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Dear Shoestring: Picking A Date

June 23, 2010

A reader sent me an email today asking me a three specific questions. Since the three questions are all distinctive in themselves, I have decided to pick them apart one at a time. Not going to lie, this also gives me more space to write so you guys aren’t going, “I knew she was long-winded but jeez!”

Question 1: How long did it take you to agree on a wedding date? Who was involved? What factors were taken into account?

We took out a calender, stuck the months up on a wall and threw a dart on it.


As some of you may know, Cory and I have 2 “wedding dates” to speak of: one was our commitment ceremony. I wore a champagne colored dress. He wore a suit. A judge married us and my phone rang during my vows. No joke. The other was the social ceremony to announce to family and friends our commitment to one another and to celebrate it: with lots of booze and money.

The commitment ceremony date thought process went something like this:

Cory: Let’s get married. When can we do this thing? How about August? (this is two months post-proposal)

Me: Yeah. I can’t pull together an amazing wedding in two months. I am pretty good. Not that good. Let’s just do a civil ceremony. Then it is just us. No pomp. No pagentry. No craziness. Just you and me.

Cory: Ok. August?

Me: I don’t know… that’s awfully close to my birthday. I don’t want one of those “this-is-a-big-present-so-it-counts-for-birthday-and-anniversary” sort of gifts because those suck. I want two presents.

Cory: I promise to never do that to you

Me: Ok. Let me check my calender and see which day I am free.

And this is how the thought process went with our social ceremony:

Me: So when do you want to do this shindig?

Cory: Not the summer. It’s too hot. I’ll be damn if I have to wear a f*cking tux in the Texas heat.

Me: Ok. Right. No summer. Mom and dad leave the country in May, or June, or was that July? So we’ll have to do it before then. What about March?

Cory: No, that’s my birthday month.

Me: What about April? Wait no, that is Mom and Dad’s birthdays. I need to space out the gift giving.

Cory: I want a winter wedding.

Me: December is out of the question. I am not competing with Christmas and I am not have poinsettas of any sort at our wedding. Besides, lots of people will be out of town. Not in January. People are always broke in January recovering from Christmas spending. How about February?

Cory: February is good. Not Valentine’s Day though.

Together: URGH.

Me: Too cliche. I would never forgive myself. Hmm… what about the week after Valentine’s Day? The 20th? Sounds like a good day. Lots of twos in it and it’s during Chinese New Year. So it has to be lucky. Right?

Cory: Sure… why not?

Me: Ok. I’ll tell the folks.

So I am not sure if Cory and I are the best ones to be talking about dates. Leading up to the wedding people would ask (my mother included), “So why February 20th?”. To which I reply, “No reason. We just like the date.” We left quite a few people disappointed in us and our ability to be romantic.

Here is the thing, if there is a special date for you and your beloved that you want to comemmorate forever and ever till death do you part then fan-freaking-tastic. My Uncle James (no relation) met my Aunt Susan on, get this, Valentine’s Day: they got into a car accident of all things. They literally “ran into each other”. Ha ha. Get it? So he proposed on Valentine’s Day. And guess what day they got married on? Darn straight. Valentine’s Day. That is enough for even a cynic’s heart like mine to melt a little bit.

A date or really anything for that matter, is meaningful only when you give it meaning. Money has worth because we give it worth. Otherwise, it’s just a piece of colorful paper. Actually, it’s made of cotton but I digress. February 20th 2010 and August 10th 2009 is special to us because we made it special. We methodically picked a date out because of various factors: some silly, some not. We didn’t consult anyone else (and we did catch some grief for it) because as cold as it sounds, no one else really matters.

So if no special date just magically springs to mind and you want to do it good old-fashion “unromantic” Jesselyn-Cory style this is what you do:

1. Look at your calender year and do a process of elimination by which months are definately a no go for any reason. Cory and I cut out months like Thanksgiving and Christmas and January because of obvious specific reasons.

2. Pick a season. Texas summers are brutal and Cory’s only request was to not have it during the summer. So all summer months were out. Since there are only (thankfully) 12 months to a year, between step one and two, you’ll probably only have a handful of months left to pick from.

Optional: 3. Consult with family members about which of those remaining would be (a) most convenient or (b) if you pick this date, I am disowning you.

4. Pick out a weekend. If you are lotta cheap you can do a weekday. If you are only kindda cheap, you can do a Friday or Sunday. If you don’t give a crap about saving $500 if it meant Uncle Bubba and Aunt Mary-Jo can’t be there then pick a Saturday.

5. Date picked, pop out the liquor because dang, that was a pain in the ass and we are just getting started, folks.


How long? Two days

Who? No one. We took into consideration family. To us, no one else matters. But we are selfish bastards.

What? Seasons, Holidays, Birthdays, Budget.


… But that was just us. How did other engaged/ married folks pick their dates? Now I am curious to see if Cory and I are anomalies.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2010 3:39 am

    This is how ours went:

    Me: Late summer. I like late summer, those warm evenings.
    Him: What, this year?
    Me: No, next. I can lose weight, we can save money. But not August. People are on holiday then.
    Him: OK – September?
    Me: Yes. Start of September.
    Him: Ok, sounds good.
    Me: Done.

    Is that unusually simple?!

  2. June 24, 2010 5:55 am

    Haha… ours kind of went like this:

    We figured out all of the months that had something else going on- a birthday, a wedding, a holiday etc.

    August was it. We just picked a weekend that sounded ok.

    Just a note about choosing a date- if you book it, they will come. So a Monday morning wedding, a Thursday night dinner, a Sunday afternoon dessert reception- your guests will come. Pick a date that’s good for you.

  3. June 24, 2010 7:15 am

    Ms J this is a great post! Very funny and great advice. More people should write to you with questions.

    I have absolutely no memory of why we chose our date. That could either be because A) I said “how about December 11th” and Craig said “sure” or B) It was such a bitter and emotionally draining fight to pick a date that I blocked it from my memory. I’m going to stick with A. That sounds more like us anyway.

  4. June 28, 2010 1:20 pm

    Love this post Jesslyn!

    I wonder what ours will be when the time comes.

  5. Cari permalink
    June 29, 2010 6:06 pm

    We knew we wanted a short engagement and since he proposed right before Thanksgiving, we talked about mid-May. Since my sister was graduating the third week of June, however, my mom insisted that we wait until after that (and my parents paid for our wedding, so they had an important say). The venue we wanted to get married at was already booked for every Saturday and Friday evening through the end of the summer, so we just decided to go for the weekend after my sister’s graduation.

  6. Sarah permalink
    June 30, 2010 9:43 pm

    Great post Jesselyn!

    Ours went pretty easy too! We both wanted December (end of the year, holiday mood). Picked the venue and the only available Saturday was 19th. So, there you go!

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