Do you think it's rude for a guest to leave the wedding reception before it's over? Why or why not. If people are going to leave at what point in your reception would you prefer them to leave? I also happened to be interested in hearing from the etiquette experts if there is a rule for this.
As for me, I prefer someone would let me know if they were attending the ceremony only because it would save me money. However I don't want anyone who would prefer not to be there to stick around out of obligation. If they prefer to be home watching tv, or sleeping I think by all means after dinner they should leave.
I would be bummed if no one stayed to dance, but I know from other weddings on both my side and Fi's family and friends are social and like to dance, so we probably have a solid group of people who will stay late or until the last dance.
You're going to have a lot of guests who will stay to party the whole event.
But if you have elderly guests or guests bringing small children, don't expect them to stay long.
I think about 75% of my guests left before the dance started. Was I sad? Not really. You can't order someone to stay and have a good time. Likewise, I usually like to leave weddings early unless I know a LOT of people there and I really want to kick back and party.
@TwoCityBride: At my wedding, 30% of my guests left after speeches were made (right after main was served and eaten). Luckily I had a lot of courses so they left around 10pm. Asians don't like to dance, so it was expected.
Most of our guests stayed until the very end, or about 30 min prior. :)
I'd say I expect them to stay as long as they want to ... I mean, I don't want to feel like we're forcing them to hang out if they're bored, uncomfortable, tired, etc.
At the same time, I'll probably be a little sad if a bunch of people leave right after dinner. My fiance and I are really looking forward to having a lot of our family and close friends together in one place, and we really want everyone to have a great time. Obviously everyone doesn't love dancing, but we're also thinking of renting a photobooth as another fun option for guests. I know you can't make someone have a good time, but we're really trying to do whatever we can to ensure our guests have fun.
If anyone left early then I dont know about it. Some people may have left within 30 minutes of the last dance, but almost everyone stayed until the end from what I was told/remember.
I am really worried that a lot of people will leave early, because of the distance--to the point that I am thinking of chipping in for hotel rooms (with the added benefit that it will help curb drunk driving, though I am pretty sure everyone definitely knows better than that.)
I don't think it's right to leave a wedding early. It's not like you're going to have this exact day all over again. The bride and groom go through a lot to make this day as best as it can be.
But, honestly, I don't have a clue as to whether or not my guests left early... And I only had 100 of them.
Since most of our guests have about a hour's drive to where our wedding/reception is being held, I dont expect them all to stay til the party ends. i'd love for everyone to stay through dinner and cake but if they leave before dancing, I will completely understand! I'll just be happy they came to share in part of our special day.
I'm so worried our guests will leave early and the party will die out. I suspect that all our in-state guests, who will mostly be about 2 hours away, won't stay in town and will leave early to get home at a decent hour.
That said, I wouldn't leave a wedding very early. I think at most I'd leave an hour early, and that's assuming it's a long wedding that is going until midnight+.
Our guest like to party so they will def stay until the end, even my grandma! I've left a few weddings early but not super early.
I am pretty sure the young crowd will all stay until the end - we like a good party! I expect the older ones to leave earlier and that's fine.
Our reception will start around 5. About 2 hours of jazz music, followed by our cake cutting, first dance, and very few speeches. After that, dancing. I expect my hardcore friends/partiers to stay until midnight, but fully expect others will depart earlier. I won't be bothered if things wrap up early, as long as everyone has fun while they are with us. I anticipate my MOH will be free to leave anytime after 8, though I will expect her to secure and transport any gifts people bring to the reception with her.
Guests at a formal dinner or dance should not leave until after the guests of honour depart; and guests of honour should depart early in the evening so as not to place unreasonable restrictions on the other guests. In the olden days when bride and groom were truly newly-wed and had the very novel experience of a wedding night to look forward to, and when the hostess was someone other than the bride so that the bride and groom could in fact enjoy the role of guests-of-honour, those rules worked reasonably well. Dinner concluded with the happy couple cutting the cake; the host and hostess opened the floor with dancing and then danced with the guests of honour; the happy couple went and changed into their travelling clothes while the other guests carried on dancing, and the bride tossed her bouquet as she ran out the door to the tin-dedcked get-away car -- and then the rest of us were free to dance the night away, or go home and catch the last period of Hockey Night in Canada, as the spirit moved us.
