The Pros and Cons of Hosting Your Wedding Over a Holiday

Here's how to decide if a seasonal celebration is right for you.
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Nov 11, 2020

The holidays are a time for celebrating—and for some, hosting a wedding. Holiday weddings require extra care and caution when planning. While it may seem like an ideal time to celebrate with loved ones, considerations such as cost and travel, along with guest and vendor availability, are all to be taken into account. As with typical wedding details, your date should be thoughtfully chosen. Perhaps you and your S.O. have a meaningful connection to the Fourth of July, or you always host a party on New Year's Eve. If a certain holiday is significant to your relationship, you might feel compelled to host your wedding on that date (or on a long weekend dedicated to that day).

To help you decide if a holiday wedding is right for you, we tapped industry pros for their expert advice. Below are the most important factors to consider with your S.O. before securing a date. Here, we break down the pros and cons of hosting a wedding over a holiday.

Pro: Your Wedding Will Feel Even More Celebratory

Perhaps the biggest pro of hosting a holiday wedding is how it could be received as more celebratory given the time of year. Nuptials that overlap with the holiday season will make your chosen date feel even more meaningful than it is already. The holidays are a time to celebrate with loved ones. And, given the significance of a wedding, honoring marriage on top of an already special occasion will make it much more memorable. If your favorite part of celebrating the holidays is spending time with family and friends, your holiday wedding will feel extraordinarily sentimental.

Con: Some Guests Might Not Be Able to Attend

One of the biggest factors to keep in mind when planning a holiday wedding is guest availability. If you want a large guest list, remember some loved ones might not be able to attend your wedding if it falls on a major holiday. "You might consider avoiding family-oriented holidays, like Thanksgiving or Christmas," says wedding planner Ryan Abney. "[Whereas] guests might not have firm plans for holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, or New Year's Eve, and may be more likely to attend."

To make your holiday wedding more accessible to guests, consider planning additional weekend events, like a welcome happy hour or brunch. "Host events and activities for your guests over the entire weekend so it can become your guest's vacation," suggests Mavinhouse Events planner Ashley Tangerini. "People like to use their long weekends as time to get away and recharge themselves. If you are going to host your wedding over a holiday, plan multiple activities for them to enjoy."

List itinerary information on invitations and your wedding website. Since a holiday wedding will require proactive planning from guests, present them with as much as information as soon as possible to help them determine if they'll be able to attend.

Pro: Choosing a Theme Is Simplified

One of the biggest perks of hosting a holiday wedding is having enough inspiration for a theme and color palette. A New Year's Eve wedding, for example, often incorporates metallics like silvers and golds. A Christmas wedding will typically feature pops of red and emerald jewel tones against luxury fabrics like velvet and plaid tartan.

A theme and corresponding color palette will create a cohesive vibe for your wedding day. If you want to make your wedding look like you thought of every last detail, a theme is crucial to bring everything together. A holiday wedding simplifies this, since most are synonymous with colors, textures, foods and activities, meaning you don't have to spend too much time thinking about the big picture. Instead, you can focus on the small, meaningful details, like custom cornhole games for a Fourth of July party or lobster roll sandwiches for a Memorial Day weekend wedding.

Con: Travel and Lodging May Be Pricier

The holidays are notoriously busy for travel. Whether you're planning your nuptials around Memorial Day or Thanksgiving, guests may have to face crowded airports, heavy traffic on the roads or overbooked hotels. "A wedding over a long weekend can seem appealing to the couple, but sometimes it poses problems for the guests," Abney advises. "If guests are coming from out of town, they might end up spending more on flights and hotel rooms," she says. Cost can sometimes be a determining factor for guests, especially during a busy holiday season, so be aware of how your wedding date and location might impact their ability to attend.

This is why prepping well in advance is key for a holiday wedding. "Research multiple lodging options to give guests a variety of price points when booking their accommodations," Abney suggests. "Then, send your save-the-dates far enough in advance for guests to make early travel plans. Also consider timing of the wedding day's events for guests who may need to arrive on the morning of. And recognize that gift giving may be affected by the wedding's proximity to certain holidays."

While guests might want to attend your holiday wedding, the timing might affect their ability to spend money on travel arrangements. Keep this in mind when selecting your date, and ease their experience by researching budget-friendly hotels, Airbnbs and travel options.

Pro: You Can Save on Décor

Some aspects of a holiday wedding might be more expensive, like venue cost and travel fare. For example, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day fall in the middle of peak wedding season, so prices are often more expensive, especially if you're booking a weekend wedding. The winter months are considered off-season, though prices still may be higher for holiday-specific dates. One area where you can cut back on costs, however, is décor. "Hosting a wedding over a holiday like Christmas may end up saving you money on décor," Tangerini says. "Churches and venues will already be decorated for the holidays, so be sure you like their artistic style."

After you've toured the space, look at your venue's social media pages to see what their style is like, and ask the staff about decorations they'll have in place on your wedding date. Once you know what will already be in the space, you can work with your planner, event designer or S.O. to determine what else you need. Less is more when it comes to holiday decorations. A few thoughtful additions to your venue's existing décor will complete the look without being too over-the-top.

Con: You Might Have to Wait to Book Preferred Vendors

The holidays are busy for wedding vendors too, and the timing of your event might affect their availability. Some pros might be booked on the date you want, or they could take time off to spend with their loved ones. When conducting searches for your team of pros, ask about their holiday availability as soon as possible. The same is true for venue availability too. "Depending on when you get engaged, you may have to wait an extra year to get the date or holiday you want," says Abney.

If you have your heart set on a Memorial Day weekend wedding, for example, you might have to wait an extra year to secure your preferred date or vendors. Talk about your options with your S.O. and decide on what's more important: getting married sooner, or booking a specific date. Once you're aligned on the important details, you'll be able to move forward with planning.

Pro: Your Anniversary Will Always Feel Special

All pros and cons aside, you should feel empowered to plan your wedding how you want it. If you've long imagined a holiday wedding, make your dreams come to life with a festive day. Plus, if you and your S.O. have a special connection to a holiday, your anniversary will feel much more special in the years to come. While you should consider making some compromises to accomodate guests, like finding affordable lodging or planning a weekend of activities to maximize their travel efforts, it's your day and it should fit your vision. Your loved ones who want to celebrate your marriage will, most certainly, be there.

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