The Pros and Cons of Hosting Your Wedding on Thanksgiving

The experts unpack the reasons why tying the knot on this gratitude-filled holiday may or may not be a wise decision.

A fall-inspired tablescape with candelabras, golden ferns, and jewel-tone flowers

Photo by Carina Skrobecki Photography

Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to gratitude, so it’s easy to understand why a couple might want to choose the fourth Thursday in November as their wedding date: What better way to start off a marriage than by rooting it in a day of thanks? This holiday is also synonymous with family time, so a Thanksgiving wedding can be an ideal opportunity to gather your closest family members and friends for a celebration. While there are plenty of advantages to choosing Thanksgiving as your wedding date, there are also a number of drawbacks associated with a holiday wedding. Ultimately, opinions are mixed as to whether having your wedding on (or around!) one of the biggest national celebrations of the year is a sound decision, so we asked the experts to unpack the benefits and drawbacks to help you decide whether it’s right for you.

Meet the Expert

  • Annie Lee is an event planner for Daughter of Design and the founder of Plannie, a marketplace of wedding planners and day-of coordinators that are available for anyone to hire.
  • David Pressman is the principal planner of Los Angeles-based David Pressman Events. He’s been working in the wedding industry for more than 15 years.

Ahead, the pros and cons of hosting your wedding on Thanksgiving, according to two expert wedding planners.

Two sliced pumpkin pies on birchwood stands decorated with an evergreen garland

Photo by Artistrie Co.

The Pros of a Thanksgiving Wedding

From the flexibility of a long weekend to seasonally-inspired aesthetics, there are many reasons why tying the knot on Thanksgiving is favorable. Below, the experts explain why.

It Welcomes Uplifting Emotions

Expressing gratitude for all of the blessings in your life is at the core of every Thanksgiving holiday, so throwing your wedding on this day mean there's no shortage of feel-good emotions. Exchanging vows on this holiday will set the stage for a joyous affair where you’ll focus on all of the wonderful relationships in your life and your expanding family. Then, after you say “I do,” you’ll be able to recall all of those positive emotions every time you reflect back on that special day, whether it’s on your anniversary or while looking at wedding photos.

Your Guests Might Have More Availability to Attend

Saturdays from May to October are the most popular times of the year to get married, but if your wedding isn’t happening over a holiday weekend, you only have two days for your guests to travel to the destination, celebrate with you, and return home. If you plan to invite a large number of guests who live far away, you'll have to expect that not everyone will be able to take time off of work (or school if they have children), so some of your loved ones might RSVP “no.” However, since Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday every year, choosing the holiday as your wedding date will give your guests four days off, which means they should have more flexibility in their schedules to attend. Plus, schools are usually on break, and companies are more willing to give time off to their employees, so guests can take an extra day if needed.

You’ll Have More Time to Celebrate

Not only will the four-day weekend create more flexibility for your loved ones, but it will also give you the opportunity to host multiple days of events. “This allows for extra time together with your guests before the wedding or extra recovery days after,” professional wedding planner Annie Lee says. Perhaps you want to host your ceremony and reception on Thanksgiving and then organize a brunch the following morning, which gives guests more time to travel and unwind after the event. Or maybe you want to kick off your nuptials with a welcome dinner on Thursday, followed by the main event on Friday, and a farewell party on Saturday, so you can spend as much time as possible with your loved ones but make sure Sunday is still free.

You’ll Have the Ability to Control Your Guest List

If you’re leaning towards a smaller guest list but don’t want anyone’s feelings to get hurt, a Thanksgiving wedding might work well for you. Since most people spend Thanksgiving with family, some of your friends might opt to stick with their annual tradition instead of your wedding. While your closest friends will definitely make an appearance, choosing Thanksgiving as your wedding date will weed out acquaintances without intentionally leaving them off of your guest list.

The Season Will Inspire Beautiful Decorations

In addition to all of the logistical benefits of a Thanksgiving, there are some aesthetics ones to consider, too: First and foremost, you'll have so many opportunities to decorate your big day in a stunning way. Since the holiday is set in the fall, you can use the season to inform your décor, whether it’s adorning your aisle with colorful leaves or dining on tables trimmed with acorns, pinecones, and in-season produce. The chilly temperatures will also create a homey, cozy atmosphere. However, if your big day is taking place on Saturday after the holiday, Lee warns against selecting a Thanksgiving-themed soirée. “Guests just had a big turkey dinner with a cornucopia centerpiece—you definitely don’t have to replicate that,” she says. 

Tablescape with floral centerpieces, white taper candles, pinecones, and apples

Photo by Michelle Beller Photography

The Cons of a Thanksgiving Wedding

While there are countless pros to trading vows over the Thanksgiving holiday, there are also a number of cons. We tapped the pros to give us the rundown on the disadvantages of a Thanksgiving wedding.

You Might Interfere With Guests’ Annual Plans

Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States that just about everyone celebrates, so most people have long-standing traditions that they’ve been honoring their entire lives. If you’ve decided to tie the knot over this holiday, you’ll put your guests in a difficult position of having to choose between their annual plans or your affair—especially if your guests are from out of town, according to wedding planner David Pressman. By hosting your function over Thanksgiving, you’re essentially asking your guests to adjust their usual traditions, which is a big sacrifice for them. Whatever decision they make, they’ll be missing out. This also means that some of the most important people in your life won’t be able to join you on such a momentous occasion.

It’s One of the Busiest Travel Days

Many people travel great lengths to be with their immediate and extended families for the holiday, which makes Thanksgiving (and the days immediate before and it) one of the busiest travel days of the year. This leads to crowded airports and bumper-to-bumper traffic on the road. If you’re making it official on Thanksgiving, you’ll be asking out-of-town guests to be subjected to that chaos, Pressman says.  

Travel and Accommodations Tend to Be More Expensive

On that same point, because the holiday is a peak time to travel, flights and hotels are generally more expensive than prices during an off-peak week or season. If you’re thinking about a Thanksgiving wedding, you’ll be asking your loved ones to spend more money, which may be an inconvenience for them. If most of your guests are traveling to your fête or you’re interested in throwing a destination wedding, a Thanksgiving date may not be the right fit.

Some Vendors Might Not Be Working

Whether it’s your photographer or your florist, most vendors prefer not to work on Thanksgiving, so many of them could charge you an additional fee for their service, according to Lee. Not to mention, many shops are closed on Thanksgiving and remain closed through the weekend. Some even close on the Wednesday before the holiday. For those who are getting hitched on Thanksgiving, make sure you have every detail, from escort cards to alterations, attended to at least two weeks before the event.

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