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Dealing with conflicting wedding dates

by | 3 June 2017 | Couple

When wedding season rolls around, it’s not unheard of to come home to two or three save the dates sitting on your doormat. As you open them, you secretly hope that none of the dates clash with each other, another event in your diary, or worse, your own wedding. But sometimes, conflicts happen. So before you spiral into a panic attack, check out our tips on dealing with conflicting events on the same day as yours or a friend’s wedding.

If you’re the one getting married

Date check before you do anything else

Before you even start considering wedding venues, finalising your guest list or bookmarking vendors’ websites, check that your proposed wedding date doesn’t fall on a public holiday or coincide with a large local event (if you’re looking to tie the knot in a small village or town). This way, you won’t have to compete for accommodation and your guests won’t have to deal with transport price hikes or traffic issues.

You might also want to diary match with close family and friends before committing to a date – the last thing you want is for your big day to clash with your best friend’s hen party or your Dad’s annual boy’s weekend away.

Sometimes wedding dates just clash

It’s any bride or grooms’ worst nightmare, but sometimes an acquaintance’s wedding will fall on the same day as yours.

If you’ve date checked beforehand, it’s probably not going to be a close friend. But it might be someone who moves in the same social circles as you. With that comes the risk of guest-list crossover, which is never a good position to put your mutual friends in. So what do you do?

After flipping out, shaking your fist at the sky and screaming ‘Why me?’, take a deep breath and look at the situation rationally.

The other person probably didn’t do it deliberately, and they might not even invite your best friend who happens to be an old school friend of theirs. But to eliminate any doubts, reach out to the clashing couple and have a chat.

See if any of your must-have wedding guests are on their list. If they are and neither of you are precious about the wedding date, consider switching days.

If that’s the only suitable date for both parties and your guest lists have people in common, be open with the friends who are (un)lucky enough to be invited to both weddings. Let them know that you support them, whether they attend your wedding or theirs. And if the feeling of rejection is too overwhelming, talk it over with the friends in question – it will help you see things from their perspective.

Respect that some events are unavoidable

If you’re at that age, it’s likely that everyone in your social circle has a noticeboard full of invitations to hen parties, baby showers and weddings. And although forward planning and diary coordination can save you from any major date clashes with your wedding day, some events can’t be planned ahead of time – like family illnesses or funerals.

So if a dear friend or some of your extended family suddenly can’t come to your wedding because of unforeseen circumstances, respect their decision. It’s not one they would have made lightly.

Dealing with conflicting - Save the date

If you’re a conflicted guest

In wedding-wedding clashes, family comes first

It’s an unofficial ranking system – and it depends on the relationship you have with your family – but when it comes to conflicting events, immediate family should always come first.

Although it’d be incredible to tear up the dance floor with all your old Uni mates at a friend’s wedding, your family would never forgive you if you skipped your brother’s, sister’s or cousin’s wedding. And the same goes if anyone from your partner’s family is getting married. You don’t want to look back on the family photos and be the only one not in them.

Two events in one day is possible, just be organised

If two close friends are getting married on the same day, and location, timing and cost isn’t an issue, you could always do two events in one day. It might be that you go to wedding A’s ceremony and wedding B’s reception.

Whatever you choose, make sure you talk it over with both parties first – they might not be okay with it. If that’s the situation, don’t force the issue. Just make a choice.

Split up to show your support

If you have a partner and a clash between two friends’ weddings, why not divide and conquer? It might not be the ideal situation, especially because weddings are romantic events (and who wouldn’t want to share that with their significant other?). But splitting up is a viable option if you really can’t choose whose wedding to attend. And both sets of friends will be grateful for the effort you put in to show your support.

Accept you can’t do everything and make a choice

If you can’t do two events in one day and dividing and conquering isn’t an option, you’ll just have to make a choice. But before you do, consider the importance of the event and your relationship to the person in question. If you’re torn between an old flat mate’s wedding and your friend-from-work’s baby shower, the wedding will most likely get first dibs.

If you’re really cut up about missing one of the events, send a little note or special gift ahead of the event you’re missing. And if you’re really conflicted, organise a celebratory day out or cook them a nice dinner after the event to show them that you care.

Dealing with conflicting - Gift to say sorry

If you’re a conflicted guest who’s had to deal with multiple event invites on the same day, or you’re a newlywed who’s had a last-minute let down on your wedding day, let us know how you navigated the situation in the comments box below.

About the author

Jo Wigley

From her word-nerd studio (way) down under in New Zealand, the copywriter in Jo crafts websites, advertising campaigns, scripts, blogs and brochures for businesses across the world. While the creative consultant in her helps brands, big and small, find their voice in one heck of a noisy world.


Couple Dealing with conflicting wedding dates