Your Guide to Planning a Slay-Worthy Holiday Wedding

Don't sleep on throwing a doubly-special celebration.
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
by
Lauren Dana Ellman
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
Lauren Dana Ellman
The Knot Contributor
  • Lauren is a contributor for The Knot covering topics such as music, cakes, venues and speeches.
  • She has been published in a wide array of lifetsyle-oriented publications including SELF and Allure.
  • Lauren is a proud graduate of Syracuse University's SI Newhouse School of Public Communication.
Updated Oct 02, 2023

Holidays are cause for celebration alone, but throw in a wedding, and the occasion will be all the more special! Having your wedding on a holiday can make your big day all the more memorable, but there are a few things to consider before diving head-first into the world of wedding planning. All this to say, if you're toying with the idea of a holiday wedding, we recommend you keep reading to determine what this actually entails in terms of planning, costs and more. Although it's extra-festive and celebratory, a holiday wedding may not be right for everyone, and below, we break down the pros, cons and need-to-know tidbits so that the two of you can make an informed decision.

In this article:

What Is the Best Holiday to Have a Wedding?

Put simply, the best holiday to have a wedding ultimately depends on personal preference and budget. Several wedding pros we spoke to mentioned New Year's Eve, including Marissa MacLeod, director of marketing at Lightner Museum Weddings & Events in St. Augustine, Florida, who noted the "fun, celebratory atmosphere." She also mentions that couples who choose to have a wedding around Christmas and Thanksgiving can expect fun and festive vibes; however, it also means that "guests may need to give up time with their families to attend."

Others, like San Francisco Bay Area-based destination wedding planner Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events, recommended Halloween for the lower costs and demand (especially if it falls on a weekday!). Several other planners were also quick to point out Labor Day and Independence Day weekends for the warm weather and extra time off, allowing guests to easily travel to your special day thanks to time off from work or school.

Holiday Wedding Cost Considerations

Put simply, explains Katy Padilla of Scarlet Rose Events in Texas, "Weddings that take place on holidays or holiday weekends tend to be more expensive in the long run" since you have to consider factors like travel fees, venue costs and vendor labor. "Your key vendors — like photographers, caterers and venues — will most likely have increased rates or an additional holiday fee added to their contracts." Chang echoes these sentiments and also calls out corporate holidays. when "you'll be competing for everything from catering and bar to DJs and lighting." Additionally, "If it's Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, flower prices (and even food prices) will be much higher due to demand."

Pros of a Holiday Wedding

If you ask most people why not have their wedding during a particular holiday, the instinctual answer is, 'I don't want to share my wedding with a holiday," says Jacqueline Vizcaino of Tinted Events Design and Planning in Atlanta, Georgia. However, she advises couples to switch their mindset and think of a holiday wedding as an incredible opportunity to celebrate their nuptials with their friends and family. With this in mind, she—and all of the other pros we spoke to—are quick to call out the pros of a holiday wedding, which you can learn more about below.

Added Cause for Celebration

"Since a holiday is meant for celebration, people will already be in the mindset of gathering and spending time with loved ones," says Padilla. "That said, a wedding is the perfect reason for family and friends to gather to celebrate not only your love but also some holiday cheer!"

Festive Themes & Low-Stress Decor

If you're struggling with picking a wedding theme, consider a holiday wedding, which often lends itself to having an automatic (and fun!) theme, "Given that most holidays have an obvious design aesthetic, it provides a wedding with an automatic theme," says Padilla.

Additionally, if you don't love the entire process of decorating and thinking about intricate ways to bring your theme to life through smaller, more intricate details like signature cocktails, centerpieces, custom dance floors, table numbers and more —which, by the way, is totally valid—then, per Padilla, "a holiday wedding may be a route to consider." For example, she tells The Knot that a wedding on New Year's Eve could "tie in all the bubbly cocktails, metallic decor and sparklers to celebrate a New Year but also a new marriage!"

Extra-Fun Add-Ons & Experiences

"Holiday weddings, many times, are an opportunity for towns, communities, hotels and venues to decorate and hold special events," explains Chang. With this in mind, she tells The Knot that "having a holiday wedding means you can capitalize on what's happening already and use that to enhance your wedding." A few examples include physical decorations and extra-fun touches like fireworks.

Time Off (In Some Cases!)

Some holidays, like Labor Day, Independence Day, Christmas and New Year's, offer time off from work. As a result, notes Padilla, "your guests will be able to attend and hopefully travel to your wedding." While the wedding planner notes that "Not all holidays are alike in the length of time people have off from their responsibilities," she notes that they "will most likely have additional days to enjoy themselves and your wedding." Both MacLeod and Chang echo these sentiments, with the latter telling The Knot, "You can use that time to continue the celebration over multiple days or just use it to recover from the wedding festivities." Either way, she says, "It's really nice to have a longer period of time off after your wedding before having to go back to work." Of course, this could mean taking a honeymoon or mini-moon without dipping into your or your spouse's PTO!

New Memories & Traditions

Having your wedding on a holiday means you'll have an extra-special anniversary. This, of course, affords you and your future spouse (along with family and friends!) the unique opportunity to create new memories and establish your own traditions to commemorate your big day—and the holiday it falls on!

