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The Friday Wedding Trend

It seems a Friday wedding is the new way to get hitched, but what does this mean for the betrothed couple and their guests? The pros and the cons.

One of your best friends has asked you to be a bridesmaid at her wedding and you couldn’t be more thrilled. However, you’re not too pleased that you’ll be missing two days of work for the big day. See, her wedding is on a Friday, and let’s just say she doesn’t exactly live next door.

Odds are this won’t be your last weekday wedding, as wedding planners across the country are noticing an increase in Friday bookings, despite Saturday ceremonies being the norm. So what’s causing this trend – is it cheaper for the bride and groom, or are Friday weddings more favorable for destination locations? And how are guests reacting – are they resenting the couple-to-be for interrupting their work weeks, or is it viewed as a welcomed escape from the office?

Pros

Sarah Pease from Brilliant Event Planning in New York City has been booking Friday weddings left and right.  She says that budgets have been the driving force for the rising trend. “Couples are really starting to recognize that they get much more bang for their buck on Fridays,” says Pease. “They can book fancier venues, add in ambient lighting, have the hottest DJ, and maybe even spare a few dollars for a boudoir photography session because of the discounted pricing.”

For couples looking to get married despite the recession, a Friday booking date looks awfully appealing if costs will be lower and dreams won’t be compromised. Katie Webb, a wedding planner in Southern California, was able to save a couple $350 on a DJ because of their Friday nuptials, and Chelsea Gladden of Breezymama.com was able to cut costs from her wedding thanks to non-relative guests not being able to make it because of work.

For couples looking to exchange vows on some far-off beach, the Friday wedding seems like the way to go as well – instead of the wedding consuming the bulk of the weekend, couples can get their vows over with early, leaving the rest of the weekend to celebrate and enjoy their surroundings with guests.

Robin Preston of Azure Event Production is in the process of planning her own Friday wedding in the Florida Keys, and loves the idea of spending more time with the people she’s invited. “Our guests are treating this wedding as their vacation,” she says. “We’ve even delayed leaving for our honeymoon in order to spend time with them.”

Luckily for the happy couple, wedding guests are warming up to this tradition. “The last two weddings I’ve been to have been on a Friday,” says Carey Osmundson from Ferndale, Michigan. “I like attending them because you don’t lose your entire weekend. Whereas, on the Saturday wedding I’m about to go to, the wedding is at 3 p.m. and the reception doesn’t start till 6 p.m., so most of my Saturday is completely gone.”

But this can also be considered a part of the downside of Friday weddings – if guests have to travel to get to the wedding location, there will be complications. In workaholic cities like New York and LA, rush hour traffic becomes an obstacle. Gladden was 45 minutes late to her own wedding because her hair and makeup person was stuck in traffic.

“That’s the tricky thing about Friday weddings,” says Brettan Bablove of WS Publishing Group. “I had to take Thursday and Friday off of work to be the Maid of Honor in a wedding a few weeks ago in La Jolla, CA. Plus, parents can’t always just pull their kids out of school for one either.”

So, guests may be hours late to your nuptials and some will be huffing and puffing about missing work, but for the significant discounts, that may be a small price to pay. But take note, not all vendors will slash prices for a weekday fete. Take it from Michael Gruener of Take Five Media, who has been a wedding photographer/videographer for seven years – he doesn’t offer any discount for Friday bookings and believes the new trend is a mistake for betrothed couples.

Gruener says a recent wedding he shot was in scrambles solely because of its calendar date. “We were delayed in starting the portrait session because two of the groomsmen were stuck in traffic,” says Gruener. “Many, many guests arrived during the ceremony, so the doorway ended up being jammed with people who didn’t want to interrupt. For me, Friday weddings prove to be a scheduling nightmare. I don’t charge less for Friday weddings because there doesn’t seem to be a reason to.”

All things considered, couples need to consider the potential pluses and negatives carefully before setting a Friday date. If your budget and your life-long wedding dreams (“I’ve always wanted to get married at the Plaza, have white lilies at each table, and wear a Vivienne Westwood dress”) are top priorities, then a Friday wedding may be the perfect way to get exactly what you want for less. However, if you want your wedding to be the toast of the town, you should consider your guests – will they be grumpy after sitting in two hours of traffic only to miss your ceremony, or will they be thankful for the party weekend in Hawaii?

Whatever you decide, if you don’t plan to have a Friday wedding, it’s a guarantee that one of your friends will – proof that this new trend is here to stay.

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