17 Multi-Day Wedding Ideas You'll Love
By Wedding Spot
You may already be familiar with the concept of the multi-day wedding — a tradition often associated with specific cultures and religions. But it doesn't stop there. Multi-day weddings are increasing in popularity as more and more couples see the value in additional wedding celebrations that take place before and after the "actual" wedding day.
If you’re getting married and love the thought of extending the celebrations, then these multi-day wedding ideas are for you.
What is a multi-day wedding?
A multi-day wedding is a weekend (or more) of activities surrounding the wedding day. Although multi-day weddings are often associated with specific cultures and religions, anyone can extend their wedding celebrations to include more than one day before or after the actual ceremony.
A multi-day wedding can be whatever you want it to be — whether that's splitting up the "traditional" wedding events (i.e. ceremony, cocktail hour, reception) to span multiple days or sandwiching those events with unique activities, the choice is yours.
At the end of the day, a multi-day wedding is a great way for couples to have plenty of time to celebrate, relax, and catch up with loved ones. There's no right or wrong answer or playbook you need to follow.
The multi-day wedding trend
Although multi-day weddings have been around for ages, the trend has picked up since COVID-19, with couples looking to make the most out of the celebrations and spend more time with friends and family from out of town who they don’t get to see as often.
Ashley Smith, an event planner and owner of a California-based event planning company, told The New York Times that 85% of the couples she has worked with since the start of the pandemic have hosted multi-day weddings (compared to 50% before the pandemic).
“I think trauma bonding is real and it seems like my couples, their wedding parties and their guests are closer than ever after everyone experienced so much loss and devastation,” Emily Gaikowski, the owner and founder of another California-based wedding company, told the publication. “Nobody wants to say goodbye at the end of the night.”
In addition to the recent rise in popularity, multi-day weddings are also simply a logical extension of the wedding celebrations we’re already used to. Think rehearsal dinners and after-wedding brunches.
Explore 17 of our favorite multi-day wedding ideas
We spoke with a handful of veteran wedding vendors about the multi-day wedding trend. They provided us with context, real-life examples, and multi-day wedding ideas you and your guests will love.
1. Book great venues.
The first, and perhaps most important, factor to consider when it comes to multi-day wedding ideas? The venue(s).
“For the venue, choosing one that offers lodging can take away a lot of the stress for the weekend,” Shayla Kelly from Complete Weddings + Events told Wedding Spot.
“For example, booking a mansion, estate, or lodge that allows for you to have your rehearsal dinner Friday, wedding on Saturday, and a closing brunch on Sunday can be the perfect choice for you. It takes away figuring out transportation for your wedding party and working with different venues and vendors for a weekend focused on one celebration."
Every multi-day wedding is different, of course, and what works for one couple may not work for you. That's why we recommend using our wedding venue search tool. Filter 10,000+ venues based on location, size, venue type, budget, and much more to help narrow down the options and fit your specific needs.
2. Hire a multi-day videographer.
Wedding Spot spoke to Jesse Williams, videographer and owner of Visual Event Films in Tarrytown, NY. Williams has experience filming multi-day weddings and knows what it takes to create an unbelievable weekend.
“My team and I have had the pleasure of filming couples surrounded by their friends and family leading up to their wedding day,” says Williams. “The extra filming time can transform a typical wedding video into something truly breathtaking.”
Here’s how to do it: “When planning your multi-day wedding, find a videographer that is able to film candid moments to be incorporated into the plot of your wedding film,” Williams advises. “If you plan on visiting local sights, nature preserves, beaches, or other places of interest, this is a great opportunity for your videographer to capture b-roll.”
Williams also included the below example of what a multi-day wedding video may look like. In this artistic short film, you’ll see charming footage of a couple's family cat, bridesmaids learning how to salsa in their getting-ready robes, and an impromptu game of basketball among the groomsmen. None of this would have been captured without booking a multi-day wedding videography package.
3. Take RSVPs for multi-day wedding activities.
Denise Buzy-Pucheu, owner of The Persnickety Bride, a bridal shop in Newtown, CT, provided us with the majority of the multi-day wedding ideas on this list. One of the most important? Advanced coordination.
“Placed in with the wedding invitation there should be a check-off sheet of what events the guest or guests will be going to with the dates and time of the event,” suggests Buzy-Pucheu.
“The guest can then check it off and send it back with their RSVP card. In situations with several events, the couple should look to send their wedding invitations out at least 2 1/2 months in advance if not earlier — with a response date of at least 3 weeks before the wedding.”
