Expert Advice: 7 Tips For Choosing a Wedding Date

While you may have thought selecting a Tampa Bay wedding date was the simplest part of planning, choosing those numbers has many factors to consider:

Weather.

Hurricane season.

Gasparilla.

Spring break.

Superbowl 2021. (Which is happening in Tampa Bay.)

So that you don’t choose a date that costs you more money or that will lower your guest count, our wedding experts provide their insight to help you select the best date to get married.

Expert Advice: 7 Tips For Choosing a Wedding Date | Tampa Bay Wedding Planning Advice

1. Let your Wedding Date Choose You

Laura Kane, Sarasota Manager, Truly Forever Bridal offers a unique perspective:

Some wedding dates are dictated by the availability of vendors or venues that you may have already predetermined. If you have been dreaming of a particular venue for long before you were engaged, contact them immediately upon getting engaged and find out their availability. If they are a popular venue, they book quickly and finding out when it is available will provide you with some dates to consider if the venue is somewhere that you have your heart set on. The same goes for individual vendors. If you already know there is no other florist for you, call them and discuss particular dates that you are considering to assure that their calendar is free for those times.

Shauna Cooney, Owner of Shauna and Jordon Photography, adds:

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your must-have vendors before you finalize your date with your venue. This is a method that many of our couples actually use when trying to choose a date since they inquire with us before solidifying their date. It’s a way to narrow down what dates they have to choose from by comparing what dates their must-have vendors have available. Many times we have couples so excited to become a “Cooney Couple” to only have their heartbroken when we’re unavailable. Since we can only take so many couples each year, many of them will inquire with us before they finalize their date so that they can find mutual availability between us and their venue.

Alex Landry, Catering Sales Executive at Vinoy Renaissance, provides the following advice:

If you are going into your venue search and only have one or two date options to choose from you are really limiting yourself. The venue might not be available or you might be paying a higher price. Also, if you are considering a hotel venue, room rates differ by the weekend so having an open mind can you get a better deal for your guests.

Brandon Wheeler, Owner of Gulf Beach Weddings, explains:

The best date is the one that works for you and your family. It’s always best to reach out to key family members and friends to see if there are dates that do not work for them. Then work backward and be flexible.


2. Popular Dates Book Quickly

Bonnie Newman, Owner of Bonnie Newman Creative, explains:

If you’re trying to plan your wedding on a “cute” or “memorable” date, keep in mind a lot of couples are thinking the same thing. For example, we booked up our February 2020 extremely fast because of the 2/2020 date (i.e. 2/2/20, 2/8/20, 2/20/20, 2/22/20, and even 2/29/20 (leap year day). If you choose a date like this, book you vendors ASAP because chances are fewer than 12 months out we’re already booked.

Kéra Holzinger, Owner and Photographer of Kéra Photography, concurs:

A wedding date can be determined by many factors; if you have a popular date that has a play on numbers, book your vendors as soon as possible! Just this year alone I’ve had to turn away five couples looking for a 10/10/20 date. It’s imperative that you plan ahead if your date is a popular one. Most photographers book 8-12 months ahead of time. So for a popular date, I’d recommend starting conversations with vendors at least 13-18 months out if possible to guarantee your top vendors for your date.


3. It Gets Hot in Florida…Really Hot (And Rainy)

Jessica Ralph, Owner of Parties A’La Carte, explains:

The best time of the year to get married in Florida is November through February. These months are typically better for weather and fall around the holidays where friends and family are already in town visiting. The months we would suggest to avoid is June through August. Weather is much hotter and more unpredictable falling into hurricane season.

John Campbell, Owner and Principal Planner at John Campbell Weddings, provides this tip:

Since so many couples dream about an outdoor ceremony, thinking about the weather before choosing a date is paramount. I like to use a handy little tool called a Farmer’s Almanac. This book gives extended weather predictions for the entire U.S. and Canada, and it’s always served me well! If you’re like me and couldn’t see yourself getting married in the Florida heat, then I highly suggest sticking with a date in late January or early February. I always get lucky this time of year with highs in the mid 60’s-low 70’s and lots of clear skies!

