Wedding Planning Advice Tips for Choosing a Wedding Date

Expert Advice: 9 Tips For Choosing a Wedding Date

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


Hurricane season.


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.

1. Important Factors for Choosing a Date

“Determine which is more important, the venue or the date. If the venue is more important, contact your desired venues to take a tour and discuss availability. Some couples prefer to choose a date symbolic of their relationship or their family. Others also choose dates based on their lucky numbers! Make a list of any sentimental dates. Once you narrowed those down, determine your venue and select accordingly. You may have to be very flexible with your venue if the date is most important to you.” -Karen Cerboni, Owner EventFull Weddings

“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 (No one wants a table covered with 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

“Knowing what your budget is for your big day can help determine what time of year or what day of the week you’ll want to have your wedding. Venues tend to have lower minimums during the week when they are less likely to book vs. Friday and Saturday. If having your wedding at a certain venue is important but your budget isn’t allowing you to book for a weekend date, try adjusting to a weekday.” -Melanie Eubanks, Owner, Lemon Drops Weddings and Events

“When considering a wedding date, consider the availability of your immediate family and those closest to you. Beyond that, you will always have someone on your list who has a scheduling conflict for one date or another. You’ll never please everyone, so don’t even try. There will always be one or two people on your guest list who have scheduling conflicts.” -Tammy Waterman, Owner, Special Moments Event Planning

“When choosing a wedding date, remember to give yourself time to plan and research as well as send out Save the Dates and invitations. Wedding planners are here to help; however, if you are not getting full-service assistance, then I recommend giving yourself plenty of time to inquire with venues and vendors to see what you love best! If your dream venue doesn’t have your dream date available, don’t feel the need to compromise. You can always wait a little bit longer and maybe even have more wonderful vendors to choose from!” -Lauren Gertz, Owner, MDP Events

“Decide if the actual date is important to you or not! Brandon and I have a special tie to the number ‘7′ and originally secured our date of 11/7/15 with our venue. A few days later, they called us and stated that, unfortunately, they had double-booked our date. I was so upset; it felt like such a loss. I laugh about it now because, in the grand scheme of things, it did not matter, not a single bit. We ended up moving our date to 12/5/2015, and I formed a new relationship with those numbers. I thought it was so rad that the numbers 2015 were used twice in the date, and now nine years later, our original date doesn’t even cross our mind.” -Shannon Dewitt, Owner, Dewitt for Love Photography

“On Florida’s Gulf Coast: We are open year-round! The ideal time, according to the weather forecasts, is late fall or early spring. The best date is ultimately the one that works for you and your family. In this case, our advice is to invert the problem: reach out to key family members and friends to see if there are dates that do not work for them during a season of the year. That way you have a series of dates to work with (vs. having only one or two). Just another way to take the stress out!” -Brandon Wheeler, Owner, Gulf Beach Weddings

“There are many things to take into consideration when choosing a date for your wedding, such as venue and vendor availability, travel plans and schedules for family, wedding theme, and weather. Because of all these factors, it might feel a bit overwhelming to choose the perfect date. Just relax, be flexible, and have several dates in mind. Don’t limit yourself to just one date; have several to choose from in case your first choice doesn’t pan out.” -Rebecca Zoumberos, Owner, Limelight Photography

“Check with the most important people in your life if they are available to attend on the date you are thinking of; this will help in solidifying a date.” -Amber Yonker, Owner, Amber Yonker Photography

Classic Blue and White Hydrangea Garland Centerpiece with Taper Candles Inside Hurricane Glass Tube for Feasting Table | Classic Blue and White Tented Wedding Reception Inspiration | Tampa Bay Florist Save The Date Florida | Planner EventFull Weddings

2. Consider Your Desired Aesthetic

“Pick your desired wedding season as the weather sets the tone for your wedding’s aesthetic. If your style is fun and whimsical, you may opt for a pastel-inspired spring wedding. If you are dreaming of muted tones, you may opt for a fall wedding. If you are dreaming of a rich, dark color palette, you may opt for a winter wedding. Keep in mind that spring and winter are generally the most popular seasons for weddings in Florida!” -Riley Gersch, Owner and Executive Planner, Elegant Affairs by Design

“Prior to picking a wedding date, consider what your non-negotiables are, specifically relating to floral design. Have you always envisioned a wedding with a dark and moody color palette? Then, a summer date might not necessarily be the most appropriate time to select. While the floral industry has come a long way with technology and expanded seasonal availability, the blooms you love could possibly be available for a price, but the cost might be higher, or the quality might not be at its best. -Zoe Gallina, Chief Creative Officer, Botanica International Design & Decor Studio

