Sunday is for Celebrating
Photo: Sylvie Gil
It may be the traditional day of rest, but when it comes to weddings, Sunday is shaping up to be a fun day, indeed. The main reason? In a word: flexibility. Got your sights set on a fabulous photographer…who, it turns out, is booked up a year in advance? Chances are that he or she is likely to be available on a Sunday. Is the venue you adore just a little bit out of your price range? Approach them again, asking about Sunday pricing—it’s likely to be considerably more affordable. Or perhaps you are just madly in love and want to get married as soon as possible. You have a much better chance of being able to snag last-minute venue and vendor bookings if you opt for a Sunday slot. And then there’s the matter of creativity: Because it’s a less-expected day for a wedding, Sunday also opens up the possibilities for doing something unexpected with your nuptial festivities, whether you’re thinking of a morning ceremony followed by a lavish brunch, or cozy early-evening “I do’s” followed by gourmet tapas and craft cocktails in a comfy, lounge-like setting.
As a general rule, you can expect more “bang for your buck” with a Sunday wedding. Venues traditionally have lower rates for Sunday rentals, compared to Saturday evenings, and catering and beverage service may be less expensive as well. Which means that you can allocate wedding budget you would have spent on venue fees toward extras like interactive entertainment, custom furnishings, or perhaps an elaborate dessert display.
“Having your wedding on a Sunday opens a door that otherwise would be closed for many couples,” says Amanda Harris, director of marketing for Katy’s “Old Mexico”-influenced Agave Estates. “Venues usually have more availability on Sundays, the costs for vendors goes down on less premium days, and venue costs go down as well for less coveted dates.”
Paula Schulenburg, owner of Galleria-area Mediterranean-style wedding venue The Gallery, agrees. “Couples tend to steer clear of Sunday weddings as they are not ‘the norm’…but they’re missing out on a whole slew of benefits,” including, for daytime weddings, the lower cost of brunch or lunch fare, and a lower bar tab.
Vee Brauner, wedding and event coordinator at the Texas Renaissance Festival, adds that some of the cost benefit of a Sunday wedding can extend to guests as well. “When hosting a Sunday wedding, you have the majority of the weekend with your guests before the wedding. Lower airfare is often available for your out-of-town guests if they are flying in on a Saturday and leaving for home on a Monday,” she notes.
Millicent Muckelroy, event producer at popular indoor-outdoor Houston venue The Bell Tower on 34th, says that a creative Sunday reception can be a big hit with your guests. “The benefit of a Sunday daytime wedding is letting your creative side come out by doing brunch. It is a little untraditional, but it’s a great way to stand out,” she notes. “There are so many different styles of brunch, from traditional American breakfasts, to elegant plated brunch meals,” and, of course, “a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar.”
Paula Foreman, director of sales for Sambuca Catering, says that the sky is the limit when creating a brunch menu for your guests. Serve up such adorable “appetizers” as “mini pancake skewers and shrimp-and-grits shooters, and have a bacon station—because everyone loves bacon—plus a quiche station, waffle bar, a chef carving station,” the possibilities are endless, explains Foreman.
A full premium bar is not generally a necessity for Sunday weddings, she continues. “It’s easy to get away with beer, wine and a Champagne bar, which are much less expensive. And that allows some room in the budget for fun specialty drinks to be passed upon arrival.”
“Play with the menu, and be more creative than the traditional reception dinner,” adds Rasha Shammaa of The Bougainvilleas—a lovely location for a daytime Sunday wedding, with its sunlight-drenched ceremony space and refined ballroom. “We’ve done scrambled-egg stations with tons of gourmet toppings, blackened tilapia with shrimp sauce and grits, and chicken and waffles, plus plenty of fresh fruit and juices.” Also consider forgoing the traditional wedding cake for “cupcakes, sugar cookies, cake pops and doughnut bars,” she suggests.
Agave Estates’ Harris offers offbeat and creative ways to make your guests feel cared for and catered to during a morning affair. “What better way to say, ‘Good morning,’ than with fresh coffee for your guests? Incorporate all the wonderful amenities of the morning, like upbeat music, coffee cake, fresh garden floral, crossword puzzles and more. Sunday brunch receptions can create a fun-filled atmosphere where everyone can come together to enjoy the day.”
Lauren Griffin, of castle-like Chateau Polonez, adds that Sunday weddings are the perfect choice for couples who don’t want the party-all-night atmosphere that a Saturday wedding typically brings. “A Sunday wedding can have more of a daytime ceremony-in-the-garden atmosphere,” she mentions, adding that Saturday can be a great day to fill with activities for friends and family leading up to the big day.
And at the Majestic Metro—where “Sunday event pricing is considerably less than for Saturday events,” notes managing partner Linda Warwick—the beautifully restored vintage theater’s “built-in bars provide a great opportunity to have a custom mimosa bar for guests to enjoy.” For even more Sunday afternoon fun, Warwick suggests adding a gourmet popcorn bar to your reception—“Our guests always rave about this special little treat!”
Generally held earlier in the day than their Saturday counterparts, Sunday weddings allow for simpler decor and entertainment than might be expected at a Saturday evening affair. But simple need not—and should not—mean basic.
Whether your Sunday wedding is indoors or out, if it is held during daylight hours, make sure to allow natural sunlight to pour into your space, creating a fresh ambiance filled with joy. Create an elegant daytime feel with “lighter flowers, and more greenery for a garden ‘tea-party’ wedding vibe,” suggests Muckelroy. With the money you are likely to save on your Sunday venue rental, “You have more to spend to create your vision!”
“Decorate your space with simple yet elegant florals and decor—there’s no need to go over the top when a pretty vase with fresh lemons and floral will do. And don’t forget about music: “Trade in that pricey band for a more laid-back acoustic feel by hiring a quartet or guitarist,” Schulenburg recommends.
Joe Pachioli, of The Astorian, which blends gilded opulence with, during the day, plenty of natural light and city views, adds that, “The music should be lighter in tone, reflective of the time of day. Bossa Nova, jazz and acoustic is best, versus a DJ or band.”
Out And About
Schulenburg notes that a Sunday wedding can allow out-of-town guests more time to explore all that Houston has to offer on the Saturday preceding the big event. “Keep in mind that most out-of-town guests treat your wedding as a mini vacation, so why not give them an extra day to explore the city and dine at your favorite al fresco restaurants?” she says.
Foreman adds, “It’s called Sunday Funday for a reason—this is the perfect time to celebrate with family and friends! Sundays tend to be a bit more laid back so you can focus on enjoying the memories you are making.”
The area surrounding the Majestic Metro’s historic Market Square location is ideal for memory-making. “How about having your destination wedding right in the center of downtown Houston?” says Warwick. She suggests treating your Sunday-wedding guests to a fun-filled Friday and Saturday exploring local festivals, museums and nightlife, adding, “The Majestic Metro has special rates available at a number of the finest downtown hotels, minutes away from our venue. Your out-of-town guests won’t need a car if your venue and lodging are downtown—everything is so accessible!”
And Harris reminds couples that not everybody will be able to attend their wedding, whether it’s held on a traditional Saturday or nontraditional Sunday. “Save yourself the headache and worry, and remember that your wedding is about you—don’t stress about everyone else. Remember that it is your day and you can mold it however you wish.”