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It seems like just a couple of years ago a wedding meant one singular day. Nowadays, more couples are opting to extend their special day into a multi-day wedding weekend full of activities, food and drinks, and a whole lot of fun. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, but you’re unsure about the logistics, don’t fret.
Whether you’re keeping your celebration close to home or jetting off to a dreamy destination, there’s a lot that goes into planning a 3-day event. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help make your planning process as seamless as possible–with everything from tips to a sample itinerary.
Why have a wedding weekend?
You may be wondering why wedding weekends are becoming increasingly popular when they tend to come with a higher price tag. If the budget allows it, wedding weekends are a great way to spend more time with your guests and soak in the feeling of love with your significant other. This is especially true if you have family and friends visiting from around the world that you don’t see very often.
If you’re having a destination wedding, this also gives you more time to explore the destination, making it more like a vacation rather than a quick day trip. If your guests haven’t visited before, they’re going to want to see all that the city or country has to offer.
Wedding Weekend Tips
There are so many moving parts that go into a wedding weekend. To save yourself from stress and ensure that everyone has a great time, here are some things that you can do while planning your big days–or should we say days.
1. Hire A Planner
This one may seem like a given, but because there’s so much to think about with wedding weekends, hiring a wedding planner is the best thing you can do for your sanity–especially a wedding planner that is local to the area. They’ll save you money on your vendors, help you plan fun activities, and keep your stress levels at bay.
2. Consider Logistics Such As Accommodation and Transportation
One of the easiest ways to host a wedding weekend is to tie the knot in a venue that doubles as accommodation. Think hotels, Airbnbs, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, etc. This allows your guest to stay on property without worrying about transportation.
If you choose to say “I do” elsewhere, put together a hotel block for your guests and consider arranging transportation to and from the lodging. You’re not required to pay for their rental cars, but if you do plan on hosting different activities throughout the weekend, it’s best that you help them get to and from said activities.
3. State Your Plans in the Invitation
Whether you’re sending out physical invitations or you’re planning on using a wedding website, it’s crucial that you discuss your plans on the invite. This way, they know what to expect beforehand and aren’t met with any surprises once they arrive.
4. Send Save-the-Dates Early
Ideally, you want to send your save-the-dates out eight to twelve months before the big day–especially if your guests need to travel or it’s a multi-day celebration. This gives them plenty of time to make arrangements with work, kids, etc.
5. Plan Events Around the Destination
As a thank you to your guests for helping celebrate you and your partner, plan activities they can enjoy. This is especially fun if you have a destination wedding where you can try something regional–i.e., wine tastings, a cooking class, a boat ride, etc.
However, it is important to be mindful of leisure time. You don’t want to create a jam-packed itinerary where no one has time to rest.
6. Put Together A Local Guide With Recommendations
If you only plan 1-2 activities or you want to give your guests the freedom to roam the city, put together a local guide with recommendations. If it’s a place that you are not very familiar with, talk with your planner. They’re sure to have favorite spots your guests can enjoy during their downtime. To make it a cute little favor, create an adorable handout that you can include in their welcome bags (which we’ll get to shortly).
7. Don’t Expect Guests To Attend Every Event
A wedding weekend is a big commitment for everyone involved–not just you and your fiancé. Remain flexible with your guests and make it known that they are not expected to attend every single activity. Whether they can only fly in the day of the wedding because of work or can’t fit the activities into their budget, be sympathetic. All that matters is that they’re there to celebrate with you.
8. Themes Tie the Weekend Together
If you’re not careful, a wedding weekend can quickly feel unorganized. Having a theme will help lessen the chance of this by creating a cohesive flow of events. Some of our favorites include a wellness retreat complete with yoga and spa days, a summer camp with s’mores and lawn games, or a fiesta full of tacos and margaritas.
9. Make Welcome Bags
Speaking of themes, kickstart your wedding weekend with welcome bags full of goodies your guests will need for their trip. If you’re hosting a beach wedding, include items like sunscreen, sunglasses, and flip-flops. If you’re spending the weekend in wine country, throw in things like a mini hangover kit, cheese and crackers, and a personalized wine glass.
Hosting a weekend means you’ll probably want to document every activity. And while you’re most likely going to have a wedding photographer on your big day, we know it’s not in everyone’s budget to hire one for all three days. That’s why we recommend throwing a disposable camera into the welcome bag. At the end of the weekend, you can collect them all to get them developed.
Wedding Weekend Itinerary Example
Now that you know some of the top tips to have a successful wedding weekend, let’s take a look at an easy-to-follow itinerary example!
Day 1: Welcome Party
Whether traveling across the world or tying the knot in your home city and having guests flying in, a welcome party is an easy, laid-back way to welcome your guests and get them excited for your big day. It’s also the perfect way to let your guests mingle and get to know one another if they don’t already.
The welcome party can be a backyard BBQ, a picnic in the park, a sunset boat ride, a trip to a brewery or winery, etc. It’s entirely up to you.
Day 2: Wedding
The second day of your wedding weekend will most likely be your big day. This includes the ceremony and the reception. Because of this, to keep yourself feeling good on wedding day, try not to go too crazy the night before.
Day 3: Farewell Brunch/Lunch
When you’re constantly being pulled in a hundred different directions on your wedding day, it can be hard to find the time to thank your guests for coming and spending time with you. That’s why a farewell brunch or lunch is so helpful. It allows you to express your gratitude in a relaxed setting and soak up more time with your friends and family before jetting off on your honeymoon.
Now that you’ve figured out your wedding weekend itinerary, it’s time to think about the logistics of planning your destination wedding. Luckily we’ve put together this guide that covers everything from finding your vendors to how to save money.