Chances are your wedding day was or will be the happiest day of your life. What if it wasn’t over in just a day? What if your wedding could stretch over a long weekend, with lots of opportunities for families and friends to bond over your declaration of love for one another? Weekendlong weddings are becoming the new norm as more and more couples are opting for multi-day weddings, rather than squeezing all that fun and memory-making into one day or night.
The Weekend Wedding Trend is Most Popular with Destination Weddings
At Messina’s Catering & Events, we’re also seeing this wedding trend growing in popularity with local weddings. New Orleans destination weddings are certainly nothing new. Still, we are seeing a significant uptick in the number of local couples opting to incorporate the City’s heritage into a multi-day event and treat their out-of-town guests to a generous dose of The Big Easy when they travel to see them tie the knot. No matter where you host a weekend wedding, specific considerations are involved that are universal to all.
Find Your Perfect New Orleans Wedding Venue
New Orleans boasts one of the country’s largest selections of special event venues. Prepare to have your vision for the wedding of your dreams come to life! When hosting a weekend wedding, a venue like Chateau LeMoyne offers several stunning spaces within a single venue, allowing the convenience of each weekend event to be unique but held at one location. The lush courtyard creates a splendid backdrop for your ceremony. The ballroom is the perfect atmosphere for welcome parties, rehearsal dinners, and bridal luncheons. Between the weekend’s wedding events, your guests will enjoy elegant guest rooms and amenities while steps away from Bourbon Street and the heart of The French Quarter, where they can explore and be entertained.
Send Out “Save-The-Date” Invitations Early
Be sure to use wording that makes it clear this is a multi-day event with multiple festivities throughout the long weekend. Sending out these calendar placeholders far in advance (often up to a year in advance) can help your guests decide whether they can join you for the entire weekend or just for the ceremony and reception. Ensure everyone understands you are open to guests attending all or just some of the events.
Don’t Be Too Rigid in Your Weekend Planning
While scheduling something every second of your big event is tempting, try to keep things loose. Of course, you’ll need a head count for sit-down meals, but something like a welcome reception can be more of a come-when-you-can affair as guests arrive and check into their accommodations. To keep everyone centralized, consider reserving a room block or designate a travel agent to help keep guests close. Many hotels, like ONE11 Hotel in the French Quarter, will have a full-service restaurant or catering (at ONE11 Hotel the restaurant is called Batture Bistro + Bar) with designated special event space that can be used for your welcome party.
Also, keep in mind that this may be the first time some of your guests have visited the city where your wedding weekend is taking place. They likely would like some time on their own to explore and see the sights.
Set the Tone and Share the Schedule with a Welcome Bag
Most couples cannot cover all the costs of a weekend wedding for all of their guests, including travel, lodging, food, and more. A welcome bag is a great way to thank them for the time and effort they spent in spending your special weekend with you. It can also set the tone for the event. For instance, if your weekend wedding is in New Orleans, it might contain a Mardi Gras mask, some beads, some Cafe Du Monde coffee, pralines, bottled water, and a map of the French Quarter. A welcome bag for a tropical wedding weekend may contain a beach towel, sunscreen, logoed sunhat or flip flops and a map of local hot spots.
Be sure to include an itinerary of the weekend, including dates, times, and transportation details. In a city foreign to many of your guests, it’s a nice touch to make arrangements for all the transportation they’ll need, whether a chartered bus or a city trolley, and let them know in advance you’ve got that covered. Finally, package everything up in a nice tote bag, basket, or box that is in keeping with your wedding theme and branded to fit your special day.
Try to Cover Most Meals, If Possible
Here in New Orleans, finding a good restaurant and wedding caterer is a piece of cake. But in other cities and rural areas, food might not be available around every corner. In that case, you should plan to host dinner each night and a continental breakfast each day. This usually allows you to skip lunches.
For a wedding weekend, the rehearsal dinner should be open to all guests, not just the people who are part of your wedding ceremony. It’s also the perfect time for the happy couple to present any gifts they may want to show their appreciation for guests traveling to their wedding. Examples include branded wine glasses, a nice bottle of wine, or good local coffee.
For weekend long weddings, it’s also a nice touch to give your guests one last time to connect before saying “goodbye” by hosting a farewell brunch on the last day of your weekend wedding. Plan for brunch around 10 or 11 a.m. to give guests that may have been out late the night before time to sleep as well as time to check out of hotels.
Think Beyond the Wedding Festivities
Filling up an entire weekend with fun can be exhausting to plan, host, and be present when you have many other things to do to get ready to say your nuptials. Not to mention, it can be expensive. Provide guests with a curated list of fun activities to encourage them to explore the area and turn your weekend wedding into a mini-vacation for them. You can even provide a concierge to help guide your guests throughout the weekend and handle sign-ups and information when asked.
Take Advantage of Long Holiday Weekends
Three-day weekends are an excellent option for weekend weddings and give everyone on your guest list the chance to attend without taking too much time off work. Weddings can take on a definite all-American flair if held over the long Fourth of July weekend. Thanksgiving weekend gives you an often-guaranteed, four-day weekend and also sets the tone for the food and fellowship to follow.
Messina’s Can Help You Plan the Ultimate Weekend Wedding
Our top-notch team at Messina’s can make your weekend wedding unforgettable. We cater at at some of New Orleans’ most unique event spaces, which provides flexibility when planning a variety of events like a welcome reception, the wedding, and a farewell brunch. We are a one-stop-shop with table settings, food staging, lively spirits bars, and inventive chef stations. We can tailor the catering menu to fit your unique tastes and budget. Plus, because we’re one of the oldest and largest New Orleans wedding caterers, we can handle every aspect of the food and drink needed over your entire weekend wedding–from the welcome party to the farewell brunch. Learn more by visiting MessinasCatering.com.