Katy Turchich, Owner and Wedding Planner of Coastal Coordinating, reminds us about the importance of wedding insurance

Hurricane season has been harder the last few years than in the past, and we’ve learned a lot about rescheduling or postponing weddings due to hurricane season. If you are booking during hurricane season (June 1-November 30), make sure that you get wedding insurance to get paid back for anything you lose with any vendors. If you are scheduling a wedding during hurricane season make sure you talk about rescheduling/postponing clauses with every single vendor that you book. It may affect travel which can affect your guests traveling in and a lot of times it makes a last-minute decline in your guest count.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WEDDING INSURANCE


4. Choose Holiday Wedding Dates Wisely

Brandon Wheeler, Owner, Gulf Beach Weddings, explains:

Avoid holiday weekends if you want options. It sounds great at first: “Let’s get married on Memorial Day/Labor Day Weekend,” however, these are often the highest rates on hotels, flights, rental cars, etc., and reception locations are booked further in advance. Unless you are booking more than a year out, I would strongly consider the weekend following a holiday (same weather, less hassle).

Katy Turchich, Owner and Wedding Planner of Coastal Coordinating, explains to think about travel rates during holiday seasons:

Try to avoid spring break. Hotels are super booked or very expensive. Ask your planner or a travel agent what flights cost historically that time of year. Working with professionals who know the rates of hotels and better travel time for your guests will help save you money and a lot of stress. We work with a few hotel booking agents who really know hotel rates and can get you the best pricing. Talking to them ahead of time before booking your venue can really help ensure that they will have hotel rooms for your guests who are coming into town.

Christopher Grainger, Owner of Graingertainment, shares:

Don’t compete with holidays, especially major holidays. It puts your guests in a tough spot unless you have talked with them first. and they want to celebrate with you during this time. Though, New Year’s Eve weddings are always a hit!

John Elice of Bruce Wayne Florals shares insight on how holidays affect wedding flowers:

The week before, of, and after holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year present florists with some hurdles. The biggest thing to consider is that the prices of flowers are more; sometimes as much as 50% more. Demand for flowers is high, and this demand directly affects the quality of the product.


5. Check the Local Event Calendar:

Alex Landry, Catering Sales Executive at Vinoy Renaissance, explains:

Look at holiday calendars, city calendars, and your family calendar. City calendars are published on the city’s website and are usually up-to-date for the major events (i.e. Gasparilla, Pride Week, Grand Prix). These are usually published a year in advance. If you aren’t finding what you are looking for online you should reach out to the local Chamber or set up a Google alert for your wedding date so you can be updated if something changes.


6. Don’t Compete with Sporting Events

Christopher Grainger, Owner of Graingertainment, will make you reconsider double booking an important football game:

We did a wedding on Super Bowl Sunday, and there were 40 guests. The couple was expecting 90 guests to attend. After dinner, we were down to 20 guests, and it was 8:30 p.m.


7. Off-Season Dates Provide More Options (And Sometimes Better Pricing):

Laura Detwiler, Owner, Luxury Planner of Laura Detwiler Events, explains:

If you are looking for a discounted rate, choosing a Friday or Sunday over a Saturday can help. In addition, if you are really flexible with the day of the week, choosing a Monday or Thursday can save you even money with both venues and vendors. Guests can always make a long weekend out of it.

Alex Landry, Catering Sales Executive at Vinoy Renaissance, provides this in-depth insight:

Each venue is different but generally speaking off-season in Florida is the summer months (June, July, August, and September). You would be surprised at the big price difference from 9/26 and 10/3. Fridays and Sundays are great dates to consider not only from a budget perspective but also for availability. You have so many more options on these dates, and you will be more likely to be “the only game in town.” If running into another couple is a concern for you, this is something to think about.

John Elice of Bruce Wayne Florals reminds you to keep your wedding flowers in-season:

If you love a specific flower and you must have it in your wedding, keep in mind that some flowers have a season. Growers have come a long way to make sure certain varieties are available year-round, but that comes at a cost. If an item is not in-season, and we are able to locate it for the couple, the price will be high and the quality not so good. Keep an open mind about substitutions: for example, garden roses are available year-round and make an excellent substitution for a peony which has a limited growing season. Be open to seasonal blooms. Think fall colors for a wedding in November. For a spring wedding consider blooming branches, tulips, and other spring flowers. Always remember, white is classic and readily available in the market year-round.

Menu