What is a UK wedding weekend?
Would you like a wedding weekend, rather than just a one day wedding? More and more couples are coming to me with a vision in mind for a wedding where everyone comes together for a full weekend. Pre-wedding dinners take place the night before, we have the wedding itself (with no curfew) and then a post wedding day brunch or BBQ or similar. How does this sound and do you like the idea?
Why have wedding weekends increased in popularity?
These days when we write the guest lists for our weddings, it is often no surprise to find that wherever we host the wedding, be it close to home or far away, a large proportion of the guests are going to have to travel and stay overnight. Overseas destination weddings have become increasingly popular, but not everyone believes this is right for them, particularly if they have elderly relatives who would be unable to travel abroad. But if a large number of your guests are going to have to travel anyway, why not find somewhere where everyone can stay (if they choose to) and you can extend your celebrations throughout the entire weekend. I call this a UK wedding weekend.
Why use a destination wedding planner for your UK wedding weekend
As a luxury wedding planner specialising in destination weddings, I am increasingly finding that couples are coming to me to ask me to help them plan their UK wedding weekend. For a variety of reasons they have decided against an overseas wedding, but they do want to find a location in the UK where all of their guests can come to together for a couple of nights. This then enables them to extend the event across the entire wedding weekend. A UK based wedding weekend will require more planning and organisation and will involve many of the skills that a destination wedding planner has acquired.
Planning your UK wedding weekend
If a UK wedding weekend sounds like it could be for you, here are some tips and issues to think about:
- Find a venue or location which has the bedroom capacity to accommodate all of your guests and which you can ideally take exclusively for the entire weekend; examples might be private country estates, boutique hotels, a holiday island off the UK coast, or a self-catering holiday resort
- If it is close to home, you would be able to invite additional guests for the wedding day itself, but if it more than one hour’s drive from home, my advice would be to restrict your wedding to only those guests who are with you for the entire weekend.
- Plan your wedding day as you would a wedding to close to home, but remember if you have hosted an event the night before, you might not want to start too early; equally if you have no curfew you can party till late so a later ceremony time might be a good idea
- Once your wedding plans are well underway, think about other wedding weekend hospitality, such as a pre-wedding dinner and a post wedding day brunch or lunch or BBQ
- What about other activities that you could integrate into your weekend, such as outdoor sports, wine tastings, cookery classes etc. This will be very much dependent on where you are hosting your wedding weekend as to what is on offer, and also the timings of your other celebrations
- Think about placing a welcome gift and/or note in all of the accommodation so that your guests have something to greet them when they arrive; you might want to include information about the venue and a reminder of all of the events
- If the accommodation is self-catering, you might want to consider providing food hampers to cover the meals you are not providing as part of the wedding weekend, for example breakfasts
- You might want to consider a wedding website for your wedding weekend, giving your guests all of the information they might need, including travel and accommodation arrangements; if your guests are going to be paying you for their accommodation, you will also need to link this to a payment site.
Some final thoughts about UK wedding weekends
Inviting guests to join you for a wedding weekend that is not close to their home is a big ask; it might be costly when you take into consideration travel and accommodation expenses. They may also need to take time off work. So, in my opinion it is really important that couples are considerate of the expense and effort that guests make in order to join them. This means going above and beyond in terms of hospitality making it an unforgettable experience. It also means making it as easy and effortless as possible, with every single detail being considered.
All of this said, in my opinion having attended countless wedding weekends both overseas and here in the UK, there is nothing to beat them. The connection between all of your guests is forged on day one, so that on the wedding day itself the vibe is palpable and the atmosphere incredible. Your guests will undoubtedly walk way saying it is one of the best weddings they have ever been to. And you will be surrounded by love and warmth for the entire wedding weekend.
If you would like to discuss planning a wedding weekend, either here in the UK or overseas, please get in touch. You can contact me by email, by phone on + 44 7734 976459 or by heading over to the contact page on my website.
All of the photographs in this post are by photographer Claudine Hartzel
You can also read here about one of my other recent UK wedding weekends: Amy and Gerard’s stunning Iscoyd Park wedding