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Wedding Timings: What Time of Day Is Best for My Wedding?

You probably want your wedding day to last for as long as possible because, chances are, it’s going to whizz by all too quickly!

What Time of Day Is Best for My Wedding

Wedding Timings: What Time of Day is Best?

When should you start things off, and when should it all finish? It’s up to you really, so to help you decide on wedding timings, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for each option.

An Afternoon Wedding

Wedding party bridesmaids and bride

With an afternoon wedding, time will be limited. If your ceremony is scheduled for 2pm, with the wedding reception following it until 6pm when you leave for your honeymoon. That only allows you around four hours to fit everything in. This should be enough time for a small, intimate wedding, but if you’ve dreamed of a big event you might find it all a bit of a rush.

If you have young children, and you want them to be a part of your big day, then an afternoon wedding is preferable, as they'll probably be at their best at that time. Whereas during an evening affair they might become bored, tired, and grumpy.

Because an afternoon event is shorter, you should find it easier to stick to a tight wedding budget. For example, after the ceremony, you could simply hold an afternoon tea. By doing this, apart from having some fizz for the toasts, you could get away with just serving hot and soft drinks. A vintage theme works really well with afternoon tea, and you could hire some pretty china to add to the effect.

An afternoon wedding can open up your venue choices too. You could hold an elegant affair in the conservatory of a stately home, or country house hotel. Think how delightful it would be to have a string quartet play as people arrive at your wedding in the mellow afternoon light.

An Evening Wedding

bride and groom real wedding

Due to a recent relaxation in the laws surrounding the time you can get married, you can now hold your ceremony during the evening and then throw a party immediately afterwards. If you fancy holding your event in a stately home or at a National Trust property, which normally only holds weddings outside of daytime opening hours, you may have the place all to yourselves. Talk to your venue about what’s possible.

When hosting an evening celebration, don’t feel like you have to have a formal sit-down dinner. If you’d rather your guests mingle, then consider having a buffet or a cocktail style food service.

For an evening wedding, you’ll probably want a DJ or live band to entertain your guests. If that’s the case, don’t forget to have some sort of chill-out room for guests who'd rather sit, chat and catch up instead of dance.

Depending on the type of catering you select, an evening wedding may work out to be pricier than an afternoon celebration, as it's likely you'll be inviting more people. If young children are attending, you may need to think about having a quiet room where they can watch TV, have a nap or be entertained by someone looking after them.

An All-Day Event

real groom and bride on wedding day what time is best

An all-day event goes on for longer, which is lovely for you, but you’ll need to think carefully about your guests’ wants and needs if you’re entertaining them from lunchtime through to midnight.

Firstly, consider your budget. If you’re holding the ceremony at 2pm, then you’ll have to offer your guests refreshments immediately afterwards, either during a drinks reception or an afternoon tea. For the evening event you’re going to need to do the same again; greet your evening guests with drinks and canapés before an evening meal, whether it’s a buffet, formal sit-down or something informal like a hog roast.

You will have to send out two different sorts of invitations – an invitation to both the afternoon and evening event for some guests, and an evening-only invite to others. Don’t make your evening guests feel second-best. Greet them warmly; they’re making the effort to attend your wedding, they’ve probably given you a present, and you want them to have a good time.

If you can have a short break between the afternoon and evening event, it does give everyone a chance to catch their breath – and an opportunity to redo their hair and make-up. If you’re holding your evening reception in a different venue, people can go back to where they’re staying to get changed, freshen up and return invigorated for the evening ahead. Children can also be bathed and put to bed in the care of a babysitter, so parents can enjoy an evening unencumbered.

What time of day is best for my wedding? It's up to you! But just consider all your options first and how it will affect your nearest and dearest.


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