The Other Parties: Wedding Weekend

The wedding day has evolved into the wedding weekend.

The Other Parties: Wedding Weekend
Illustrations by Crystal Kluge

Ask the Experts

Are couples expected to include all these events?
There’s no pressure to do everything—just pick and choose what’s right for you. “At the end of the day, people are there to celebrate your marriage, and everything else is icing on the cake,” says wedding planner Amy Zaroff. In other words, no one will think less of you if you don’t host a farewell brunch.

Should the bride and groom stay UNTIL the end of every event?
It’s good to make an appearance, of course, but you don’t have to be at every event from start to finish (well, except for your ceremony). “[At welcome parties], sometimes my brides will show up for a half-hour or hour and then leave, and that is absolutely acceptable,” says wedding planner Joan Nilsen. The same goes for the after-party: It’s good to show up for an hour or so, but then it’s fine to retreat to the honeymoon suite with your new spouse.

What’s the best way to invite people to each event?
The rehearsal dinner invitations should be mailed out a week or two after the wedding invite. You can send invitations for the welcome party and day-after brunch around that same time, or include insert cards with the wedding invite. “Ideally, it’s great to let the wedding invitation stand alone, but if that can’t be the case, there is nothing wrong with including all of those inserts within the main wedding invitation,” says Zaroff. Your wedding website and hotel welcome bags are a good place to include an itinerary of events, and more casual events such as an after-party can just be listed in the itinerary or communicated by e-mail or word of mouth.