How to Throw an Epic Wedding Festival

June 25, 2019

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Have you ever wondered what to do to make your wedding more memorable? What about unique or special to you? More couples are choosing to incorporate experiences into their special days. One such experience is the “wedding festival.” But how do you plan a wedding festival? In this post, I'm going to give you some great ideas to incorporate into your own wedding festival to make it an epic experience for you and your guests.

One of the questions I get asked often is, “What is the most unique wedding you've ever planned?” The one I keep coming back to is Kate & Tony's wedding festival in northern Pennsylvania. And since they're coming up on their first anniversary THIS WEEK, I thought it was a good time for a walk down memory lane.

Before they became engaged, Kate and Tony went on a trip to Coachella. They loved it so much they wanted to recreate it for their “closest” 200 family and friends. So we planned a rocking weekend for their intimate lake community.

It all started on Friday night with a farm-to-table dinner in the field. A Welcome Concert followed, featuring the Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band Tusk. On Saturday, guests chose between sunrise yoga on the dock or a biathlon. Mimosas and breakfast was served for the “support” team. Children also joined in the festivities with swimming and games of capture the flag. On Saturday afternoon, guests enjoyed cocktails before a sunset ceremony. The bride and groom said “I do” on their dock, joined by friends, family, and neighbors via canoe and rowboat. Finally, guests dined from three different food trucks while watching a performance by Classic Stones Live with the Glimmer Twins.

It was a wonderful (and hot!!) weekend. But don't take my word for it. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Below are the key ingredients to create your own epic wedding festival.

A simple yet elegant table setting

Kate and Tony opted for simple and clean with local wildflowers from the farmer's market. Table settings were classic with a touch of gold.

A farm-to-table dinner in the field

They re-created Outstanding in the Field with a continuous dinner table for 75. Root Catering from Rochester, NY provided the gourmet meal.

A Sunset Wedding Ceremony on the Dock

The couple invited all their neighbors to join us via rowboat and canoe, which ensured they really would be surrounded by their closest family and friends. Also, we had countless discussions regarding when the sun would be just right for the most beautiful and meaningful ceremony on the couple's dock. I think they paid off.

A Celebratory Jump to Commemorate Their “Taking the Plunge”

Yes. They jumped INTO the lake in their wedding clothes. We discussed having back-up outfits to change into, but it would have ruined the flow. This was much more memorable. It was a surprise to everyone, except for the bride and groom, my team, and the photographer.

Followed by all your guests!

When it's 90 degrees outside at a wedding festival, don't be surprised if your guests want to cool off, too.

Vintage blankets spread on the lawn for the concert

Who doesn't love a good lawn concert on blankets with tree rings as tables? The couple had to cut down several unhealthy trees the year prior, so they saved the rings and re-used them as tables and stools during the concert.

A Rolling Stones Tribute Band

A nationally touring band, Classic Stones Live traveled hundreds of miles to be with Tony and Kate on their wedding day.

A First Dance Under the Stage Lights

Is anything more romantic than dancing your first dance with your beloved while the (tribute) band who wrote the song performs it behind you?

All-you-can-eat BBQ, gourmet fried chicken, and ice cream food trucks.

Probably the most popular detail the whole weekend was the ice cream truck that was giving away “unlimited FREE ice cream” to the kids.

Bride & Groom Credentials

To ensure security, vendors wore credentials and guests received concert wrist bands. Of course, the bride and groom received all-access passes.

Wedding Festival “Merch” aka Favors: T-Shirts and Blankets

The “Fete at the Lake” logo was painted by the couple's eldest daughter. They included it on t-shirts and concert blankets as favors for their guests.


It was one of the most challenging weekends because of extreme heat and rain during load-in. But it was also one of the most fun weekends to-date. It was not an easy undertaking by any means, but it was well worth it!!

I hope you enjoyed this wedding festival inspiration. If you're considering having one of your own, there are a lot of logistical details to consider. Make sure you tune into my upcoming tips on my Alexa Flash Briefing Skill: Ask the Planner to hear how to make sure you plan your wedding festival the right way. You can also check out my interviews regarding all things wedding festival on these podcasts: Your I Do Crew and The Big Wedding Planning Podcast.

Rock on and happy planning!

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