5 Tips for Your Weekend Wedding Itinerary

Planning Tips

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There’s so much advice out there about what to do on your wedding day, but more often than not, a wedding involves a whole weekend of activities. Making a weekend wedding itinerary ensures that your guests have an experience as opposed to a one-night event. Working with a photographer for the whole weekend also means you get to preserve all of those meaningful memories that don’t happen the evening of your ceremony.

A bride and bridesmaids stand in a line holding bouquets of beige and white wedding flowers.

Designing Your Weekend Wedding Itinerary

As a New Orleans wedding photographer, I work with a lot of couples having destination weddings. They tend to have a lot of events surrounding their actual wedding day. Having a weekend wedding itinerary gives their guests a chance to experience New Orleans in a deeper, more intentional way than if they just showed up on their own. It’s a great way to take care of your guests and provide activities and meet up spots. Even if you aren’t paying for everything, you have more opportunities to connect and experience something new with your guest.

A bride and groom stand outside a New Orleans wedding venue in suits.
A bride and groom stand beneath an arch of greenery in a courtyard wedding ceremony.
A couple stands side by side in front of a white wall wearing formal wedding attire.
A tiered wedding cake sits on a table surrounded by tea light candles.

If you have culturally significant rituals and ceremonies in addition to the standard Western ceremony, having a weekend wedding itinerary can be a logistical necessity. I’ve photographed multicultural weddings that incorporate Vietnamese tea ceremonies and Indian traditions. Having multiple days for events makes it so much more possible, and each part of the story is equally photo-worthy.  

Groomsmen line up holding red pillows covered in red cloth for a Vietnamese tea ceremony.
A bride in a red wedding outfit walks into the backyard decorated for a tea ceremony.
Groomsmen walk past bridesmaids in peach dresses on their way to an event on the weekend wedding itinerary.
A bride and groom hold a formal tea service for a Vietnamese tea ceremony.

Tip 1: Keep meals in mind.

If you’re planning events around meal times, make sure you have a plan for food. You might generously choose to provide food at every wedding event. If that’s out of budget, set a designated place to meet up before or after events for food and drinks. People can make their own reservations and get together to explore the area.

The neon light for Cochon is lit up on the night of a rehearsal dinner.
Wedding guests gather around a long dining table for a rehearsal dinner.
Vietnamese food sits on platters on a table.
Men sit around a table with the remains of a meal on it.

Tip 2: Keep it simple and open-ended.

A weekend wedding itinerary needs a maximum of two events planned each day. One is even better in some cases. The fewer complicated wedding-related events you have to manage, the more you’ll be able to enjoy what you prioritize. If possible, avoiding hard start and stop times can alleviate stress too. For example, you might have welcome drinks at your favorite bar from 7:00-9:00. This gives your guests flexibility to come and go. You don’t have to plan every moment of their trip. Just provide enough structure that you get a chance to connect with people and share some of your favorite spots with them.  

Bridesmaids in peach dresses gather around a bride in red.
Family members gather in a living room for a tea ceremony.
Men put food on a table in a backyard.
Children sit beside a pool dressed for a wedding.

Similarly, spreading culturally-significant events over several days can help you ration your energy. If you have a tea ceremony or mehndi party, try to have those before your wedding day. You’ll have more energy to be present and enjoy each part of the process. Having a photographer there will mean you get to hold those memories just as close as your wedding day.

A wedding sign displays the name of a bride and groom along with the wedding date.
Spring rolls and pastries sit in foil pans for wedding guests.
A bride and groom in Vietnamese wedding attire laugh on their porch steps.

Tip 3: Make a wedding website with a list of events.

Sending a physical invitation is helpful, especially for older family members who are not as internet savvy. Most people appreciate having a digital copy of a weekend wedding itinerary. People traveling have one less thing to keep track of. You can add links to meeting places as well as maps. This is an excellent way to keep all of the events organized at guests’ fingertips, so you don’t have to field logistical questions when you want to enjoy yourself. Zola is one of my favorite platforms for this purpose.

The door to Hotel Peter and Paul stands open.
A pair of green wedding shoes sits beside a gold fan on the floor of a getting ready suite.
A wedding gown hangs in front of gold curtains at Hotel Peter and Paul in New Orleans.

Tip 4: Check the festival calendar.

This is a little New Orleans wisdom: If you’re getting married here, you need to be aware of city-wide events when planning your weekend wedding itinerary. Weekends leading up to Mardi Gras, Halloween, and Jazz Fest tend to be busy. Festivals are fun, but they often come with hikes in hotel rates and more competition for venues. You can embrace it and design your weekend around festival activities. If you’re not trying to fight traffic and crowds, though, pick a quieter weekend.

A woman carries the train of a bride's gown as they exit a hotel room.
A bride and a flower girl look out the window of a New Orleans hotel room.

Tip 5: Hire a local planner and photographer.

The best thing you can do is hire the right professionals to help you with your weekend wedding itinerary. A local planner can lend their expertise in sorting out the puzzle pieces so you can focus on your people. A photographer will document the tender moments and belly laughs at each event. Both a planner and photographer can help in determining the best locations and times for events to take advantage of good light. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that all the moving parts are going off without a hitch without you having to oversee every little detail.

A bride's family members button her dress.
A couple walks down the aisle of a church after their wedding ceremony.

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