Picking your wedding date is one of the most important decisions you’ll make on your way to the aisle. Some couples have a preferred season, while others know exactly what day they want to tie the knot. If you choose a holiday weekend for your big day, there are some additional considerations to keep in mind while planning.
So if Valentine’s Day, New Year’s, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day has your eye, here’s everything you need to know about planning a holiday wedding.
Fewer guests will RSVP (for better or worse).
Holiday weekends tend to be a time for family traditions and vacations, so there’s a good chance your wedding will be smaller than it would be at another time. If you’re inclined to a shorter guest list, a holiday may be the perfect opportunity.
“If you are hoping for a smaller wedding but feel obligated to invite more than you would have liked, many guests will have set plans for a holiday weekend,” notes Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “These scheduling conflicts translate to a lower count!”
However, if you want everyone to show up, you’re better off selecting a date when your guests are more likely to be free.
Your guests won’t be in a rush to get home.
On the flip side, long holiday weekends afford you more time with your guests since they don’t have to worry about going to work on Monday. So if you want to make the most of your wedding weekend, it’s worth considering a holiday!
“You have the flexibility of choosing a Saturday or a Sunday for your wedding,” explains Betsy Scott of Hudson Valley Weddings at The Hill. “And you’ll be able to spend more time with your guests, like enjoying pre-wedding activities or a leisurely post-celebration Sunday brunch.”
And if you’re planning to jet off to your honeymoon right away, you’ll also get a bonus day that you won’t have to request off from work. Win-win for everyone!
Guest travel will be more complicated.
Holidays are always a busy time for travel, so if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, they should expect higher costs and possible delays.
“Holiday traffic can be a killer, and gas prices usually spike,” confirms Steven Feinberg of Bunn DJ Company – San Diego. “So send out your save the dates early so guests can work on carpools, think of alternative transportation, and even save a little extra for gas.”
It’s not just for driving guests, though. Peter Mitsaelides of Brooklake Country Club and Events adds that airfare is also inflated on holiday weekends. “While you can’t do anything about long lines at the airport, you can let your guests know your plans as early as possible so they can look for airfare deals,” he adds.
Proactive communication is the way to go, as Feinberg and Mitsaelides both suggest notifying guests about your wedding plans as early as possible.
The price tag will be higher for everyone.
Travel aside, expect most expenses to rise during holiday weekends — for both you and your guests.
“It could be more expensive, especially if it is considered the “high season” where you’re hosting your wedding,” explains Julianne Smith of The Garter Girl. “Prices for venues, entertainment, and food might be more during times of peak demand during a holiday weekend.”
So prepare accordingly and pad your wedding budget to cover above-average pricing. As for guests, “holiday weekends mean higher hotel rates,” Scott chimes in. “So find a variety of guest accommodations at different price points and book room blocks as soon as possible. And put together some AirBnB options where guests can go in together.”
As mentioned before, it’s thoughtful to give your guests an early heads up so they can plan their travels accordingly.
You may have more trouble finding availability.
Holiday weekends involve holiday parties. And since they’re also popular with engaged couples, you may find your dream wedding vendors are already booked for your big day. “Or they might just want to use that 3-day weekend to enjoy time off with their own families,” Feinberg adds.
While that may not cause much concern when you’re looking for vendors like a DJ or florist, it can become a problem if you wait too long to book your venue.
“With so many couples looking at holiday weekend weddings, don’t be surprised if popular venues book very early, especially on Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day weekends,” Mitsaelides says.
Since booking your venue secures the date, it’s wise to start as soon as possible if you have your heart set on a holiday wedding. Otherwise, you may have to wait a whole year for the holiday to roll around again.
Holiday weddings offer a one-of-a-kind experience, but they do require more forethought and flexibility. Extending your planning timeline will make the process easier on you and your guests, so plan to hit some of the big wedding to-do’s several months in advance.
As Smith suggests, “be sure to send a ‘save the date’ invitation for a holiday weekend wedding out earlier than you would for a wedding any other time of year. You want to give your guests as much notice as possible because they might have other long-standing plans for the long weekend.”
The best part of a holiday wedding, though, is the promise of festive anniversaries for years to come! You and your soon-to-be spouse will always have a reason to celebrate, and the holiday will always bring back fond memories of the day you made it official.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
We’ve partnered with OFD Consulting to bring you this great advice from their collective of wedding professionals.