Plan the Ultimate Wedding Weekend with These Tips and Ideas

Your wedding day is one of the biggest celebrations of your life, and I think you deserve to have the most intentional and amazing experience possible. But why stop at just one day when you can create a weekend of unforgettable moments with your nearest and dearest? More and more couples are now choosing to extend their celebrations beyond the wedding day itself, opting for a wedding weekend filled with personal experiences and moments together.

Colorful wedding ceremony under live oaks in the courtyard of the Thomas Bennett House with custom cane backed chairs, brick pavers, and sun shining through leaves. Photographed by Destination Wedding Photographer Kelsey Halm Photography
Beautiful reception table setup at Lowndes Grove in Charleston, South Carolina with guests toasting with wine glasses. A stunning floral installation hangs from the tent roof and a lush centerpiece with white, yellow, and green flowers adorns the table. Sunlight streams in through the clear tent sides, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

A wedding weekend is a fantastic way to spend quality time with your loved ones and make your wedding celebration even more memorable. Working closely with your wedding planner and designer will result in a weekend that is uniquely tailored to your tastes and preferences, filled with activities and events that will create lasting memories for you and your guests.

In this post, I’ll share some of the key ingredients for planning an amazing wedding weekend. From stunning venues and mouth-watering cuisine to fashion-forward design touches and fun activities for your guests, we’ll go through how to work with your wedding planner and designer to make your wedding weekend an experience that you and your loved ones will never forget.

Choose a Destination

Choosing the destination for your wedding weekend is one of the most exciting parts of the planning process! You want to pick a place that holds special meaning to you and your partner, while also providing plenty of activities and sights to explore for your guests. Are you drawn to historic venues in beautiful towns? Or perhaps you both dream of a relaxing weekend retreat, where you can breathe in fresh mountain air, savor local delicacies, and enjoy the great outdoors? Or maybe you’re both passionate about experiencing different cultures and want to jet off to an exotic location where you can explore a completely new place? The possibilities are endless, but the key is to choose a location that will make your wedding weekend unforgettable!

An infinity pool with a stunning ocean view, surrounded by lush palm trees and traditional thatched tiki huts. The pool is located in Akumal, Mexico, the perfect destination for a beach wedding.

Once you’ve settled on the perfect destination, it’s time to start researching venues that can host your wedding and all of the accompanying celebrations. You’ll want to rely on your wedding planner as much as possible during this process since he/she will have plenty of contacts and can suggest venues that fit your vision. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations and set up site visits to get a feel for each location’s unique ambiance and amenities. Your venue sets the stage for your whole celebration!

Scenic view of the Ponte Vecchio bridge, an iconic landmark of Florence, Italy, as seen from the Arno river. The historic bridge is lined with shops and has arched passageways, while the river flows underneath. In the background, there are buildings with terracotta roofs and lush greenery

Plan the Rehearsal Dinner + Welcome Party

The rehearsal dinner is the perfect opportunity to take a breath, let your hair down, and enjoy the company of your loved ones. It is the perfect way to kickstart your wedding weekend by celebrating, reminiscing about good times, and making new memories. The rehearsal dinner and welcome party are where you can set the stage for the whole weekend, and really lean into your design vision.

A beachside rehearsal dinner setup at a white and driftwood terrace in Akumal, Mexico. Colorful flowers and traditional Mexican pottery adorn the table as guests gather around to celebrate. The turquoise waters of the Caribbean sea provide a stunning backdrop. This photograph was captured by destination wedding photographer Kelsey Halm.
Bright and colorful floral centerpiece in a traditional Mexican pottery vase featuring vibrant orange, yellow, pink, white, blue, and green florals, beautifully complementing the stoneware dishes and creating a stunning table setting.

Add in Some Fun Activities

If you’re looking to make your wedding weekend unforgettable, then it’s a great idea to plan some activities that will keep your guests engaged and entertained. From wine tastings to beach bonfires, there are plenty of ways to create lasting memories that you and your guests will cherish for years to come. Here are some ideas to get started with:

  • Hiking

If you’re getting married in a scenic location, then a hiking trip is a great way to get your guests outdoors and exploring the area. You can plan a hike that’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels and provide your guests with a map and a picnic basket filled with snacks. This will give your guests a chance to connect with nature, get some exercise, and enjoy breathtaking views.

  • Wine Tasting

Wine tasting is a classic activity that’s perfect for a wedding weekend celebration. Many wineries offer group tastings, where your guests can sample different wines and learn about the winemaking process. It’s a fun and educational activity that will give your guests a chance to socialize and enjoy the local flavors. If you’re getting married in a city, you can also plan a city exploration tour that includes visits to local breweries, distilleries, and bars.

