It is the holiday season, so I thought it would be a great time to talk about planning a holiday wedding. My husband and I got married on the 4th of July, so I have thoughts!
Let’s back up and look at the 4 foundational things you need to figure out when you start planning a wedding, regardless of whether or not its a holiday. These 4 foundations are money, who, where, and when.
This one is pretty self-explanatory! You need to know how much you’re willing and able to spend because it affects every single decision you will make.
After getting a good idea of how much you're willing to spend, you need to put together your guest list. It doesn’t need to be exact and final yet, but the closer you can get to a final number of people to invite, the better because this will impact a ton of the other decisions you have to make.
Sometimes it is easier to write down everyone you can think of that you’d like to invite, have your fiancé do so as well and adjust the list from there. Some things you should think about:
• Will you be inviting couples? If yes, will everyone get to bring their significant other or will you be drawing the line at only married couples, living together, significant others you know, etc?
• Will single guests get a +1?
• Will children be invited?
• Do your parents have people they expect/want to invite? (If anyone else is contributing money to the wedding, it is polite to ask if they’d like to invite anyone. This can be a contentious issue though so think long and hard before accepting money from anyone who you think may have strong opinions on who to invite if you’re likely to disagree.)
Now that you know how many people you’re going to invite, its time to pick a venue. You needed the guest list first because venues have size limitations. Some also have minimums. You don’t want to fall in love with the perfect venue with a 100-person capacity because you can’t imagine inviting more than that only to sit down and make your guest list and realize you hit 200 people easily!
Some venues also require you to use specific caterers so you need an estimated headcount to determine whether it is actually within your budget.
You probably have some idea of when you want to get married - even if it is just the season or the month. When picking your venue, you’ll have to choose the specific date and time.
The Holiday Part
Now, when you want to et married on a holiday (or even just a holiday weekend), there are a few more things to keep in mind.
It may sound harsh, but you need to know who your VIP guests are. The are the people who you cannot imagine getting married without having them there. Before booking anything, reach out to them and make sure they can be there on the date you have in mind. They may have previously scheduled travel, some annual event that is really important to them that they never miss, or travel at that time may simply be too expensive for them to make the trip.
When it comes to the rest of your guests, it will be a little more difficult to predict your headcount. You might have fewer guests because of other travel, other events, costs, etc. Or you may have more guests than you expect because people could more easily travel during a holiday weekend. With that out of the way, you can focus on the fun stuff! Having your wedding on a holiday opens up a ton of possibilities! Do you want your wedding to have a theme? The holiday could suggest one or your could pick the holiday based on your theme idea. You could have a Halloween wedding and encourage everyone to come in costume or provide masquerade masks for the reception. Or how about a New Years Eve wedding where everyone parties long into the night? A wedding in the forest for Arbor Day? You get the point!
Are there local events that you could work into your wedding? My hometown has an art and wine festival throughout 4th of July weekend culminating in an amazing fireworks show. We decided to have a daytime wedding and give all of our guests tickets to the festival so they could join us for the fireworks show. It was WAY cheaper and easier than trying to do a fireworks show in my parents’ backyard where we held the wedding. The possibilities are endless and you can plan an amazing holiday wedding as long as you think through all the positive and negatives ahead of time and go into it with clear eyes.
Do you know someone who recently got engaged? I’d love it if you’d send this to them and if they find it helpful they can join the list here to get more planning advice in future emails.