Your wedding day is one of the happiest days of your life—but what if you could turn that day into an entire weekend? Many couples today are opting for a multi-day celebration over a single day. This allows couples to spend more quality time with loved ones and really share in the joy of their union with friends and family. Of course, there are both pros and cons to a weekend-long party. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should stick to a more traditional one-day wedding, we’re here to help.
We consulted a few pros from our Brides Best Wedding Planners in America to get their feedback on what they see as the perks and pain points of hosting a wedding weekend to help you make the decision that’s best for you and your significant other.
Pros of Hosting a Wedding Weekend
Why spend just one day celebrating your love for one another when you can celebrate for an entire weekend? According to the experts, there are plenty of perks to extending the lifespan of the best party ever.
More Time Spent With Friends and Family
One of the most common things couples say about their big day is that it goes by in a flash. By hosting an entire wedding weekend, you can extend that “best day ever” feeling for just a little longer. This also allows you to spend more quality time with all of your guests. “A huge bonus on hosting a wedding weekend is that you can have an extended celebration and get to spend more time with your loved ones,” says Jung Lee, event architect and founder of Fête. “Especially after postponements and stay-at-home orders, it feels even more special to be with your loved ones for an extended period of time.”
Your Guests Don’t Have to Worry About Planning
By hosting a weekend-long event, you take the guesswork out of planning for your friends and family, says Lea Stafford, founder and creative director of LSE. Having scheduled events throughout the weekend not only gives your guests something to do, but it gives them the chance to meet new people or have a new experience. Not sure what kinds of events to host? “Some very fun and popular ideas include a welcome cocktail hour at a local boutique hotel or amazing restaurant, a wine or spirit tasting, and a celebration on the water,” Stafford recommends.
Creating an Immersive Guest Experience
Stretch beyond the confines of a one-day celebration by offering your guests an opportunity to enjoy a unique and fun weekend. “When it comes to a weekend wedding, you have the freedom to get more creative with the structure and flow of the event and make it a lot more personalized,” explains Pejy Kash, owner of Pejy Kash Events.
“We love to make a long weekend out of weekend celebrations where smaller more intimate gatherings can happen on Thursday, like a rehearsal dinner or family dinner,” advises Alicia Fritz, owner of A Day in May Events. “Then, perhaps kick off the weekend by having the rest of the guests join for a dessert and drinks party.” Accounting for some down time throughout the weekend also allows your guests to form their own relationships and explore the area on their own terms, notes Fritz. “Having a night to explore and adventure gives your guests the opportunity to make personal connections and memories along the way.”
Sharing What You’re Passionate About as a Couple
Expanding your celebration over multiple days allows you to put together a variety of events and gatherings that are reflective of you as a couple. “Allow your planned weekend to share the personal connection and joy you hold for [your passions] with all of your guests—and be sure to share that story with them,” Stafford advises. For example, if you both love tailgating, organize a cookout or a cornhole tournament. Do you love exploring new wineries or breweries? Set up a wine or beer tasting in lieu of your standard welcome drinks event. Including your friends and family in the hobbies you enjoy as a couple will make the weekend even more special.
Cons of Hosting a Wedding Weekend
There’s already so much planning that goes into a single wedding day, and a weekend of events not only means more stress, but more money. Consider these cons when you’re weighing your options.
If you’re hosting an entire weekend of events you’re likely going to spend more than you would for a one-day celebration, warns Fritz. You’ll likely need to source locations and provide food and beverages for the other activities you have planned for the weekend, which can add up. If you’re set on having a full weekend celebration, consider cutting your guest list as a way to save money.
If your celebration is going to be over the course of a few days, there are chances some of your guests might not be able to attend. Additionally, if your multi-day fête is a destination wedding that requires guests to fly to get there, that could also be an influential factor. “Travel can be costly and you may have a decrease in attendees due to guests having other plans,” Lee notes. If having everyone on your invite list attend is a top priority, consider hosting a wedding weekend closer to home or having the events be more of a “come and go as you please” vibe.
More Logistics and Less Downtime
Organizing a single wedding day can be stressful enough, and having to plan additional events only adds to your long to-do list. “Cons include the navigation of more logistics such as procuring hotel room blocks over a larger period of time, and sourcing more than just a ceremony and reception venue,” adds Fritz. “You will need venues and locations to host other events over the weekend.” You’ll also have less time for yourselves throughout the weekend if you’re always moving from one event to the next. However, a way to solve that problem is by building free time into the schedule. “Allow guests to explore or relax on their own,” Stafford advises. “You do not have to pack their itinerary accounting for every minute to be spent with you.”
No matter what you decide, remember your wedding celebration is about you and your significant other. Don’t stress too much about what other people think. After all, the day or weekend is about your love for one another, everything else is just frosting on the (wedding) cake.