Pretty much as soon as you announce your engagement you're bombarded with questions of "Have you set a date?" and "When's the big day?" Coming up with a wedding date can be challenging because there are so many factors to consider. We've got five simple steps for you to follow in choosing your wedding date.

1. Count Backwards
How much time do you want for wedding planning? Anything more than six months used to be considered a "long engagement." Today, anything under a year is considered a short engagement. Everyone's timeline is different and will depend on things like pregnancy (or desired pregnancy), military deployment, and simply free time available. If you both have demanding jobs and want your wedding to be DIY, a short engagment is a recipe for stress. However, if you're the type of person who gets a little too caught up in details having too long an engagement can be equally stressful. Check out a few wedding planning timelines and think about the best length engagement for you. This will help you with step two.

2. Choose a Season
Unless you have a specific reason for a very specific date, you won't want to limit your venue options by choosing a date too early in the process. Popular wedding venues can book up months or even years in advance, so don't settle on a date until you've settled on your venue. Instead, think about when you'd ideally like to have your wedding. Have you always dreamed about a Christmas wedding? What about an outdoor wedding? Does your work have a busy season that would make wedding planning difficult? Choose your ideal season and move to step 3.

3. Collect Opinions (sort of)
I am in no way suggesting that you go out and ask your aunt if she thinks May 2015 is a good time for your wedding. But, before you get your heart set on a specific time of year, you should probably check wtih some key people, namely your parents and future in-laws, and your maid-of-honor and best man. If you've decided on next summer for your wedding you'd want to know that your sister is planning on being in Egypt on a research fellowship at that exact same time. Be careful how you word your questions to these very few people. You don't want to give the impression that they have final say on your wedding date, that you'll do all the accomodating, or that . Think of it as a fact-finding mission. Don't solicit information from too many people, or you'll be somewhat overwhelmed. It's sad, but not everyone you want to be at your wedding will be able to be there, no matter how carefully you choose a date.

4. Do Some Research
Once you've settled on an approximate season and year, do a little research in to good and bad days within that time frame. Every year GigMasters publishes a list of good, bad, and weird wedding dates. You'll also want to look at any applicable school or work calendars and double check any specific religious restrictions you may have. Give some thought as well to issues like three-day weekends and travel costs for guests.

5. Choose Your Venue, Choose Your Date
Once you know approximately when and where you want to have your wedding, start researching appropriate venues. The more flexibility you have in wedding dates, the more likely you are to get the venue you want.