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How To Plan A Wedding Weekend

A wedding weekend is a fabulous way to celebrate all weekend long! And no, it’s not just for cultural and destination weddings. We’ve lost count of how many couples had to make changes and postponements due to the pandemic, and it’s no wonder so many of them are looking to make up for all of that with an absolutely epic celebration.

This is where a long wedding weekend comes in! Stretch your wedding over 3 or 4 days with multiple events. You could have a welcome BBQ to start, a fun activity the next day, a ceremony and reception, followed by a farewell brunch. Keep it casual with everyone you know and love, or opt for formal, yet intimate. Whatever you choose, here are 8 things to consider before planning your wedding weekend…

Featured image credit: Stargaze Photography

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A wedding weekend venue

The best wedding weekends are where guests are staying on-site or very close to the venue. Convenience is really important and will allow everyone to attend each event over the course of the weekend, with fewer moving parts. Bonus: a venue with recreational activities or things to do nearby.

Related: Check out our wedding venues list here

What to do if not everyone is staying local? Think about accessible transport! A shuttle service getting guests to the locations of each event, a printed or digital list of location accommodation and transport options is helpful too.

 

Nail your budget

First, determine your total amount that you’ve got to spend. Then, choose your priorities (this might be your big reception party) and then work your way backwards. Go through each event you’re hosting and allocate a portion of the budget to them.

Your itinerary may look like this:

Thursday: Welcome BBQ

Friday: Fun activity

Saturday: Ceremony and Reception

Sunday: Brunch

Things can certainly add up, but you don’t have to spend a fortune on each event. A casual BBQ or bonfire or a non-hosted night at a local pub are all ways to save money while still celebrating with your guests.

Don’t forget to be totally transparent with your guests about what is expected of them. Let them know (using your website and invitations) what they are expected to pay for, as well as a price range for each item. Your list may include transport, accommodation and any activities they opt into (like a restaurant, pub trip or local attraction). Two phrases that make it super clear that they will be paying their own way: “cash bar” and “non-hosted event”.

 

Consider a wedding planner

Let’s be real: Planning a wedding weekend by yourself has the potential to be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider and a lot of moving parts. Hiring a wedding planner means you’ll have the help, support and expertise of a professional. Your wedding planner will save you tons of time and will certainly take a whole load of stress of your shoulders.

 

Create an itinerary

Expert tip: space out your wedding weekend activities. You don’t want people feeling like they need to rush between events, so factor in downtime. Guests can use this time to do whatever they like.

Let your guests know that they aren’t obligated to attend everything. Consider your wedding weekend as a mini-holiday and your guests will love you for it!

 

Share all the details

This is where your wedding website comes in! You can list the itinerary, dress codes, travel and accommodation information and even more details like local attractions and what to pack.

An incredibly detailed wedding website will help inform guests and get them prepared. They’ll know what to expect, when to be ready, what to wear, what they’re paying for, etc.

 

Get your Save The Dates out soon

If you think of your wedding weekend the same way you’d think of a destination wedding, you’ll want to get your Save The Dates out as early as possible. Anything up to a year in advance! We recommend doing this to give your guests loads of time to make travel and accommodation plans. They’ll get better deals and be able to take time off work.

When you send out Save The Dates, include your wedding website info too. This way, guests can find out more details before you even send out your invitations.

Ultimately, this is helpful to you too! If guests can RSVP early, you’ll have a better idea of your guest count so you can get planning.

 

Welcome bags!

If you’re able to fit this into your budget, consider putting together welcome bags for your guests. Include a welcome note, the itinerary for the weekend, a map of the local area, a list of transport options and local attractions. Add in a sweet treat or some travel-sized essentials that are perfect for your particular wedding weekend. For example, little bottles of sunscreen and bug spray for an outdoor weekend. Or water bottles and painkillers for a wine-tasting event.

 

Think about how you’ll document each day

You’re putting together an amazing weekend and you’ll want to document everything! You’ll definitely want a wedding photographer for the main event (the ceremony and reception) and you may even have the budget to have a professional with you all weekend! For those that don’t, here are some ways you can document and capture all the fun:

  • Designate: Assign the responsibility to a trusted friend or family member per event to take photos. Make sure they know it’s a low pressure and informal situation but ask them to take pics at important moments. It’ll be imperfect but you’ll have fabulous memories captured!
  • Use your hashtag: Create a wedding weekend hashtag and make sure your guests know how to use it. They’ll take pictures and videos and share them using your hashtag, so you can see all the fun!
  • Provide disposable cameras and set them up at each event.
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Kelly Jane Hartmann

Kelly is a former wedding planner and a lover of anything pink. She believes that any bride can plan her own wedding, with a few tips and helpful tools.

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