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Could You Handle a Three-Day Wedding?

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THREE DAY WEDDING
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Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel certainly don't do things by halves. Their Italian wedding turned into a three-day extravaganza at the beautiful Borgo Egnazia resort last month, leading to a debate over whether a one-day weekend is enough for 2013 brides.

"We have noticed a rise certainly in extended wedding celebrations, what we term 'wed-kends'," said Sophie Day, author of The Secret Quintessentially Weddings Guide (out next month, free sample here www.quintessentiallyweddings.com/pre-order).

"It is something quite a few of the venues in the guide are increasingly offering so that couples and their guests have the chance to really revel in their wedding and enjoy spending rare time with their loved ones rather than just focusing on one fleeting day when it's often difficult to get around everybody and catch-up, make guests feel special or appreciated for coming."

Renting a villa is a brilliant way to make a wed-kend of it. BestWeddingAway.com have recently added a number of Italian vineyard villas to their books. The stunning Villa Mont will host an event of 130 people, with accommodation for up to 50 guests. And set up in the hills, there's no chance of paparazzi lurking in the vines.

But while no expense was spared at the Timberlake/Biel nuptials - helped with an investment from People Magazine, who bought the exclusive rights to the wedding photos - a wed-kend isn't beyond the budget of the average bride, either.

You can keep things simple with a picnic and garden games on the opening day - ideal when guests are arriving at different times. Afternoon teas and festival-style weddings, where guests have the option to camp, are also inexpensive ways of stretching out the celebrations.

"I think the wed-kends trends nods to music festivals and weddings increasingly being in destination venues, whether here in the UK or abroad - couples do not necessarily marry where they live, but often host their wedding in the idyllic English countryside, for instance," Sophie said. "This means couples want to make the most of escaping the daily grind."

Another advantage of the wed-kend is that it gives your wedding the opportunity to make its mark on your guests. If you are marrying in your 30s, chances are you've been to dozens of registry-office-and-marquee events, so it pays to be a bit more ambitious.

And if you opt for a wedding abroad, a la Justin and Jessica, it may not necessarily work out more expensive. Overseas weddings are the perfect excuse to cut the guest list down to the bare minimum and you can also combine your wedding with your honeymoon to save even more pennies.

"We are meeting more brides who want to save on the celebration and splurge on their jewellery," said Samantha Edwards, website editor at The Perfect Ring Company (www.theperfectringcompany.co.uk). "After all, the two lasting elements of your wedding are the photographs and your wedding rings. Why waste a fortune on place settings when you can upgrade your ring instead?"

So if the thought of a wed-kend makes your liver and wallet ache a little, don't dismiss it completely - it may be the ideal way to get your wedding exactly as you want it, be it at home or away.