Weddings allow precious time for friends and family to celebrate the love between people they care for. Whether it is a full weekend wedding or a 3 day wedding, multi-day weddings are experiences guests and couples alike will remember for the rest of their lives.
So when a couple comes to you looking to plan a multi-day weekend for their wedding, it may seem like a tall order. Never fear, there is a long tradition of multi-day weddings, and plenty of modern takes on it to keep things fresh and exciting.
When looking to plan a multi-day wedding, look no further!
What is a Multi-day Wedding?
Typically a multi-day wedding lasts three days, usually over an extended weekend for practicality reasons. However, they can last longer or even just be a two-day affair. The idea is that couples want to have a longer time with their friends and family. Some may even think of it as a mini vacation of sorts.
Usually, 3 day weddings are very casual, relaxed affairs, or highly scheduled with itineraries and excursions. It all depends on what the couple wants and what their personality is like. There may also be cultural and religious elements that factor into the wedding being extended over multiple days.
It should go without saying, but just in case you need to reiterate it: a 3 day wedding is going to be more expensive, especially in a COVID-19 world.
Traditional Multi-day Weddings
In typical Western culture, weddings are one-day celebrations. It’s a long day, but it all fits into 24 hours. This isn’t the case everywhere, and should you find yourself planning a multi-day wedding that is based in tradition and culture, it’s good to know what to expect.
This is also the case for blended weddings. The couple may come from two very different cultural backgrounds. Helping them navigate a balance so each feels they are representing themselves is definitely no easy task, but it’s a great way to really make their wedding weekend special.
Take Sarah and Ruch’s wedding for example. This wedding was three days long to fit in with Ruch’s Indian heritage, but also had a more Western ceremony with Thai decorations to represent Sarah’s parents.
Indian Multi-day Weddings
A traditional Indian wedding is going to last around three days, according to Suniti Patel, of Lamhe Bridal Consultants in New Jersey. That said, all three days don’t involve the entire wedding party. On the first day will be the ganesh pooja, a ceremony performed by a Hindu priest that includes the couple, bridal party, and close relatives.
The second day involves two ceremonies: the mehndi in the morning and the sangeet in the evening. The mehndi involves the bride, female friends and family, and her bridal party getting traditional henna inked onto their skin. The process is very intricate and can take up to 10 hours. The evening brings on the sangeet, where all wedding guests will be invited. It’s here the couple’s families will be introduced and there is a party with dancing, food, and other activities.
The third day is finally the wedding ceremony itself. There are many parts to a traditional Indian wedding, which is steeped in a rich and vibrant culture. If you are helping to plan a multi-day Indian wedding, make sure you are an expert on the different facets of the ceremonies.
Modern Multi-day Weddings
If a couple wants a multiple-day experience but aren’t tied to any traditional celebrations or religious activities, there are still plenty of opportunities for grand festivities. Whether they decide on a traditional sort of wedding or a destination wedding, there are many ways to have a modern wedding weekend.
Some elements that can be incorporated into a modern wedding weekend are things like karaoke parties on the first night, going to an amusement park, or even heading out on the town. Think of it as one long party.
Exotic, romantic, and adventurous—that’s what destination weddings are. If couples are asking guests to fly to an entirely different country, chances are it is going to be a multiple-day affair. Likely even longer than just a 3 day wedding. After all, no one is going to fly to Fiji for a single afternoon.
Make sure there is enough breathing room. Guests may be jet lagged, and they will definitely be tired. The wedding itself should be a day or two after guests arrive, to give them time to acclimate and enjoy themselves. Allowing a day or two after the wedding is also a great way to extend the experience.
A wonderful way to incorporate the location within the wedding is to book excursions and activities. For example, snorkeling in the Caribbean or skiing and snowboarding trips in the Swiss Alps.
On the flip side, multi-day destination weddings may be separated into having a civil ceremony at home with friends and family, and then a symbolic ceremony abroad. Just to keep things simple in terms of wedding laws and registration.
Planning a destination wedding takes a lot more planning than many clients may think. Securing vendors across the globe is just the tip of the iceberg. Make sure you guide them through the dos and don’ts of planning their destination wedding weekend.
Building a 3 Day Wedding Weekend
Day 1: The Welcome Party
The day before the wedding is when everyone will be arriving. It’s best to have any festivities or dinners in the evening, giving all guests a chance to arrive and unwind before jumping right in.
This is the perfect day for a relaxed, informal sort of dinner. The big day is the next day, so couples should look to book a tapas restaurant or have a family style-dinner. Formality can come later, but the welcome party is for casual chatting, maybe a little dancing, and getting excited for the weekend to come.
It’s also a great opportunity for the couple to meet friends and family of their significant other they may not know. Get rid of any stress and tension from the get go. As a wedding planner, it also gives you another day to make sure the big day will run smoothly.
Day 2: The Wedding Day
The whole reason everyone is here: the wedding day. This is what you’re best at, dear planners. Just because it is a 3 day wedding doesn’t mean the wedding day itself is any different. Since everyone will be there already thanks to the first day, this allows a bit more wiggle room when it comes to timing and a schedule for the actual day.
This is the day for the ceremony, photos, cocktail hours, formal dinner, and reception—all the bells and whistles you’re well acquainted with.
Day 3: Farewells With Mimosas
An after-wedding breakfast or brunch is a casual yet great way to wind down a wedding weekend. Chances are people may be hungover, so having nice hearty food available the next day will be a godsend.
Encourage couples to have this planned and booked for late morning or even lunchtime, giving everyone a chance to sleep in and pack if need be. Venues can be anywhere from where the reception was held to a hotel or even a community location. It’s the final farewell to wrap up a magical wedding weekend.
3 Things to Keep in Mind with a 3 Day Wedding
Planning a multiple-day wedding comes with a lot of extras. That said, there are a few things even the most conscientious of couples may overlook.
1. Don’t Over Schedule
While it may be tempting for couples to schedule every hour or every day of the whole wedding weekend, it’s actually better to leave a lot of breathing room.
Everyone is going to need some chill time. Make sure your clients make this a priority. There can be optional activities or suggestions on what to do, but encourage them not to make all things mandatory. Everyone will be seeing plenty of each other over the course of the next few days. Alone time is important, too.
Make sure clients are being realistic with their expectations when it comes to 3 day weddings. Not everyone is going to be able to come for the entire time.
Some may only be able to be there one day because it is all the time they could get off work. Others may only be able to be there on the weekend. Some may not be able to come at all. As with all weddings, knowing that the guest list won’t 100 percent RSVP is key to avoiding disappointment.
3. Child-free or Child-friendly?
A wedding weekend may be quite possible for the average adult, but if some of a client’s guests have children and the couple wants a child-free wedding, they may need to make some concessions. Offering babysitting services is an option. Likewise, making sure the venue has those services if it’s a destination wedding is another.
If that’s not in the budget, then couples need to either allow children or understand their friends and family may just not be able to make it work. Parents skipping off for a weekend wedding isn’t as easy as it is for someone who is childless, and it should be taken into consideration.
A Wedding Weekend to Remember
Regardless of what is planned, a 3 day wedding are going to be quite the experience. There will be a lot more to juggle when helping couples plan it, but it allows you to really showcase your creativity.
Find out what they want and make it happen, just spread out a little more. And maybe you’ll get a few mimosas out of it, too.