Top 5 Tips for Planning an Unforgettable Wedding Weekend

These days it is quite common for couples to live a distance away from their close friends and family, seeing them only at important occasions.  Weddings are one such event in a couple’s life where favourite people should be present.  Because these loved ones may have to travel a long distance for the wedding, there is a trend emerging to hold a “weekend wedding” instead of a “wedding day” which ends once the clock strikes 12. Weekend wedding celebrations become more of a mini holiday allowing you to spend more quality time with the people you care about the most.

If you are wedding planning at the moment and are one of these couples, read on to discover my Top 5 Tips on how to create a wonderful weekend wedding celebration.

1. Pace Yourself

Think about planning your wedding weekend with a range of different ‘speeds’. If the ceremony, feasting and dancing are happening on the Saturday, keep this as your main event. 

Additionally plan a ‘Warm up’ Friday night and a ‘Wind Down’ Sunday brunch for example.  Friday is when the anticipation builds. Friends and family arrive and meet each other often for the first time. This is the perfect time for relaxing drinks, or a BBQ. Dinner with close friends and family. A chance to catch up with your nearest and dearest without the pressure of the wedding day itself.  Conversations can be started and finished, and you can actually sit down, natter and finish your drink! 

It also stops any of your guests feeling uncomfortable turning up at a wedding where they know no one else. 

Sunday is for chilling out (and the odd sore head!). It is a time to look back on the day and reminisce about who did what. J
You can lay on a slap-up brunch or picnic, perhaps organise some garden games or an activity off site to ease yourself into saying goodbye. 

Living here in the Cairngorms there are lots of group activities which I can organise such as mountain hikes, bike rides or loch swims to clear the hangovers before the big trips home.

2. Make it Feel Consistent

Keep your wedding theme consistent and visible throughout the wedding weekend. This gives the weekend an air of continuity and cohesiveness.

Elevate the Friday and Sunday event names from “A BBQ with Friends” to “A Pre-Wedding Dinner”.  Change the “Sunday Brunch” to “Post-Wedding Recovery Brunch”.

Stationery can be used cleverly to bring themes together. You can also reflect your colour palettes across all three days and the various events. Incorporate the same floral varieties into mini posies and arrangements for the Friday dinner as those to be used on the Big Day itself.

All these things provide your guests with little tasters of what’s to come and make them feel special from the start.

The suppliers I work with love to get stuck into bigger projects that allows their creativity to grow arms and legs. When working with clients I love to see what unfolds in this wedding planning process.

Bruce Morrison, Executive Chef at Highland Dining agrees.  He says, “It’s becoming increasingly common for me to provide a full 2 to 3 day catering programme to enhance an unforgettable wedding. With many years experience in high end hotels catering for unique weddings, we will provide anything from a full restaurant style breakfast service to a bespoke canapé reception, or from a memorable multi course wedding meal to a tailored selection of late night food for your guests to enjoy.”

3. Get Clever with Re-Use

A weekend of 3 different events does not have to mean that you need three times the budget. Drinks on the first night around a firepit can be on a BYO basis. Sunday can be a walk in the forest and simple picnic.

It can also still be sustainable. Crockery, glassware and cutlery can be washed and re-used, or recyclable products can be used, gathered up and recycled again.

Floral displays can be moved to different locations or flowers can be taken out and re-decorated into different displays.

Caroline from Wild Blossom, a fantastic florist in Forres, says, “Yes, I think it’s something we would always encourage where possible.  We regularly provide vases for the bridal party flowers to be placed in after the ceremony and used for decoration around the venue.  Ceremony arrangements can be moved and re used around the venue too.  All of these can be used the next day too if couple’s want.”

If you choose dried flowers or faux flowers, they can go anywhere really easily, even home with you at the end of your wedding weekend.

Take advantage of the natural scenery, abundant here in the Cairngorms, for different backdrops for your events.  This costs you nothing and can give your wedding weekend an incredibly rustic, natural theme.

4. Think Carefully about your Spaces

When you are wedding planning for a weekend of events, make sure that there are areas available for guests of all ages so that everyone feels included. No one wants their best friends growing restless during parts of the weekend. Remember, not everyone is going to want to hit the dance floor all night long.  Think about building in chill out areas for guests to sit, chat and relax.

This sort of ‘Zoning’ of your venue or outdoor location will also add to the feeling of it being a real experience. Your guests will have different places to move through and enjoy, different bits of styling to draw the eye, and they will feel really looked after throughout the events.

If you are having children at the weekend, and you are having a tipi wedding, how about putting up a mini tipi in the grounds with some activities for the children to enjoy? Big cushions for them to cosy on in with, for some chill out time too.

At the picnic outside on the Sunday, make sure you have a gazebo up for the guests needing some shade, whether it be for sun protection, or hangover protection! Add some deckchairs for the older members of your party to rest their feet after the dancing the night before.

5. Special Extras

My top, top tip of wedding planning advice when it comes to a wedding weekend, is to make your friends and loved ones feel special. 

The main reason to extend into a wedding weekend is to spend more time with your guests, so make their experience exceptional and memorable.

You can add lots of little personal touches to the weekend that go way above and beyond their expectations. Add hangover kits at the brunch table, write hand-written thank you notes to put into your guests’ bedrooms along with some personalised treats for them to enjoy over the weekend or take home with them. 

These extras turn a jolly weekend away into something altogether more luxurious and unforgettable.

These are my 5 top tips for planning a weekend wedding. 

Living in the Highlands of Scotland, within the Cairngorms National Park where there is an abundance of fantastic lodges, wedding suppliers, outdoor activities and spectacular scenery and locations.  I love putting these together to create incredible wedding weekends for my clients, especially for couples bringing their nearest and dearest from a distance. 

If this is something you are planning I would love to help you. Just contact me via my website.

A weekend wedding isn’t for everybody. However, when you do live apart from your loved ones and want to bring them together for your wedding celebration, it is an opportunity to create a ‘once in a lifetime’ event that you, and they, will hold dear forever.

If you think you may like help with your wedding planning, click here to read my blog about Hiring a Planner.