Expert Advice: 7 Tips For Choosing a Wedding Date

Tampa Bay Best Local Wedding Venue 2021

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

Weather.

Hurricane season.

Gasparilla.

Spring break.

Local events (think St. Pete Grand Prix or festivals at Curtis Hixon or Vinoy Park)

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: Tips for Choosing a Wedding Date in Florida | Dewitt for Love Photography

1. Let your Wedding Date Choose You

“The style of your wedding can help you determine your date. If you always dreamt of a garden wedding you probably want to pick a date in early spring, whereas if you are a couple who loves dark rich colors fall or winter is probably more appropriate.” -Karen Cerboni, owner of EventFull Weddings

“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 one 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.” -Laura Kane, Sarasota Manager of Truly Forever Bridal

“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.” -Alex Landry, Catering Sales Executive at Vinoy Renaissance

“Consider your overall wedding vision, and let that help direct you towards ideal dates. If you’ve always envisioned an all-outdoor ceremony and reception under a canopy of oak trees, then avoid pollen season and acorn season, in addition to choosing from months with the best weather (It sounds funny but it’s true! No one wants a table covered acorns or a dusting of pollen!). If you’re considering a lush garden venue, try to tour it around the same time of year you intend to get married during, so you can see what is blooming or if it still fits your vision in that season. And if you’re really set on a specific flower (such as peonies), make sure you choose a date when those are in season as it may impact pricing and availability.” -Christi Winsor, owner Winsor Event Studio

“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.” -Brandon Wheeler, Owner of Gulf Beach Weddings

“Pick a date that your new partner won’t forget.” – Karin Bearnarth, Director of Sales and Events of Mision Lago Ranch


2. Popular Dates Book Quickly

“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! Last year I 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.” -Kéra Holzinger, Owner and Photographer of Kéra Photography

“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 had booked 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 your vendors ASAP because chances are fewer than 12 months out we’re already booked.” -Bonnie Newman, owner of Bonnie Newman Creative

“I think it is really important to have an open mind when trying to pick your wedding date. I have seen so many people choose a venue that they didn’t love just because they wanted a certain wedding date. I recommend picking your venue first and then picking your date based on your dream venue’s availability. This way you are not tempted to choose another venue just to secure a certain date and then end up not loving the way your vision for your wedding looks in that space!” -Abi Littles, owner Weddings by Abi

Romantic Lush and Colorful Gardens, Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Kera Photography | St. Petersburg Wedding Ceremony Venue Sunken Gardens

Kéra Photography


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

“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 avoiding is June through August. Weather is much hotter and more unpredictable falling into hurricane season.” -Jessica Ralph, owner of Parties A’La Carte

“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-’60s-low ’70s and lots of clear skies!” -John Campbell, owner and Principal Planner at John Campbell Weddings

“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.” -Katy Turchich, owner of Coastal Coordinating

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4. Choose Holiday Wedding Dates Wisely

“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!” -Christopher Grainger, owner of Graingertainment

“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).” -Brandon Wheeler, owner Gulf Beach Weddings

“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.” -Katy Turchich, owner of Coastal Coordinating

“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.” -John Elice of Bruce Wayne Florals

Romantic Whimsical Wedding Reception Decor, Gold Bowl with Fruit and Orange, Blush Pink Roses | St. Petersburg Wedding Rentals Gabro Event Services | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Bruce Wayne Florals

Photography by Avery | Bruce Wayne Florals


5. Check the Local Event Calendar

“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.” -Alex Landry, Catering Sales Executive at Vinoy Renaissance

“Check the local events calendar to make sure there are no major events happening in the area that will cause hotel prices to soar, traffic to interfere with your day-of timeline, or guest parking options. Can you imagine trying to have a wedding in downtown Tampa during Gasparilla?” -Karen Cerboni, owner of EventFull Weddings


6. Don’t Compete with Sporting Events

“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.” -Christopher Grainger, owner of Graingertainment


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

“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 between 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.” -Alex Landry, Catering Sales Executive at Vinoy Renaissance

“We are seeing more and more couples opt for non-Saturdays, especially when having a more intimate wedding. This gives you a lot of flexibility with vendors who are typically booked on Saturdays. Budge-wise venues may have a smaller food and beverage minimum for non-Saturdays or photographers like who have intimate collections may offer a smaller number of hours if needed.” -Carrie Wildes, owner of Carrie Wildes Photography

“For those couples who are flexible on dates, consider an off-season month or perhaps a Friday or Sunday celebration. Most wedding venues will offer reduced revenue minimums during these times; thus allowing you to possibly save on overall reception costs!” -Mary Barnett, Event Sales Manager at The Birchwood

“You may consider having a Friday or Sunday wedding if Saturday dates are booked too far for your liking. At least then you aren’t waiting longer than desired and you might even save a little money.” -Karen Cerboni, owner of EventFull Weddings

“Being open to a Friday or Sunday wedding, a daytime brunch wedding, and avoiding peak tourist season may save you a lot of money. With a destination wedding, nearly everyone is on vacation and a weekday wedding can come with huge savings!” -Tammy Waterman, owner of Special Moments Event Planning

“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 that 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.” -John Elice of Bruce Wayne Florals

MEET THE EDITOR

Marry Me Tampa Bay editor, Anna Coats, created Marry Me Tampa Bay in 2012 to showcase the area's best local weddings and vendors. She has been featured as a wedding expert on the national talkshow Daytime, Fox13, ABC Action News, Great Day Tampa Bay, and Bay News 9 (now Spectrum).

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