Once a couple announces they are engaged, they are inevitably and almost immediately asked the all-important question, “So, when is the big day?”

Choosing a wedding date is no longer as easy as just randomly picking a date and starting to plan your dream wedding. There are some critical things you need to consider when you’re making the big decision.

First, you have to decide in what season you want to get married, Ashley Fonzo, director of sales and events at Irem Clubhouse in Dallas, Pennsylvania, said. If you hate summer, don’t get married in July. If you love snow, have a winter wedding. If the season doesn’t matter, pick a date based on where you are going to honeymoon (tropical or arctic?) and what season you want it to be there (i.e. you may not want to go to the beach in the winter or to Italy during their snowy season).

Second, check what major events or activities will be taking place in town on your wedding date (a conference, a marathon, a festival, etc.), because that could affect the ability to book rooms at a hotel and avoid paying higher rates. Avoid the most popular times of the year in order to get more competitive rates for your guests.

“A lot of grooms book around their favorite football teams’ schedules,” Ashley said. “Take into consideration what’s going on around your town and friends’ and families’ schedules and holidays.”

Speaking of schedules, beware of scheduling your wedding on an off-day before a weekend, like a Thursday or Friday. “We are still seeing couples booking a lot of Friday weddings,” Ashley said. “They don’t realize, even for rehearsal dinners, that guests are still at work until 5 pm. You must take those things into account if you want the majority of your guests to be at the ceremony. Some guests will only attend the reception because the ceremony was too early.”

“Since our packages are always inclusive and provide a great value, we do not offer discounted rates for Friday or Sunday Weddings.” Another thing to consider when booking a venue is whether the venue offers the option of an indoor or outdoor ceremony or reception, depending on the weather.

“See if your venue has both options and if they do you can decide if you want that outside look and you have an inside option ready for plan B,” Ashley said.

Once you have a specific date in mind, book your wedding as soon as possible. Many churches and synagogues request a year’s advance notice, and most venues would prefer six months to a year advance notice. After you’ve settled on a date and location, you can start picking all of your vendors (photographer, DJ, florist, etc.) so everything is booked ahead of time. Once the major decisions are made, you can focus on the details to turn your dream wedding into a reality.