Cons of a Holiday Wedding

While holiday weddings have a lot of pros, it's important to consider the potential cons, as well. Before finalizing your holiday wedding date, keep in mind the following caveats.

Higher Costs

According to Chang, "The biggest con of a holiday wedding is definitely the cost,"—and this holds true when it comes to wedding venues, vendors and transportation. With all this in mind, "You will need to plan with a bigger budget in order to accommodate the inflated costs of a holiday wedding." However, it's not just the to-be-weds facing higher costs—out-of-town wedding guests will likely have to shell out more money on flights and hotel accommodations.

Limited Vendor Options

"Many wedding vendors are privy to other events, such as corporate and local events," says Padilla—and this makes total sense. After all, she explains, "Holidays are prime time for parties, no matter the industry, so vendors may have very well been booked already." To avoid any potential mishaps or complications, the wedding pro encourages soon-to-be-married couples to book their main vendors, including the venue, catering and photographers, "as early as possible."

Your Wedding is Linked to Holiday Forever

Think of it this way, says Padilla: "Just like that one friend who was born on Christmas dislikes the link of their birthday to all things jingle bells, you may not want your wedding linked either." However, she is quick to note that "this con obviously relates more to the largely celebrated holidays," including Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day and Christmas. Additionally, she tells The Knot that this can be a pro for some since it can "elevate your anniversary and make it even more special."

Fewer Guests in Attendance

"Holidays are a time when everyone tends to make plans, so having a holiday wedding means there is a higher likelihood of people RSVP-ing no," says Chang. For example, "Guests may have a yearly standing engagement they can't or don't want to miss or a conflicting celebration happening at the same time." Of course, the aforementioned high costs of travel can impact this, too.

Limited Vendor Availability

According to MacLeod, some wedding professionals may be unavailable around major holidays like Christmas, New Year's and Thanksgiving. "For example, one of the most popular wedding planning companies in our area takes a week off to be with their families around Christmas." That said, if you plan on hiring a wedding planner, it's crucial to be open and honest about your needs and expectations to ensure they have the time and resources to assist you.

Potential Crowds

"If you choose a wedding destination that is very popular around a certain holiday, you may contend with crowds of people in popular photo locations, heavy traffic and limited parking," says MacLeod. Keep this in mind when planning your wedding day timeline to ensure a stress-free day for both you and your guests.

How to Plan a Holiday Wedding

Regardless of when your actual wedding date is (and, FYI: there is no such thing as the perfect date!), planning can certainly feel overwhelming and stressful. To ensure things run as smoothly as possible when planning your holiday wedding, we've uncovered the top tips and tricks from experts.

Hire a Wedding Planner

MacLeod highly recommends hiring a local wedding planner—which, shameless plug alert, you can easily do on The Knot Vendor Marketplace!—especially if you're having a holiday affair. Not only should wedding pros be familiar with the seasonal trends in your destination, but they'll also know 1) what vendors are available, 2) provide recommendations for travel and accommodations and 3) help you create a timeline that considers holiday delays, which brings us to our next point….

Firm Up a Timeline

According to Vizcaino, having a timeline is important "so you don't leave your plans to chance." She continues, telling The Knot, "Providing enough time for your guest to plan can be the one thing that turns your holiday wedding idea from an epic idea to an epic fail. "

Secure Your Vendors

As previously mentioned, wedding vendors can book up quickly—or be entirely unavailable—on certain holidays. With that in mind, says Chang, "You'll want to strategically secure the vendors that will be in highest demand during the holiday first." This can include everything from securing room blocks and booking the florist to hiring the wedding band or DJ and finalizing the transportation. Ultimately, she says, "This will really depend on the holiday in question and the location."

Send Invitations Early

Make a concerted effort to send invitations out as early as possible since your guests may have—or make—alternate plans. Just take it from Padilla, who tells The Knot that "the majority of people, especially those with children, will want to plan holiday events as early as possible." For example, if eight weeks in advance is the norm, Padilla recommends sending the invitations ten weeks before so that people can plan for travel, lodging, childcare and so on. Her motto? "It's always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared."

Consider the Season

When planning your wedding theme, color scheme and decor, it's important to consider the season, says MacLeod. For example, she recommends incorporating greenery and flowers that are in season into your decor." And, on a similar note, "You can add a subtle nod to your favorite holiday in your signage, table decor or outfit choices."

Be Flexible With Your Budget

Since holiday weekends will often be more expensive, Chang tells The Knot that working with a budget range—as opposed to a hard number—will be "helpful as you go along in your planning to allow for more flexibility." She also advises couples to be "mentally prepared for the higher costs so that you aren't shocked and frustrated at every turn." This will ultimately make the process of planning a holiday wedding easier and less stressful in the long run.

Bonus: Serve Festive Food & Drinks

Holiday weddings offer a fun opportunity to get creative with food and drink offerings— and MacLeod agrees. "We love theming drinks on your bar around the holiday, with fun names and unique flavors that incorporate the tastes of the season." For example, she tells The Knot, "A late-night snack is a great way to bring in tasty holiday treats, for example, a s'mores bar around the winter months, popsicles in the summer or Halloween candy."

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