When Should You Get Married?

The month you choose for your wedding has a big impact on your choice of venues.

Choosing when to get married depends on many things, of course. How long do you plan to be engaged before tying the knot? How long will it take you to complete all of the planning for your event? Are you planning a simple ceremony in a small chapel, community center or even someone’s home, or are you planning a lavish affair at a local or exotic venue?

Portland Wedding Dates - WeddingWire - 08-15-2016

Chart and Data Courtesy of WeddingWire.com

These are only a few of the questions you’ll want to ask yourself. The chart at the left shows the percentages for each month of the year in terms of its popularity for holding a wedding. As you can see, the “Wedding Season” begins to ramp up as early as May here in the Portland/Vancouver area, increases in June (the “typical month” for weddings in the U.S.), dips in July and then peaks in August and September before beginning a steep decline in October.

So what does this mean to you? There are several things to consider:

  • You’ll have more venue choices, and more day and date choices, during the “off-season” months.
  • You’ll probably want to avoid outdoor venues during the late Fall, Winter, and early Spring months due to the weather.
  • You’ll need to book earlier rather than later if you want a rented venue during the wedding season months.
  • If you are extremely budget conscious, you may find lower prices during the off-season months. And more venues and service providers to choose from.
  • If people are going to be traveling from far away for your ceremony you’ll probably want to avoid the months where inclement weather could likely disrupt travel plans and schedules.

These are only some of the things to consider, of course, in choosing your wedding date. As a point of reference, I’ve included another chart in this post, again courtesy of WeddingWire.com (where I am a registered vendor and where there are several client reviews). It shows the average length of engagements, without regard to any chosen ceremony dates, for engaged couples in our area.Portland Engagement Lengths - WeddingWire - 08-15-2016

The average times seems to peak during months 9, 12, and 14, with an unexplainable dip at months 10, 11, and 13, and tapering off from month 14 and beyond. So what can you do with this information? You have a couple of choices:

  • You can decide how long you wish to be engaged before marrying, which will dictate the month in which you will plan to marry.
  • You can decide when you’d like to be married, which will dictate the length of your engagement.

Let’s say that you decide to become engaged in December and that you want to be engaged for twelve months. That means that the earliest you’ll want your ceremony will be the following December. Does that fit with the kind of wedding venue and ceremony location you’d like? If not, you might want to rethink your engagement length options.

Alternatively, let’s say that you want to get married in August at a venue that supports an outdoor ceremony. Will that work if you want to be engaged for a minimum of twelve months from December? Nope! If the date of the ceremony dictates the engagement length, the engagement length has to be twenty months!

I hope this example helps you think through some of the early decisions you’ll need to make. I’d love to have your comments and reactions to this post. Don’t be shy– comment now! Thanks for reading and please share this post with others who you think may be interested in the topic.

When to Hire What for Your Wedding?

Don’t wait too long to get started!

Sequence of Research Chart

Data and image courtesy of WeddingWire.com

The chart to the left shows the typical time frames during which the average couple — sometimes the bride, sometimes the groom, and many times together — start doing research on where, what and who to hire for their upcoming nuptials.

Choosing the venue for the ceremony and the reception needs to be done well in advance before you do anything else. Choice venues are typically booked a year or more in advance on Saturdays — THE day of choice for weddings. And you’ll need to pay attention to which month you’ll want for your event. June is traditionally the month for weddings (15%), but in the Portland/Vancouver area September (21%) is the most popular month, followed closely by August (18%).

Photographers are the next busiest people when it comes to your wedding so you’ll need to make a choice here as early as possible as well. Other services — catering, flowers, invitations, the cake and the limo/other transportation — don’t have to be done quite so early but it does pay to start as early as possible so that you’ll have the widest range of choices.

As you can see from the chart, the officiant is usually one of the last people to be hired! Here again, especially if you’d like one for more up-front consultations on how YOUR ceremony should be arranged and scripted, and help with your vows, you’ll want to start your research a couple of months before you do do the actual hiring and pay your deposit to hold the date for your ceremony (and any rehearsal you’d like to arrange to have with your officiant’s participation).

You can find information on almost all of these categories of services, plus the myriad other services you’ll need that are not on the chart, at a wide variety of websites designed specifically to help you find the best people (or firms) to fill your specific needs. Some of the most popular sites include WeddingWire.com, MyWedding.com,, Thumbtack.com and several others you can find with your favorite search engine. See the bottom of my website home page for some additional links like Yelp, Google+ and others.

I’d love to have your thoughts and comments on this blog post. Did you find it interesting? Useful? Length OK? Thanks for reading and responding. I appreciate it.

“I’d love to marry you!”


Biggest Post-Ceremony Regret?

Not having hired a videographer!

Yes, you read that right! I had the opportunity to participate in a presentation put on by the folks at WeddingWire.com at a recent networking event. One of the slides showed a typical timeline for hiring the “necessities”: — the venue, the caterer, the photographer, the DJ or other music, the cake, the stationery, the officiant, the decorations, etc., in roughly that order. The videographer was not on the list!

Another slide dealt with post-ceremony regrets. Number one? You guessed it — not having a videographer.

While still photos are still a necessity, many couples wish that they had video of their ceremonies to share with friends and family who might not have been able to attend, to post on various social media sites and to watch again themselves on anniversaries or when entertaining guests who might not have been invited for whatever reason.

So when you are making your “to do” and “to hire” lists make sure that you include the videographer so that you don’t end up having forgotten or deciding not to do so.

I’d love to have your thoughts and comments on this blog post. Did you find it interesting? Useful? Length OK? Thanks for reading and responding. I appreciate it.

“I’d love to marry you!”

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Get the Marriage License!

In Multnomah County, you’ll get this pretty, but unofficial, certificate when your marriage license is issued. If you want official proof of your marriage, you must request and pay for certified copies of the completed marriage license.

Did you know that you must normally wait three days from the date your marriage license is issued in Oregon to get married? Or that Multnomah County will waive the three-day waiting period for an extra $5.00? You must intend to have a ceremony within the three days before they can issue the waiver. It’s better to get the marriage license at least a week — or even a month — before the scheduled wedding date. The license is valid for 60 days following its date of issue so earlier is better than later.

The last thing you want to do is wait until 1-2 days before the wedding to get it and find out at that moment that you can’t get legally married on your wedding day!

Multnomah County will waive the three-day waiting period for an extra $5.00 but then you must get married within three days of the license issue date. In Clackamas County, upon request, and at the time the license is issued, the three day waiting period can be waived. The waiver fee is an additional $15.00 payable in cash, certified check or money order.

Check with your County Registrar, County Recorder or other Vital Records department for the requirements in your residence area.

Washington law requires a three (3) day waiting period beginning the day you complete your application and make payment. The three day waiting period cannot be waived. You may not get married during this time.

The license is valid for 60 days following the three-day waiting period.

You can use this chart to see when you can get married depending on the day that your marriage license is issued:

Waiting Period Chart

Please feel free to share this information with anyone who may be planning to get married. You don’t want them to be disappointed.  And I’d love to have your comments on the usefulness of this post. Thanks for reading!