“Consider the visual appeal of different seasons for your wedding photography. Whether you’re seeking a documentary-style wedding photographer or envisioning amazing wedding photography, seasons like spring, summer, autumn, or winter each offer unique backdrops. Choose a season that complements your desired aesthetic and aligns with your vision for capturing unforgettable moments.” -Rebecca Zoumberos, Owner, Limelight Photography

“If you love a specific flower and you must have it at 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, Bruce Wayne Florals

“Pay attention to the season if flowers are important. If you have your heart set on peonies being in your bouquet, know when they are in season. Despite being able to get most (NOT ALL) flowers all year round, that doesn’t mean they’ll always look great. When flowers are out of season, you may find yourself paying more for a product that isn’t at its full potential.” -Melanie Eubanks, Owner, Lemon Drops Weddings and Events

3. Check Your Venue/Vendors’ Availability

“If you have a specific photographer you’ve been following on social media or a dream venue that you know will be perfect, be sure to be flexible with your date. Venues and vendors can often book months to years in advance, so, especially if you wait too long, they may be booked on your date. It’s then that you’ll have to decide if you’re willing to give up the date or the vendor. If you go into booking venues/vendors with a couple of dates in mind versus only one, your success at booking your dream vendors will be more likely. Book the vendor/venue that is the most important to you and work around the date they are available. If the date is the most important factor for you, be prepared to make some sacrifices depending on how close the date is. Choose more than one day, just in case. It’s always good to have a few backup dates you would still be happy to get married on just in case a dream venue or vendor is booked. This gives you the opportunity to still work with them and gives you flexibility.” -Melanie Eubanks, Owner, Lemon Drops Weddings and Events

“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, Truly Forever Bridal

“Decide what your top three vendor priorities are that have nothing to do with your date and start there. If your top priority is working with your preferred photographer, make sure you stay flexible until you confirm if they are open on your desired date. If having your dream planner on board is your goal, don’t make a decision on a date/venue until you speak with them. Your date is not everything; your actual marriage to your favorite person and partner for life is! So many times, we have couples reach out to us after their venue is already booked, being so sure they only want to work with us, and it breaks our heart to tell them that based on that date only, we are not able to work with them. This could be due to being fully booked that month, that year, or that day. If you’re flexible with your day, month, or time of year, it opens up a world of possibilities!” -Shannon Dewitt, Owner, Dewitt for Love Photography

“Secure your preferred wedding photographer early on. Check their availability and seek their advice on dates that align with their expertise in capturing the documentary-style photography you desire. Also, arrange a consultation with your favorite photographer to discuss your vision. They can offer valuable insights into how different dates can impact the quality and style of your wedding photos, ensuring an exceptional outcome aligned with your desires and their expertise. -Rebecca Zoumberos, Owner, Limelight Photography

“You can verify with your dream venue and vendors that they are available on your date first! If not, you can choose a date they are available on. I recommend giving yourself at least a date that is a year out so you have time to plan and lock down your vendors.” -Amber Yonker, Owner, Amber Yonker Photography

Romantic White Neutral Wedding Reception Inspiration, Round Tables with Clear Chiavari Chairs, Tall Floral Centerpieces with Greenery and White Hydrangeas, Gold Table Linens | Tampa Bay Wedding Venue Hotel Haya | Kate Ryan Event Rentals | Planner Parties A La Cart | Florist Bruce Wayne Florals

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

“Make no mistake, summer weddings in Florida are hot, and the weather in terms of thunderstorms can be really unpredictable. You may want to consider an indoor wedding venue with air conditioning and large windows overlooking the beach or water. Sneaking outside for some wedding portraits isn’t out of the question; just keep an eye on the local radar! If your wedding vision is more ‘toes in the sand.’ You might want to consider a fall or spring wedding date. The waters are typically still warm enough for out-of-town friends to enjoy the beach in their free time. Just try to steer clear of spring break!” -Tammy Waterman, Owner, Special Moments Event Planning

“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, when friends and family are already in town visiting. The months we would suggest avoiding are June through August. Weather is much hotter and more unpredictable falling into hurricane season.” -Jessica Ralph, Owner, Parties A La Carte

“Consider your comfort in different weather conditions. As much as we love our beautiful and sunny Florida, it’s important to remember that during the summer months, it can get very hot, humid, and rainy. Hurricane season in Florida is also most prominent in the summer to early fall months. This is certainly not to discourage you from having a summer wedding; just make sure to consider the weather when choosing your wedding date. If you are having an outdoor wedding in the summer months, you may want to have a backup indoor ceremony site in case of rain.” -Rebecca Zoumberos, Owner, Limelight Photography

“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, 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, Coastal Coordinating

