Part II: Our top 5 necessities to host the perfect weekend wedding.
No need to panic, we know it sounds a lot to organize two or even three days of celebrations rather then a traditional wedding reception, but there are 5 important things you need to remember when planning your weekend wedding:
1. You and your suitcase:
The bride and her dress are the top priority. Plan your journey to your wedding destination carefully, remembering the most important piece of your language: your wedding gown. The ideal option would be to have it hanging in order to avoid any creasing of the delicate fabric. So check with the airline you are flying with, to see if they could place it the first/business class closet. This unfortunately, although ideal, is rarely an available option and it might be better to try to pack your precious gown into a travel bag. Of course, putting your wedding dress in your checked baggage and hoping for the best is like playing Russian roulette. Our advice is to hang it inside a sturdy travel garment bag and stuff the dress (especially the sleeves) with acid-free tissue paper (this works miracles when it comes to retaining the shape). When boarding the plane, fold it gently in half and place it in the overhead bin. Alternatively, you could purchase a box specially designed to hold fragile items and pack your dress inside. Make sure you follow the instructions in this packing video.
The general rule is, and we strongly stand by it, to make sure the bride’s and groom’s clothing, the wedding bands, your legal documentation, veil, jewelry, and anything essential for your wedding day, is in your carry-on luggage. If your airline has restrictions regarding on-board bags, ask your family and friends who are flying with you to help.
2. The venue:
When selecting a venue for your weekend wedding, remember that you and your guests will stay in that place for several days and it is important to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and well looked after. First of all, check if accommodation is suitable and if there are enough rooms to sleep your entire party. If not, make sure there are other hotels or B&B’s available nearby. Find out what is the exact distance from the airport and the best travel options to your destination. If there are any children amongst your guests, check with the venue if they have high chairs in the restaurant, rooms big enough to sleep an entire family and some attractions/distractions for the little ones (parents will really appreciate this little touch!). Speaking of attractions, it would be ideal to have leisure activities available within the venue grounds, such as a SPA centre, gym and swimming pool or golf course, to keep the adults entertained. Check as well for disabled access and any amenities for elderly guests.
3. Keep them posted:
Keeping your guests in the loop is very important. Remember, they are (possibly) making some sacrifices to attend your big celebration and they will appreciate anything that makes the journey easier.
The traditional way is to send all the details with the invitation. Don’t forget to include travel options, accommodation specifics and event itinerary. Contact details of a friendly travel agent would be an additional touch.
A wedding website is perhaps the best and most complex option available at the moment. It would grant your guests constant access to everything they need to know about your wedding (that you wish to share with them of course). It is not only very helpful in informing your party about news and updates but will also allows for feedback and communication within the group. Initial set-up costs vary but ultimate cost and logistical savings far outweigh initial outlay.
4. Activities for guests:
Yes, it is essential to plan some activities for your guests. Not every minute of every day but just enough to make sure they get the most out of their weekend. Perhaps arrange for them to visit the local attractions, book some beauty treatments in the Spa for the ladies and maybe golf for the gents. Adults, in general, are fully capable of entertaining themselves, but they will expect a certain level of pampering since they made the effort to come to your wedding.
A welcome reception is always a good idea. A few informal drinks and a meal the night before the big day will allow you to catch up with everyone and also give the opportunity for the guests to familiarize themselves with one another.
You should also plan the after party or the day after events. The post wedding activities will depend on how soon after the wedding reception your guests are planning to leave. If most of them are staying until the Monday, you can plan an informal day with some bbq, pig spit roasting or the premier of the home made wedding video. If they are catching the first plane out, at least make sure they have breakfast served up.
5. Who pays the bill?
Well…it’s the million dollar question (sometimes literally).
Unfortunately, most of the costs will have to be covered by you. But surely, since it is your wedding, you were expecting that. In general, travel and accommodation are arranged in advance, and therefore, paid by the guests themselves. Although, traditionally, you should be the one paying for the bride’s and groom’s party, everyone understands how costly weddings can be, and will probably volunteer to book their own tickets and hotel rooms.
Very often, if the newlyweds are picking up the bill for the wedding ceremony and reception themselves, parents will contribute towards the additional costs such as the day after party. Sometimes, guests with the fattest wallets will keep the tab open during the after party event.
What you should remember is that choosing a location like Poland will keep most of the costs significantly lower, in comparison with the average British wedding. What might sound like an expensive 3 days extravaganza will often turn out to be cheaper then the traditional and costly local event.