Friday Weddings: An Expert Guide on How to Plan a TGIF Soirée
If you've attended your fair share of weddings, chances are, the majority of them were on a Saturday night—Friday weddings were pretty few and far between. This is no coincidence, in fact, Saturday has long been the traditional day of the week for a wedding. Not only is it conveniently sandwiched between the last work day of the week (Friday) and a day before the last day of the weekend (Sunday), but there's a religious reason for this scheduling as well.
"Traditionally, church services are on Sundays, so Saturdays are a perfect time for a church to host a ceremony which is where the Saturday tradition stems from," explains Elizabeth Wexler, wedding planner and owner of emlan events in New York City. "In other religions, such as Judaism, Sundays are more popular for weddings since Saturdays are the sabbath."
Saturdays are certainly still the top spot of the week for weddings, and nearly always more expensive, which is why a new day of the week is starting to become equally popular—and that's Friday. Once considered to be a potentially "rude" day of the week to host a wedding due to the fact that people had work obligations that required them to take a vacation day in order to be in attendance, Friday weddings shook off that bad rap during COVID. This gave way to more and more couples choosing to host their wedding on a Friday both as a result of changing attitudes towards this day of the week as well as the fact that so many wedding dates were snatched up by couples who'd postponed their weddings or engagements. This is also the result of more and more people having flexible, work-from-home schedules that afford them more freedom to travel on a work day.
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What Time Do Friday Weddings Usually Start?
Since many people still have to work on a Friday, even if they're working remotely or from home, it's common for a Friday wedding to start later in the evening, somewhere around 6 p.m. on average and lasting until around 12 a.m. "If the wedding is at 6 p.m., you can usually manage your full work day without missing some of the day," says Wexler.
Friday Wedding Cost Differences
One attractive quality of having your wedding on a Friday is that it tends to cost less than if you chose to have it on a Saturday. The biggest area you'll see this cost difference reflected is going to involve your venue. "For some venues, choosing a weekday means lower rental fees (sometimes up to half off) as it's a less in demand day, but other venues include Friday in the weekend and weekdays are only considered as Monday-Thursday, so it just depends on the venue itself," says Jamie Chang, owner and destination wedding planner at Mango Muse Events in Los Altos, California.
Outside of the venue, Chang explains that certain vendors can also have different pricing for weekday weddings versus weekend weddings, which can save you money. "For vendors with minimums, those usually apply on weekends only, which means you'll have easier access to more vendors than when choosing a weekend date," she says. "All in all, choosing a Friday wedding can save you thousands of dollars and give you access to venues and vendors you wouldn't necessarily have the budget for otherwise."
It is, however, important to point out that, on holiday weekends, Friday is considered to be similar to Saturday and is often priced accordingly. "These Fridays are more expensive because they're always in high demand not just for weddings, but for travel and other events," Chang says. "And, in many cases, prices go up for holiday weekends across the board from venues to vendors, so you'll likely spend more than choosing any other Friday."
Friday Wedding Benefits
Here's a look at some of the key benefits to hosting your wedding on a Friday.
It tends to be more available than Saturday.
One of the biggest benefits of having a Friday wedding is less competition, explains Chang. "As it's a less in demand day, that means you'll have less competition and more options for everything since venues and vendors tend to be more available," she says. "All of this means you don't have to rush as much to get everything booked because you aren't fighting for resources in the same way as a weekend wedding." This is especially true if you want to host your wedding during peak wedding season, when eager couples snap up any available Saturday.
It's usually more affordable.
Unless you're hosting your wedding over a holiday weekend, you can usually expect a Friday wedding to be more cost-saving—often by a couple thousand dollars! "There is often some negotiating power with venues when choosing a Friday over a Saturday," says Wexler.
You get a longer weekend to celebrate.
By hosting your wedding on a Friday, you have two full weekend days to add to the celebration. This can allow your guests to make a true mini vacation on your weekend, taking advantage of a 3-4 day break, explains Kelly McWilliams, wedding planner Kelly McWilliams of Kelly McWilliams Celebrations, Weddings & Parties in Cape Coral, Florida. "You can have your wedding on Friday, host another event Saturday morning, gather again on Saturday evening and Sunday and, because everyone started the weekend celebrating with you, they will all be friends and actually get to enjoy each other the entire weekend," she says. "Or, maybe you just want to get the wedding out of the way and then let your guests take advantage of the city and do the tourist thing all weekend."
Friday Wedding Considerations
Here are a few things experts recommend considering before hosting a Friday wedding.
Some guests won't be able to attend.
While this is always the case, regardless of the day of week you plan your wedding, you can expect more "no" RSVPs for a Friday wedding than a Saturday. "Many guests have kids in school, are in school themselves or have jobs that don't allow that flexibility," warns McWilliams. "If there is potential for planning your Friday wedding to start on the later side of the evening you'll perhaps have more yes to RSVPs than no because your guests can finish or nearly finish all of their work day before attending your wedding."
There may be more traffic and difficulty parking.
Since Friday is still a weekday, traffic is likely going to be worse than if you were hosting your wedding on a Saturday or Sunday. "On Fridays you're dealing with commuters, school pick ups, possible road construction and other elements like accidents," says Chang. She recommends building in buffer time for transit as well as planning ahead when it comes to parking, which may be compromised since people are at work.
Factor in the daylight hours.
Since Friday weddings tend to start later than Saturday weddings, it's a good idea to consider the time of year in which you plan to have your wedding so you can aim for more daylight hours. This also helps for photos as you'll have more natural light, adds Chang.
How to Plan a Friday Wedding
To ensure your Friday wedding goes off without a hitch, follow these expert tips.
Send your save the dates in advance.
Since a Friday wedding often requires more coordination on your guests' part, it can be helpful to give them a heads up a little earlier in the form of your save the dates. "If there's a story or a reason that you chose a Friday you can even explain on your invitation or website why you chose Friday and make it a part of the story," adds McWilliams.
Consider planning in a shorter time frame.
If you're hoping to book a Friday for your wedding to save on costs, it may actually be helpful to plan in a shorter time frame—like four months out. "You'll be more likely to find wedding venues and vendors to be more flexible with their pricing the closer to the date if they are hoping to have another wedding on the calendar that month," says McWilliams. Looking for vendors to turn your dream Friday wedding into reality? Check out The Knot Marketplace.
Allow for a more casual dress code.
Since many guests will likely be coming directly from work, Chang recommends making dress expectations easy on your guests. "For example, requesting black tie attire or something specific like all white is going to be more difficult for your guests, whereas allowing them to come as is or going for a more casual vibe will be much easier for them," she says."In addition, planning for alternative shoes or cover ups to ensure they're comfortable is also something to think about as they may not have those items with them."