Nowadays the bride usually acts as hostess. A hostess is supposed to remain until the very last guest departs, to bid them goodnight, but that is fine because usually the wedding night is nothing new or exotic for her to rush away to anyway. Something is lost, however. Without guests of honour, there is no obvious signal as to when it has become okay to leave. So guests are doing their best to figure it out for themselves. A nice idea I have seen suggested, is for a bride who is acting as hostess to introduce her parents and new inlaws to guests as her guests of honour. Then the parents can deremoniously bid the newlyweds good-night -- I have seen it done where the bride, who did not want to do a bouquet toss, took the opportunity to touchingly give her bouquet to her mother -- and then the parents depart early in the evening as guests of honour are obliged to do, signalling to guests that the time has come when they canleave without giving offence.
At a formal dinner party with no guests of honour, the guests should wait until after coffee is served. If port was served separately from coffee, guests must wait until the port-drinkers have finished and joined the coffee-drinkers, and had a chance to drink a cup of coffee. Then they may depart at any time after that. At a formal dance, the guests should wait until after the first dance and after they have had a chance to ask their hostess to dance (if theyre a gentleman) or the host has had a chance to ask them to dance (if they are a lady). At a minimum, that means until the beginning of the second dance, although the third dance would be kinder. After that they may leave.
True, it is always more rewarding if your guests stay and dance until dawn -- it demonstrates your accomplishments as a great hostess. But you cannot force or command their continued presence. If guests want to go home in the early evening, as long as they stay for the minimum first cup of coffee or second dance, then you must accept their choice graciously.
hopefully most stay til the end since the whole thing is only 4.5hrs including the ceremony, but i'm sure i won't really notice too much unless a whole bunch of people leave early
Most of our friends enjoy a good time of drinking, BS'ing and (occasionally) dancing so I anticipate at least 75% will stay until the end. We're inviting a lot of my parent's older friend's and FI's older family - they may not stay the entire time.
I think it's like a birthday party - wait til the cake is cut, then you're good to go. Any earlier is a bit rude.
Different situation - we are having a no dancing, family only wedding, and most of FI's family is from out of town. They can leave when they feel like it but I don't want them to feel like they should stay throughout the entire reception. How long can a no dancing reception last anyway?
Our reception is going from 6pm until 1 am. I expect not everyone will make it until 1 am, but it will definitely be more fun if people stick around. My FI wants to leave earlier than 1 am, but I said there is no way we're leaving until at least midnight. I want to dance and talk to people! And, we've paid for the DJ and bartender until 1 am, so why not enjoy it?
I would expect guests would stay until the dancing starts, but after that they are free to go if they wish. We won't have many elderly guests attending, but some live an hour or more from the event (many will be staying locally in a hotel, but some will not) so I'm sure some will leave around 10 or so. I expect most of the people will stay until the end though.
I feel like that at the weddings I go to everyone sticks around until at least the dancing commences. Older guests may leave on the earlier side but most people seem to stay within an 1/2 hr of last dance, especially if everyone is staying at a nearby hotel (or your venue is a hotel)
@EffieTrinket: even if a wedding is local I usually still get a hotel so I don't have to worry about driving. Also, since its so nice to have a bunch of your friends in one place, often people end up hanging out past the wedding. Hopefully many of your guests will do the same without you having to chip in
@mcgoo: I think until after dinner is better. I noticed at my last few weddings a lot of people go right into the first dance, and then cut the cake. I don't know if this is a trend or because they want more dance time.
Some older couples stay late but a lot of them leave early. Also if you really want a good party fight for your guest list. My friends parents were paying for her wedding and of course pulled the strings, ever single distant cousin and a bunch of her father business contacts came. They had a band who was ok but who stick was playing old school music. Thankfully her husband insisted on having a DJ coming on for the last hours, and the place completely cleared out, it was left with mainly the bridal party, a few of his family members and a few distant cousins who she didn't know well. It was a small groups but we danced until the last song.
I expect my grandparents and other elderly people to leave early, but otherwise, I think everyone will stay until the end. Both of our familiies and friends are huge partiers. I think most will also attend the afterparty at the hotel bar.
I would think most of them will stay til the very end. We have a younger group coming, and even the older guests are partiers. We also have a local band playing our reception that everyone loves.. so I think everyone will stay around for them! A lot of our guests are staying at the hotel we've blocked rooms at and have a shuttles transporting people.. the shuttle won't be there til the last hour to take everyone back to the hotel, so they have to stay.. or walk back to the hotel.