  • Beach Bonfire

A beach bonfire is a great way to bring your guests together and create a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. You can set up a bonfire on the beach and provide your guests with blankets, s’mores, and drinks. This is a great way to enjoy the sunset, have some fun, and connect with your guests on a deeper level

  • City Exploration Tour

If you’re getting married in a city, then a city exploration tour is a great way to get your guests out and about. You can plan a tour that includes visits to local landmarks, museums, and galleries. You can also include stops at local restaurants and bars, where your guests can enjoy some delicious food and drinks.

Custom engraved coconut cups with a bride and groom crest design at a beachside rehearsal dinner in Akumal, Mexico. The cups are filled with a tropical drink and surrounded by colorful flowers and traditional Mexican pottery.

Plan A Goodbye Brunch

As your wedding weekend comes to a close, it’s important to end it on a high note. A goodbye brunch is the perfect opportunity to gather with your guests one last time and reminisce about the amazing celebration the weekend has been so far. Whether you prefer a laid-back brunch or something more formal, there’s no one-size fits all answer. You can create something completely unique that fits your weekend perfectly.

Hotels, restaurants, and country clubs are some of the most popular choices of venue to host your brunch. They provide a ready-to-go setting where you can enjoy delicious food and drinks while surrounded by your loved ones. Be sure to work with your wedding planner and designer to ensure that the venue matches the overall wedding theme and atmosphere.

Colorful floral arrangement with pillar candles and small vases adorns a side table with white linens at a bridal brunch in the Gadsden House, Charleston. The beautiful flowers include a mix of pink, white, and yellow blossoms, creating a stunning visual display for the brunch event.

The goodbye brunch doesn’t have to be just about the food and drinks. You can add some personal touches to make it even more memorable. For example, you have a florist come in and create a bouquet bar, or you could create a fun activity like a mimosa bar or a DIY pancake station.

Remember, the goodbye brunch is (probably) the last formal event of your wedding weekend, so it’s the perfect time to leave a lasting impression on your guests. Work with your planner, and you can create a goodbye brunch that truly reflects your personal style and vision. Most importantly, enjoy the moments with your loved ones as you bid them farewell!

Add Local Flavors to the Menu

A waiter holding a tray of delicious oyster shooters served as small bites at a beautiful outdoor wedding reception at Lowndes Grove in Charleston, South Carolina. The waiter is wearing a white shirt and the photo is captured by destination wedding photographer Kelsey Halm.

Food is an essential component of any wedding celebration, and it should be memorable, and chosen specifically for your celebration weekend. Your guests will appreciate the curated menu, and you get total control of what’s served! I love when couples choose to create a menu with their caterers that also showcases the best of the local cuisine.

To truly immerse your guests in the location, consider incorporating local ingredients and dishes into the menu. For example, if you’re getting married in a destination near the ocean having seafood highlight the menu is perfect. Alternatively, if you’re getting married in a wine country, you can include local wines in the menu (although this is a great idea anywhere). Your caterer can create a wine pairing for each dish, ensuring that your guests have a unique and unforgettable dining experience.

An elegant waiter wearing a crisp white shirt holds a butcher board tray with an assortment of delicious small bites. The appetizers include crabcakes, mini chicken and waffles, pork belly.  Perfect for any occasion, these delectable hors d'oeuvres are sure to impress your guests.

Food is a huge part of the experience of your wedding weekend, so be creative and really go for it! You can work closely with your caterer to create a menu that reflects your love story and the local flavors of the destination.

Incorporate Fashion and Design Touches

Your wedding weekend should be a reflection of you and your partner’s unique style and personality. Adding fashion and design elements to your celebration is a great way to make it unforgettable. With the help of your wedding planner and designer, you can create a one-of-a-kind experience that will leave a lasting impression on your guests.

Think about incorporating your wedding theme into every detail, from your attire to your d├ęcor. Your wedding designer can take your color ideas and style, and create a design plan that beautifully reflects your personal style. You can also create custom welcome bags filled with local treats and goodies that your guests will love. Don’t forget to include special touches like personalized monograms or custom labels that add a touch of elegance to your celebration.

Fashion is also a big part of any wedding weekend celebration. Whether you’re going for a classic, romantic look or a more modern and edgy vibe, you want to look and feel your best. Working with a professional stylist or a fashion consultant can help you select the perfect attire for every event, from the rehearsal dinner to the farewell brunch. With the right fashion and design touches, your wedding weekend celebration will be an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. Your guests will love being involved in this part too, think about adding fashion inspiration for guest attire!

Happy planning! xx

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