May 25, 2003,
FIELD NOTES; When a Holiday Weekend Gives Way to a Wedding Party
By ABBY ELLIN (NYT)
WHEN an invitation appears in the mail for a wedding to be held on a
holiday weekend, some greet the news with joy, others with grumbling.
For those with families who live far apart, weddings on holiday weekends
offer a sensible way to schedule extra time together. And couples and their
families can sometimes negotiate a better financial arrangement with a
caterer, whose bookings tend to slip on summer holiday weekends.
But because people often make summer arrangements well in advance, and
value their time off, the risks increase that some guests will decline the
invitation. Aside from cost, some have longstanding plans to open the beach
house or go to the annual family barbecue.
''As long as people don't flip out if you can't make it, then I think
it's fine to have a wedding on a long weekend,'' said Larry Smith, a
34-year-old editor in New York, who added that he has attended 22 weddings
in the last four years, a few of them on holidays.
Stephanie Sheeran, 30, a Manhattan publicist, said: ''Summer in this part
of the country is like bookends -- we only get from Memorial Day to Labor
Day, which leaves three long summer weekends per year. If the couple is
looking to cut costs, I'd rather go on an off day -- say, a Friday night --
than give up a holiday weekend.''
To ease the pain, some couples go out of their way to make the journey
worth the effort. Elizabeth Geringer, 41, and Gary Lieberman, 47, are
marrying today in Atlanta. They have a whole weekend of activities planned
for their 200 guests, 150 of them coming from afar. Their plans call for
dinners, brunches, sightseeing excursions and a hospitality suite, where
people can grab food or drink whenever they want.
''I've had people ask to be invited,'' said Ms. Geringer, a partner in a
human resources company in Atlanta.
For others, being invited to a wedding on a holiday weekend is simply an
It has been 10 years since Virginia Roberts's cousin was married, but Ms.
Roberts still holds a grudge. It is not that she objected to the marriage.
What upset her was that the wedding was held in the middle of a Memorial Day
weekend, effectively ruining her three-day holiday.
''People don't want to go to somebody else's wedding on their holiday
weekend,'' said Ms. Roberts, 46, an advertising producer who is to be
married in July -- but not, emphatically, over the July 4th holiday.
Most everyone agrees that having a wedding on a holiday weekend is much
less maddening if it takes place in a fabulous destination: Venice, say, or
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. That way, at least, guests have an excuse to take a
vacation and can plan an extended trip around the event.
And there is some etiquette to consider. A wedding on a Friday night or
Saturday afternoon of a holiday weekend is preferable to one on a Sunday or
a Monday (which presents problems for those who have to work Tuesday, or
have to travel long distances).
Marcy Blum, a New York event planner, suggests that if a couple are going
to invite lots of business acquaintances or friends of the couple's parents,
be considerate. ''Those people might resent having to spend their holiday
weekend at a wedding of someone they don't really know so well,'' she said.
Simone Martel, a wedding producer in Manhattan, recommends that couples
get a consensus from their nearest and dearest before pinning down a date.
''Ask people who will tell you honestly what they think of your idea,'' she
To that end, she said, be sure to mail out ''save the date'' cards well
It also doesn't hurt to acknowledge the sacrifice your guests have made.
David Titus, a partner at The Gifted Ones, a store in Greenwich Village that
sells gift baskets, remembered the item he created for a couple who were to
be married on a Memorial Day weekend. They requested he include a note. It
read: ''Sorry you had to give up your weekend, but thanks for being with