Type all day, toast all night for remote-work weddings
Some couples choose to make a weekend destination out of their ceremony
• JULIE WEED
A growing number of wedding guests are bringing a new kind of plus-one to the festivities: their remote jobs. When Anna Sullivan, a 25-year-old who works in digital marketing, and Taylor Brandenberger, a 26-year-old home inspector, got married last month in East Lansing, Mich., 10 of the bride’s friends started the wedding weekend a few days early. They rented an Airbnb where they could work remotely during the day and then got together for dinner and hangouts in the evening — all without taking any time off.
Many of the guests even stayed through Monday, flying home in the evening after they had logged off. “The wedding day goes by in a blur,” the bride, who has since changed her last name to Brandenberger, said. “Having the extra time with people was so valuable, especially waking up late Sunday and knowing they were still there.”
Since the height of the pandemic, remote work has dramatically changed both offices and those who work in them. After initially being forced to work from home, many employees now enjoy all-remote or hybrid schedules. According to the Pew Research Center, one-third of American workers currently have some freedom to work remotely, even if it is just one or two days a week.
Wedding guests who are lucky enough to have those hybrid schedules are increasingly using them to spend a few more days wherever the celebration takes them, and hotels, wedding planners and couples are taking note and making changes. Ms. Brandenberger’s mother, who lives four hours away and works remotely in billing for a trading company in Chicago, came a week before the wedding. “She’d work during the day and we’d get together at night to make flower arrangements and bake together for the wedding,” Ms. Brandenberger said. “It was such a big stress relief to have her nearby.”
Attendance may even hinge on the possibility of remote work. The Brandenbergers planned their ceremony and reception on a Friday night to save money on renting the space. That meant some guests from out of town who had to be physically at work that day and couldn’t take time off weren’t able to attend, Ms. Brandenberger said.
Some couples choose to make a weekend destination out of their ceremony. Such weddings have long been a boon to hotels and resorts, many of which also added work spaces and upgraded their Wi-Fi to cater to remote workers during the pandemic. Now the two trends are converging.
At Camptown, a 50-room hotel that opened this year in Leeds, N.Y., at the foot of the Catskill Mountains, wedding-related stays have been getting longer, said Stephen Wendell, chief executive of Mountain Shore Properties, which owns the hotel. When guests realize they can work from the lodge, which offers high-speed internet, work spaces and a pantry of snacks available to buy on the honor system, he said, “They start thinking about relaxing and getting into wedding mode and extending their bookings.”