Happy 4th of July weekend! I’m going to do my Flashback Friday Wedding post this afternoon.. and then I’m not sure when I’ll get to post again because I’m heading to the beach all weekend and won’t have much internet access. (Darn.)
It seems like choosing a wedding venue / date is the biggest decision in the whole wedding planning process. Luckily, I had a year and a half to plan my wedding, so there was no rush. Unluckily, I planned my Pittsburgh wedding from State College and it required a 2-hour trip home anytime I wanted to be useful.
Choosing a date
- To break it down, Steve and I got engaged in July 2009. He graduated in December 2009. I graduated May 2010. I guess normally, we would have chosen to be married the following summer (2010)… but I felt stressed out even thinking about finishing classes, finding a job, finding a place to live, and planning a wedding all at the same time. So summer 2010 was out. Fall 2010 was out because Steve’s brother was studying abroad. So… winter 2010-2011? Random. I hate cold. I hate snow. I hate winter. But I also didn’t feel like waiting 2 years to get married. So – a winter wedding it was.
- Alright so we narrowed it down to winter. I figured I’d try to pick a date over the holiday break so not to interfere with anyone’s finals, etc. Well – in 2010-2011, both Christmas and New Years Day fell on a Saturday. Fail. Apparently people were a little busy the Saturday before Christmas as well. How about New Years Eve? Sounds awesome, right? Until you figure that the reception should go through midnight, which means it wouldn’t start until 8 or 9 with a typical 5-hour reception. That’s just weird to plan. Plus, places were already booked.
- Magical Date: January 8. If you would have told me when we were first engaged that I’d be getting married on January 8, I would have laughed. I wanted a summer day that ended in a 7. Fail again.
Positives to a Winter Wedding:
- Cost. If you want to save some serious money on your wedding day – get married in the winter. It’s such a slow season that pretty much every vendor will give you a crazy discount just so that they get some business. My reception hall gave us a 30% discounton our whole package because we chose January. That’s HUGE.
- People aren’t very busy in January. As nice as summer weddings are, it can get crazy / expensive / cumbersome to travel to a wedding every other weekend in the summer. Plus, in the summer you’re competing with family vacations so guests might have previous plans. We found that most of our guests were excited to have something to do in January other than tear down Christmas decorations.
- Availability. Chances are you’ll have your top choice of vendors available in winter. You’ll also have your choice of date. There’s no competition. You get what you want. Personally, it helped that no one else had booked my venue at any point the whole weekend, so my mom was able to go in and set up decorations (DIY) on the Wednesday before the wedding. She made sure everything looked perfect in advance so there were no surprises on the big day
- Christmas Decorations. If you get married close enough to Christmas, a lot of places still have their twinkle lights and other decorations up – so you get them for free. Free decorations = good decorations.
- Escape the cold on your Honeymoon. We could not have been more happy to arrive in Hawaii after a winter in Pennsylvania. I mean, Hawaii is going to be amazing no matter when you go – but it just makes you feel good knowing that you escaped winter.
Negatives to a Winter Wedding:
- Weather. This is obvious. We got married in January in Pennsylvania. It was effingcold. It was always a small fear that we could get a blizzard and flights could get cancelled / delayed or that our limo wouldn’t be able to drive in the snow.We were so lucky. It snowed a solid 2 inches. Just enough to give an even white coating without causing any travel delays. However, our bridal party wasn’t too thrilled about my idea for snowy outdoor pictures in the freezing cold. Oh well, the pictures look AMAZING.
- Indoors. There were some venues that could only accommodate a small number of guests indoors. Most of these offered an outdoor tent or outdoor areas, but we obviously couldn’t use them in the winter.
- It gets dark really early. We had to make sure that we could take pictures before the sun went down – which is crazy early in the winter. Not only would it look weird to be in the dark, but it also got even colder. No one wants to be cold.
- Flowers aren’t in season. I digress on cost when it comes to flowers. Flowers aren’t really in season in January. You’ll pay extra. I wanted cala lillies. They’re tropical. The cost reflected that. But I didn’t have any flowers for decorations /centerpieces – I only used flowers in the bouquets so it didn’t matter to me.
In the end, the date isn’t nearly as important as you might think. Either way, you get to marry your best friend – and celebrate with friends & family. So even though I got married on probably the most random date I could think of, everything worked out beautifully.