The More, The Merrier

by Jen Marie Wiggins

Couples maximize wedding itineraries with added group activities for extra quality time with their guests

From spa parties and fitness classes to game nights and golf outings, today’s couples are getting creative with wedding weekend itineraries. Particularly for those having a destination wedding, lots of out-of-town guests or a multiday event, planned recreational experiences offer couples the opportunity to spend more time with loved ones while personalizing their event.

“We are seeing that couples want their guests to feel treated and taken care of from the moment they arrive to the time they depart — often incorporating things that are special to them,” says Nicki Korman, owner 
of Collins Korman Events.

Those personal extras might highlight the wedding’s particular location, the couple’s history or even a beloved hobby. Whether a pool party or a city tour on foot, bike or kayak, events have become as unique as the couples themselves.

When choosing activities, Korman advises to consider your demographic. Who is coming? What is their age and mobility? Where are they traveling from? What do they enjoy at home versus what is out of the ordinary for them?

Take cues from your venue location, too. “Brides are definitely taking influence from culture and locale,” says Caroline Weidhaas, senior event design manager at Sea Island Resort. She adds how a recent bride incorporated the longtime Sea Island tradition of bingo into her wedding weekend. “After the rehearsal dinner, guests were led to The Cloister at Sea Island’s historic Spanish Lounge for a private bingo game — complete with prizes!” Weidhaas says.

“We are seeing that couples want their guests to feel treated and taken care of from the moment they arrive to the time they depart — often incorporating things that are special to them.” 

— Nicki Korman, OWNER OF COLLINS KORMAN EVENTS

Of course, favorite Southern foods and traditions remain popular, especially when played up in unexpected ways. “From Southern welcome parties with BBQ and tubs of beer to surprise musical guests — couples are having fun with more casual themes and get-togethers beyond the wedding itself,” adds photographer Donna Von Bruening.

Blake Vitiello, senior catering sales manager at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club, agrees. “We had a recent bride who included a customized map in her guests’ welcome packages. The map highlighted significant places to the couple — their first date, where ‘Mr. Right’ popped the question, and their favorite spot for date night, brunch place on the weekends and even favorite downtown shops. It was a great way to personalize the wedding and make everyone feel welcome.”

Photography by MARY CATHERINE BROWNFIELD  //  Courtesy WEEZIE TOWELS

Just make sure to allow your guests to enjoy some free 
time as well because it’s important to allow them to explore or relax on their own.

“I encourage couples not to overschedule activities so that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the destination,” adds Korman. “You want to strike a healthy balance of hosted events and free time.”

While an itinerary for the entire wedding weekend might not be for everyone, those who opt in feel it offers guests ways to bond and creates a bespoke buildup to the main event. It’s just one of so many options to consider if “the more, the merrier” sounds right to you.

ALL FOR FUN

“Wow” your guests with group activities that all ages can enjoy.

Up for some friendly competition? Organize a pickleball tournament, complete with custom embroidered tennis towels.

Spend the day on a private island. Outside Brands offers charter boat tours and customizable adventures to Page Island in South Carolina, with activities ranging from tubing, fishing and crabbing to dock jumping, dolphin and bird watching and more. They can even set up a bar and oyster roast or Lowcountry boil.

Host a glam movie night under the stars. The event masterminds at Savannah-based Port Town Collective provide the film screen and projector, rugs, pillows, lounge chairs with throw blankets, gourmet drinks and snacks, so you can sit back and relax.

Find more wedding planning resources and ideas in the 2023-24 issue of Southern Coastal Weddings.