My last wedding of the year was just before the holidays. December 21st, to be exact. And although I don’t have a New Year’s Eve wedding this year, I know there are plenty of wedding industry pros that are squeezing in their final event of the year while ringing in the New Year.
Working a wedding just four days before Christmas definitely made me think about the pros and cons of having a wedding around the holidays. And not just Christmas or Hanukkah, but really any holiday. If you’re considering planning your wedding for a holiday weekend (whether it’s New Year’s, around the Christmas holiday, 4th of July weekend, or even Labor Day weekend), here are a few things you should consider before you commit to that holiday date.
Six Things to Consider Before Having a Holiday Wedding
1. Your Anniversary
Choosing your wedding date isn’t just a one-time thing. You’re also choosing your anniversary date! If you’ve always imagined taking a honeymoon-like vacation or holing up in a bed and breakfast on your anniversary, that might prove difficult with an anniversary that falls on a major holiday. Consider what that holiday normally looks like for you, what it might look like in the future, and decide if you’re cool with that for your anniversary. While it might be fun to ring in the New Year on your anniversary, do you really want to be answering the door for trick-or-treaters on that day?
2. Time Off Work
If you have a Sunday wedding of a long holiday weekend (like Memorial Day weekend or Labor Day weekend, for example), guests can travel in for your wedding and return home without having to take time off from work. For guests with limited vacation time, that’s great news! And for couples who are tight on vacation days, having your wedding close to a holiday could mean you can actually take a honeymoon without stressing out about that PTO.
3. Cost to Guests
While your guests may save a vacation day if your wedding is around the holidays, they could end up paying more to travel. Since airfares and hotels generally adjust rates based on supply and demand, prices may go up for popular holiday weekends, particularly if you are getting married in a city that can be considered a vacation destination. There’s no doubt that flying over Thanksgiving or Christmas is often more expensive than traveling on some random Friday in February, so consider the potential increase in cost for travel expenses that a holiday wedding might cause.
4. Wedding Costs (yay!)
If you’re looking at hosting your wedding on a Sunday of a holiday weekend, you may be able to save some money on a reception venue. Some locations offer lower pricing for non-Saturday dates, which can certainly help with your overall budget.
5. Wedding Costs (boo!)
Many brides and grooms falsely assume that they will save money on all expenses by having their wedding on a holiday weekend (“Surely I can get a deal from the venue/photographer/florist. It’s not like they are going to be booked for the weekend before Christmas!”). But that’s totally not the case. It’s not uncommon for venues to charge a premium during the month of December, since demand is higher with holiday parties (both corporate and personal). The cost of flowers is always higher around Valentine’s Day. And, some vendors may charge more to work on a holiday weekend. The majority of wedding vendors (photographers, DJs, wedding planners, bakers, etc.) are small business owners, which gives them the flexibility to choose when to work. Some vendors might charge a premium to spend their holiday weekend with your family instead of their own.
Couples will want to take the holiday traditions of their family and friends into consideration when choosing a holiday wedding. If your family goes skiing every Christmas or to the lake every 4th of July, consider how asking everyone to shift their plans this year for a wedding will go over. While some family might welcome the change, others won’t be as quick to buck the tradition.
Obviously there is no right or wrong answer here. Couples should consider all their options, choose a date and not look back! If you do choose to have a holiday wedding, sending out Save the Date notices will be particularly helpful to allow guests to block out their schedules (and travel plans) for your wedding early.
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