Everyone loves a long holiday weekend—an extra day off of work plus a reason to celebrate. But, is it a good time to host a wedding? Like most things in life, the answer is not cut and dry. For Kimberly Reynolds, who just got married on New Year’s Eve, it was the wedding she’d been dreaming of for years.
“I attended a NYE wedding a few years ago and loved the idea of having everyone together to celebrate marriage and a new year. Everyone is ready to party and excited to bring in the new year,” she says. “We loved having the entire party up on the dance floor by 11:50 counting down to midnight together. It was one big party!”
There are a lot of things to consider, though, when merging your big day with a major holiday. So, we spoke to experts for advice.
Meet the Expert
How to Pick a Holiday Weekend
“I personally wouldn't plan a wedding on any other holiday unless it is like a ‘party’ holiday. But, I think everyone should do whatever is perfect for them,” says Reynolds. However, in the opinion of Annie Lee, wedding planner and the founder of Plannie.com, a non-”party” holiday weekend like President’s Day is actually a great option because guests will likely not have any traditions or plans that weekend.
Krystal Gardenia of Gardenia Weddings says Memorial Day weekend is a popular one too—and it comes at a good time of year for weather. She suggests avoiding planning a wedding the week of a really big holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving as most people will probably have a lot of commitments and travel.
The Best Days to Host the Ceremony
Lee still suggests Saturday as the ideal wedding day on a three-day weekend as it gives guests the option to travel home on Sunday or Monday (assuming Monday is the extra day off). But, it’s all about what makes the most sense for your guests. Gardenia urges that couples consider the industry the majority of guests work in.
“If most of your guests work Monday to Friday corporate jobs, then Saturday is always the best day because they won't have to request time off of work. But, if a lot of your guests work in the hospitality or tourism industry, then Saturday is actually a horrible day because that is their busiest and will be difficult for them to request off work—especially for a holiday weekend. For those instances, consider a Sunday or Thursday instead,” she says.
Cost and Availability of Vendors
One of the main things to keep in mind when planning on a holiday weekend is the availability and price of vendors. “For example, a lot of florists don’t accept wedding bookings during Mother’s Day weekend because they’re slammed with flower deliveries,” offers Gardenia. “And, many vendors and venues will also charge a hefty holiday fee if they agree to book that weekend at all. Certain holiday weekends most vendors will block as unavailable because, like your guests, they want to be with their family.”
“Staffing is one of the biggest overhead costs for any vendor. If the caterer needs to get 20 servers to work on NYE, they have to pay a special holiday rate which will get passed onto the couple,” adds Lee. However, Reynolds shares that because she planned two years in advance, she was able to avoid any additional costs. “The venue allowed some of my vendors to set up on December 30 to avoid having them work on a holiday,” she says. “This venue actually didn't up-charge for anything either. I thought NYE would be more expensive.” Her biggest advice is to plan as far ahead as possible.
Speaking of cost, this also will be an issue when it comes to travel for guests. On a holiday weekend, flights and accommodations are usually more expensive. Giving guests ample time to plan can help alleviate that potential sticker shock for them. “Flights and hotels will be twice as much during those weekends and hotel blocks are sometimes near impossible to secure during holiday weekends,” warns Gardenia. Reynold says most of her guests were local, but she blocked hotel rooms anyway so that no one would have to drive home at 1 a.m. “I felt bad making guests and the bridal party come out and spend money right after Christmas, but as far as I know, it worked out fine,” she shares. There’s also the matter of guests’ schedules. While very close friends and family will be happy to plan around your special day, some guests may have their own holiday plans with friends and family and have to choose between those plans and your wedding.
Of course with cons, come pros. And, the major pro for guests of a holiday weekend wedding is having that extra day off of work. They may even use it as an excuse to extend their stay and have a mini vacation if it’s a destination wedding. If it’s local, it’s an extra day to recover from a night of partying. Plus, if your loved ones are scattered about, a holiday may be the perfect time to capitalize on everyone being in the same place at the same time anyway and it will actually save them an extra trip.
Should You Pick a Theme?
So, you’re getting married on the Fourth of July. Do you decorate in red, white, and blue? If you ask Lee, she’ll tell you she feels very strongly against theme weddings. “If anything, I avoid holiday colors like the plague, so no black and orange near Halloween or red and green around Christmas. That said, if you throw a full blown Halloween Party that is also your wedding like one we did a few years ago—which was epic—then that's a different story,” she says, referencing a formal masquerade wedding.
Gardenia suggests taking inspiration from the holiday to create something more subtle and classy than a literal theme. “You can have an amazing winter wonderland wedding without reindeer and elves,” she says.