A Morning, Afternoon or Evening Wedding?
What makes a perfect wedding? The right answer is: It depends on various factors. Well, wedding caterer is just one. Another critical factor to consider, if not the most critical one, is the day and time of the wedding itself. Here are the anatomies of morning, afternoon and evening weddings. The pros and cons of each will be discussed including the considerations and compromises involved to help you decide.
Caveat: All the information presented in here are based on specific assumptions. First, the maximum time for any wedding is only 5 hours excluding the preparation and travel time of the guests. Second, wedding ceremony and reception are near each other, say, about 15 to 30 minutes’ drive away. Third, hair and makeup include the bride, groom and 2 to 3 heads.
A morning wedding timeline
Only a very few couples choose a morning wedding.
2:00 am - Wake up time
2:30 am - Bath time
3:00 am - Hair and makeup starts
5:00 am - Breakfast
5:30 am - Groom pictorial (including family and ento)
6:30 am - Bride pictorial (including family and ento)
7:30 am - Groom leaves
8:00 am - Bride leaves
8:30 am - Arrival, assembly and march
9:00 am - Actual ceremony (including pictorial)
10:30 am - Recessional (from ceremony to reception)
11:00 am - Cocktail
12:00 nn - Program starts
12:30 pm - Lunch starts
1:00 to 2:00 pm - Program resumes
3:00/4:00 pm - Program ends
Usually, the bride needs more pictorial time (up to 1 ½ hours) since preparation takes more than just wearing a wedding gown. Everything needs to be documented, and that includes all the paraphernalia to be used during the wedding rite. Tradition dictates that the groom needs to leave his place earlier so he can arrive at the church before the bride does.
Cocktail hour must be 1 hour only. Any more time beyond the allotted time will or might annoy the guests. This means post-nuptial pictorials and dress and hairstyle and makeup changes must be squeezed into this limited time; travel included.
A contingency? You might have to forego the pictorial in exchange for a later time, perhaps after the program. The photographer(s) and videographer(s) might charge you extra, but that’s okay rather than making your guests wait for too long. Impatient we are, speaking of the program, make it as short and sweet as possible.
Canapés must be served upon the guests’ arrival at the venue. Midway, the soup and salad stations should be opened to tidy up the guests while waiting for lunch. Your guests might not have eaten properly in the morning since they are busy preparing for the wedding, too.
Formal wears should be avoided. Mid- and knee-length dresses are more suitable than long dresses. The same goes with your entourage. Especially for the males, vests or suspenders are perfect. Avoid suits.
Instead of alcoholic beverages, which are not suitable for morning weddings, serve free-flowing Frappuccino and tea. Requesting the caterer to serve coffee-flavored desserts is also plausible as well as setting up a cupcake or donut bar, biscuit and waffle bar or cereal bar. Give your guests what they probably need and want. Surely, they will reward both of you by staying until the event is over.
Leave no room for excuses to leave the party earlier. Make sure that your guests are seated comfortably on cushioned chairs. Ultimately, the air conditioning at the venue must be working properly to keep the guests cool.
Morning weddings don’t necessarily need an after-party. The guests are not expecting a band anyway. This doesn’t mean, however, that a reliable sound system is not necessary. It is. Acoustics make or break a wedding. That’s true for all morning, afternoon or evening weddings.
Invest on a sound provider that puts a premium on their equipment and technician. A 5,000-ANSI projector must be available so the guests can see the images clearly during the day when sunlight can make the screen glary.
Evidently, morning weddings, which last until late afternoon, have several considerations. That is, despite being more laidback compared to afternoon and evening weddings.
An afternoon wedding timeline
Afternoon is the most popular time slot for a wedding.
7:00 am - Wake up time
7:30 am - Bath time, breakfast
9:00 am - Hair and makeup starts
11:00 am - Lunch
11:30 am - Groom pictorial (including family and ento)
12:30 pm - Bride pictorial (including family and ento)
1:30 pm - Groom leaves
2:00 pm - Bride leaves
2:30 pm - Arrival, assembly and march
3:00 pm - Actual ceremony (including pictorial)
4:30 pm - Recessional (from ceremony to reception)
5:00 pm - Cocktail
5:30/6:00 pm - Program starts
6:30 pm - Dinner starts
8:00/8:30 pm - Party stats
9:00/10:00 pm - Party ends
Response rate of afternoon weddings even on Saturdays or Sundays tends to be unsurprisingly low. People expect to leave their places to unwind between 2 and 4 pm. Especially true during the summertime, you cannot expect for them to go to your wedding because of the scorching heat outside. They won’t be willing to wear even semi-formal wear. Semi-casual is okay.
If you want a higher attendance rate, you may opt for an afternoon wedding falling on a weekday.
