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5 tips for planning a long weekend or holiday wedding

july14-couple-01Long holiday weekends like Labor Day Weekend are like a gift for brides and grooms. There’s an extra day to play with, which makes these attractive to couples choosing a wedding date – especially when you expect most of your guests will have to travel.

And holidays like Christmas and Halloween give couples endless creative theme ideas, making these fun weddings to plan – and attend.

Whether you’re marrying over a long summer weekend like Memorial Day or Labor Day or near a major holiday like Christmas, some special planning is required. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Choosing a Date

Think carefully about the date you’re getting married on. Choose a date too close to Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or another holiday, and you risk many guests being unable to come. You might also lose guests if you plan a New Year’s Eve wedding – that’s a big party night for lots of folks. If you have your heart set on a Christmas-themed wedding, think about a date earlier in December. You can still plan a Christmas-themed wedding even though it’s before Christmas.

Halloween counts here, too. Guests with children may not want to miss the fun of costumes and trick-or-treating for a wedding – especially if kids aren’t invited.

Give Plenty of Notice

When you’re planning a wedding near a holiday – including July 4 or long weekends like Labor Day – be sure to give your guests plenty of notice. This is especially important if you want to get married between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Traditionally, save-the-date cards are sent six months to a year in advance of the weddings. For your holiday wedding, send save-the-date cards as soon as you have a date nailed down, and include travel and lodging information if you can. Guests need time to work your wedding into their holiday plans, book hotels and flights before they fill (and get expensive), and request any needed time off from work. Be understanding if some guests, especially those not related to you, decide they’d rather spend the holidays with their families than at your wedding.

Vendor Availability and Cost

Book vendors as soon as you can – you will probably have to plan more than a year out. Lots of couples find long weekends an attractive time to marry, and during the winter holiday season, you’ll be competing with holiday parties as well as other weddings. Reception halls are going to book fast. Many churches have special holiday services and events that you might need to work around. Vendors may also charge more during this peak time of year. Be sure to make room for this in your budget.

Your Stress Levels

The winter holidays are one of the most enjoyable times of the year and one of the most stressful. Between shopping, cooking, and parties and dinners, life is going to be hectic. Do you want to add wedding planning on top of all of that? Remember that the last-minute rush for your wedding is going to coincide with the last-minute rush for the holidays.

Look Ahead

Think about the future: Will your anniversary get lost in the shuffle of Christmas, July Fourth fireworks, or Memorial Day barbecues? Ask any December baby, and they’ll tell you the holidays are a tough time of year to have a birthday. No matter how hard anyone tries, birthdays and other celebrations are going to get overshadowed by the holidays. Will your anniversary get lost in the shuffle in the future?