Congratulations on choosing Spain as your wedding destination! Now that you’ve chosen the destination, you’re probably wondering: what comes next?
Deciding on a venue and securing it for your preferred wedding date is at the top of every newly engaged Couple’s to-do list. But, when it comes to a destination wedding it isn’t as easy as picking up a phone and scheduling an appointment. Not only do you have to schedule the viewing, of course; you also have to make travel arrangements, take time off of work, book flights, hotels, etc… To ensure that you make the most of your time here, it is important to know what dates are best to travel, and which dates should be avoided.
Spain is unique in terms of festivities, holidays and summer vacations in comparison to many European countries. As Spain is traditionally a Catholic country, Catholic holidays are widely celebrated. Christmas, “El Dia de Reyes” (3 wise men/ king’s day), Easter week, the day of the Virgin Mary, and the week of the Immaculate Conception are widely celebrated. Not only does that mean that you should avoid coming to Spain to get wedding work done during those days, it also means that hotels, for example, will also be more expensive.
Many companies (big and small) close during specific periods of the year or have a very reduced amount of staff working during those periods. During Christmas time, many companies close from December 24th and through to the 6th of January, which is the day of the Three Wise Men. During Easter, many venues and companies also close from Palm Sunday weekend and through to the Monday after Easter (10 days approximately).
August is also a unique month in Spain, can you believe that even politicians take the entire month off??!?! Large cities literally become ghost towns in August! Many venues and companies – not only wedding-related but of all types – close during the entire month. It is very surprising to many foreigners – even for me after all these years, coming from New York City “the city that never sleeps” it is still shocking that even large multinational companies will close for the entire month.
Now, if you are considering having your destination wedding at a touristy area – like La Costa Brava, for example, the opposite is true. In these smaller coastal towns, many hotels and venues are closed during the winter and begin their season during Easter week. If you are envisioning your wedding at this kind of location, you should plan to travel between mid- to late-April and until early October.
It is also very important to bear in mind that everything is closed on Sundays. Excluding restaurants, gas stations and shopping malls in touristy areas, you’ll find that there are very few venues and companies that are able to schedule appointments on a Sunday. So if you’re here for a short weekend, be sure to schedule everything on Friday afternoon and on Saturday so that you can make the most of your time here.
As a quick reference guide, you should schedule your pre-wedding trips to Spain bearing in mind these important dates:
- Christmas break: generally runs from December 24th through the January 6th
- Easter: from the Friday of Palm Sunday weekend through to the Monday after Easter
- August: generally, vacation is from the 1st to the 27th-28th, depending on how the last week of August falls
- December: The week of the Immaculate Conception, which is on December 8th also coincides with the festivity of the Constitution which is on the 6th and many companies close for that entire week
- You should also bear in mind other important dates specific to each city, such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which takes place generally the last week of February or regional holidays such as San Juan on the 24th of June, which is widely celebrated in many regions across Spain.
Are you thinking about having your wedding on one of the above dates? Never fear! If you have your heart set on having an August wedding, for example, you will of course be able to have it then. However, from experience I know that unfortunately you won’t have as many providers willing to work during that time. As experienced wedding planners, we have planned many weddings in August and although more and more providers nowadays are changing their way of working and are willing to be flexible with their vacation, this isn’t true of all wedding industry professionals. There are providers who are flexible and are able to work their vacation around your wedding but, surprisingly, there are also providers who will be unwilling to do so.
So, moving forward with your wedding plans, be sure to bear in mind the above to avoid unpleasant surprises and not only make the months leading up to your wedding completely stress-free, but also to make the most of your money – after all, you’ve got a destination wedding to pay for!
Photo credits: Edwin Vanderveyer, Rares Pulbere