How do you feel about weddings over the holidays? While there seem to be plenty of naysayers who claim they've already got too many commitments with family and friends, there's an entirely different school of thought for some engaged couples. For these brides and grooms, the only way to bring both of their families together is to plan their big day when everybody is already gathering for a major holiday. That makes Thanksgiving weekend, or the week between Christmas and New Year's, the perfect time to get married.
I used to be one of those people who moan and groan about weddings that fall on long holiday weekends. I had even stronger opinions about couples who wanted to mess up my otherwise relaxed holidays by sticking in a wedding smack-dab in the middle. Then I started planning my own wedding and learned, very quickly, that quite a few of my friends and family traveling to my destination wedding would really appreciate having that extra day, without having to take more vacation. I ended up getting married on a Labor Day weekend.
Fact: You must accept from the outset of planning that choosing a major holiday for your wedding date means there will be some invitees who won't even consider attending and missing all their traditions and family plans back home. But if you want an intimate affair, and you've already run the idea by the VIPs on your guest list, a holiday wedding may have the unintended benefit of keeping your list of attendees under control. There are several other reasons that it's worth seriously considering a holiday wedding date:
1. If you've got a lot of children coming to your wedding, or even college students, a wedding over the holidays virtually guarantees they won't be busy with sports and academics. Educators are getting much stricter about unexcused absences, and they're not excusing random trips with the family the way they did 20 years ago, even for special occasions. Going out of town for a wedding doesn't guarantee that teachers will give extensions or make-ups on quizzes and other things that students are missing by attending your wedding.
2. Couples with family on opposite sides of the country, or the globe, frequently find choosing a wedding date over Thanksgiving or Christmas means making it possible for everybody to get together and kill two birds with one stone-the holiday and your wedding-with only one major airfare expenditure. It's important to plan far ahead though, as holiday flights tend to be more expensive than at other times of the year.
3. A holiday theme makes accessorizing your wedding fun and easy, for considerably less money than many other themes. Candy canes and faux holly, for example, can be easily attached to just about anything. No struggling to choose your flowers when a properly-adorned garland can serve as the perfect runner on your dinner tables.
4. Brides and grooms with a special affinity for Christmas can embrace the holiday completely, without any fear of being mocked for having a "themed" wedding. I was a guest at a Christmas wedding a few years ago, and the bride's gown was white velvet, trimmed with white faux fur. The bridesmaids wore red, but she stopped short of giving them white fur trim and Santa hats, although she seriously considered it. While they absolutely paid homage to every commercial aspect of Christmas (there wasn't a nativity or anything religious outside of the church ceremony itself), the couple wanted their guests to take the wedding part of things seriously.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.