Remember when your "big day" actually referred to just one day? Now, a massive 80 percent of US couples choose a two- or three-day wedding, according to recent stats. After all, what better way to celebrate your union than by extending the party?
When planning a three-day wedding, organization is everything. It’s your job to keep things moving and ensure that there are no awkward gaps. While you’ll need to plan the event hour-by-hour, here’s one example of a basic itinerary outline:
Day One: Welcome Party
Whether you’re having a full-blown destination wedding or simply having guests coming in from out of town, hosting a welcome party is a chill, low-key way to get people into the festive mood. In addition to being able to personally greet your guests as they arrive, you'll also have a chance to introduce people who perhaps haven’t met before now.
Day Two: Ceremony and Reception
The second day of your affair is likely to be the main event. Needless to say, you will need to plan all the minor details—from when hair and makeup start to who will be officiating—well ahead of time. (Psst! Here are more timeline tips for that!)
Since your reception is usually considered "the fun part" after a very emotional ceremony, many brides look forward to planning this section the most. You’ll want to create another timeline here; highlights include everything from the newlyweds’ grand entrance to speeches, the bouquet toss, cutting the cake, the first dance—and, of course, time for you and your new spouse to join your guests in feasting on a delectable meal.
Day Three: Farewell Brunch
In the sheer exhilaration and jam-packed schedule of a wedding day, finding a moment to thank your guests and say your goodbyes can be difficult. Having a farewell brunch the following morning before you jet off on your honeymoon solves this problem. You can express your gratitude in a relaxed, pressure-free atmosphere over french toast and mimosas.
Wedding Weekend Itinerary Tips
Here are a couple of handy tips to keep in mind when planning your wedding weekend itinerary:
Consider Having a Theme
Hosting a wedding over multiple days can run the risk of feeling disjointed. Use a theme to create some synergy and tie things together. For instance, festival weddings have soared in popularity of late and make the ideal three-day event theme. You could include performances or workshops to maintain the momentum all weekend long.
Don’t Forget the Accommodations
Once you’ve ironed out the finer details, it’s time to deal with logistics. Where are your guests going to stay? Of course, you’re under no obligation to plan this side of the event, however, it’s polite to provide some assistance. Research nearby accommodation options and put together a handy guide for your guests that can be emailed out or included on your wedding website.
Take into consideration all budgets and be as inclusive as possible with recommendations at every price point. It’s a quick Google search that will mean a lot to these people traveling to see you.
Be Flexible With Your Guests
While we’re on the topic of inclusivity, there’s one final thing you must consider. Sure, a three-day event is a massive commitment for you and your fiancé, but it’s also a commitment for your guests. Exercise some flexibility when it comes to your invitations. Make it completely clear that they aren't expected to attend every part of your wedding. It may be that people can’t afford to pay for three nights' accommodation or can't get the time off work. Whatever the reason, should some of your guests have an issue, be sympathetic to that and make sure they know it’s not a big deal—that they’re able to celebrate your special day (or, indeed, days!) in any way is what matters.