I personally think it's rude to leave a wedding early. What kind of reason do you have for leaving early anyway? Elderly, okay that's different and I can see that. But my ceremony is at 2:30 with the reception from 4-9. That's not exactly a late night. We're providing 2 professional, CPR-certified babysitters to care for any kids who come to the reception. So, I just don't see why anyone would need to leave early unless there was an emergency or something. This is a time for us to celebrate with friends and family and share this once in a lifetime experience. If you don't want to stay and celebrate with us, I'd rather you not come at all.
I was at a wedding recently where EVERYONE (save 25 people or so, at a 250 person wedding!) LEFT BEFORE THE CAKE WAS SERVED. It was on a Saturday night, and it was like 6pm when people started leaving! I was HORRIFIED for the bride!
But the 25 of us left closed down the floor! At 9pm, which was too early.
@TwoCityBride: After we cut the cake and do the first dance people can skip out if they want. Our reception is on a Sunday afternoon, so I expect people will leave at about 3-4pm. I don't expect to have a long reception
@babecake: Hmm, maybe it's just the US asians that like to dance. My mom and her friends all love to dance.
After we cut the cake you have my permission to leave.
@TwoCityBride: OK maybe the timeline of events is different between regions. Here in my part of the world you'd have cocktail hour (if having it), bridal party arrive, dinner/speeches, then either cake cutting or first dance. Cake is normally after dinner (with dessert if extra dessert is happening).
It would weird me out to have the couple arrive & dance/cut cake straight away... but reading WB, it seems to be an American thing??
@mcgoo: Typically that what I experienced at most weddings is the same timeline you mentioned.I wonder if it's a new trend as I seen it at a few weddings. I started seeing going right until the 1st dance, and cutting cake for pictures early, but they don't slice it and put it for people until after dinner. I'm assuming they did this so after dinner all the time could go for dancing.
Depends. Basically you cant do anything if people want to leave early, it depends on the crowd. Most recent wedding I went to was on a Sunday night about 2.5 hr drive from where most guests live. A lot of people left right after dinner. We stayed till the end (my FI was the best man we also arrived 2 hrs early to help set up) which was ~10:00 pm, but when the newly weds kept suggesting going to a bar for an afterparty we had to excuse ourselves politely. The couple and some of their families had rooms near the venue, but we had to be at work on Monday AM. So I'd say know your crowd and have realistic expectations.
I think expectations among different social sets might be different. Among my social set, most expect weddings to be a 4 to 5 hour event. After that they may have other plans. Especially if the wedding starts earlier in the day.
I've seen cases where the bride and groom disappear for pictures for 90 minutes or more in the middle of that block of time, so at the end of 4 hours the meal is just finishing. It's a bit disconcerting to have to sneak out to relieve the baby sitter before the reception even starts, but I know I've had to do that in the past.
I feel bad when lots of people leave early, but sometimes it's because the wedding truly sucks! I went to a ceremony that started at 3pm in a very fancy part of London during the busiest year in recent memory (Jubilee, Olympics, Royal wedding...) and by the time the invitations went out ALL of the nearby hotels were fully booked already! We all had to leave our accommodations out in the sticks right after lunch to make it to the church on time and sit through a long ceremony, then waited around outside ehile the bride and family had a photo session.
By the time they were done and the bus arrived to take us to the reception we were all ready for dinner! The bride wanted to make the most of the fancy Bentley they rented so we took the long way rather than a direct route, and when we finally arrived at the reception site (starving!) we had to sit through a second ceremony (interfaith marriage) and then the couple disappeared for an hour for more photos.
We waited in the hallway wondering where we were supposed to go and eventually tracked down someone who could direct us and let us into the reception space, so we all got to enjoy the last 20 minutes of what was supposed to be a cocktail hour (prosecco, water, and some sort of chex type mix.) The couple arrived at the end of it and we sat through a bunch of speeches before they served a dinner that half of us couldn't eat (religious dietary restrictions on the bride's side of the family - the bride had a special meal.) So... after eating just a few lettuce leaves and the tiny poached pear, many of us were too hungry to have the energy to dance. We stuck around for a few hours until they finally cut the cake (really nasty - tasted like oil) but couldn't take it anymore and there was a mass exodus (we ended up going out for a late dinner/drinks across town.)
The bride had basically blown her budget on the fanciest part of town and cared more about her photos and showing off the car than feeding the guests and spending any quality time with us. If you want people to spend time at your wedding, don't do what she did!
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