Oh, wedding weekends. Yes, I'm biased because I had one, but they are awesome. AWESOME! A wedding that lasts all weekend long makes your wedding more than just an evening event, or a so-called “special daaaaaay” … it provides your guests with the gift of time. Time to really get to know each other. Time to visit with you and your partner. Time to really explore a space and a landscape. Time not just to eat and drink and dance, but time to talk and sleep and share.
I went to a wedding weekend last month in Marin County, and a chunk of the guests stayed at a hostel together. We all paid for our own accommodations and took care of our own food for the weekend, but by being in one space from Friday until Sunday, it allowed us the opportunity to get to know each other outside of just ceremony/eating&drinking/dancing. By the end of the weekend, I was hiking to the beach with a fellow guest I'd only just met a couple days before, giggling like old friends.
Yes, organizing a wedding weekend can be complex and intimidating… You're not just thinking about one meal; you're thinking about four or five. You're not just thinking about reception decor, you're thinking about where everyone will stay. You're not just providing a list of things to do in the area — you're actually doing them with your guests. Your wedding party or band of merry helpers aren't just helping you get ready for the ceremony — they have titles like “Sr. Camp Counselor” or “Logisticator Extreme.”
Complexities aside, wedding weekends don't need to be more expensive. It doesn't have to be about flying all your guests to a pricey destination and feeding, housing, and entertaining them for three days. As all of you who've read my book know, our wedding was a $6000 affair where most guests camped in the woods at my mom's commune. We've featured wedding weekends that have happened at campgrounds and summer camps, rural B&Bs, family properties, and more.
That said, there are a few important factors to keep in mind when considering a wedding weekends:
- Guest comfort (We made sure older and non-camping family members had accommodations.)
- Sociability (Our friends & family are a social bunch and love chatting. If your community of friends&fam are known for being introverted, forcing them to hang out for three days might not feel right.)
- Micromanaging (For control freaks, it can be a challenge not to try to schedule every minute of the weekend or feel like you're responsible for every minute of every guests' experience. If you're too Type A, a wedding weekends may be a serious challenge.)
But if it makes sense for your personality, and your community, and your wedding? Oh man, wedding weekends are some sweet times. Want to see a few awesome examples? Check our wedding weekend archive.