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At a glance
- How to turn your wedding day into a weekend wedding
- Advice on how to make the most of your weekend wedding
- Considering costs and choosing locations
- Sydney weekend wedding options
- General weekend wedding tips
20 March 2012
From the pages of CWS 32
Image: Yann Audic www.lifestorieswedding.com
Make yours a weekend wedding by escaping with your family and friends to the country, the mountains or the beach.
Weekend Wedding: Escape together
In order to make the time together more valuable, many couples are opting for a weekend wedding away from home, holding their complete wedding program at boutique getaway destinations outside of Sydney. Staying in hotel accommodation releases everyone from the pressure of catering for and accommodating visiting guests, freeing up time to spend with mum, dad and the in-laws in a more relaxed environment. The weekend wedding becomes a holiday for all, which, according to wedding planner Ainslie Gascoigne from Creative Weddings Byron Bay, guests appreciate.
Often beginning with a casual barbecue or dinner on the Friday evening and concluding with a relaxed Sunday brunch, a weekend wedding gives guests the opportunity to mingle before the big day, and reminisce about how spectacular it was the morning after.
“Guests love it,” says Ainslie. “People coming up from Sydney generally like to take time off work, and they don’t just come for the weekend wedding. They like to make the most of it.”
Weekend Wedding: Where to wed
Sydneysiders are spoilt for choice with nearby and interstate destinations that can make the perfect setting for a weekend wedding. The Blue Mountains, just a 90-minute drive west of Sydney, combines premium accommodation options with dramatic mountain scenery, while the Hunter Valley, a 90-minute drive north, offers stunning vineyards accompanied by some of our country’s finest wines and restaurants. Further north and south, pristine sandy beaches await to become the backdrop for your weekend wedding. But there are some important considerations that need to be made before selecting your ideal weekend wedding venue.
Now that you and your guests will have more time on your hands, it’s wise to choose a weekend wedding venue that has entertainment options for people to indulge in either side of the wedding day, whether it’s the beach, hiking, wine tasting or sight-seeing. Lee Cass from Hunter Valley-based wedding and events company Lenore K says the Hunter offers a multitude of such experiences.
“During a weekend wedding we can arrange fun things — a barbecue brunch, picnic in the park, wine, olive cheese tasting, golf for the boys, pampering for the girls and more,” she says.
Brodie Luchetti, event co-ordinator for Vital Events based in the Blue Mountains, recommends letting your guests know about what’s on, but not to tie them down to a schedule.
“Don’t set too many activities, because generally people just want somewhere to spend time together,” she says.
On-site facilities such as a day spa or bar are also convenient for those times in between events when people are looking for entertainment during your weekend wedding.
Weekend wedding: Considering costs
While many guests will relish the opportunity of a weekend wedding, some couples may wonder if they’re expected to help out with guest expenses. Lee says the rules of yesteryear, where the bride’s family covers costs, don’t normally apply to modern weekend weddings.
“Communication, respecting each other’s opinion and moderation should be today’s etiquette, so discuss early in the planning stage with family members whom will pay for bridal party, family and guests’ accommodation,” she says.
Ainslie has another suggestion. “Their presence is their present,” she says. “Instead of buying a gift, their gift is paying for flights and accommodation for your weekend wedding.”
Another key piece of advice is to book your weekend wedding between one and two years in advance to ensure accommodation needs can be met, especially if marrying in autumn or spring. Popular holiday towns also hold regular weekend-long events such as special-interest rallies or festivals, so it is important to check with the local council to see whether your weekend wedding will clash with a competing event. It’s also wise to give guests plenty of notice so they can make arrangements.
“It can sometimes be hard for people to commit to an extended event,” says Brodie.
If budget is an issue, Brodie suggests keeping the weekend wedding short, and to localise it to one venue to control transport costs. Most venues also offer special packages to ease the expense of a weekend wedding, providing reduced accommodation prices for wedding guests or group bookings. Check with your venue events co-ordinator for details.