Whoever said wedding planning isn’t stressful is totally full of it.
We know it can feel impossible to do by yourself, especially if you have never planned a wedding before or aren’t in the event planning industry. Hopefully we can help shed some light on a few different aspects of wedding planning so that you can have the amazing, stress-free day you deserve.
In the past few years, we’ve noticed more and more brides opting to do weekday weddings in order to save costs. Many venues and vendors, myself included, offer discounts and incentives for weekday events. While a Monday-Thursday wedding CAN be a great option, there are some little-known facts that you might want to consider before going that route.
1. Winter is not a good season for a weekday wedding. The reason is because the sun sets so much earlier in the day, as early as 5:20pm, as opposed to 8:30pm in the summer. Remember that you need light to create photographs and once the sun sets the light is gone. So winter weddings need to be much earlier in the day. But planning an earlier ceremony on a weekday is not always possible, because you want to give your guests who are coming from work plenty of time to get there.
Even if your wedding venue is indoors, most photographers rely on some form of natural light to create your photographs, whether it’s the couples, family or wedding party group pictures. Tons of light is even more crucial if you like the light and airy or classic style of photography (like ours). We do bring several kinds of light with us to every wedding to photograph the receptions, which are almost always at night, but using that kind of light for portraits will not create our style of photos. Even photographers with a darker style still need light. So it’s important to figure out what style of photography you like before making this decision and be prepared to adjust your wedding timeline.
There is an obvious solution to this issue, couples who get married on weekday in the winter months just need to do a First Look. This allows you to get most of your important pictures out of the way before the ceremony, when it’s still light outside. Not sure if you wan to do a First Look? Check out this post to see why 90% of our couples opt to do one!
Doing a First Look is one way to get around the late ceremony conundrum. But another thing to consider about the sunset and timing is……
2. Sunset times can be misleading. If it is particularly overcast or rainy on your wedding day then the light will fade so much faster, typically about 3 hours before the sunsets, though it really depends on the cloud coverage. You’ll still be able to see outside, of course, but the quality of light will not be good for photographing people. You may have shadows under your eyes, nose, and chin, dull, discolored skin, and your images won’t have that bright, glowy, dreamy look that is our signature style. Now if you like darker, moodier images, this may perfect for you! But if you’re getting married in a beautiful orchard or other garden area and you’re dreaming of an early afternoon wedding ceremony filled with natural light, that may only be possible from late spring to early autumn.
If you’re getting married in mid-January and it’s an overcast day, the light could be nearly gone by 3:00pm. Unfortunately many venues don’t bring this subject up when clients book with them for winter weddings, so it comes as a shock to most of the couples who we speak to.
We always hope that our couples have sunny skies on their wedding day but it’s always better to plan for the worst and hope for the best, because there are no do-overs.
3. Guest count is often lower on weekday weddings. People love you, and they want to spend the day celebrating with you. But its not always easy to get off work, find childcare, and navigate rush hour traffic. We’ve seen the best turnout when the weddings are family-friendly and there’s something fun for kids. Games, candy bars, and ice cream sundae stations are crowd favorites.
4. Your guests aren’t going to stay as late either. Even if your wedding is on a Friday, this is still often true. This is important for a number of reasons, but one of them is your grand exit. If having a lot of your guests participate in a fun sparkler or bubble exit is really important to you (and therefore getting the best pictures possible) you may want to do a staged exit a little earlier in the night. Just have your DJ tell everyone that the party will continue afterwards and tell him to cue up a good group dance song, like the Wobble, right after the sparkler exit to bring people back on the dance floor.
5. Guests usually consume less alcohol….which, while saving you money, can also mean less people on the dance floor. Liquid courage contributes to so many of my favorite wedding photos, but on weeknights people are typically more reserved. If you want to throw a huge party on a weekday you may need to bring in entertainment, such as a live band or belly dancer.
Tip: If you do decide on a weekday wedding, try to choose a Friday or a Thursday, when people have a little more flexibility. Talk to your photographer and videographer and make sure they work with you/ your planner to create a wedding day timeline that includes both a sunny and an overcast plan.
Check out this nifty sunset guide:
One last note about weekday weddings and just weddings in general: if your wedding has multiple venues, from getting ready, to ceremony, to reception, you’ll need to plan even more time than you think you need to get from one location to the other. Traffic patterns aren’t always predictable, it’s true. But one thing we’ve seen over and over is that, on wedding days, it just takes longer to get from one place to another. The reason is because you have so much more going on, like you need to bring 5 bags of dresses from one place to another, transport flowers, track down groomsmen, avoid seeing each other, talk to vendors, and keep people together. So, throughout your timeline, always try and budget 15 minutes here and there for these inevitable delays. It will make your wedding day feel so much less stressful.