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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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