How Many Events Should You Really Plan for Your Wedding Weekend?
Guests are traveling from near and far to attend your wedding, so why not show them a great time all weekend long? The wedding weekend offers a great opportunity to share your home city or destination location with your family and friends while also giving them a taste of who you are as a couple. But how many events should you really plan? Ultimately, it's up to you, but our experts say there is an ideal number, which ensures both you and your guests don't feel burnt out.
Alicia Fritz, founder of A Day in May Events, says, "I think the sweet spot when it comes to the number of celebrations is three! A welcome party, the wedding ceremony and reception, and then a farewell." Start the weekend on a celebratory note by welcoming everyone together for a casual celebration. The rehearsal dinner is typically attended only by the wedding party and their dates, as well as out of town guests, but a welcome party is something everyone can take part in. And when you're having a destination wedding, in which all guests are traveling to be part of the day, hosting a separate welcome party means your rehearsal dinner can still be intimate. As for what the welcome party should look like, you have a lot of options: You can rent out a space for cocktails following your rehearsal dinner, invite everyone to a backyard barbecue, or plan a dessert party. "This launch party also gives the couple a chance to bring a personal twist to their wedding weekend or even highlight the local flavor and flare of their wedding," Fritz adds. "By the time the wedding ceremony and reception roll around, your friends and family are all mingling and looking forward to reconnecting the next day."
The second event is the wedding itself, which is generally comprised of the ceremony and reception. After the wedding, you may want to set up a farewell brunch, pool party, or picnic. A final event at the end of the weekend allows you to spend a bit more time with guests, especially those you don't see very often. Plus, you'll get a chance to share stories and photos from the wedding.
If your budget is limited, consider simply suggesting activities in the area for guests to enjoy outside of the wedding-related events—the couple themselves can attend, too, but guests will pay their own way and choose what they'd like to participate in. Whether you print a list of your favorite spots and include it in welcome bags for guests or simply list them on your wedding website, this is a great way to be a tour guide and introduce guests to places they wouldn't typically stumble upon. Consider sharing your favorite restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, museums and tours so that your guests have an unforgettable weekend.
While it's great to have extra time to celebrate with your guests over the weekend, be sure that you don't schedule too many activities. You want guests to feel welcomed at these wedding weekend events, but not obligated to attend each and every one. A good rule of thumb is three events over the weekend; one to kick off the celebration, the big day itself, and a final sendoff. If you do plan to host more than this, make sure guests understand that they're all optional events.
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