As you begin planning your wedding, one of the very first decisions that you will need to make is selecting a wedding date. When you go to reserve your wedding venue or photographer, having a date selected will be pretty important for them to confirm they are available to work with you.
Now, if you have a date that is special to you and your honey then selecting a date is one of the easier wedding tasks. If not, however, well….it’s honestly still not that hard of a task, but might seem like a random shot in the dark without a bit of help.
When I was planning my own wedding, I remember riding in the car with my new fiancé (that is so fun to say huh? Go ahead, give your ring finger a wiggle…you know you want to!) and reminding him that we actually had to pick a date to have the wedding on, so of course he literally just started throwing out dates from the top of his head. The first date was some time in May of the following year and that was a no go because I would be in the middle of my college finals and graduation at that was not going to work. So he suggested June…the month after graduation. With graduation over by then, June seemed like a good enough choice. But June what? He randomly throws out June 12. Sounds good, but is that even a Saturday (which for as much I knew was when weddings typically occur)? It was! So June 12 became our date. That was it. We literally just pulled a date out of thin air. Later, we found out that June is probably the most popular month to get married and if we lived anywhere else, I might have had trouble securing a date with some vendors.
I share all this to say, I want to put 5 years of wedding experience to good use and help you select your perfect wedding date with a little bit more information than a random luck of the draw.
8 Tips To Select Your Perfect Wedding Date in Southwest Louisiana
- Figure out how long you realistically need to get this wedding planned.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
– If you are planning a huge wedding that you have been dreaming of since you were 4 years old and are planning on inviting a lot of guests, you will probably need a good amount of time to plan. But if you are more of a “lets get married in my parents backyard and boil crawfish after” type of couple then you might be able to swing a shorter engagement period.
– Typically the average length of an engagement (your wedding planning timeframe) is about 12-6 months.
– In the example I gave previously, I mentioned that I was finishing up my final semesters of college when we were planning our wedding. Factoring in future events like my graduation, we planned our wedding for 9 months ahead. Look ahead a bit and see what events you might need to plan around.
- Narrow down your choices. Is there a time of year that you prefer more than others? Is there a time of year that you absolutely know won’t work? Write these down.
- Remember, we live in Southwest Louisiana. Generally, the most popular months for weddings are May, June, July, August, September and October. Majority of these months are summer months and it gets HOT in Lake Charles, LA during the summer. So keep our local weather in mind when planning your wedding. To do so, I found this awesome and very helpful chart that gives yearly averages for the rain amounts and temperature. In Lake Charles, according to the chart, February, March and April are the months with the least amount of rainfall and have the nicest temperatures. The temperatures drop again during Fall of course, but the average rainfall is still consistantly pretty high. When I was first searching for this chart I was thinking “You only need to know the weather if you plan an outdoor wedding” but then I realized, no…it’s good to consider it even for an indoor wedding since you might want to take photographs outside and need to travel to and from as well. With that said, remember – it’s Louisiana and our weather is crazy unpredictable.
Just pray for beautiful weather and don’t stress about things we can not predict or change.
- Avoid holidays. If you would like to have your wedding in April, take an extra step and check when big holidays like Easter fall that year. A lot of times families are traveling out of town for holidays, and some churches may be booked up with holiday related events around that time. While you are considering the surrounding holidays, remember that some of your venues may be decorated for holidays – is that a plus or a minus for you?
- Weekends generally mean more people are off work, but weekdays might be cheaper on your pocketbook. Since the majority of couples book weddings on a Saturday, or weekend in general, there is more flexibility with vendors to offer a weekday wedding at a discounted rate.
- Honeymoon prices may be cheaper during the “off season.” If you head off on honeymoon after the holidays, or during the winter, your travel prices might be lower. This however, isn’t the case if you are planning on going somewhere tropical in the winter since a lot of people who live, you know where they actually have snow and stuff for winter, will actually be traveling to warmer weather for a break from the frigid weather. Chat with a travel agent if you plan on traveling for your honeymoon and need an idea of the best times to travel there.
- When planning the time of day for your wedding ceremony, take meals into consideration. If your reception is going to fall around lunch or dinner time, then you might feel obligated to feed your guests a full plated meal (and they will be hoping for it since they will most likely be hungry). Scheduling your wedding to fall around these meal hours can help save some money as you serve hor d’oeuvres or brunch, instead of a whole plate.
- Consider the time of year it will be and what time the sun sets. With Daylight Savings time, depending on the time of year you choose, the sun may either set super early (around 5 pm) or later in the evening (around 8 pm). When the sun is setting earlier, you will want your ceremony to finish between 1-2 hours before sunset to make time for formal family portraits, as well as the very important newlywed portraits of you as man and wife. When you are planning a wedding where the sun is setting later in the evening, you have more flexibility to come back outside and get those couple portraits after your reception has started, which is a bonus.
So basically, we broke this down from time of year, to month, to choosing a day of the week, and finally time of day. We took upcoming events into consideration, as well as weather, any holidays, and personal preferences. With these tips in mind, you and the love of your life should have an easier time selecting the perfect date for your Southwest Louisiana wedding!
So, did you get a date picked? What tips did you find most useful in selecting your final wedding date?