Wedding Reception Forum

Winter + Afternoon Reception = Disaster???

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to get some opinions about my (hopefully) wedding on Saturday, December 28th of this year. My fiance and I expect to have at least 200 guests and almost all of them are from the same area, which is about 2 and a half hours away. In order to accommodate everyone and make it so that most of our guests can drive to and from our wedding in the same day, we were thinking of having a morning ceremony (around 10 am) and a ceremony that would end around 4pm. I have read many threads about afternoon weddings, but I just wanted to get an idea of what we could do with our guests who do stay in town. I was thinking about possibly having a big dinner-type deal in the evening with drinks for friends that weren't invited to the wedding. Were most of your guests happy with the afternoon wedding style? What about food? Do you go with a lighter food option and light on bar items? We were thinking of having wine with dinner and a champagne toast, and having a cash bar for anything else.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Re: Winter + Afternoon Reception = Disaster???

  • tina07451 said:
    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to get some opinions about my (hopefully) wedding on Saturday, December 28th of this year. My fiance and I expect to have at least 200 guests and almost all of them are from the same area, which is about 2 and a half hours away. In order to accommodate everyone and make it so that most of our guests can drive to and from our wedding in the same day, we were thinking of having a morning ceremony (around 10 am) and a ceremony that would end around 4pm. I have read many threads about afternoon weddings, but I just wanted to get an idea of what we could do with our guests who do stay in town. I was thinking about possibly having a big dinner-type deal in the evening with drinks for friends that weren't invited to the wedding. Were most of your guests happy with the afternoon wedding style? What about food? Do you go with a lighter food option and light on bar items? We were thinking of having wine with dinner and a champagne toast, and having a cash bar for anything else.

    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated!


    I'm confused. Are you saying that you are having a 10am CEREMONY and the RECEPTION would end at 4pm?   I can't imagine a ceremony lasting 6 hours, so I'm going to assume that's what you mean.

    So, what I think you are asking, is you would have a morning ceremony, the reception that would be over around 4pm, and you were thinking of basically having an after-party with people who didn't get invited to the wedding.

    I think that's a bad idea. Inviting people to a wedding related event, without inviting them to the wedding is rude. And not hosting them (i.e. paying) at a wedding event is also rude. If you want to have an afterparty with wedding guests, it's fine to spread the word that the "the bride & groom will be having cocktails at X location, if you'd like to join them later".  But, don't "invite" them.  And don't invite anyone you didn't invite to the ceremony/reception.  Once you invite someone, you become the host, which means, you pay. 

    On to your other questions, if you are having a morning/early afternoon reception, brunch/lunch food is appropriate.  If you offer liquor, you need to host it.  don't have a cash bar. Your guests should never have to open their wallets at your wedding. Consider just offering wine & beer and maybe mimosas if you stick with a brunch theme. 

     

     

  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited June 2013
    tina07451 said:
    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to get some opinions about my (hopefully) wedding on Saturday, December 28th of this year. My fiance and I expect to have at least 200 guests and almost all of them are from the same area, which is about 2 and a half hours away. In order to accommodate everyone and make it so that most of our guests can drive to and from our wedding in the same day, we were thinking of having a morning ceremony (around 10 am) and a ceremony that would end around 4pm. I have read many threads about afternoon weddings, but I just wanted to get an idea of what we could do with our guests who do stay in town. I was thinking about possibly having a big dinner-type deal in the evening with drinks for friends that weren't invited to the wedding. Were most of your guests happy with the afternoon wedding style? What about food? Do you go with a lighter food option and light on bar items? We were thinking of having wine with dinner and a champagne toast, and having a cash bar for anything else.

    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated!
    So your guests would have to leave their house around 7am to make it to your ceremony on time? Which means they'd probably have to set their alarm for at 5-5:30am?  I don't get up that early for work.  I would be declining.
  • JoanE2012 said:
    tina07451 said:
    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to get some opinions about my (hopefully) wedding on Saturday, December 28th of this year. My fiance and I expect to have at least 200 guests and almost all of them are from the same area, which is about 2 and a half hours away. In order to accommodate everyone and make it so that most of our guests can drive to and from our wedding in the same day, we were thinking of having a morning ceremony (around 10 am) and a ceremony that would end around 4pm. I have read many threads about afternoon weddings, but I just wanted to get an idea of what we could do with our guests who do stay in town. I was thinking about possibly having a big dinner-type deal in the evening with drinks for friends that weren't invited to the wedding. Were most of your guests happy with the afternoon wedding style? What about food? Do you go with a lighter food option and light on bar items? We were thinking of having wine with dinner and a champagne toast, and having a cash bar for anything else.