And don’t forget about kid-friendly options! “If there are guests that are bringing young children or may want other things to do you can send a suggestion list of places to visit that are not family ‘sponsored’ locations.”
Buzy-Pucheu also notes that all of this should also be listed on your wedding website.
4. Plan a wedding reception on wheels.
“As a car rental owner, I've witnessed a unique and literally multi-day wedding,” Steve Evans from Elite Party Bus & Limo told Wedding Spot via email.
“The bride and groom set up a mobile wedding reception that served as a tour for their guests after the wedding ceremony. As their official transportation provider, we helped them cruise from parks to vineyards, to tourist spots, to hotels, to a couple of random stopovers, and until they reached their farmhouse reception on their second day.”
This idea is great for couples who are doing a destination wedding or simply want to share a tour of the area with friends and family. You can offer this type of experience on its own as an activity before or after the wedding day. Or you can do what this couple did and combine it with your reception.
“Since it was a mobile reception, our company partnered with their caterer to complete the food, drink, and party ensemble,” shares Evans. “It was surely a unique experience for me.”
5. Host a kayaking trip.
If your wedding is near the water, why not give kayaking or canoeing a try? Bending Branches — dubbed the world's largest manufacturer of quality canoe and kayak paddles — interviewed a couple who chose to do a canoe trip on their actual wedding day.
When asked if they would recommend it, they said “We 100% would recommend paddling, hiking, or rappelling to your wedding! Canoeing for our ceremony made the entire day much more memorable for us and our wedding party, and it allowed us to share an activity and place that we love with the people we love the most.”
While watersports on your wedding day may be a bit too niche for you, why not explore similar activities before or after the big day?
6. Attend a sporting event.
Buzy-Pucheu told Wedding Spot that her clients have attended Chicago and Boston baseball games as part of their multi-day wedding celebrations. If you and your partner are sports lovers, you may even want to ask the venue if you can take some wedding photos at the arena ahead of time.
7. Take a trip to the zoo.
Grab some group tickets or rent out the entire zoo after-hours if offered. You may even be able to host a post-wedding rehearsal cocktail hour among zebras and giraffes.
RELATED: 36 Types of Wedding Venues You Should Know (Including Zoos!)
8. Visit an aquarium.
Host a group tour, dinner, or private sea animal petting party with your wedding weekend guests. Like many of the other multi-day wedding ideas within this guide, taking advantage of a few photo ops is highly recommended.
9. Host a ski day.
Getting married in the winter? Hit the slopes with family and friends in the day(s) before or after your ceremony and reception. Make sure to include optional group lessons for those who need them. This idea is best during the week after the wedding to avoid morning-after wedding exhaustion or potential pre-wedding accidents.
10. Have a pizza and bowling party.
Elevate the experience from children’s birthday party to elegant wedding-related events by renting out a members-only club alley and ordering gourmet pizza catering.
11. Do a luau welcome party.
Serve BBQ at the park and be sure to include great music. Pack some great wedding lawn games while you’re at it!
12. Plan a welcome golf luncheon.
Coordinate an early-morning round of golf with a delicious lunch at the course before your wedding to take advantage of your venue’s proximity to great golf spots.
13. Book a spa day.
This classic bridal party activity can be enjoyed by guests too! Schedule a morning-of hair and foot massage appointment. Or unwind the week after the wedding with your friends and family by getting massages.
14. Host an event at a vineyard or brewery.
From tastings to dinners to tours, the options for multi-day wedding ideas at these locations are endless. Call ahead to ask about sulfate-free and alcohol-free options just in case there are guests who can’t indulge but want to join in on the fun.
15. Go snorkeling or diving.
This multi-day wedding idea is obviously only compatible with weddings that take place near bodies of water. Book a tour as far in advance as possible just in case the local spots get packed around your wedding date. Make sure everyone who RSVPs “yes” knows what they’re getting into.
16. Enjoy a sunset evening cruise on a pontoon boat.
Rent, borrow, or book a tour. We recommend pairing a sunset evening cruise with wine and cheese, cocktails, or some karaoke for a more energetic event.
17. Host a fishing trip.
Get out the poles and indulge in this unexpected yet relaxing wedding weekend activity. Most lakes with formal boathouses will offer rentals with everything you need. Don’t forget to pack food and drinks!
It's time to put these multi-day wedding ideas to use!
Want to keep the party going even longer? Check out these fun wedding after-party ideas that your guests will love.