Why would a happily married woman say such a thing? Aimee and her husband Matt wed the day after Thanksgiving, and the reasons they chose that date are a little vague to them now. Matt is from Delaware and they met in college in New Orleans, so lots of out-of-towners were invited. Though Aimee doesn’t remember any complaints from guests, she now realizes they were lucky to have had such a good turnout.
Getting married on or near a holiday has its pro and cons, and extra elements to consider. Guests may happily attend your wedding celebration or be hesitant to share it with their holiday—often depending on which holiday it is. The following brides, guests and experts offer their wedding experiences throughout the year:
THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS
Ellen Gutierrez, owner and wedding coordinator of Bride’s Vision Weddings and Events, says that the Devolls were fortunate so many of their family and friends made the trip the week of Thanksgiving. Guests may prefer to spend time with family, especially holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, rather than attend a wedding. “I planned a wedding for a couple married right after Christmas. It was a lovely wedding, but they were disappointed by their low numbers,” Ellen says. “People often want to stay close to home around the major holidays.”
One such guest is Nikki Klapp, who went to a wedding the Saturday after Thanksgiving. “I was away at college, and was coming home for Thanksgiving anyway,” Nikki says. “But I saw my family so rarely that I kind of resented having to spend a whole day and night at a wedding before heading back to school the next day.”
An advantage to a Christmas wedding, however, is that if it’s being held in a church, the church is already decorated for the holiday and you can save money on floral arrangements. Some venues are decked out for Christmas as well, such as the Piper Palm House and the Jewel Box.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
New Year’s Eve, on the other hand, is usually not as family-oriented and guests are happy to attend a wedding then. “People are ready for a party, and to have one already planned for them goes over well,” says Ellen. “And you can incorporate the holiday into your day in fun and easy ways.”
Julia Taylor was a bridesmaid at a wedding on New Year’s Eve this past year that was a great celebration of the couple and the new year. “We bridesmaids passed out hats, crowns and noisemakers to guests shortly before midnight,” Julia says. “And part of the reception room was set up like a lounge, with couches, which gave it a bit of a nightclub feel.” Ellen has planned weddings that have, in addition to the party favors, a balloon drop as the disc jockey counts down to the new year.
Ellen advises booking early if you choose to wed on New Year’s Eve, especially reserving the venue and the band, since that is traditionally one of their most in-demand nights.
A risk for winter holiday weddings is the possible inclement weather. Allison Green remembers a wedding she attended a few days before Christmas. “The ceremony was in South County and there was a forecast for a major snowstorm,” Allison remembers. “The reception wasn’t until several hours later, in St. Charles. By the time the reception was supposed to start, a lot of snow had fallen and the roads were awful. The wedding party’s limousine was late—it got stuck in the snow— and a lot of people didn’t make it to the reception.”
Jane McAllister was a guest at nuptials held on Valentine’s Day, and she doesn’t feel a lot of love for that particular wedding. “It probably could have been done tastefully, but it was over the top,” Jane says. “There were paper hearts all over the walls, everything was red and pink, there were heart centerpieces and heart-shaped candy…it was just too much.” Jane, like a lot of other guests in attendance, was single at the time and thought all the over-emphasis on love was redundant. “A wedding is already about love and the couple—the Valentine’s Day theme seemed like salt in the wound to all of us unattached girls.”
Some brides plan for a holiday wedding, and others just happen upon the day. The latter was the case for Theresa D’Amico-Becker, who was married on Halloween. “We wanted a fall wedding and the Saturday that worked best for us was Halloween night,” Theresa says.
Theresa and her husband Kevin incorporated Halloween into their day without making it look like an Addams Family Reunion. The wedding party wore black and the floral arrangements consisted of fall colors. Halloween masks and candy adorned the tables. Wearing costumes to the reception, which was several hours after the ceremony (giving the kids time to go home and trick-or-treat), was optional and many guests took them up on it. “A lot of our male guests loved changing out of suits and into costumes,” says Theresa. “There was actually a guest who asked me to dance after he put on his costume, and I couldn’t figure out who it was! We danced and then he left, and returned to reveal his identity. It was a cousin of mine and it was really funny.”
FOURTH OF JULY
Tracey Cavato is another bride that just happened to get married on a holiday. The house she and her future husband were building was going to be available sooner than anticipated, so they looked to move up their wedding day. The Fourth of July was the only date available at their church and reception site. Much of Tracey’s family would be traveling from Chicago and were happy with the arrangements. “They were grateful they had more time to travel and hang out in St. Louis, rather than rush in for the rehearsal dinner and wedding then head back,” Tracey says. The reception was at a country club and guests were able to see the city’s fireworks display from the deck.
Ellen is coordinating a Fourth of July wedding at the Chase Park Plaza’s Starlight Room and is timing the festivities so that the guests will be able to step out on to the large patio and enjoy St. Louis’ fireworks. “You might also get a discount from booking your wedding during the week, if the Fourth of July falls then,” Ellen says.
MEMORIAL DAY AND LABOR DAY
Ellen says these two minor holidays are always popular wedding weekends in St. Louis. “They are usually not holidays people already have firm plans for, the temperatures are mild, and they give your out-of-town guests an extra day to travel,” says Ellen. She also says sometimes there may be a price break if you get married on the Sunday of those weekends.
A possible disadvantage to pledging your eternal devotion on a holiday is that, down the road, your wedding anniversary may get lost in the shuffle. Sheila Billings was married on the day before Mother’s Day, and likens it to have your birthday on Christmas. Now, as a mother of three young children, “We usually celebrate one or the other, but not both our anniversary and Mother’s Day,” Shannon says. Her brother was married at Christmastime and he and his wife rarely have the time or inclination to celebrate their anniversary with so much going on that time of year.
Katy Colgan agrees. She was married between Christmas and New Year’s, and at the time it was great. “But now, especially with kids, our anniversary is the last thing in a long string of holiday get-togethers and it gets lost in the mix,” Katy says.
But Theresa, the Halloween bride, doesn’t mind a bit. “We’ve been married for twelve years, and we still receive tons of anniversary cards. I guess a Halloween wedding is easy to remember!”