A wedding weekend is a popular choice for those getting married in places like Italy or Spain, so why do we not jump onto this wedding trend here in the UK too? You may be planning a destination wedding in the UK, but even if you're not, I love the idea of making the most of the whole weekend and enjoying having all your friends and family around for longer. With that in mind, here are my tips and advice on how to get the wedding weekender right.
Choosing the Best Events for a Wedding Weekend
When it comes to picking your wedding weekend events, it all comes down to which activities suit your interests, locations and budget. My top three events include:
1. Welcome Drinks
First up is welcoming your guests, which could be in the form of dinner, drinks or both. I think it is always nice to do something fairly relaxed here. If opting for food, perhaps go for a BBQ, relaxed grazing station or feasting-style boards so everyone can mingle. If you are having a summer wedding you may be able to host this at your wedding venue or another venue nearby. You could also host welcome drinks or visit a nice local pub (very British for those destination weddings!).
If you plan anything at your venue, try avoiding the exact spot where your wedding is taking place - you don't want to ruin the surprise of the wedding day!
2. Bridal Brunch
I have had brides who liked to host a bridal brunch for their friends. If you are hosting a destination wedding and it is the first time you are getting all your girls in one place, then I think a wedding brunch or lunch is a great idea. Your girls may not know each other so it is a good opportunity for them to meet up before the big day. This could take place a nice restaurant nearby.
3. Post-Wedding Get-together
This might be one of my favourites! Everyone loves a post-wedding day get-together to chat about what an amazing time they had the day before. You could treat your guests to a post-wedding day event at your wedding venue (it is the day after so won't spoil any surprises). A relaxed brunch or BBQ buffet station is the ideal, informal style for guests. Perhaps include a Bloody Mary station for those needing a pick-me-up, or a fresh juice station to soothe any sore heads. No formalities are needed here. If it's a summer wedding you could even combine lawn games, chilled entertainment or a wedding pool party if your venue has one. This event is the perfect time to say your goodbyes properly too, as the day itself is always such a whirlwind.
Bridal brunch at The Ivy Oxford.
Finding the Ideal Venue and Accommodation
For a seamless wedding weekend, your venue and places to stay play a big part. Some venues work really well and are absolutely ideal for this type of wedding, and there are so many lovely stately homes and country estates in the English countryside (within 2 hours of London). The Cotswolds, in particular, are a gorgeous setting for entertaining international guests. Check out some of my fave Cotswolds wedding venues here.
Ideally, you would have a venue where you and at least some of your guests can stay. Hopefully, other guests can find rooms not too far away. Some luxury wedding venues have tennis courts, swimming pools, cinemas and lots to do locally, so it really can feel like a home away from home for the whole weekend. You may like the Wedding Glamping Village vibe for those summer weddings this works well great if you wedding is in private home with surrounding fields or some venues even allow this too.
If you are having a city or winter wedding, then hotels work well for pre and post wedding day events, while your wedding day maybe somewhere special in the city.
Welcome drinks at a local pub in Oxford.
Research Local Attractions
When choosing your weekend wedding venue, do research and check out all the local information. Some things to think about include:
- Accommodation for guests: how many can stay onsite and what is there locally for the rest?
- If guests are travelling from afar, where's the nearest train station, towns and also airports?
- Look locally if you're planning to host any of your pre or post-wedding day events offsite.
- Are there other activities to do in the area should your guests want to stay around and explore a little longer?
- A list of local taxi numbers is a must for guests to easily get to and from your wedding, or perhaps arrange a coach for them all.
Informal post wedding brunch at The Randolph Hotel in Oxford.
Wedding Gifts for Guests
If you are having guests stay for longer and/or they are travelling a long distance, welcome gifts in the form of welcome bags are such a nice thing to do. This could include something locally made, drinks or items to get the party started or mini hangover kits for the last day. It shows you have thought about the weekend all the way through.
If you are looking to plan a full wedding weekend and need help with the details, then I would love to hear from you. Get in touch here.
I can't wait to help you plan the best weekend of your life!
Photography: Matt Ellacott Photography