    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated!
    So your guests would have to leave their house around 7am to make it to your ceremony on time? Which means they'd probably have to set their alarm for at 5-5:30am?  I don't get up that early for work.  I would be declining.

    Me too. And a dinner sort of after party for friends not invited to the wedding sounds like a bad idea.
  • MobKazMobKaz member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    "So your guests would have to leave their house around 7am to make it to your ceremony on time? Which means they'd probably have to set their alarm for at 5-5:30am?  I don't get up that early for work.  I would be declining."

    If I were attending an evening wedding with a 2 1/2 hour commute, I would more than likely stay the night at a hotel.  It's not that difficult to work this the opposite way, and drive in Friday night.  The positive spin to the wedding ending early means I could conceivably get home at a decent time Saturday night, and still have a full Sunday to myself.
  • Our guests seemed to love the daytime wedding. They came, saw us get married, had lunch with us, and then went about their day. The food was a big deal to us, so we went a little "fancier" than "lunch food," I guess. We had salmon and chicken cordon bleu. For alcohol, we kept it to mimosas and wine for a toast. 

    We lived in San Antonio, so there was plenty for people from out of town to do if they wanted to. We got married at 10:30 and our reception was over at 2:00. Later that night, we went out for dinner and to a bar and told anyone who wanted to join us that they could. The next day, we went out for breakfast and to the Riverwalk with a few out-of-town guests. 

    It really would not be appropriate to go out later to celebrate with people who were not invited to the wedding. 


    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
  • My only concern would be having the wedding so close to the holidays (Christmas, a wedding and New Years Eve is a lot to take on in a week) People are gonna be burnt out from Christmas (both physically and financially) and could be out of town visiting family...
    Otherwise a morning ceremony and afternoon reception is fine - but I agree with others in that you should not have an "after party" for those you didn't invite to the wedding.
  • imo no one wants to drive 2.5 hours all dressed up for a ceremony/reception then 2.5 hours home after a wedding the same day.

    also having the ceremony at 10 am-um that means people have to LEAVE at 730 but start getting ready at what 6?

    sorry but so much of this sounds like a bad plan.

    -make arrangements with a local hotel to block rooms for the night before/after.

    -do NOT have a 2nd reception for those who aren't lucky enough to get on your A invite list.

    -do NOT have a partial cash bar. dont have your guests pay for anything. serve only beer or wine or a cocktails or no alcohol at all but never ask the guests to pay.

    -since youre having the wedding from 10am to 4pm you need to serve a full lunch aka a full meal not just light food.

    -i'm starting to see a tring to save money trend--which is fine if you do it right. b ut you're not. if you can't afford to host 200 then cut the guest list to what you can afford and dotn do the tacky 'dinner for those who we didn't invite to the real reception'.

     

  • 10am - 4pm seems like a long time for an afternoon wedding and also early with the 2.5 hr commute. Would you be able to have the ceremony from 12-12:30 and end the reception at 4pm? A 3.5 hours reception is decent. If you're thinking pictures, you could do a first look in the morning (you could start as early as you want) and then head over with guests to the reception.
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  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited June 2013
    mobkaz said:
    "So your guests would have to leave their house around 7am to make it to your ceremony on time? Which means they'd probably have to set their alarm for at 5-5:30am?  I don't get up that early for work.  I would be declining."

    If I were attending an evening wedding with a 2 1/2 hour commute, I would more than likely stay the night at a hotel.  It's not that difficult to work this the opposite way, and drive in Friday night.  The positive spin to the wedding ending early means I could conceivably get home at a decent time Saturday night, and still have a full Sunday to myself.
    But the OP said the main reason she was having a 10am wedding was so her guests could drive there and home the same day.  Kinda defeats the purpose if they're going to have to drive in the night before. 

