Save that date

Things to consider when picking your wedding date

Patti Zint is a bridal consultant

Every bride wants her wedding date to be special—a day she and her groom will never forget, and one that is significant to them both. But when choosing that special date, consider the following things, which can affect not only your budget, but also availability and good customer service:

Holidays. Around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas, the cost of flowers will be higher due to increased demand. Growers start charging more up to a month before the holiday and buyers often have restrictions, especially on roses near Valentine’s Day. New Year’s Eve and Christmas affect catering, entertainment, travel, accommodations and reception sites that are also booked for corporate events. You can expect to pay higher rates for services as you near the holiday, with premium rates on the holiday itself. Families and business owners may have certain holiday obligations that cannot be avoided, necessitating their regrets for your wedding. Book one to two years early for holiday weddings. Other considerations: Spring break can affect travel and accommodations; and “back-to-school#&148; season may affect your guest count.

Local events on a grand scale. Each spring, brides vie with prom-goers and graduates for limousines, beauty services, tuxedos, catering, bartending and entertainment. Conventions, festivals, exhibitions and sporting events can reduce the availability of affordable travel, accommodations, wedding sites and local entertainment. Book one year or more in advance if your date and location coincide with a national event such as the Super Bowl.

Local weather extremes. Not every place is hospitable for a June wedding. In Arizona, where summer temperatures can reach 110 degrees, many wedding facilities, vendors and accomodations offer great savings. The same is true for winter in Minnesota. Take care, however, to accommodate your guests for the extreme weather conditions. For example, provide water bottles, shade, fans and cool retreats for the hot spots and hot drinks, heaters, shelter and wraps for the cold areas. Consider your vendors, too. Nobody works well in 110-degree heat, your flowers and décor can wilt and equipment can fail.

Significant family events. Before choosing your cousin’s anniversary as your own wedding date, call her. It may not be a date she wants to share. Rather than force everyone in the family to attend your wedding instead of the family reunion that’s been scheduled for three years, choose a different date. Though grandparents and parents are usually flattered if you choose their anniversary or birthday for your wedding, siblings may not want to lose their own celebration in yours. And, if a date is associated with a family tragedy, talk with others before making it your wedding date out of respect for those who still grieve.

Weekdays. Brides can reap great benefits and savings by marrying on a weekday, when many wedding vendors aren’t booked. Local guests can usually leave work early and out-of-town guests, when given plenty of notice, can take time off and still have the weekend to enjoy your locale. Your savings can be as large as 50 percent—a terrific reason to consider a Wednesday or Thursday evening wedding. Another bonus: Your local guest who must work the next day will drink less, decreasing your alcohol bill.

Consider all factors before choosing your date. Then you can rest easy when you let everyone know to save that date!