Anyone else feeling that fresh fall energy? We are in the middle of one of our busiest seasons yet, but we still can’t help but feel a little rejuvenated as the weather gets a little bit cooler and everyone starts to buckle down and prepare for the winter (is it too early to say that?). Last week, we shared a stunning country wedding with a large guest list and today, we are sharing some of our top wedding planning tips for large guest lists! 

Although we have loved the intimate weddings over the past two years we have been a part of, we can’t help but feel excited to see large groups of family and friends traveling far and wide to celebrate with one another. Creating unique and memorable experiences for your family and friends is the kind of work that absolutely lights us up here at Elite Wedding & Event Planning. If you are looking for a wedding planner to keep you sane throughout the entire crazy process of planning a wedding, you can learn more about our services here, or schedule a consultation and chat with us directly here. 

Colorful pink purple and red floral wedding ceremony

1. Research hotels in the area before booking the venue.

We are putting this one first because even though it might not be the most exciting – it can cause an insane amount of unnecessary stress to both you and your guests leading up to your wedding day. This is worth getting right. Not all hotels permit room blocks and if it’s hard for your guests to find accommodations (especially if you are planning a destination wedding in the Hudson Valley) it won’t be easy to plan for a large wedding. Don’t worry – as Hudson Valley wedding planners for almost a decade – we can help you with the details here.

2. Check the Local Events Calendar in the area or town you are planning to host in. 

Adding onto the last point, the last possible thing you want to happen is for there to be a big festival the weekend of your wedding. Not only will it affect guest accommodations, but it will also make it harder to find transportation for your guests and you guests may find it more difficult to find places to explore and eat. The Hudson Valley hosts a ton of large festivals every year so it should be easy to imagine the calendar from the year prior if it isn’t posted yet. Often, when couples chose a destination wedding weekend in the Hudson Valley, they want their guests to soak up and enjoy the destination. Try to choose a weekend where there aren’t any local events making it harder for them to make the most of their trip.

3. Consider Extra Budget Items That You May Need for a Larger Wedding 

As wedding planners and designers, budget is often one of the first items we need to tackle on your “to do” list. With a larger guest list, you may need to consider some extra budget items that wouldn’t be necessary (or as expensive) with a smaller guest list. Examples include transportation (if parking is limited), the cost of rain contingent tents (if it’s an outdoor tented wedding), or even extra bathrooms if your venue doesn’t typically host large events. Don’t forget to also consider the cost of more staff and security on site to manage your guests, traffic, parking and the event flow from one area to another. 

large wedding in hudson valley

4. Plan to spend most of your time saying hello to everyone on your wedding day.  

It’s better to be prepared right? Even though your guests mean the world to you, you might not have considered how much time it truly takes to say hello to everyone. Regardless of if you have 100 guests or you have 500, everyone will want their five minutes with the wedding couple so let’s create your wedding timeline accordingly. 

5. Plan to extend your event time 

Again, this piggybacks on our last point but it’s worth getting right. Rather than the standard 5-hour wedding reception, you are going to want to extend your event time so that you can enjoy moments with your guests beyond just saying hello. At Elite Wedding and Event Planning, we don’t work in ballrooms and instead, we spend most of our time at stunning and untraditional wedding venues and private estates. Make sure you know the rules of your wedding venue before assuming you can start your wedding ceremony later and keep the party going until 2am. We know these Hudson valley wedding venues inside and out and will help you navigate the logistics. You just need to know that’s something you want!  

Large wedding ceremony with bride and groom dancing

6. Think of unique ways to entertain the guests. 

For a small wedding, dancing can be more than enough entertainment. With a larger wedding (and therefore less individual time with the wedding couple!), we recommend a variety of things to keep your guests occupied. A few of our favorites include photo booths, cigar stations, dessert stations, performances by entertainers, and truly anything else you can imagine. Interactive food stations are always fun (like roaming oyster shuckers!) or interactive drink stations are also always a hit (like tequila tasting!). As you can probably tell, we really believe the sky is the limit around here! 

Oyster Shucking at a Large Wedding in Hudson Valley

Planning a Large Wedding in Hudson Valley

These are just a few of our top wedding planning tips in the Hudson Valley for those of you planning with a large guest list. Although sometimes more logistically challenging, the energy of everyone coming together is SO WORTH IT. If you are looking for a wedding planning and design team, we would love to help you navigate the wedding planning waters. You can contact us here and let’s have a conversation about your wedding day vision. Congratulations!