6 Things You Should Know About Planning a Wedding Weekend in the City

As we approach a return to live events, many couples are inspired to take their celebrations up a notch and return to the big city. The pandemic presented a few obstacles with weekend-long festivities, including city-wide closures and strict health and safety guidelines (for good reason). Because of this, many may have opted for wedding activities on the outskirts of the city.  

Now that things are opening up once more, engaged couples in major metro areas such as Brooklyn know that there is an abundance of places to eat and things to do. Plus, the vibrant city energy is sure to liven up any wedding celebration! 

However, we know that city weddings involve certain logistical challenges that will need to be addressed well in advance to avoid inconveniencing guests. From limited parking to crowded airports, city settings can present challenges for some couples and their guests. Fortunately, with the right preparation and a reliable team of vendors, you can have your dream city wedding without a hitch. Here’s what the experts suggest.  

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Image by Classic Photographers

Consider other city events when planning. 

Before anything, make sure that your wedding weekend won’t be competing with other city-wide events like comic cons, festivals, tradeshows, and other occasions that would crowd the city. 

Jen Ganson, owner and lead planner for A Fresh Event, elaborates: “If planning a wedding in the city, the very first thing a couple should do before getting their heart set on a certain date or making things official with their venue is to cross-reference the date with the city’s convention calendar. This helps to avoid booking your wedding over a weekend where hotel rooms will be scarce and/or incredibly expensive.  

“In addition to sky-high hotel costs, guests from out of town may see higher rates for flights due to events like marathons, large festivals, and corporate citywide conventions,” Ganson adds. 

Always build extra room in the schedule. 

Padding your schedule is a sound idea for any wedding, but it’s especially vital for city celebrations. Traveling and parking isn’t as easy at suburban and rural areas. Be smart about your weekend’s itinerary to ensure guests have enough time to move around and explore the city. 

Laura Maddox, owner of Magnolia Celebrates, warns: “Do not assume because you can drive from point a to point b in 15 minutes on a normal day that it will be the same for all of your guests on wedding day. They will take a bit longer as they will want to finish conversations in the lobby, get into the car or the bus, and then will need to manage parking.” 

Maddox continues: “If they ride on a bus, it does tend to allow for less time between venues but even then the loading and unloading of the bus warrants adding an additional 5-10 minutes between venues.” 

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Image by Jenny DeMarco Photography

Be mindful with transportation. 

Of course, transportation can be a tricky subject in a city, particularly in a post-pandemic environment. Some guests may not be comfortable hopping on a subway with a bunch of strangers, so you need to plan several options.  

“Couples need to think about guests’ comfort level when taking public transportation,” encourages Daniela Grafman, CSEP, Chief Amazement Officer for Vision Event Co. “Pre-COVID, this was part of the fun exploring a city setting, but now guests might be more cautious.” 

Grafman suggests a few ideas “In the past, we’ve often included MetroCards in welcome bags for NYC weddings. Now, couples can consider including pre-paid Uber codes knowing guests may be more comfortable with that mode of transportation. Or maybe there’s a ferry near the hotel or venue that could be recommended and give guests a fun experience traveling around the city. When possible, choosing hotels that are within walking distance of a venue is also helpful.” 

Provide detailed timelines. 

There’s a good chance your guests will want to explore the big city, so be clear about when and where they expected so they can make the most of the rest of their stay.  

Jennifer Borgh, owner of Borghinvilla Wedding Venue, says: “Make sure there is an itinerary with date, appropriate attire, location and details. Also, be sure to let guests know which events are optional and which ones you expect them to attend. Don’t try and pack in too many things.  Most guests will enjoy downtime and optional activities to do the things they want to do.” 

Prioritize guest comfort. 

Choosing a venue is one of the biggest decisions a couple will make and, post-COVID, it’s one that will need to factor in the extra layer of guests’ comfort in relation to the pandemic. Expect some people to still be uncertain about being in crowded, enclosed spaces.  

 “Options for events that allow guests to choose to be indoors or outdoors, depending on their comfort level, are ideal,” shares Lynne Reznick, owner of Lynne Reznick Photography. “Consider reserving spaces with an outdoor patio as well as indoor space, so guests who feel more comfortable outside, can still attend the event comfortably.” 

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Image by Kaysha Weiner

Have fun, but don’t overwhelm! 

Your wedding weekend only comes around once and, with all of your loved ones in the same city, you’ll naturally want to pack the itinerary with fun activities so you can spend time with everyone! Unfortunately, not everyone will want to spend every waking moment engaged in city mode. Make sure people are getting enough time to rest and explore other sites on their own. 

“Showing your guests different parts of the city is a great idea for your wedding weekend, but don’t make them trek all over the city in one day,” recommends Jamie Chang, destination wedding planner and owner of Mango Muse Events. “Limit your activities and events to one per day so that they don’t feel like they spent the entire time trying to get to the locations.” 

As long as you’re mindful about your guests’ needs and plan the logistics accordingly, there’s no doubt that you’ll have the best 48-72 hours (or more, if you’re going the whole nine yards!) enjoying time with all of your closest friends and family. 

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast. 

We’ve partnered with OFD Consulting to bring you this great advice from their collective of wedding professionals.