With an average gestation period of eight months, couples have a lot of time to think about their wedding date – a lot of time to sear it into their minds. That date (that number on a calendar) will forever signify their promise of love. It’s not surprising, then, when brides try to find the “best” date to save.
My personal favorite I’ve seen recently is 10-10-10 (October 10, 2010). 101010 is binary for 42, and if you’re familiar with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you’ll know that 42 is the answer. The answer to what? In this case, the answer to love – any couple who gets married on 10-10-10 can rightly claim that their wedding date was the answer to love.
For other couples it might be something more mathematically simple – the anniversary of a grandparents’ wedding, a first date, a first kiss; that sort of thing. At some point, we (as brides) kind of have to let go of the power of choosing a date. The church might be booked on that date for the next 3 years! The perfect reception hall might already be booked when you already have the perfect church date!
Then you’re not so much choosing your date, as your date is choosing you.
That perfect venue is available only one weekend this year? And it’s in February? We’ll take it! This is often what a lot of couples have to deal with when choosing a wedding date. We certainly determined our date based on the availability of the space!
Even if our wedding date doesn’t coincide with an ancestral anniversary, it is still meaningful.
Our wedding date does coincide with a celestial anniversary – an anniversary of equality. Unfortunately, that day is a Tuesday this year.
You might be thinking, “OMG – WTF Miss Bear Cub… a TUESDAY wedding?? Are you MAD??”
Well, I’m not mad, but I’m definitely conflicted.
I’ve let you in on the little secret that Mr. Cubbie and I are full-time astronomers. That’s the reason why we’re in Chile – we do research funded by the National Science Foundation on objects that can only be studied from the southern hemisphere.
When we were picking our wedding date, we had a choice between mid March and mid September (summer camps are chock-full-o-kids in the summer!). September in Oregon is way more likely to be sunny than March, so that was easy. Within September, we were able to choose our wedding date – we wanted the weekend of the autumnal equinox.
Really quickly, remember our venue? Since we live a hemisphere away from our family and friends, we wanted to spend the entire [long] weekend with them – three full days of fun at a summer camp! For this reason, our wedding is really more of a domestic destination wedding. The idea isn’t for people to be able to drive in for the afternoon – it’s to spend several days together.
The autumnal equinox, however, lands on a Tuesday (September 22) this year. Did you know it’s a different date every year? It oscillates between September 21, 22, 23, and sometimes 24! Seeing as how our wedding “date” – the equinox – changes every year anyways, we figured it wouldn’t be a big deal if this year it was the 21st instead of the “real” equinox, on the 22. Some years it’ll be on the 21st!
September 21st is a Monday. This isn’t as bad as a Tuesday, but it’s still a Monday – a 3-day weekend ending on Monday. For some reason it seems like people are generally more willing to take a Friday off from work than a Monday, even though the hours lost is the same.
While you’re silently gawking at how I’m forcing my 80-so-odd guests to miss work for my Monday nuptials, hear me out a bit. The symbolism of an equinox wedding is, to me, awesome.
- The “equinox” means equality – the hemispheres of the Earth have equal daylight for that one day. Equality in our marriage is very important. The two halves of this marriage will always be equal.
- While it’s autumnal equinox in Oregon, it will be vernal (spring) equinox in Chile – we’re traveling from the vernal equinox to the autumnal equinox! Not only is our wedding day going to have symbolic equality (of spirit), it’s also going to have literal equality (of uniting the southern hemisphere with the northern!).
- We’re freaking astronomers! Why wouldn’t we include something astronomical in our nuptials??
We were all set to send out our save-the-dates as September 21st, when I panicked. What if, out of 150 invited, only 20 show up?? What if everyone hates me for insisting on having a Monday wedding? I couldn’t bear the thought of traveling all the way from South America, to be surrounded by a whopping 5% of my friends and family on my wedding day. I tend to take things rather personally, and this lack of support on such an important occasion would devastate me.
I called our site coordinator, and changed our date to September 20 – Sunday. We felt that could be a decent compromise – it’s still the weekend, and almost the equinox.
I understand having your wedding on any day that’s NOT Saturday is rather controversial. But given the significance of our equinox wedding date, would you really be so upset to go to a domestic destination wedding on a Sunday? Can we still call our wedding an “equinox” wedding even though it’s the weekend before the actual equinox? Have you had any positive experiences with non-Saturday weddings?
Is your wedding date imbued with special significance? How did you choose your wedding date – or did it choose you?