I realize I'm probably not going to make a lot of friends with this post, but I've heard plenty of "date" complaints about weddings -- so this is necessary!
While everyone always has something to say about a wedding (i.e. it's too far, the food isn't good, the weather is bad that time of year), many people agree that there are certain dates that should be avoided. I've also seen couples get beyond upset when their RSVPs were largely negative and when people didn't show up on their wedding day solely because of the date that they chose. These are the same couples that have said: "The people that really want to be there will be there," and were then disappointed when it seemed like not too many people wanted to be there (by their logic).
I'm here to warn you about some dates on the calendar that you should probably avoid when selecting the date for your Big Day. Yes, I realize that there are counter arguments to each of these dates, but know that I have witnessed what happens on these occasions and my goal is to save you unnecessary stress. Apologies in advance if you have already selected one of these below:
September 11th. This date should be pretty obvious, but for some reason, it's not. Maybe I'm sensitive to the date being that I'm from the NYC area and had friends involved in the attacks on the towers. Personally, I wouldn't want to share my anniversary with the same one where thousands of people lost their lives. I'm sure the further you get away from New York City and D.C., the more acceptable choosing this date becomes. However, if you are in the areas where attacks occurred, do not select this date. Odds are, there will be people at your wedding that lost someone. Know what happens then? Lots of "where were you?" conversations at your wedding... quickly followed by "Why would they pick this date?"... almost immediately followed by "I bet they saved a ton of money by choosing 9-11." None of this sound good to you? It shouldn't. Stay away from this date.
Day before Thanksgiving/Thanksgiving Weekend. I have seen couples choose that Wednesday before Thanksgiving as well as the weekend of the holiday. The general thought is that everyone is in town so it will be easy to get together for a wedding. Theoretically, that's great, but it's not realistic. Wednesday is the heaviest travel day of the year, so you will deal with insane amounts of traffic (depending on where you are located). Plus, given the preparation that goes into Thanksgiving Day, not a lot of people want to spend the night before at a wedding. As for the rest of the weekend, people are probably in town for the first four-day weekend in awhile and odds are, they have plans. Wedging your wedding into these plans might not be convenient, and the result will be low guest counts. On top of this, do you really want to hear "Are you serving turkey?" 983 times? No? Didn't think so!
Memorial Day Weekend/Labor Day Weekend. For years I have planned weddings on these two weekends. Unless you know for a fact that your guests will all be in town, aren't looking for some time off, and won't be bothered that you took away a three-day weekend, I would be careful with a holiday weekend. Along with the bitter attitudes your guests might have, you will have to account for extra time given any traffic in the area, especially anywhere near the beach. If guests have to travel for your wedding, understand that the hotel rates will double for them and you will most likely be hearing about it.
Fourth of July. When this date falls on a weekend, it's bad enough that people are furious they won't get time off from work. However, when it falls on a Thursday or a Friday, if you put your wedding on that weekend, you just took away some bonus vacation time. This is another hot time to travel, and if people are flying in, expect their travel costs to double and for that to be a hot topic at your wedding. I've heard plenty of passive family members make comments to brides like "The airport was so packed and I almost missed my flight, but thankfully I didn't since the tickets were so expensive because of the holiday." You have no control over the prices, but you do have control over the date. Trust me, you will have family members make it very clear. Bless their hearts.
Christmas Eve. I don't get this one. Unless your entire guest list doesn't celebrate, this is not the night for a wedding. I think it's pretty self explanatory, right? First of all, anyone with kids will decline this invitation and think you're completely crazy. Secondly, have you ever been to a mall on this day? Packed. Why? Because every procrastinator waits until this day to go shopping for the next. Couple that with family dinners, traditions, wrapping presents, attending church, and anything else I'm missing. You do not want this day for your wedding. Ho. Ho. Ho.
Easter Weekend. This holiday is a tough one because it's never the same time every year, so you'll have to google it to make sure your Spring wedding isn't on the same weekend. Even though Easter is on a Sunday, there is travel involved in this holiday as well, and it's a pretty big deal in the Catholic Church. So, if any of your guests are Catholic, or Christian in general, this weekend is not going to fly with them. The days preceding Easter are also High Holy days in the church, so there really isn't a good day out of the weekend to have your wedding. Even those that don't practice and won't be in church, will probably be with their families and/or hiding Easter eggs. Not a good weekend, so avoid it.
Mother's Day/Father's Day. Both of these weekends fall during the time of year when the weather is finally starting to cooperate in the Northeast. It is super tempting to book your wedding on one of these weekends because it's "not too hot yet" (don't worry, it could be) and the flowers are coming out. Here's the problem: moms and dads. Even if you put your wedding on a Friday or a Saturday night, if guests have to travel at all, they will pick their parents over your wedding. I once turned down going to a wedding for a very good friend because it was six hours out of state on that Saturday and I wouldn't be home for Mother's Day. She was one of my best friends, but the date and the location was inconvenient and inconsiderate. Father's Day weekend is another one to avoid because on top of people wanting to celebrate their dads, it's a heavy weekend for dance recitals. No dance/stage mom is going to do the recital circuit all day Saturday and then go to a wedding. It won't ever happen. Thinking of "honoring" mothers and fathers if you pick one of these dates? Nice gesture but really, just pick a different weekend.
Halloween. I know I am going to catch hell for this one, especially from the non-traditional couples that purposely selected this holiday. Look, if this is your style and you are lucky enough to have the holiday fall on a weekend, then great. However, if any of your guests have children, they will not be there. If your group of friends and your family members understand this date choice and won't be running through the streets after their kids collecting candy, then sweet (pun intended), go forward with this date. I will say this though, better have a thick skin for the comments that you will (I guarantee) hear about your date selection. Be honest with yourself and decide if that is something that will bother you or not.
August. Avoid the whole darn month. I do weddings in August every year and every single one is lovely. In fact, my August couples tend to be more laid back than the others. There are two problems with this month though. The first problem: it's hot. Like, Africa hot. You will complain, your wedding party will complain, your guests will complain, and if you hired me, I will say "I told you so." If you pick this month, be ready with bottled iced water, fans, tents, and other ways to cool people down. Do not hold your entire day outside in the direct sun. If you're outside at all, make it super clear on your invitation and tell people to dress accordingly. Second problem? Biggest vacation month of the year in every state across the country. I don't care if you're reading this in New Jersey or New Mexico, August is *the* vacation month. Notice the complete lack of traffic? It's because no one is working. This means getting those "save the dates" out earlier than you think, so that people planing their vacation can plan around your wedding date (fingers crossed).
New Year's Day. You're kidding here, right? Listen, New Year's Eve weddings are fantastic ideas. People want to get dressed up, go out and have an open bar. New Year's Day weddings are a horrible idea. Why? Because the night before, your guests were dressed up and at an open bar. No one wants to set their alarm on New Year's Day to get to a wedding and be too tired to dance. Plus, if guests have to work the next day, you just added more salt to the wound. Should your guest list contain people with children, you can expect them not to attend as finding a sitter on New Year's Day is equivalent to finding the point in a Pauly Shore movie. Let people have this day off to stay in their sweat pants, watch college bowl games, and eat the food they want before having to start their diet.
Those are my suggestions on dates to avoid, and I'm sure many of your are dying to leave comments about how wrong I am and how you selected one of these dates and everything was beyond perfect. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just sharing some dates that you might want to keep in mind when selecting your wedding date. There are plenty of other options available that should be explored before heading into "bad date" territory. Of course, I'm sure I missed a few like "Superbowl Weekend," "President's Weekend" and others, so leave those in the comments below too!