Picking your wedding date is a bit of a chicken-and-egg conundrum: Do you set a date and then look for spaces, or look for spaces and then set a date? Select two dates and then start investigating possible locations, letting availability be your guide.

Time on Your Side

Most couples are engaged for about a year before their wedding. You can be engaged for as long as you want, of course, but a year makes sense on several levels. You'll have an easier time booking locations with a year's notice. (Some locations are booked more than a year in advance.) There are a lot of details that go into planning a wedding, and you'll be grateful for a bit of breathing room. And depending on how long you and your intended have known each other before getting engaged, it will be good for you to experience an entire year of each other's lives.

Of course, the day you get married will be one of the happiest days of your life, so in that regard, every wedding date is a good date. But if, for example, your job demands a lot of time and attention at a certain time of year, don't plan your wedding for the same time. You'll be stressed and it will be a bad time to take days off from work. If you live in a large city and you're planning a large wedding with lots of out-of-town guests, be aware of big events that may make it hard for you to reserve a block of hotel rooms.

Seasonal Selections

Let your personal style help determine your wedding date. If you love the rebirth of the earth at springtime, plan an April or May wedding to commemorate the emergence of your new life together. If you and your future spouse turn back into kids at Christmas, plan a winter wedding when decorations are in full splendor.

Saturday nights are the most popular time of week for weddings, and June through September are the most popular months. If you hope to have your wedding at a popular location on a Saturday night in June, you may have to book that space several years in advance and you'll pay a premium price. But if you change your wedding to a Friday night or Sunday afternoon, you'll have a much easier time of finding locations you love and may be able to negotiate better deals.

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