John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Maureen Woodman, wedding planner and coordinator for on and offsite catered events at the Essex room in Essex, Massachusetts. Today, we’re talking about Friday versus Saturday weddings. Welcome, Maureen.
Maureen Woodman: Hi John, thanks for having me.
Why have a Friday wedding?
John: Sure. Maureen, what are some pros and cons of a Friday evening wedding?
Maureen: I think the biggest thing for the Friday wedding is the expense of it. I also think that a lot of people enjoy having their Saturdays and Sundays off right now.
John: It’s less expensive to have a Friday evening wedding. Why is that?
Maureen: I think because venues are trying– There’s only 52 Saturdays in a year. Everybody wants to get married on Saturday. Of course, they only want to get married May through October, let’s say. So now you cut it down to 20 Saturdays. A lot of time what venues do, they try to get the bigger ticket on a Saturday. A bigger wedding with more value for the company. They’ll always discount the Fridays, if you’re a smaller wedding. That way they can end up with two weddings in a weekend because most people just want to really do one wedding a day so that the bride can get full service.
Years ago, a lot of people got married on Sunday. You hardly ever see a Sunday wedding now unless there’s a Monday holiday following it. It’s very interesting to me, nobody got married on a Friday. When we were younger, they used to call those candlelight ceremonies and they used to be quick. They were four hours. You’d have the marriage and the food all in, as opposed to an hour with a five-hour ceremony.
John: How do people handle that? In terms of, it’s hard on a Friday night if people have to work and then, maybe you have guests coming in from out of town, that might even mean they have to take the whole day off on Friday or even Thursday as well. How do people handle that?
Maureen: Again, going with that smaller versus a larger wedding, the convenience of the Friday wedding for the bride and groom, be it they want to have a long weekend, or whatever is going on. It’s definitely inconvenient for the guests because a lot of people have to work on Friday, if they have a nine to five Monday through Friday job, now they have to take a half day from work or a full day like you’re saying. They have to get a babysitter, if the kids are in school, where on Saturday you can drop off at your mother’s house or something a lot easier.
Now you have to wait until the kids get out of school so that you can settle them so you can go to the wedding. I think the posture or the timing is completely different for the ceremony. It’s very hard to get a church to open on Friday whereas Saturdays you can have that wedding up to two, three o’clock. There’s a few things here that are a little strategical, but you wake up and if you want to go golfing on Saturday, have a brunch on Sunday, you can really extend the weekend going forward.
John: Right. Like you said, I think I’ve seen a lot of brides and grooms put off that traditional, “Okay, we’re going from the reception right to the airport and we’re taking off and we’re going away on our honeymoon.” A lot of brides and grooms are now sticking around and they want to spend a little more time with their family and friends, especially if they did come from out of town. Maybe having their wedding on a Friday night means they can spend the whole day on Saturday hanging out with their family and maybe, they put off and they go on their honeymoon on Sunday or Monday or maybe even a couple of weeks later as some people are doing now. Do you see that happening more and more?
Maureen: Absolutely. The mini-moon is what they call that, where the kids are going somewhere quick and short, leaving on Monday or Sunday night. They’re putting off their honeymoon to a later time, most likely so they can save enough money to go on their honeymoon because their bachelor parties have gotten so extravagant now, which are before. The other thing that I definitely see, a lot of the kids, you grew up in the neighborhood, you marry the neighborhood kid. I’ve talked about that a lot, these kids are all meeting in college.
They’re meeting in different states, people are coming, people that they went to school with, they haven’t seen them in a long time. They took the expense to drive out here. They don’t just want to spend the four hours with them, they want to spend the whole weekend especially if the kids or their friends or students that they went to school are in the wedding party, they don’t want them to just fly out and “See you later, bye”. They get the weekend out of it where it becomes more of a gathering after the wedding than a gathering during the wedding.
Why have a Saturday wedding?
John: What do you see as some of the pros and cons of a Saturday wedding? Correct me if I’m wrong but on a Saturday, you could actually have your wedding midday, have your ceremony late morning or something, then have an early afternoon reception or you could be having a Saturday evening, where you’re having your ceremony late afternoon and the reception is dinner. What are some of the pros and cons of maybe both of those time slots?
Maureen: I think the Saturday, you can pick any six or seven hours that you want to have reception. I do think a lot of people are still working half days on Saturdays, or a lot of people have a second job that works Saturday morning. I think, again, if your guests have children, all their sports games are happening in the morning that they’re trying to accommodate them as well. That leaves you come two or three o’clock, whatever time you fall into then. You have from two o’clock to one o’clock in the morning that you can get those five or six hours in there.
There’s way more flexibility with the Saturday schedule than the Friday. I think the same thing with Sunday. I think Sunday, when we do do the Sunday weddings, again, a lot of our offsite weddings are on Sunday. The ones that are at people’s houses. Those, again, tend to be earlier because on Sunday you want to finish at five or six o’clock, get home, get ready to go to work on Monday. Again, very popular to have a Sunday wedding when there’s a Monday holiday.
What is the best day for my wedding?
John: What do you prefer? Do you prefer weddings on Fridays or Saturdays or even Sundays?
Maureen: I think the posture, the people– I could tell in a room what day it was by the way the people are acting. On Friday night, they drink harder than you can ever imagine and they dance less. On Saturday, they dance more and they’re already pretty much drunk when they get in the room because they started earlier. It’s really funny to see the way things go, just the way they eat the food. You tend to have your Friday weddings, you’re eating much much later so people–
They don’t want to sit down for that three-course thing, they’ll hit it hard on one course but they want to get up and enjoy the party and the drinking more, the socialness of a Friday night, the unwinding, so you say. There’s a lot of people that leave– When it’s over on Friday, the want to go home because they don’t want to miss their Saturday because that’s the only day off that they have to get a lot of stuff done. It’s really funny, the food and beverage portion of a Friday versus a Saturday wedding. You can see it every single time.
John: I guess, maybe just to decide what type of wedding you want to have and what type of enjoyment you want your guests to get out of your wedding, and then keep that into consideration when it comes time to pick Friday or Saturday.
Maureen: I think you should think about your guest list. How many people are coming? What’s going to happen with the hotel room? A Thursday/Friday hotel room is less expensive than a Friday/Saturday hotel room. A lot of times you can get a one night minimum on weekday hotel where if you pull a Saturday night, you have to do a two night minimum. There’s a lot of little sneaky rules around the North shore of hotel space especially in season- June, July, August- where we’re so touristy up here on the North shore. There’s something there that’s also an expense for your guests.
John: All right. That’s really good information, Maureen. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Maureen: Thank for having me, John.
John: For more information, you can visit the Essex Room website at essexroom.com or call 978 768 7335.