Weekday weddings gain popularity amid wedding boom

Learn more about the wedding boom in 2022 in our ongoing Year of Marriage series.

Esther Chang and Todd Okamoto, a couple from San Francisco, said their “I do” not on a Saturday or even a Sunday. Their big day was a Wednesday.

They got engaged in December 2019 and, like many others, postponed their planning due to the pandemic. When they decided to finally book their nuptials in 2022, they landed on January 26, a Wednesday.

They chose to have a destination wedding in Kaaawa, Hawaii – Mr. Okamoto’s hometown – because “we wanted to take advantage of our wedding week,” said Ms. Chang, 31. They wanted the wedding to feel like a vacation for their guests too.

Thus, the couple hosted 115 vaccinated friends and family at the Kualoa Ranch on the island of Oahu. Ms. Chang, event planner at Shannon Leahy Events, said she and Mr. Okamoto, 37, field manager at Genentech, immediately fell in love with the ranch’s natural landscape; it was one of the filming locations for “Jurassic Park”.

The couple hosted events like a rehearsal luncheon and pre-wedding parties with their bridesmaids and groomsmen. Although they faced planning challenges related to the pandemic and their midweek date, they ultimately treated the Wednesday wedding date like any other: a joyous celebration.

While weddings usually take place on weekends, Ms. Chang and Mr. Okamoto are not alone in their decision to have a wedding on an off-peak day in order to do so. There’s been a pandemic increase in weekday weddings because they’re easier to plan — and reschedule, if necessary.

And now, with the number of weddings expected to take place in 2022 rising – 2.5 million, a number not seen since 1984 – and competition for vendors and venues at an all-time high, weekdays are sometimes the only option.

Online wedding planning company Zola has tracked this surge in interest in midweek weddings based on booking dates and a recent survey of 3,309 couplesfinding that the number of weddings scheduled for Monday through Thursday in 2022 is up 20% from 2019. Minted, a popular design marketplace for wedding invitations, saw an 11% increase in 2022 weddings other than on Saturday compared to pre-Covid times.

“I’ve had potential clients and friends ask me if a midweek wedding is socially acceptable,” said Brittany Lo, founder of event beauty company Beautini in Manhattan. She said the biggest concern is whether people will be able to come and, if they do, will they still have fun – especially if it’s a school night, so to speak.

“I always remind couples that we’ve been locked down for a long time because of the pandemic,” Ms Lo said. “Whatever excuse people have to dance and party, they’ll be more than happy to be a part of it, whenever it happens.”

Weddings traditionally take place on weekends for obvious reasons: guests don’t have to skip or rush from work to attend, or wake up to go to work the next day. But that’s of course what makes hooking up on a Saturday such a competitive business.

“Much of what we consider necessary and correct is defined by wedding traditions, but you can flip the rules and embrace a weekday wedding,” said David Pressman, owner of David Pressman Events in Los Angeles. He stressed that a weekday wedding will be ‘no less memorable’ – and advises guests to remind family who might be pushing back that the day will still be special.

Knowing that some guests may wake up for work the next day doesn’t have to be a buzz kill: Here are some tips to make your weekday wedding as fun as any Saturday night.

Ms. Lo suggests taking a look at your guest list to determine the best date. If most of the attendees are local, a weekday wedding might work just fine. And if it’s not an evening event, aim for noon – anything to help guests avoid rush hour traffic.

Alternatively, if the guests are willing to travel for a destination celebration, like Ms. Chang’s, then a wedding on a Wednesday matters less since the guests aren’t planning on going to the office the next day anyway.

And, many professionals are working remotely these days, meaning guests could theoretically work from a hotel room until the festivities begin “without missing a day’s work,” Ms. Lo said (though a Zoom meeting might not be their first choice of pre-game fun).

Annie Lee, lead planner at Daughter of Design and founder of Miami-based event planning platform Plannie, said when choosing a date, it’s important to consider what your guests do for a living. Not everyone works Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A wife Ms Lee recently worked with, Sydney Shulman, is a professional equestrian who married Michael Desiderio, also a professional equestrian, on Monday at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. For Ms. Shulman’s community on the equestrian circuit, Monday is a day off.

Many professions — like healthcare, hospitality, and retail — involve non-traditional schedules, making it easier than most couples might think to find a day that works for their unmissable guests.

Customers don’t necessarily have to worry about the consequences the next day. “It’s a matter of how hard you party,” Ms. Lee said. And at what time. Guests may leave earlier at a weekday wedding; it does not mean that they are unhappy. Ms. Lee has sometimes adjusted the schedule so that if guests want to say goodbye after dinner, they feel like they’ve had the full experience.

She recommends making small changes, like performing the first dance at the start of dinner or cutting the cake before opening the dance floor. Couples can also shorten the cocktail hour to 45 minutes or end the reception at an earlier time, such as 9 or 10 p.m.

Also, couples might want to expect there’s no after party. If a couple wants to keep the vibe going, opt for a relaxing cocktail bar or a casual hangout in a hotel suite with VIPs Go for intimate, said Bryan Rafanelli of Rafanelli Events in Boston.

In fact, couples planning a midweek wedding might want to ditch the dance floor altogether, especially if they’re not into the boogie themselves. Mr Rafanelli said live music during a five-course tasting menu is an elegant format for a weekday wedding and good humor for many couples. Her own wedding was a food-focused lunch with no dancing.

If dancing is important, look for a Thursday night, or as Ms Lee calls it, a “weekend-adjacent day,” so guests can more easily take paid time off to cure hangovers — and muscles. sore.

Dress code is another area where couples hesitate when planning a weekday wedding. Black tie demands commitment from guests, especially for women who want to have professional hair and makeup and wear freshly steamed designer dresses. While the timing might be right — black tie is traditionally reserved for 6 p.m. — specifying cocktail attire is probably more accommodating.

It’s easier for guests to come straight from work or get changed quickly after a day of meetings that eventually end at 5 p.m. “It all depends on what makes you happy – it’s your marriage,” Mr Rafanelli said. “But I would recommend women in cocktail dresses and men in suits and ties.” No one wants stressed guests rushing into the ceremony.

Guests also shouldn’t feel pressured to attend a weekday wedding if they just can’t fit into their schedule. Mr. Rafanelli noted that 20% of wedding guests decline invitations for health and business concerns for weddings in general; it’s not a bad idea that you put “no” on the RSVP card.

This could lead to benefits for couples, who may find they can splurge for certain additions when the guest list shrinks by a few more people.

“Two fewer tables at a wedding — weekdays or weekends — can easily translate to an extra hour of open bar, a late-night snack, or even fireworks,” Mr. Pressman.

Some of Ms. Chang’s and Mr. Okamoto’s guests declined due to complicated work schedules and ambitious flights, but the vast majority were able to attend. Ms Chang said their guests were “thrilled” to vacation with them in Hawaii, especially after the difficult pandemic times of the past two years. In the end, the day of the week didn’t matter.

“Ultimately, the mood and tone of a wedding is set by the couple,” Ms. Lo said. “As long as they’re in a good mood and having fun, everyone will follow.”

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