How to plan a weekend long wedding

Want more than just a wedding day? Our wedding expert, Katrina Otter, shares her advice on how to make the most of your ceremony and plan a wedding over a whole weekend 

As the name implies, a ‘weekend wedding’ lasts longer than the traditional one-day affair. Guests usually arrive on a Friday and then leave later on the Sunday after enjoying the wedding itself on the Saturday. Weekend weddings take their pattern from US events where it’s usual to have a rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding and a post-wedding brunch the day afterwards.

So, why have they become so popular in the UK?  Well, with the rise of civil ceremonies, lots of couples choose to get married further afield and if you’re already booking accommodation and potentially asking guests to travel some distance for your nuptials, why not make the most of the opportunity?

Wanting to spend more time with friends and family has definitely driven the increase in weekend weddings. When we all lead such busy lives, time away from the pressures of the everyday is such a novelty and what better reason is there to get together than a wedding?


From a practical perspective, knowing that you’ve got extra time with your guests really takes the pressure off on the wedding day too – no frantically running around from guest to guest during your reception to make sure that you’ve spoken to everyone!  

Lastly, a weekend wedding is a huge treat for everyone. It’s a mini-holiday, a luxury and a complete indulgence. And, if you can’t indulge yourself with a wedding, when can you?

If you’ve decided that a weekend wedding is the right option for you, let me reassure you that the additional planning required to host a multi-day event is actually quite minimal. Lots of venues are now offering weekend packages that include accommodation, food and drink plus the wedding itself. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to invite everyone to all of the celebrations – it’s perfectly acceptable to invite your closest friends and family for the entire weekend and other guests simply for the wedding day itself.

As with all things wedding, you can do exactly what you like on your weekend wedding.  Some people arrange activities for the Friday or go ahead with a more traditional rehearsal dinner.  In terms of food, you can either opt for a formal dinner, a more relaxed and interactive treat such as a barbecue or you could just retreat to a local pub. Remember that a weekend wedding is about being together – what you choose to do is up to you.

Following the wedding itself, getting together with everyone the next day is always a great idea.  I personally love seeing people chatting, sharing their stories and just relaxing in each other’s company. Hosting a delicious brunch or lunch before everyone departs rounds proceedings off nicely and gives you a final chance to be with your friends and family.

Before I leave you, here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re planning your weekend wedding:

  • Look at accommodation options and numbers early on. Decide who you’ll invite and give them as much notice as possible, particularly if they need to take time off work.
  • Think about your budget and decide what you can afford to spend for those weekend extras such as additional food and drink or suppliers.
  • Consider working with a wedding planner or ask a member of the wedding party to look after the pre and post events.
  • Don’t worry about filling every moment of the weekend with activities. Your guests will be happy having time together, they don’t need to be entertained all the time.
  • Finally, enjoy your weekend – you’ve extended your celebrations so make sure that you enjoy every minute.

Katrina Otter is a Cambridgeshire based wedding planner and event organiser with over 10 years experience. Find out how she could help you plan your wedding day at


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