How to Make Your Wedding a Weekend-Long Event

Extend the festivities for more time with your friends and family.

Turning your nuptials into a fun-filled weekend of celebration can be an option that works well for many of your guests.

Photo: Kate Osborne Photography

While only the wedding day itself is considered “the bride’s day,” many couples are turning their nuptials into a full weekend of celebration. This trend is more common with destination weddings, but it is growing in popularity with local weddings as well.

As long as everyone will be staying in the same small area, this is an option that can work for many of your guests. Possible weekend events can include, but are not limited to, a welcome party, the rehearsal dinner, a toasting event, a daytime activity such as a hike or beach excursion, and a morning-after brunch. Not only does this make your wedding a fun-filled weekend for your friends and family, but it also gives you an opportunity to talk to everyone before the ceremony, so you don’t feel as much pressure to spend time with all of your guests at the reception and can enjoy the day as newlyweds.

who to throw the perfect wedding weekend 
Photo by Kir2ben Photography

Read the tips below to ensure your wedding weekend is perfect:

- Send save the dates earlier. Also be sure to include wording to make it clear that there will be festivities all weekend long, so guests have time to figure out if they want to/are able to attend the whole weekend.
- You don’t have to have a fully detailed itinerary. People like to take time to decompress, and they can plan their own days if they know what options are available. Give out welcome bags and include suggested activities for people who are not from the area.
- If there isn’t easy access to affordable restaurants, try to have every meal covered. Otherwise, hosting dinner for each night and offering a continental breakfast should suffice.
- Try to keep things to a loose structure. While it’s understandable to want a head count for sit-down meals, see if you can keep things to word-of-mouth for the more casual events. People will get overwhelmed if they have to RSVP for too many events.
- Offer dress code and weather information. This is a great option for couples detailing the events on your wedding website, so friends and family have an idea of what they need to pack.
Consider a theme. It doesn't need to affect your décor on the big day, but an overarching theme for the weekend can be a nice touch – a popular choice (especially for mountain weddings) is summer camp!
- Be sure to negotiate a room rate. Especially when guests will be staying multiple nights, having a discounted room rate at one or two hotels near your venue will ease the expense for your guests.
- Have shuttles or other transportation available for guests between your venue and lodging.
- Keep the morning-after brunch informal, like a drop-in buffet. Timing is tricky because you want the breakfast or brunch to be late enough if your wedding reception had people out all night, but you also want to be mindful of check-out times as well.

For more advice, get expert insight on out-of-the-box designs and discover which wedding-planning tasks can be finished quickly