This may sound like a weird topic to talk about in a blog, as some weddings dates are chosen because of a significant date, or because of lucky numbers. Some don't care, and let the venue they choose pretty much decide what date they will have. Either way, something that often gets overlooked is to know what is going on that date in the area where the wedding is, or something that would snarl traffic badly.
I have had clients that didn't know ahead of time that things were going to happen that could compromise their wedding. This is hard to avoid, as we were notified three months before a wedding that the weekend that they were hosting their wedding on Treasure Island, the Bay Bridge was going to be closed. It was the first year they did this, and for those that don't know, the bridge is the only way to access the island. Now, we know that every Labor Day Weekend, the bridge will be closed. We count on it, and make sure any Labor Day Weekend weddings we are doing understand that, as well as all the vendors working on the wedding.
Another thing that happens here in San Francisco are a lot of street fairs throughout the summer. They close down large areas of major streets like Union Street, Fillmore and Haight, as well as take over all of North Beach, right in front of the most popular churches in the area, Sts. Peter and Paul. They have live concerts in the park directly across from the church, so even with the doors closed, the ceremony is compromised, as well as accessing the area for guest parking and bridal party transportation.
My personal experience with the street fairs and local events hasn't always been pleasant. I have had a group of drunk men try and take over one of our guest shuttles, I have had shuttles get stuck in extreme traffic because of street closures, and I've even had one couple have to close their eyes through a parade of naked revelers in the Bay to Breakers. There are some things you can't control, but checking the local event calendar for your area before you plan your wedding should be at the top of your list. Even though these events were known about, the thought was that they won't have any effect on the wedding. That is true in some cases, but when you have shuttles, or are going off site to take photos, it can lead to being caught in a mess.
Golden Gate Park is a very popular spot for ceremonies, and has over seven different locations host lovely garden ceremonies at. It also has many concerts, and it must be avoided during those dates. There is simply no way in or out. It will save you tons of hassle in the long run if you know the times and locations of these concerts and events.
One date that I notoriously mark off our calendar yearly is when Nascar comes through the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. It took me over 2.5 hours to get to a wedding rehearsal one Friday afternoon about five years ago, and I will never forget it. My home is about 30 minutes from the venue I was heading to. There is only one main highway, and I had many vendors extremely late for set-up on the day of the wedding, even though they had been warned of my experience the night before. I instead will take a wedding in San Francisco or south, but none on the Sonoma/Napa side of the wine country.
Part of my job is to warn my clients of these potential disturbances to their wedding. As in the ones mentioned above, I was hired late in the game as a month of coordinator, and at that point, the best you can do is just try and work around it. Venues will not always let clients know about these things, and it is worth the extra step to research it yourself or if you have a planner, make sure you have a discussion with them about this. If you are in San Francisco, this is a good list to start with: http://www.sanfrancisco.com/festivals/
If any of you are currently planning, do you have to face any of these issues? Any of you had to deal with a situation like this as a bride or a vendor?
Happy Planning (& weekend off for me, yay!)