a time of year when everyone gets together for a cookout in the park so a destination wedding would not work. However, we don’t get together for Thanksgiving or Christmas so planning a destination wedding then would work.
One thing to keep in mind about holidays is that travel can be extremely expensive, especially during Christmas and Thanksgiving. Not only will the airfare be quite prohibitive, the hotel, and wedding venues will be just as pricey.
If you do plan a destination wedding over a holiday, give family and friends a lot of lead time to make plans and make sure you get group rates for hotels, airfare and cruises.
Most of the guests attending a destination wedding will stay for a weekend. They typically fly in on Friday, attend rehearsal dinner, attend the wedding on Saturday and fly out Sunday morning. The hectic schedule does not make for a relaxing time.
This is where a long weekend can be quite advantageous. If you plan a destination wedding around president’s day or Memorial Day, then wedding guests will have an extra day where they are not expected back at work. Long weekends make for happier wedding guests.
The best and most cost effective destination weddings are the result of careful planning right from the start. Choosing a wedding date based on the factors mentioned above is a great way to ensure that a maximum number of family and friends can attend.
Minus the rush hour traffic, of course.
What to do next?
Take a look at some popular destination wedding locations.