The same goes with morning weddings wherein your guests forego breakfast; your guests may forego lunch, too. Heavy cocktail is a must. The usual cocktail hour can be extended up to 1 ½ hours. Use this as an excuse for retouch, dress changes and post-nuptial shoots. Open up the bars or stations and serve the appetizer.
Afternoon weddings must cover snack and dinner times; provide more food than necessary. Buffets are okay. A 3-viand lunch is acceptable, but this cannot be said for dinner. Aside from the basics (soup, salad, appetizer and dessert), there should be a minimum of 4 main courses.
Traditionally, dinner must be served by 7 pm even when your guests arrived at the venue around 5 pm unlike morning weddings where the guests expect the food soon as they arrived at the reception. This provides the newlyweds with more time for post-nup pictorials. Grab the opportunity. Anyhow, cocktails are provided to tidy up the guests until dinner. Cheese platters and taco bars can be set up.
People expect entertainment despite their high tolerance for the length of the program. Just don’t be draggy. Entertainment can be in the form of a light show or fireworks display; not necessarily a singer or band. A 3,000-ANSI projector is enough to view images even from a fair distance. Some would expect booze and bubble along with entertainment.
Further, full suits for male ento members and more elegant dresses for female ento members are expected. Jewel-toned hues are okay for afternoon weddings. Blings are also acceptable.
Only a handful of your guests may stay since the party might finish earlier than 10 pm. Some weddings end by 8 pm particularly those weddings occurring on a Monday to Thursday. Be reasonable and think of your guests’ travel time from the reception to their respective homes.
- Beach and garden weddings can only choose between 3 and 4 pm for the ceremony or the so-called late afternoon time slots
- Weekdays and Sunday weddings can only choose 2, 3 or 4 pm for the ceremony so guests can still finish the program
- Regardless of the type and day of wedding, 1 pm or 5 pm slots are a big no-no since they cut through lunch and dinner, respectively
- Lunch weddings mustn’t occur on open-air venues
- Plan ahead and book immediately since afternoon slots go quickly
Compared to morning weddings, afternoon weddings have fewer considerations. However, to-be-weds might have to spend more on food.
An evening wedding timeline
Evening weddings are for the ‘night people’ or those who would rather not wake so early in the morning.
12:00 nn - Hair and makeup starts
2:00 pm - Snacks
2:30 pm - Groom pictorial (including family and ento)
3:00 pm - Bride pictorial (including family and ento)
4:30 pm - Groom leaves
5:00 pm - Bride leaves
5:30 pm - Arrival, assembly and march
6:00 pm - Actual ceremony (including pictorial)
7:30 pm - Recessional (from ceremony to reception)
8:00 pm - Cocktail
8:30/9:00 pm - Program starts
9:30 pm - Dinner starts
10:00 pm - Party stats
11:00/12:00 pm - Party ends
Response rates tend to be highest for evening weddings. While some of the guests cannot be on the ceremony, more people can attend the reception since it is after school or work. They won’t have any excuse not to join your wedding even when they need to go to school or work the next day.
Some of the guests might be surprised with the 9 pm serving of dinner. Expect some guests to go home earlier after eating especially those who arrived early. This can be adjusted though so that the program and party will end at around 10 or 11 pm. It would be best to invite those who are willing to stay until the party is over. That means, people who will go home after your final speech.
Some of your guests may have eaten lunch haphazardly. Some may even forego snacks just to be there on your wedding on time. Like afternoon weddings, serve heavy cocktail. Open up the stations and bars at the earliest possible time. Perhaps, soon as your guests arrived at the venue. Coffee-flavored snacks and desserts are also good during evening weddings.
Pictorials should not take long. Even so, make sure that the photogs have complete equipment and accessories since they cannot take advantage of natural light.
Evening weddings are usually formal, black-tie events. Ento and guests can wear jewel-toned hues and blings. Long gowns are also called evening gowns, remember? With this, go for a sit-down catering service. Please your guests are formally dressed to have them lined up on the buffet table.
Everyone should be on-the-dot, so hire only the most efficient providers available. A sound system provider is a must, but you can skip a band. If you want, you may hire a DJ for the night. A fireworks display is also perfect to cap the night while incorporating same-day edits on the projector.
You can also have your catering provider to set up a cocktail or bubble bar. Alternatively, wines can be served along with the main course. Anyhow, if it is on a Sunday or weekdays (between Monday and Thursday), your guests may not be enthusiastic to drink the night away since they have to wake up early the next day.
Evening weddings might have the fewest considerations other than sticking to the schedule. Errors and delays are not welcome. Just the same though, the to-be-weds must not skimp on food and entertainment.
In sum, the time allotment can be adjusted based on the actual time of the ceremony. Morning weddings can be 7, 8 or 9 am. Afternoon weddings should be either 2, 3 or 4 pm. Evening weddings can be 6 or 7 pm. Plan ahead. Plan accordingly.
Source: Weddings at Work