Wedding Reception Forum

Reception Ideas For a Nighttime Wedding

Hello and Happy New Year everyone!

So, I'm having a nighttime wedding (8PM-9PM) but would still like to have a reception afterwards. Does anyone have any ideas/thoughts on that? I feel like a reception is necessary to "celebrate" after the wedding and enjoy cake and the other customary post-wedding rituals (first dance, etc) but since my wedding is so late I have no clue how to pull that off. My wedding will be a designation for our guests (Hawaii) and is a small (13 guests) outdoor ceremony. I'm open to any ideas, tips, suggestions.

Thanks! :smile: 

Re: Reception Ideas For a Nighttime Wedding

  • Hello and Happy New Year everyone!

    So, I'm having a nighttime wedding (8PM-9PM) but would still like to have a reception afterwards. Does anyone have any ideas/thoughts on that? I feel like a reception is necessary to "celebrate" after the wedding and enjoy cake and the other customary post-wedding rituals (first dance, etc) but since my wedding is so late I have no clue how to pull that off. My wedding will be a designation for our guests (Hawaii) and is a small (13 guests) outdoor ceremony. I'm open to any ideas, tips, suggestions.

    Thanks! :smile: 
    You absolutely need to host your guests after your ceremony. You don't have to dance or anything (though some of us would argue that cake is essential). At such a late hour, a meal is not required. Such a late wedding is a good opportunity for a cocktail reception (appetizers, desserts, etc but no full meal). Cake and punch will fulfill your obligations though honestly if I'm attending such a small wedding so far away and having to fly, stay in (expensive!) hotels and whatnot, I would expect a really nice reception with alcohol, fancy food, and good music.
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    zitiqueenMairePoppy[Deleted User]
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I would have still have a dinner.   They are traveling and deserve to be taken care of.  Plus I'm one that will eat late.  Especially on vacation.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    MesmrEwelc07
  • I'd serve dinner or have it earlier.
    CMGragainlc07
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I think you  need something more than cake since it's a destination wedding even though you're fine etiquette-wise not to. 
    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
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    ViczaesarSTARMOON44InLoveInQueensMairePoppy
  • You could have a late dinner at 9/9:30pm.

    Or you could do a heavy-app cocktail party.

    Thinking about my own social life, it would be normal to meet up at the bar/pub at 8 or 9pm to have drinks, where usually some sort of food is ordered and we'd stay out until some range of midnight until close. 

    In either case of dinner or apps, you could have dancing, or not, for a few hours. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    You do need some kind of reception after your wedding, even with the late start, so I'd consider either a full dinner or appetizers/cocktails/desserts.
  • Desserts are fine.  Champagne and cake would be good.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • Basically - you're having a nighttime DW such that depending on the time zone difference, it's your guests body clock of midnight that things start...   An appetizer reception I'd say would be the minimum acceptable even though you could get away with cake/punch, but then again, I'd also be in the camp of "have a late lighter dinner reception" it'll cost roughly the same as an app reception and your guests will appreciate it over if you only host cake/punch after they've spent thousands of dollars to be there...
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    InLoveInQueens
  • Just curious.  Why so late a ceremony time?
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • MesmrEwe said:
    Basically - you're having a nighttime DW such that depending on the time zone difference, it's your guests body clock of midnight that things start...   An appetizer reception I'd say would be the minimum acceptable even though you could get away with cake/punch, but then again, I'd also be in the camp of "have a late lighter dinner reception" it'll cost roughly the same as an app reception and your guests will appreciate it over if you only host cake/punch after they've spent thousands of dollars to be there...
    This is a really good point. 8 PM in Hawaii is 1 AM on the East Coast, and 10 PM in California. Will your guests show up a few days early and adjust, or will they be arriving that morning or the day before? If they haven't adjusted, a nighttime ceremony may end early because everyone's too tired.

    As @CMGragain asked, is there a reason to have the ceremony so late? I feel like since your guests are spending a lot of money to be there, so you should really give them a full meal reception. Or, since there's only 15 of you, maybe you can arrange to host a larger lunch before the wedding, and then a cocktail style reception after?



    InLoveInQueens
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Sorry, I think you need to do more.  Your guests are traveling and I'm sure it's costing them quite a bit - they deserve more than cake.  Can you have your ceremony earlier and then a nice dinner reception?  

    I'd probably also host one or two other things - maybe a welcome dinner and a brunch the following day.  Obviously, these other "events" are not mandatory, but I can't imagine having my guests travel all that way and spending that kind of money and not treating them to a few other hosted events.
    InLoveInQueenslc07
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    JoanE2012 said:
    Sorry, I think you need to do more.  Your guests are traveling and I'm sure it's costing them quite a bit - they deserve more than cake.  Can you have your ceremony earlier and then a nice dinner reception?  

    I'd probably also host one or two other things - maybe a welcome dinner and a brunch the following day.  Obviously, these other "events" are not mandatory, but I can't imagine having my guests travel all that way and spending that kind of money and not treating them to a few other hosted events.
    I agree with this. Can you tell us more about the overall plans? Without a reception, I just paid a boatload of money (HI is expensive!) to go on vacation with you. And that's not a vacation I would normally even take (because HI is expensive! and a long flight!). 
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    InLoveInQueensMairePoppy
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