    OP - 2.5 hour drive is manageable for me, but I'd only do it if the ceremony was around 1pm.  You could still do a reception from 2-6 and everyone could be home by 8 or 9.
  • MobKazMobKaz member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    JoanE2012 said:
    mobkaz said:
    "So your guests would have to leave their house around 7am to make it to your ceremony on time? Which means they'd probably have to set their alarm for at 5-5:30am?  I don't get up that early for work.  I would be declining."

    If I were attending an evening wedding with a 2 1/2 hour commute, I would more than likely stay the night at a hotel.  It's not that difficult to work this the opposite way, and drive in Friday night.  The positive spin to the wedding ending early means I could conceivably get home at a decent time Saturday night, and still have a full Sunday to myself.
    But the OP said the main reason she was having a 10am wedding was so her guests could drive there and home the same day.  Kinda defeats the purpose if they're going to have to drive in the night before. 

    OP - 2.5 hour drive is manageable for me, but I'd only do it if the ceremony was around 1pm.  You could still do a reception from 2-6 and everyone could be home by 8 or 9.

    Oops.....right you are. That's what I get for skimming and responding first thing in the morning!
  • I'm also having a winter wedding, and my timeline is similar (off by only an hour - 11AM ceremony).  I don't have too many OOT guests - my brother and MOH are the farthest away and will already be in town, and everyone else is about an hour long drive, maybe hour and a half in bad traffic/bad weather.  I think it is feasible, and not everyone might be morning people, but it isn't so bad to wake up for a wedding for someone important.  On the opposite end, I'm NOT a night owl, and I have stayed up until 1 in the morning for people's weddings.  If it is important to attend a wedding, then you make the sacrifices like getting up early or having a late night. 

    My lunch is almost like a dinner food-wise, but I'm having a dry wedding, and I thought an afternoon wedding would make that less annoying for guests who were expecting alcohol. 

    I'm not going out to party after the wedding, and I really wanted an earlier wedding so people would have time to get home at a decent hour in case the weather turns bad.  It depends on your situation - do you think OOT guests will want to party, or spend the evening getting home?

  • Hi everyone,

    After re-reading my post, I can see how confusing what I suggested seems. To clarify, most of our guests are from the same area and are around 2.5-3 hours away and 90% of them have said they would not be staying the night and would probably leave early from a night reception in order to make the trip home. We didn't feel it was worth it to have a night reception and open bar when most guests would be leaving after dinner in order to get home. We do plan on serving a full lunch.

    My night out after the reception (that would end at 4pm) is for some of our friends who cannot be invited in order to save on our budget. We have at least 200 confirmed guests between my family and his and this does not leave much room for acquaintances. As someone suggested, it would be more of a "we are going out, come celebrate with us downtown", rather than a "you are invited and we are going to pay". Due to the wedding being so close to Christmas, most of my friends has said they couldn't make it to the wedding due to family obligations, but could possibly meet up with us downtown later that night. I am in professional school with a class of about 70 and there is no way I could invite all of them, so a night out where they could come and celebrate if they wanted seemed alright. A classmate did something similar last week and we all appreciated being included. And we are definitely thinking of out for drinks and not dinner!

    I really appreciate everyone's input!
  • tina07451 said:
    Hi everyone,

    After re-reading my post, I can see how confusing what I suggested seems. To clarify, most of our guests are from the same area and are around 2.5-3 hours away and 90% of them have said they would not be staying the night and would probably leave early from a night reception in order to make the trip home. We didn't feel it was worth it to have a night reception and open bar when most guests would be leaving after dinner in order to get home. We do plan on serving a full lunch.

    My night out after the reception (that would end at 4pm) is for some of our friends who cannot be invited in order to save on our budget. We have at least 200 confirmed guests between my family and his and this does not leave much room for acquaintances. As someone suggested, it would be more of a "we are going out, come celebrate with us downtown", rather than a "you are invited and we are going to pay". Due to the wedding being so close to Christmas, most of my friends has said they couldn't make it to the wedding due to family obligations, but could possibly meet up with us downtown later that night. I am in professional school with a class of about 70 and there is no way I could invite all of them, so a night out where they could come and celebrate if they wanted seemed alright. A classmate did something similar last week and we all appreciated being included. And we are definitely thinking of out for drinks and not dinner!

    I really appreciate everyone's input!

