Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Picking A Date

A little while ago I shared our process of creating our save-the-dates and how excited we were with the end results. Well, we created and ordered our invitations last weekend, and they arrived at the fiance's house earlier today! :) I'll try to remember to take pictures of them sometime this weekend and fill you guys in on all the nitty gritty of how we chose them, designed them, and the total cost as soon as they've been mailed out (not that they are crazy gorgeous or over-the-top, but we want our guests to be the first to see them).
But first, I feel as though there needs to be two other posts before I can reveal our invitations. See, I'd like to share how we chose our wedding date and how everyone seems to be confused about when our wedding will actually take place. Also, I've promised to fill you guys in on what went down when we had our engagement shoot a couple weeks ago, and since the pictures from that shoot are included in our invitations, it only makes sense to talk about that first, right? onto the date.  The night we got engaged, I called all of our family & friends on the drive home while the fiance focused on the road. Of course the number one question we got was “when are you guys going to get married?” Hello?? We literally just got engaged like an hour ago! How in the world would we know when our date was going to be? As much as we had talked about our wedding before the engagement, we never talked about a date or even a year for that matter. All we knew was that we wanted it sooner rather than later, and preferably around a time when our honeymoon would be during a school holiday so that I could take the least amount of time off as possible when it came to work.
So, we decided that we wanted to have the wedding either around Thanksgiving 2011 or Spring Break 2012. The problem? Well, Thanksgiving was less than a year away and a lot of venues/vendors would be booked. Also, I wouldn’t know when Spring Break would be until June 2011 when we got our new school calendars, which again, would give us even less time to plan than had we stayed with Thanksgiving. So, Thanksgiving it was! Saturday, November 19th became the date we were aiming for.
We started looking around at venues in the Orlando area, but most were either booked, out of our price range, or required specific caterers which were all WAY out of our price range. Some of the places we had looked at were Leu Gardens, Highland Manor (sidenote: SO GLAD we did not go with them. Turns out the place shut down & left all of the people with reservations without a venue & without returning their money. It has turned into a huge problem that you can read about here.), Winter Park Civic Center, Starlite Cruises, and we even looked at going back to our engagement site and having the ceremony there.

Honeymoon Island State Park: Sunset from the night we got engaged.

I was really becoming disheartened though by the amount of money everyone was wanting us to spend. Then it happened! One afternoon I was browsing through an Orlando Wedding Magazine and stumbled upon a really tiny article about venues that won’t cost an arm and a leg. On there, they had the Winter Park Farmer’s Market featured. I had previously looked at the Winter Park Civic Center (both are run by the City of Winter Park), but had somehow overlooked the farmer’s market on their website. The price was definitely appealing – and even more appealing if we decided to go with a Friday or Sunday night wedding.
So we sent them an e-mail asking them for more details (like restrictions, deposits, availability, etc.). They came back with some good & bad news. The bad news: they did not have a Saturday night open until Spring 2012. Also, Fridays through December 2011 were already booked. However, they did have 2 Sunday night openings – both in November 2011! So, after some discussion and viewing the site, we decided to move our wedding date to November 13, 2011, signed a contract with the site, and put down our deposit.
This date actually turned out to be perfect for a couple of reasons: (a) the Friday before is Veteran's Day, so I already have the day off of school which means I don't have to use up my PTO, (b) which also means a lot of people will have a 3-day weekend that makes it easier on them when it comes to taking time off of work and travelling, and (c) we have a few days before we leave on our honeymoon to pack - granted going back to work those days will royally suck!

So, what we have learned about picking a wedding date:
1. Be flexible: maybe the place you want doesn't have the date you're looking for available, but they might have the following week. We went into this knowing we wanted it before Thanksgiving and sometime in the month of November. Even though we picked the 19th as our preferred date, it didn't hold any real significance to us.
2. Sundays are cheaper: A lot of people get married on Saturdays. So, of course, wedding venues and vendors use this to their advantage and charge more for those "prime" dates. By booking on a Sunday, we got a discounted rate. Sometimes you can book a Friday night wedding for a cheaper price than a Saturday night, but even those are becoming more and more popular.
3. Not to get married on a "special" day: Whenever we mention to people that we're getting married in November, usually the first question is, "Are you guys getting married on 11-11-11?" As much as we think the repetitive date thing is cool, it wasn't really our thing. Besides... November 11th is Veteran's Day. For those who don't remember your history, it was originally called  Armistice Day to signify the day we ended WWI. Why that date specifically? Well, the armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. It might just be the history teacher in me, but I don't want my anniversary to coincide with Veteran's Day every year.

4. If you are getting married on an "odd" day, be ready to remind people over and over again: Even after our guests received their save-the-dates, they still seem to think we are getting married on November 12th (a Saturday). I don't know if they look at their calendar and assume it's a Saturday wedding. Or maybe they think we are total dorks and typed the wrong date on our save-the-dates. Either way, we're hoping since we specified "SUNDAY" on our formal invites everyone will get it. Fingers crossed!!

So how did the rest of you chose your wedding date? Did you chose a season first and then sort of let everything fall into place? Did you have a specific date in mind, like your anniversary or 11-11-11? What other advice would you pass on to couples who are in the very early stages of planning their wedding?

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