Planning a wedding is hard enough. Planning what your guests will do is just as tough. So it’s important to have a plan to reduce your stress, let your guests know what they can expect and give yourself more time to spend with family and friends.
What are the basics of a wedding weekend itinerary?
The day before the big day, most couples have the rehearsal for the wedding party and family members involved in the ceremony. That’s followed by the rehearsal dinner, which usually includes invites to out-of-town guests. The next day, it’s the big day. The ceremony, the reception, duh!
The day after the wedding, many couples host a brunch for friends and family near and far.
There are plenty of other activities that can be included to give your guests a weekend they won’t soon forget. “Out-of-town guests especially love it when couples plan something to keep them and their family entertained before and after the wedding day,” says Tootles Event Sitters. “It makes everyone feel relaxed and in that ‘on vacation’ mentality.”
What are some activities couples can include on their itinerary before the wedding day?
For those looking for a relaxing way to connect with family and friends who’ve traveled near and far, Kimberly at 1010 West recommends a spa day for the ladies or even a yoga session. “This could be private at a nice outdoor area or just scheduled with a popular instructor at their facility.” A round of golf might also ease anxiety before the big day.
Kimberly also suggests a picnic or cookout with drinks and lawn games. “This is more helpful if your bridal party needs an icebreaker event to have your newest family members and closest friends get to know each other a bit more to enjoy the wedding even more so,” she says. A night on the town could also be included in your itinerary. “Bar hopping for the evening time can also be a fun way to enjoy nice company,” she tells us. “This is even more exciting if you are traveling from out of town.”
Another idea is a coffee and dessert party for all of your out-of-town wedding guests. We know that inviting everyone who travels for your wedding to the rehearsal dinner can get really expensive. Create an intimate list for the dinner of only your wedding party and parents. Then, invite all of your other guests to join for coffee and desserts. It will still allow them the extra time with the couple getting married and help keep costs down.
Are there any unique Orlando events to add to the weekend itinerary?
For guests, a wedding can feel like a vacation, even if they aren’t traveling far. And when you host a wedding in a vacation headquarters like central Florida, it makes it pretty easy to entertain guests who’ve come from down the street or around the world.
“If the wedding couple is including guests with young children, they could include a beach day with a full BBQ spread, a night out to the movies/sporting event or a visit to one of the many theme parks,” suggests Tootles Event Sitters.
Bonny-Bailey Finck with P.S. I Love You Productions agrees that Orlando’s attractions make for a fun time. “Wedding photos with the celebrities at Madame Tussaud’s, champagne on the Orlando Eye, drinking around the world at Epcot’s World Showcase Pavilions, and for the young at heart, visiting the Harry Potter and Star Wars lands at the local parks,” she suggests.
How can I put my guests to work using our itinerary?
Let’s face it, the week of your wedding will include some stress. Kimberly suggests one way to ease that anxiety is to have your friends and family help you check off your wedding list.
“One event that can be included in wedding weekend is an Appreciation Ladies Night,” suggests Kimberly. “This is to have all your lovely ladies (bridesmaids or other loved ones) that have been there with you through this very intensive planning process get together.” Last-minute preparations, like putting together wedding favors can be done in no time with some help.
“We know that most brides now are DIY-ing a lot of things and get pretty stressed with the last minute projects/tasks during the week of the wedding,” says Kimberly. “So, this girls’ night gathering is also meant to assist your bride with any of those last-minute goodies. It can still be relaxing even though it can be ‘work’. Have a movie night, wine, and desserts, anything that is relaxing for the bride to alleviate some of those last-minute jitters.”
What are some activities that can be included the day after the wedding?
Mix up your morning after get-together and forget that plain ‘ol brunch. “Have a designated location set with some relaxing activities,” says Kimberly. “If you are staying at a hotel/resort, have a private area around the pool booked. Incorporate some swimming and a mimosa bar with fresh fruit.”
Other ideas include a picnic, pizza party, beach day, or an afternoon out on the boat with close family and friends. Try to make it as relaxing as you can before you part ways.
WVM Tip: Save time by asking your wedding planner or venue if they have any suggestions for activities that are local and great for a large group!
What are the best ways for couples to share their wedding weekend itinerary with their guests?
“We always suggest utilizing a wedding website or creating a Facebook group to our clients,” recommends Tootles Event Sitters. Both options give guests a place to check for up-to-date information on your weekend events.
Another option is to include a wedding itinerary in welcome bags for guests staying at hotels. “These are so much fun to do because you can get really creative and personal,” says Amanda Borrero with For The Love Of Events. “Welcome bags can be prepared by your wedding planner and then dropped off to your guest’s hotels to be given out during check-in! In these welcome bags, you can place the wedding weekend itinerary, something that represents the couple and maybe something specific to your wedding location.” Think sunscreen, sunglasses, or something else that screams Orlando.
What else is a must for the wedding weekend itinerary?
For those not familiar with the area, addresses and maps are a must for your itinerary. “Providing maps to guests for out-of-the-way event locations is also something that can smooth out the arrival of your guests,” recommends Bonny-Bailey.
She also says times are important to include on the itinerary, but be sure to build in extra time throughout the day. “Especially right before the ceremony. It is important to pad the schedule by about 10 minutes to allow for late-arriving guests. If you want to start the ceremony at 5:10, tell your guests it will start at 5:00. That way people aren’t trying to squeeze into their seats as you are walking down the aisle!”
What is something most couples forget to include in their wedding weekend?
Music and entertainment are often overlooked at the rehearsal dinner. “This is where you can add a little flair to your weekend,” says Bonny-Bailey. “You could have a live musician or singer there to softly serenade the proceedings or add something fun like a caricature artist to make a lifetime memory for all in attendance.”
Also, don’t forget about the little ones during your special weekend. On-site child care and a place for your pets to stay are important. “Even if your pet will not be a part of your wedding day, it’s important to consider who will be taking care of them, not only on the wedding day but for the surrounding days, as well,” says FairyTail Pet Care. “The last thing you want to be worried about on your wedding day is whether or not your babies are receiving the love & care they need!”
Wedding weekends can be hectic, remember to take time to enjoy having your family and friends in one spot. “It may be the first and/or the last time that you have everyone you love in one place,” says Tootles Event Sitters. “Take advantage of embracing them and soaking in all of those memories. They will surely last a lifetime!”
Written by Daniella Hume