    Again, 2.5-3 hours away for a 10am reception means they will need to leave at 6:30am-7am.  They'd be getting up anywhere from 4:30-5:30am.  That's way too early....I'd certainly decline.  I would rather see a noon or 1pm ceremony and reception from 2- 6 or thereabouts.  Even if you're guests stayed the entire time, they'd still be home by 9pm.
  • KatWAGKatWAG member
    First Anniversary First Answer First Comment 5 Love Its
    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to get some opinions about my (hopefully) wedding on Saturday, December 28th of this year. My fiance and I expect to have at least 200 guests and almost all of them are from the same area, which is about 2 and a half hours away. In order to accommodate everyone and make it so that most of our guests can drive to and from our wedding in the same day, we were thinking of having a morning ceremony (around 10 am) and a ceremony that would end around 4pm. I have read many threads about afternoon weddings, but I just wanted to get an idea of what we could do with our guests who do stay in town. I was thinking about possibly having a big dinner-type deal in the evening with drinks for friends that weren't invited to the wedding. Were most of your guests happy with the afternoon wedding style? What about food? Do you go with a lighter food option and light on bar items? We were thinking of having wine with dinner and a champagne toast, and having a cash bar for anything else.

    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated!
     
    I cant believe no one has mentioned the cash bar! Please don't have a cash bar. It is rude and tacky to make guests reach into their own pockets. Host what you can afford.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • tina07451 said:
    Hi everyone,

    After re-reading my post, I can see how confusing what I suggested seems. To clarify, most of our guests are from the same area and are around 2.5-3 hours away and 90% of them have said they would not be staying the night and would probably leave early from a night reception in order to make the trip home. We didn't feel it was worth it to have a night reception and open bar when most guests would be leaving after dinner in order to get home. We do plan on serving a full lunch.

    My night out after the reception (that would end at 4pm) is for some of our friends who cannot be invited in order to save on our budget. We have at least 200 confirmed guests between my family and his and this does not leave much room for acquaintances. As someone suggested, it would be more of a "we are going out, come celebrate with us downtown", rather than a "you are invited and we are going to pay". Due to the wedding being so close to Christmas, most of my friends has said they couldn't make it to the wedding due to family obligations, but could possibly meet up with us downtown later that night. I am in professional school with a class of about 70 and there is no way I could invite all of them, so a night out where they could come and celebrate if they wanted seemed alright. A classmate did something similar last week and we all appreciated being included. And we are definitely thinking of out for drinks and not dinner!

    I really appreciate everyone's input!

    I am confused.  Do you mean that 90% of your guests are staying in town the night before but do not wish to stay another night so they are going to leave and drive home?  Or do you mean they will be driving into town and then back home on the same day.  That is still a long drive to make that early in the morning.

    The after party thing still kind of irks me.  Even though it isn't a formal invite it is still basically saying "well we couldn't afford to invite you, so we are just going to hang out at the bar so that we can still celebrate with you."  I feel like maybe if you wait till after you get back from your HM (if you are going on one right away) and then plan a night out it will be more of a "hey haven't seen you since getting back, lets get a few drinks" rather then celebrating your wedding that morning that you couldn't invite them to.  KWIM?


  • Your clarification doesn't change anything.  You don't invite anyone to an afterparty if they weren't invited to the wedding. Feel free to get together with them the next day, month, year, whatever. But, a wedding afterparty shouldn't include second choice guests.

    And I did mention the cash bar in my first reply.  DON'T have a cash bar. It's rude. 

  • Thanks for the suggestions. I agree that it is a long day, and thanks for the idea about moving the ceremony a bit later! I am not set on the after party thing, I just wanted an idea about what others did with their guests after their afternoon wedding.

    I agree with the cash bar thing. We are hosting wine, champagne, beer and soft drinks, which I think is plenty for an afternoon wedding, but the package we are going with for the reception place requires a cash bar deposit because there will be attendants to serve the wine etc, so there will be a bar for anyone that wants liquor.

    Thanks again for suggestions. I have a lot to plan in a short amount of time so all of your opinions have been helpful!
  • I think you know your group and what would be best for them. Personally, I would prefer a wedding with a time schedule like yours. If you have older people and a lot of family, an afternoon wedding might be better. I would have no problem with driving to the wedding at 7 in the morning, and most of my family would agree. People are different and have different lifestyles. 
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