How to Pick Your Wedding Date

Image of a couple waiting in a reception venue and the title "How to set wedding dates" for a post about the best time to get married

Choosing the best time to get married is no mean feat!

Whatever you pick, you’re stuck with it as your anniversary! But even more important than that, the date you pick can influence:

  • who you can book
  • where you can book
  • what it will cost, and
  • whether you can even get what you want!

So, I’m suggesting you take three steps in the process of selecting your wedding date. And I’ve added a few other things to consider below.

Step 1: Put it in Context

You probably already have an idea of an overall style for your wedding ceremony. Things like whether you want to be outdoors or indoors; at a beach or on a mountaintop; cosied up or the centre of attention.

With these things in mind, you can then consider the season that would work best for you. Then you can list any of your friends’ and family’s special dates or events. And that will give you a range for the best time to get married.

Side note: Australian outdoor wedding plans are often confounded by foreign seasons. Get strategic! Rather than relying on European seasonal expectations, take advantage of Indigenous knowledge about seasons, and Bureau of Meteorology records. For Melbourne and Gippsland, there is a great resource for Indigenous seasonal wisdom here. And the BOM has a wealth of weather data here.

Step 2: Check Availability for Your Vendors

It’s best to research critical elements of your plans before setting your date. Consider things like your ceremony and reception venue/s, and of course your celebrant.

If you pick the best date for your wedding only to find out you can’t have me as your celebrant, you will, of course, be utterly devastated! Same with that perfect reception or ceremony venue: check our availability before you make your decision.

Step 3: Check for Community Events

By this stage you will have narrowed your dates list down considerably. The only thing left to do is to check what else is happening in the weeks before and after your dates. It can be particularly annoying for guests who need to travel to find that all the accommodation is booked because of another event. Check council websites and state tourism websites to see if there are any clashes that can help you narrow down your options.

As you work through those steps, you might also like to think about these ideas:

Consider days other than Saturday

56% of weddings in Australia happen on a Saturday, and the wedding industry is geared towards Saturday weddings. This is largely due to it being a weekend day with another weekend day following: but, most venues will charge a fortune to let you keep partying into the night, so I don’t know why that should matter.

The upshot of that convention is that both booking openings and pricing can be more favourable elsewhere in the week. On average, Tuesdays have the fewest weddings, closely followed by Wednesdays. Fridays are great for night weddings, and Sundays are great for morning weddings.

Consider public holidays and other occasions

Public holidays are often overlooked, and there are a few strategic ones that could be perfect for you:

  • Good Friday might not be popular with hyper-religious folk, but it is followed by a weekend day, and across the whole of Australia the average number of weddings that happen on a Good Friday is just over 100 (well below the Saturday average of 1,269) so it’s an easy day to book, and you may find a discount or two!
  • Easter Monday is similarly open for booking: it might not be followed by a weekend, but it makes a great morning or afternoon wedding date
  • Halloween has a slightly higher average number of weddings than the others in this list, because it occasionally falls on a Saturday, but what a theme! Halloweens that don’t fall on a Saturday have an average of 200 weddings across Australia.
  • Melbourne Cup Day could make a great theme for a wedding and it is wide open for weddings (as long as your venue isn’t a racecourse)!

Novelty dates come with their own hassles

In the last decade, the most popular date for weddings was Saturday 10 November 2012. 3,040 couples tied the knot across Australia on that day just to see their wedding date abbreviated to 10.11.12. It’s a fun novelty, but the payoff is that choosing such a date means you are competing with a lot of people for bookings. When choosing the best time to get married, it’s probably not going to be the same day as everyone else!

Check my other wedding planning posts for more tips!

Published by Trevar Alan Skillicorn-Chilver

Trevar Alan Skillicorn-Chilver is an authorised celebrant, a playwright, a teacher and quite a few other things!

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