Working for the (wedding) weekend: How to do a three-day big day right

Photo: Holland Photo Arts Photo: Holland Photo Arts

For some couples, a wedding day alone can’t contain the love for one another, their family and their friends. Couples are opting to plan a wedding weekend—it may be more fun, but it’s also more to consider. Wedding planner, designer, coordinator and consultant Colleen Miller of Colleen Miller Events offers some advice on what to think about to ensure that your wedding weekend is done right and done well.

Photo: Holland Photo Arts

Lodging. Secure lodging in advance to get the best options both price- and location-wise. Remember that hotels book quickly, especially in peak season.

Budget. A true wedding weekend has multiple events, so the catering budget should include multiple hosted meals, from Friday dinner through Sunday brunch.

Photo: Holland Photo Arts

Playtime. Plan activities, but always leave some downtime for guests to explore on their own. It’s thoughtful to offer suggestions on what to see and do, favorite places to eat and drink, etc., says Miller, especially for guests who are coming in from out of town and might be experiencing this place for the first time. They want to enjoy the weekend as much as you do!

Packing. Each day and event over the course of the weekend will have its own vibe and dress code, says Miller, so offer packing guidelines on your website so as not to leave your guests wondering what you mean by “beach formal” or “casual cocktail hour.” Let them know about amenities, too. “No one wants to miss out on the pool or the nearby hike because they forgot their suit or best hiking boots,” says Miller.

Photo: Holland Photo Arts

Childcare. Keep families and guests with small children in mind—if a portion of the weekend is not kid-friendly, offer childcare.

Transportation. Remember that if you’re providing transportation for excursions or from venue to venue, you’ll likely need multiple trips, and some time built in for events that run long. This is quite often a major hidden cost, Miller says, so consider the details!

Tokens of appreciation. Welcome bags and gifts are little things that go a long way in a wedding weekend. “Leaving a small token of appreciation for guests when they arrive at their hotel or Airbnb speaks volumes,” says Miller. “It not only says thank you for traveling here, but also provides options and suggestions to make their weekend a breeze.”