“When people think of the ‘busy season’ for weddings, summer pops into their mind. While this may be the truth elsewhere, Floridians know that this isn’t the case in our sunny state. Our wedding season is pretty much the opposite of up north because of the aggressive heat and humidity that can occur in the summer. Be wary of wedding seasons in the area you are planning to get married. Choosing a date in the off-season can come with a cheaper price tag, but there’s usually a reason why this time of year is considered the off-season. Weight out the pros and cons and see if you are willing to take the risk or sacrifice to save money upfront.” -Melanie Eubanks, Owner, Lemon Drops Weddings and Events

“You have your pick when choosing a wedding date in the Tampa Bay area. We have such beautiful weather that you are not only limited to the summer months. I would choose your venue about a year to a year and a half in advance to give you a better chance of having your dream wedding vendors available. Stay away from July and August dates as it tends to be very hot and unpredictable weather unless you have an indoor venue. Don’t rule out Friday, Sunday, or weekday options!” -Kelcey Yaeger, Owner, Adore Bridal Hair and Makeup

“Do your research on what you want! Many times, what you envision involves the time of the year (the cool weather of winter, the sun setting later in the summer, etc.), which affects the date you ultimately choose! Often, couples will come to us without knowing what they envision for their wedding day, which makes it harder for us to know if we’re the best fit for you if you haven’t already done a bit of research and soul-searching to see what feels right to you.” -Shannon Dewitt, Owner, Dewitt for Love Photography

Bride and Groom Rooftop Wedding Ceremony in the Rain | St. Petersburg Wedding Photographers Dewitt for Love Photography

5. Choose Holiday Wedding Dates Wisely

“Many couples look at dates that have a special meaning for them. The dates of your first date or engagement are often popular. Be cautious when looking at weddings around the holidays. While a Valentine’s Day wedding can sound romantic, keep in mind that the cost of flowers can come at a premium cost, and floral designers who also have retail operations can be swamped. The same rule can apply to Mother’s Day. Weddings around Christmas and Thanksgiving can be amazing, with lots of people coming home to spend time with family and friends, but that can also mean that many people have other plans that may involve them being out of town. If you don’t celebrate Christmas or want a Christmas-themed wedding, consider that many venues install holiday decorations right after Thanksgiving. Many have strict policies against taking them down or can charge a steep fee to remove them and reinstall them.” -Tammy Waterman, Owner, Special Moments Event Planning

“Avoid holiday weekends if you want options and savings. It sounds great at first: ‘Let’s get married on the 4th of July or Labor Day weekend,’ however, these are often the highest rates on hotels, flights, rental cars, etc., and reception availability. Keep in mind, unless you are booking more than a year out, I would strongly consider the weekend before or after a holiday (same weather, less hassle).” -Brandon Wheeler, Owner, Gulf Beach Weddings

“Another consideration is how holidays might affect your wedding day. Red is in high demand from December through February, so if selecting that as your color palette, be mindful that flowers in that palette will be in high demand, leading to higher costs or lower quality. Always envisioned a blush pink wedding? Try to avoid Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. The time of year when you choose to host your wedding can affect many factors beyond football season and 3-day holiday weekends.” -Zoe Gallina, Chief Creative Officer, Botanica International Design & Decor Studio

“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, Coastal Coordinating

“When choosing a date for your wedding, be mindful of details like the time of year. It’s great to utilize the holidays. if family are going to be in town already, but keep in mind that this is a busy season, and your guests’ plans may not line up perfectly. This could result in your acceptance rate being lower since you’ll be competing with trips for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. If you’re planning a destination wedding or want to make sure as many of your guests can make it to your big day, avoid major holidays. Your friends and family love you, but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to be willing to sacrifice these special events. Avoid Major Holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, and floral holidays like Valentine’s Day. Having your event around a major holiday could impact vendor pricing as most charge extra for working around/on those days. Also, the prices of flowers can be affected by holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, which will roll over to you and your event if your day falls near them.” -Melanie Eubanks, Owner, Lemon Drops Weddings and Events

“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 higher, sometimes as much as 50% more. Demand for flowers is high, and this demand directly affects the quality of the product.” -John Elice, Bruce Wayne Florals

“Holiday wedding dates can at first seem like a great idea! However, take into consideration that, especially on major holidays, your wedding guests may have other holiday obligations. If you are planning a Florida destination wedding, keep in mind that holidays tend to be the busiest with travel and lodging.” -Rebecca Zoumberos, Owner, Limelight Photography

“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, Graingertainment

Jewish Chuppah Wedding Ceremony with White Drapery and Greenery Inspiration | Jewish Chuppah Wedding Ceremony with White Drapery and Greenery Inspiration | Sarasota Florist Monarch Events and Design | Venue Powel Crosley Estate

