ecently I was asked, what is the biggest increase you are seeing around weddings, and I responded, having a wedding weekend! No longer are we planning just the wedding for our couples, we are creating their wedding weekend to ensure that they get every last ounce of celebrating with every guest that they can. With Kathy Goodman from Well Rehearsed
planning the surrounding evening, and us planning the wedding itself, your guests are sure to feel taken care of and hopefully exhausted with delight when they head home. I was thrilled to see this mentioned in an article on Martha Stewart Weddings
last week as well.
As a guest at a lot of weddings myself, I was noticing that when I would travel to far distances for the wedding, and only catch a small glimpse of the couple at the wedding itself, and there were no other events to spend with them of other family or friends, I would leave a little disappointed. Weddings are getting bigger again, and trying to have a couple have the pressure to greet every last guest can be extremely hard, and sometimes, simply not possible. Most weddings last for 6-7 hours, adding other events takes that pressure off you to entertain everyone at the wedding.
(photo by Martha Stewart Weddings
An example of what we have done in the past is have a Welcome BBQ in Golden Gate Park complete with outdoor games, a local food truck, and a bar. The next day was the wedding of course, and then Sunday wrapped up with a casual open house brunch in the bride's parents home. Keeping the events casual without a sit down dinner can meet that guests don't have to feel obligated to go.
For my wedding in December, I had Kathy Goodman plan the Rehearsal Dinner and Welcome Party, while I planned the Wedding and Day After NYE Party. I was able to focus my time and energy on the wedding, and since it was a very formal wedding, I wanted the Pre and Post Festivities to be a bit more relaxed. The Rehearsal Dinner was at a Mexican Restaurant, and the food was served out of rolling carts, so guests were able to mingle. The Welcome Party had over 125 guests for a no-host cocktail party in the restaurant we had met in ten years prior. Guests loved seeing where we met and to greet us before the big day. The wedding itself started at 6pm on a Friday evening, so guests had the entire day to see the sites or enjoy lounging around. The next evening we had a NYE Party at 8pm at my parents house, and about 100 of our guests still had their last bit of energy left in them to celebrate the New Year with us.
In the end, I would have regretted not having additional events and time to spend with our guests, as there were 285 at the actual wedding. One thing I did that I heard from numerous guests that really made them feel special was to provide transportation continuously throughout the entire weekend. On our website we mentioned to out of town guests not to rent a car, as parking at hotels in SF are way too high, so I wanted to make sure they were taken care of, and for NYE, we didn't want anyone worrying about getting there or home.
Another quick tip: have guests RSVP to all your events on the RSVP card, and even for shuttles too. It's also nice if within the invitation is mention of the other events and what the style of that event is so they can pack and plan their trip accordingly.
(photo by Flory Photo
Ultimately, your guests all want to see you and the other friends and family that will be there. Make that an option, and it doesn't need to be elaborate. Sure, some people might think it is overkill, but the ones that really want to see you will deeply appreciate it.