Wedding Weekend Itinerary

Wedding weekends have grown to be full-blown events from start to finish, and when all is said and done, it’s sure to be something you never forget. With all the thought and hard work that goes into pulling off such a weekend, you’ll want everything to go as smoothly as possible and the key to this is good planning. To help make things a bit easier, here are a few tips for planning and hosting a wedding weekend full of activities for your guests to enjoy.

Provide Hotel Accommodation Suggestions

Guests coming in from out of town are sure to wonder what hotels are the best option for them to stay. From a variety of price points to the proximity to the venue, no one can give them better advice about your area than you can. Beat them to the punch by sending out hotel accommodation suggestions with your Save the Dates, and contact those hotels for a discounted block of rooms in your name.  Having everyone in one place will allow the party to continue because of sheer convenience, and can help with transportation to and from all events throughout the weekend.

Share your favorite things to do

In addition to providing hotel information, help your guests enjoy the whole weekend exploring your city by creating a list of your favorite restaurants, bars, and local attractions. It is especially important for your guests traveling from out of town, as many could make a trip out of their little getaway. On both a printed itinerary in their welcome bags and an online wedding page, include surrounding cities and popular places to visit. Consider including a list of things to do in New York for those attendees that are coming from out of state and might use this opportunity to visit the Big Apple.

Rehearsal Dinner Planning

Rehearsal dinners are the perfect start to an exciting wedding weekend. Planning the rehearsal should be a simpler than planning the wedding itself, but certain decisions need to be made early on to ensure everything is a success. First, discuss who plans to throw the rehearsal.  Once that decision is made, consider keeping it casual to keep costs as low as possible.  Especially if you have large wedding parties and a lot of family coming in from out of town, the expenses for a rehearsal dinner can add up quickly. A more casual option could be a cocktail hour only, outdoors, or by featuring a buffet style meal. We love the idea of hosting a BBQ, or a Mexican fiesta. Keep seating open to encourage guests to mingle and converse with one another.

The After Party

Most couples do not want to end the night once the wedding band has played the last song.  Consider hosting an after party by bringing in late night snacks such as an ice cream or food truck or pizza for those hungry guests who have danced their heart out. Something to keep in mind is that a wedding day is long, especially for you and your wedding party, so provide transportation back to the hotels for those with weary feet who would prefer to climb in bed.

Post-wedding day brunch

The end of the wedding night doesn’t have to be the absolute end! Hold your tears, plan a brunch the morning after and enjoy everyone’s company one last time. Pressure will be a little lighter for the groom, bride, their parents and wedding party as well, with all speeches, photos and ceremonies behind them so do yourself a favor and keep the brunch casual. There are many options for hosting such an event. Choose between organizing the event at someone’s house, renting a space, or gathering right in the lobby of the hotel.

I hope these tips help ease some of the stress of planning a weekend, and always know you are not alone! No matter what route your wedding planning takes, the most important thing is that you are surrounded by the people that mean the most to you.

Vendor Credits:

Photography: Love & Light Photographs

Stationery & Calligraphy: Mary Kate Moon

Florist: Wallflowers

Venue: Mantoloking Yacht Club

Beauty: Beauty on Location

Ice Cream Truck: Hoffman’s

Rentals: Dovetail Vintage Rentals

For more from this wedding, visit our feature on Martha Stewart Weddings here.

Expert Wedding Planner Tips- Part II

We have all seen the images from wedding after wedding under the stars with nothing overhead aside from strings of lights. Just so dreamy and it is on my bucket list to pull off one day.  However, in New Jersey, we are not blessed with sunny blue skies nearly ever day. Cue the tent.  The beautiful compromise to an outdoor backyard wedding.  Many people are apprehensive about hosting a tented wedding due to the unpredictability of the weather or overwhelmed at the prospect at starting from ground zero.  Hopefully, through my experience, I can share some expert wedding planner tips to help you navigated the tented backyard wedding.

Schedule a walk-through

If you are thinking about having a backyard tented wedding but don’t know where to start, simply give your favorite local tent company a call to come survey the space.  They will be able to tell you what size tent will fit comfortably, if the ground is level enough, what size dance floor works, and talk to you about lighting, power, climate control, staging and more.

Lights, Camera, Power

Speaking of lighting and power, make sure you have enough of both. Of course, your tent will be lit well, but consider the path that your guests will be taking to the restroom or to their cars at the end of the night. Pathways lights and uplighting will be areas that you should budget for to keep your guests safe.  When it comes to power, do your research. Find out from your caterer and band or DJ how much power they will each need. You may even need to rent fans, air conditioning or heaters to regulate the climate the best you can.  My suggestion is always to splurge for the generator since nothing kills the party quite like when the music stops.

Know the costs

Tented weddings can be expensive so know the costs and what is a comfortable budget before committing. A wedding planner can help you with estimated costs for each area including rentals which, not surprisingly, will add up quickly.  I also recommend leaving some wiggle room in your budget for your Plan B. If the weather is looking iffy, you can add a ceremony or cocktail tent or walkways where needed to make sure that guests stay warm and dry. Although there are many perks of having a raw space that will conform to any style wedding you wish to have, you are creating a space from nothing and everything will need to be brought in to create an inviting and whimsical venue and that is not cheap, yet completely worth it.

Hire good help

My ultimate recommendation is to hire a wedding planner with tented wedding experience. They will be paramount in anticipating what you need to create the ultimate experience for you and your guests. At the very least, a day of coordinator will save you from running around the morning of your wedding just before jumping in the chair for hair and makeup like I did on my wedding day. A caterer with experience with tented wedding or unconventional venues is also a great idea. They will be working in small quarters and braving the elements, so a bit of practical knowledge is invaluable in making sure the event goes off without a hitch.


Are you thinking of hosting a backyard wedding and need help? Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. I would love to help you have your dream wedding.

Vendor Credits

Photography: Christina Lilly Photography

Tent: Sperry Tents NJ

Caterer: et al Fine Foods

Florist: Devon & Pinkett

Architectural sketch: Todd Schmeling Portraits

VW Photobooth: VW Booth Bus