Picking a wedding date can have its unfair share of challenges. When The Fetching Mrs. Wall and I got married (20 years ago!), we chose February 19th. No particular reason, but over time, we noticed how snug it was to Valentine’s Day. Not bad, mind you, but we’d exchange cards for Valentine’s Day, only to turn right around and do it again for our anniversary! This got me to thinking about the impact of booking weddings on or near holidays, which is relevant since we’re in the early part of the year.
Holiday weekend weddings have ups and downs. Yes, you’ve got an extra day for the celebrations (and recovery!). Also, a Sunday wedding is often less expensive than one on a Saturday. However, costs of travel and hotels may be higher. And remember what I said about Valentine’s Day! Be mindful of your floral bill, especially if your choices are centered on red roses — they’ll likely be more expensive than at any other time of the year. In the case of reception locations, trying to book a venue for New Year’s will—no doubt—command a premium. Lastly, think of the impact of a holiday wedding on your guests—especially those farther than driving distance away (see earlier comment). Air travel and hotel accommodations will be more expensive and availability may not be as abundant. And as a practical matter, some families may just have standing plans or traditions that they’d prefer not to miss.
That said, here are a few holidays to think about. If you want to find the exact date(s) for a holiday, simply “Google” it. Thanks also to “Reverend Joe” of Savannah Georgia, for the comprehensive list. And may your wedding—whenever you plan it—be everything you want it to be…and more!
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (always a Monday)
Presidents’ Day (always a Monday)
Mother’s Day (always a Sunday)
Observation: Make sure your moms are okay sharing this weekend with your wedding. And ask yourself, do you want your anniversary to fall the same weekend as Mother’s Day when (or if) you become a mom? Also, flowers are very expensive that weekend.
Memorial Day (always a Monday)
Father’s Day (always a Sunday)
Observation: Like you would with your moms, check with your dads about doubling up on this day. And grooms, make sure you’re okay with celebrating your anniversary the same weekend as Father’s Day if you decide to have kids.
Labor Day (always a Monday)
Columbus Day (always a Monday)
Observation: Avoid it if you’re terrified that someone might actually show up in costume (OR…embrace it if you want them to!).
Thanksgiving (always a Thursday)
New Year’s Eve
Religious and Cultural Holidays
Be mindful of religious and cultural holidays (your own and those of your guests) when planning your wedding. There may even be restrictions at your house of worship as to whether you’re allowed to marry at these times.
Passover (begins at sunset the night before)
Tisha B’Av (begins at sunset the night before)
Rosh Hashanah (begins at sunset the night before)
Yom Kippur (begins at sunset the night before)
Hanukkah (begins at sunset)
Eid al-Fitr (dates may vary based on how each family observes)
Eid al-Adha (dates may vary based on how each family observes)
Major Sporting Events
If you’re die-hard sports fans — or if you’re worried your guests might have a hard time choosing between your wedding and the big game — avoid getting married during popular sporting events. And if a lot of your guests come from the same alma mater, watch out for homecoming weekends and bowl games that might conflict.
If you’re superstitious, you might want to watch out for these historically inauspicious dates from across several cultures.
The Ides of March
For ancient Romans, an “ides” was simply a date that marked the middle of the month — until Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15 in 44 B.C. Since then, “Beware the Ides of March” has become the mantra of this superstitiously unlucky date, though it must not have been a problem for my mom and dad, since this was their anniversary date!!!
Friday the 13th
The unluckiest date of the year has questionable origins. Some historians say it comes from the 13 diners who were present at the last supper, but the famous Code of Hammurabi doesn’t include a 13th law, which suggests this superstition is as many as 3 millennia old. And it wasn’t until a successful novel titled Friday the Thirteenth was published in the early 1900s that Friday became part of the unlucky equation.
Greeks and Romans thought that starting any new life event — from getting married to baptizing a child — in a leap year would bring bad luck.