While Saturday has long been de rigueur for weddings, there’s no rule that says you can’t consider the other six nights of the week for your celebration. That’s becoming especially true as the idea of what a wedding can look like continues to evolve and change.
"Weekday weddings started gaining momentum as destination weddings started gaining momentum," says event planner Sara Bauleke. It makes sense: If you and your nearest and dearest have already committed to traveling for multiple days, does it really matter when you choose to exchange vows? Add in the impacts of the pandemic, which has allowed some more flexibility with remote work and simultaneously created a major wedding backlog, and the off-day approach is more appealing than ever.
Meet the Expert
Sara Bauleke is the founder and lead event designer of Bella Notte. She is based in the Washington, D.C. area.
While Thursday might just become the new Saturday, there are still a few crucial components to consider before you decide whether or not a weekday wedding is the right move for you. Read on for the questions to ask yourselves, the pros and cons to weigh, and a few tips and tricks for turning your weekday wedding into an unforgettable celebration.
Factors to Consider
Before you go full-speed on planning a weekday wedding, ask yourselves these questions:
1) Is our wedding a destination wedding?
Do the majority of guests need to take time off work to travel? Are they anticipating a multi-day event? If your guests' calendars are already blocked off, then you’ve got more flexibility with the day of the week you choose for your nuptials. Per Bauleke, venues and resorts in destination wedding locales also have more experience planning weddings on off days, so they’ll know how to adjust for certain supply chain factors. (More on that in a bit.)
2) Are our guests local?
If the wedding is not a destination affair, most of your guests should live nearby or within a few hours' driving distance. That way, they don’t have to deal with overly complicated travel logistics to attend your event.
3) What days are available to me?
When it comes to weddings, not all non-Saturdays deliver the same impact. "Thursday and Friday nights are still 'party nights,'" says Bauleke. "People are at the end of their work week, or they can get the beginning of their work done, make the event, and still feel like they have several days to recover before they have to be back at work." With Sundays and Mondays, however, you’re running into everyone’s upcoming week, and your guests' mindset may not be in party mode.
4) Do we want children there?
"When you have a wedding that’s very family-oriented, there are a lot more scheduling conflicts that come into play—sports games, after-school activities, etc," reminds Bauleke. If your weekday wedding won’t be during spring break, it may be more difficult for your favorite nieces and nephews—and their parents—to attend. If, however, you’re planning for an adults-only wedding, a weekday celebration might make even more sense.
Pros and Cons of a Weekday Wedding
You can secure your dream venue—and vendors. "With the pandemic, there’s a lot of demand, but there’s also only so many weekends," says Bauleke. If your perfect venue or preferred photographer is booked for every Saturday well into next year, chances are they’ll have sooner availability on another night. Change your wedding to a weekday and your options will definitely expand.
You’ll save $$$. Wedding vendor and venue rates are highest on Saturdays because that is the most in-demand day. If you shift your celebration to a day where they’re not already guaranteed to bring in business, though, they’ll likely cut you a better deal.
This is especially true if you’re considering a restaurant wedding. Fridays and Saturdays are the biggest nights for dining out, so you’ll have to pay a premium for a buy-out in order to make up for an eatery’s anticipated revenue. But if you schedule for a Wednesday, when more folks are eating at home, the restaurant will likely charge less because they anticipate bringing in less.
You can cut down your guest list. "If you dream of a small wedding but have a large number of people you feel you need to invite, the benefit of scheduling a weekday wedding is that fewer people are going to come," says Bauleke. This way, you can be tactful about including all the necessary names, but chances are higher that the celebration will end up happening with only the people you’re closest with.
Your guests have more flexibility. Once your guests have committed to traveling for a destination event, a weekday wedding will give them more freedom to enjoy the locale. "If you wed on a Friday and have events leading up to that, guests aren’t bound by a schedule come the weekend," offers Bauleke. "They can make a mini vacation out of it."
Not everyone will be able to come. The biggest con of a weekday wedding is that it will be harder for guests to disentangle from their everyday lives to attend. If the presence of all of your invitees is a top priority, you’ll want to stick to a Saturday.
The party might not deliver on the same level. "In most cases, a weekday wedding, especially if it’s not a destination, is going to be more chill," admits Bauleke. A Friday wedding will still deliver a late-night dance party, but on other days it might be harder for guests to focus solely on celebrating.
Supply chains might impact your choices. "A lot of people look at Mondays because it bookends a weekend, but that’s often the day of floral deliveries," says Bauleke. This might make it trickier or more expensive for your florist to build in time to craft arrangements with your desired blooms.
It’s tougher to pull off on a short timeline. If you’re only able to give guests a few weeks' notice on your nuptials, it may be harder for them to secure approval for any necessary time off to attend a weekday wedding.
Weekday Wedding Planning Advice
Do a Pre-Check
Before you formally commit to a weekday wedding, be sure to ask the VIPS you can’t imagine marrying without if the date will work for them. If it turns out there are several major conflicts, it might be time to reconsider a Saturday.
Plan Your Ending Accordingly
If your event falls on a night when people have to resume their daily lives the morning after, plan to wrap up the night earlier (i.e. at 10 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.). "You want to end your wedding on a high note," explains Bauleke. "Don’t drag it out longer than your guests are going to be invested." What that also means: don’t waste money on an after-party.
Be Strategic With Scheduling
In a multi-day destination affair, Bauleke prefers to schedule the wedding toward the end of the trip but says the trick is to host a welcome party earlier on so that everyone will have a chance to mingle. Then, let people know of different activities they can opt into throughout the experience—horseback riding, a catamaran tour, etc.—to further encourage bonding ahead of the main event. "You don’t want to make these required events, but you do want to offer spaces where people can meet. By the time they get to your wedding, everyone will feel like they’re friends," she says.
What to Know as a Guest
"If you are traveling, I highly recommend that you take the day after the wedding off and fly out late, or even fly out the day after," says Bauleke. "This lets you live in the moment, be present, and focus on celebrating the couple, without worrying that you have to be at your computer at 8 a.m. the next morning."
Beyond adjusting your schedule, guests should also expect to follow less rigid dress codes. "A black-tie wedding is much less likely to happen on a Wednesday," Bauleke adds. Instead, you’re more likely to see creative directives such as "city chic."