6. Check the Local Event Calendar

“When choosing a date, consider special events that might be happening the week of your wedding, such as Gasparilla Festivities, St. Patrick’s Parade, Spring Break (if you have a beach wedding), any major sporting events, etc. When it comes to logistics during such events, it might be stressful and difficult for your vendor team and your guests to get to your venue of choice on time.” -Anna Shvaykova, Lead Wedding Planner, Breezin’ Weddings

“Ask the wedding venue you are considering about any annual local events or a large convention over the dates you are considering. They can often affect the availability and price of guests’ rooms and local traffic. The local Chamber of Commerce or Convention and Visitors Bureau websites will usually have calendars.” –Tammy Waterman, Owner, Special Moments Event Planning

“Be wary of other events/weddings going on. When picking a date, try to plan your wedding away from events that have already been booked. If you know three people getting married in October and you will be attending each other’s nuptials, try to shoot for a date away from theirs. Weddings can be quite stressful and costly, especially when multiple are happening all at once. It can be a lot paying for your own wedding but then needing to get a dress, gifts, etc. for the ones you’ll be attending as a guest.” -Melanie Eubanks, Owner, Lemon Drops Weddings and Events

“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, EventFull Weddings

“Most cities, especially here in Tampa Bay, have several yearly events that attract hundreds of thousands of people. Hotels are quickly booked for these weeks, and traffic is usually heavily congested. Therefore, if you are planning a destination wedding and have guests flying in, make sure to check the local event calendar and try to avoid these heavily congested times.” -Rebecca Zoumberos, Owner, Limelight Photography

7. Think About Important Sporting Events

“Tampa Bay is an NFL city, home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Because of this, and other major sporting attractions, you will want to take this into consideration when choosing a date.  Avoid competing with major sporting events since some of your wedding guests may skip out and go to the game or leave early!” -Rebecca Zoumberos, Owner, Limelight Photography

“Tampa’s NFL and NHL teams draw many to the city. This could lead to overbooked hotels and heavier traffic. Avoid booking your wedding around peak sporting season. I have attended weddings as a guest during college football season and have witnessed guests, sneaking off to watch the game. Consider choosing an off-season or you might have guests and bridal party focused more on their phones rather than your ceremony.” -Karen Cerboni, Owner, EventFull Weddings

“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, Graingertainment

Bride and Groom Clearwater Beach Sunset Wedding Portrait | Tampa Bay Photographer Limelight Photography

8. Consider Sunset

“Be open to scheduling your ceremony at a time that allows for optimal lighting conditions, maximizing the potential for amazing wedding photography. Adjusting the ceremony start time slightly might offer better opportunities for your documentary-style wedding photographer to capture stunning moments. Opt for a date that aligns with the golden hour falling in line with consideration of ceremony and dinner service times. Sunset is an ideal time for a wedding photographer in Tampa to capture stunning shots. This magical lighting creates a soft, romantic glow that enhances the narrative of your day. If you have a specific venue in mind, inquire about the best times of day for lighting and photo opportunities. This ensures your documentary-style photographer can capture the venue’s beauty at its best.” -Rebecca Zoumberos, Owner, Limelight Photography

“If you are getting married in a church that requires you to have your ceremony at a certain time too late in the day, but you want to avoid having a ‘first look,’ consider getting married in months where the sun is still out past 5:30 p.m., or you may find yourself forced into a first look (which we love and very much recommend you at least consider), due to it being completely dark by the time your ceremony ends.” -Shannon Dewitt, Owner, Dewitt for Love Photography

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

“Let the Saturdays goooo. Everyone wants a Saturday date, but if everyone wants the same day of the week, and there are a certain number of Saturdays available, then your competition for your preferred vendors goes much higher. Consider a Friday or a Sunday wedding, or heck, even a Wednesday wedding. You’ll have a much greater pick of your favorite vendors!” -Shannon Dewitt, Owner, Dewitt for Love Photography

“Being flexible doesn’t just apply to a date, but a day of the week and a time of the year. I’ve seen more and more Thursday and Friday weddings. It may be tougher to get the entire family together on a weekday, but if you’d planning a smaller gathering or if this is a destination wedding, then consider having the date on a non-weekend day. Dates may be more available, and some vendors and venues offer weekday discounts.” -Joy Hmielewski, Lead Photographer, Joyelan Photography

“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, 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, The Birchwood

“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, Special Moments Event Planning

“October through May are Florida’s peak season. This means you will be competing with more couples on vendors, venues and hotel accommodations. June through September is Florida’s off season so there’s less competition and your budget may go further. 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, EventFull Weddings


About the Author

Anna Coats

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 talk show Daytime, Fox13, ABC Action News, Great Day Tampa Bay, and Bay News 9 (now Spectrum).

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