How To Plan A Weekend Wedding
More and more couples these days are choosing to extend their wedding celebrations beyond one day. The wedding weekend is well and truly on the rise, and from a planning perspective it brings with it a wealth of opportunities to get seriously creative and design an event with real wow factor. However, being solely responsible for the organisation and orchestration of a three-day event is no walk in the park, and you need to recalibrate your brain to approach a weekend wedding somewhat differently from the get go.
Whether the chosen location is a self-contained country house with accommodation on site, or a city venue with a vast range of attractions and options available, there are a number of challenges and considerations that you as a planner will need to be aware of, and able to guide and advise your couple about when planning a weekend wedding.
Five top tips to help you plan a weekend wedding
We spoke with the lovely Helen Hopkins of Pudding Bridge, who is something of an expert at rocking a weekend wedding with style. Helen has attended both of our Planning Redefined workshops and we’re so excited to see the incredible journey she’s taking with her super successful business. Here are some of her top tips to help you tackle a weekend wedding and make it a success for your couple and yourself.
Set expectations early
Yep, we’re talking money here. There’s no getting away from the fact that a weekend wedding is going to cost more than a one dayer. Be upfront with your couple about this from the very start. Find out their vision for the whole weekend, then start by putting your focus on the wedding day itself. This is where the majority of your budget needs to be assigned, so don’t be tempted to plan the weekend chronologically.
Make it multi-faceted
For me, the beauty of a wedding weekend is that it’s the chance to paint a fuller picture of the couple and their love story. Chances are, there will be shared interests, hobbies and experiences that play a part in their lives, but that aren’t appropriate to include in the styling of the wedding day. Having a Friday evening and a Sunday to play with allows you to get a little playful and bring in other elements of their personalities through your catering, décor and styling. For example, let’s say your couple are a well-travelled pair, whose hearts were stolen by a trip to Mexico. The style of their wedding day is light, elegant and filled with blush and peach tones – there’s no room for a fiesta in there. However, a casual Friday night drinks party with tequila based cocktails and gourmet tostadas as canapés? Now you’re talking!
Plant those seeds
You want every guest at this wedding to feel well-catered for, and to have a clear idea of the flow of the weekend. However, you’re not a tour guide and it’s not up to you to facilitate every last hour of the three days. Encourage guests to explore the area independently, by planting the seeds of ideas and including helpful and thoughtful touches in welcome packs for them. A map of the local area and a list of taxi numbers is easy to obtain but goes a long way in terms of your guests feeling welcomed.
Make your spaces work hard
Even at the biggest venues, you’re likely to need to use certain spaces for multiple parts of the weekend. If you can, try and keep an area separate for the wedding day, to give a ‘wow’ and a big reveal. If you do need to flip spaces, think carefully about your styling. You want them to have clear points of difference in terms of atmosphere, but to still be recognisably part of the wedding aesthetic. Cohesive but not identikit is the key.
On a similar note, think about your décor elements and ways you can be clever with them to save some of that all-important budget. Discuss options with your florist to reuse some of the wedding day flowers in lower key, more relaxed arrangements for the Sunday brunch, for example.
Know your place, trust your team
There are no two ways about it, for a weekend wedding you absolutely must have a team with you. You need more assistance than you would for a one dayer, and you’ll be leaning heavily on them, so make sure they’re people you trust. Be upfront with the key suppliers early on, and let your florist, caterer and others know what you’ll expect of them across the three days.
The role of the wedding planner at a wedding weekend is quite different to a one day event. You’re not behind the scenes with your clipboard and your walkie talkie, instead, you’re very much a secondary host, making guests, friends and family feel at ease. You’ll be spending a lot of time with these people, and they need to feel relaxed around you. It’s high pressure and can be exhausting, but it’s a chance to build some lovely and meaningful relationships with people in the bridal party and beyond.
Thanks so much Helen for these fabulous tips. Louise and I are big fans of the weekend wedding, but as you’ve seen here there’s a lot to consider. If you have questions about approaching a weekend wedding, or if you’re looking for some honest, engaging and no-nonsense training in any aspect of wedding planning, why not get in touch? You can check out our programme of events and workshops here, or drop us a line to book a 1:1 mentoring session. We can’t wait to hear from you.