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Holiday Wedding: How-To

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December 23, 2020

Have you always dreamed of a New Year’s Eve wedding? Ever thought that a Valentine’s Day celebration would be extra special? Are you currently hoping to book Memorial Day weekend to allow for an extra day of partying with all your guests? Then this blog is for you! When planned well in advance with some extra thought, holiday weddings can definitely be a little extra special.

Book EARLY. Vendors and venues tend to book early for holidays – especially long weekends. Others sometimes black out holiday dates depending on their own plans. And those that don’t, sometimes need a little extra time to find holiday staffing. If your wedding planning timeline is tight, this may prevent you from hosting a holiday wedding; however, every market is different so it definitely doesn’t hurt to ask. However, before getting your heart set on a holiday date, reach out to your dream venue and vendor team to see if booking for your holiday is a possibility.

Notify guests EARLY. In addition to vendors, guests need lots of heads up for holiday weddings. They usually have plans of their own for obvious reasons. So padding your save-the-date or invitation mailing dates by a week or two is never a bad idea.

Guest availability may fluctuate. Many people consider certain holidays – Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc. – to be a time best spent at home with immediate family. Therefore, be prepared for a higher rate of declined invitations if planning directly around these holidays. While you should still book venue space as if you’ll see the traditional rate of acceptances, you should be mentally prepared for a lower than usual turnout. And remember not to hold this against guests! Many may have made plans for a particular holiday many years in advance.

For other holidays with more of a party vibe – long weekends like Memorial and Labor Day, New Year’s Eve, 4th of July – there’s a chance that you may receive more accepted invitations than usual. Who doesn’t love a big, free party with all their loved ones on one of these holidays?! Therefore, it’s best to look for venues that can hold a large percentage of your invited guests. Your budget should also accommodate for this possibility. While neither of the above-mentioned possibilities is guaranteed, it’s best to be prepared as holidays add a certain element of unpredictability when it comes to guest attendance.

Extra +1s and family invitations. If guests are going to be celebrating a special holiday with you for your wedding, keep in mind that they’ll most likely want their own family or special someone close by as well. Inviting the entire family unit or being more generous with your +1 invitations may help convince guests to spend the holidays with you!

Expect (and budget for) higher costs. Many wedding vendors charge a premium for holiday dates. As those dates are usually in high demand, they’re just letting the market set the price. Additionally, many vendors incur higher costs on holidays – which will then be passed along to you. Staffing prices for catering crews or other teams can often be more expensive. Therefore, when building a holiday wedding budget, make sure you’re padding all numbers significantly.

And don’t forget that’s it not only you that will incur additional costs. Guests will also see a higher price tag for travel, hotels, etc. So take this into consideration as well if you’re seeing lower than expected RSVP numbers.

Consider tipping more. Everyone loves to be at home with family for the holidays – even your wedding team. However, some part-time employees may not be in a position to turn down work even on the holidays. So consider making it a holiday to remember – especially for those employees who are working to bring your dream wedding to life!

Be generous with the timeline. Holidays always come with a little extra dose of unpredictability – especially when it comes to traffic and scheduling. If guests will be moving from one location to another – say from a church to the reception venue – include a little extra time in your timeline. While it may not always be necessary, it never hurts to be prepared.

Research local holiday traditions and plans. There’s nothing like surprise road closures, parades, or street celebrations on your wedding day. You’ll want to be aware of everything going on in the immediate vicinity of your wedding. Local celebrations can have a huge impact on noise, parking, timelines, etc.

Local traditions and celebrations can also benefit your wedding. There’s nothing like a free firework show in view from your wedding that you can claim as your own, right?! So do your research ahead of time to plan for anything that may be taking place nearby.

Religious ceremonies may be out. Keep in mind that many places of worship may be holding their own ceremonies or events on particular holidays. If you’re completely sold on getting married in a place of worship, consider that a holiday date may not be for you.

Embrace the theme! If you’re planning for a holiday wedding, don’t be afraid to embrace the holiday theme. Guests won’t be likely to forget that they may be missing other celebrations, so make your reception an unforgettable holiday celebration of its own. Also, many venues may decorate for certain holidays – like Christmas or New Year’s Eve – and this may allow you to benefit from their décor without incurring extra costs. And while no one wants to hear Christmas songs for the entire reception, adding a few to your playlist will be fun for all.

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While holiday weddings require a bit of extra planning, time, and budget, when done right, they can make for an unforgettable night!

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