(Closed) Early Morning Wedding with Late Reception

posted 6 years ago in Logistics
Post # 32
9541 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

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Ladybug16:  Here’s my preference of what I’d want to do as a guest:

  1. Find a different ceremony space so you can do the ceremony later in the day and then go straight into an evening reception
  2. Do the 9 AM ceremony and then do a brunch reception. This could be accompanied by a Welcome Dinner/Party the night before and/or an After Party later that night, but those can be optional.
  3. Have a family/bridal party only reception at 9 AM and then invite everyone to the reception in the evening. 
  4. Ask guests to come to both a 9 AM ceremony and an evening reception. 
Post # 33
7603 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

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Ladybug16:  I know you said that the church is meaningful to you but I would consider using a different church. I’m guessing you have that long of a gap that many of your guests will skip the ceremony. I think it will come down to if you would rather have that church or if you would rather have more people at your ceremony.

I personally would probably spend two nights at the hotel anyways because I’m not going to drive 2-6 hours all made up for a wedding but I would *hate* to get ready at 9am and either have to stay in my wedding attire and make up or have to re-do it 6 hours later.

Post # 34
2188 posts
Buzzing bee

I vote no to this plan. People will skip the ceremony, people will skip the whole thing, people who attend will complain about your wedding not talk about how beautiful and fun it was. 

Post # 35
860 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

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Ladybug16:  I was thinking maybe we could get a farm for a reception venue that let us have the run of the place all day. We could focus the meal at brunch with all the typical wedding stuff following (dances, cake cutting, pictures…) which I think we could stretch til 2 or 3. Those from far away would be free to leave. Then pack in other activities like exploring the farm, games, photo booths, that are low-key. Serve some snacks around dinnertime because I’d think most people would still be stuffed from brunch. And do more clubbing music/booze after, finishing up around 7?”

I think you’re being overly optimistic about this. Regardless of your activities most people are not going to hang out with you for 10 hours for a wedding. If you do a 9am ceremony most people will be leaving by 2 or 3. I don’t think you’d have very many people stay beyond that.  

As others have said, I think you need to pick either the morning stuff or move the ceremony. You’re still trying to find a way to have it both ways and I think you’re setting yourself up for disapointment. 

Post # 36
7326 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

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Ladybug16:  I’d really reconsider your plans. If you really want the church, do a brunch reception. If you want a big party, find a new ceremony site. As a guest I’d probably decline the whole invite if it was a morning wedding and evening reception. I’ve attended one once, and will never do it again. It’s just so incredibly inconvenient for your guests. I had to attend a sunrise ceremony, and they had coffee/juice and pasteries right after – then the reception was that evening. I had to drive 30 minutes for the ceremony, and 30 minutes back home. Then the reception was an hour away, so I had to do that later in the evening.

Post # 37
7199 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

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Ladybug16:  Yeah I’m an idiot! LOL It’s March already- and I’m getting MARRIED this year- how do I not realize the year yet?! 😀

Post # 38
602 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I had a 10 am ceremony and the logistics sucked.  I had to get up at 5 am, hair and makeup had to arrive at 6 am and charged me a hefty premium to show up that early.  Let’s just say my bridesmaids were not morning people, lol.  The ceremony turned out to be lovely but if I did it again I would not get married in the morning!

We did a Friday wedding and it worked out really well.  Vendors were way more available.  We didn’t have a huge guest list but no one minded taking a Friday off of work. 

Post # 39
173 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

You are trying to force too many options.

You need to either give up the church or give up the idea of dinner and dancing.

If you wont give up the church, then I think a brunch reception sounds lovely, but you need to know when to end the fesitivities.

You cant expect people to come for a 9am wedding and then a brunch and THEN they want to dance…. everyone will be exhuasted and it will be awkward.

Post # 40
29 posts

9 am ceremony is too early if I have to drive 2 hours to your wedding. HEck, even a wedding next door to me at 9 am is so early! I 

wouldn’t mind a mid-morning wedding followed by light snacks and drinks, then the ability to change into evening wear for a dinner reception. But, your guests will not even have the convenience of going back to their own homes before events. 



if the church means that much to you, I’d keep extending the date out until you can get it where even your 6 hour away guests only have to stay over one night in a hotel.

Post # 41
2899 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

We had a Catholic wedding that started at 9:30 am on a Saturday followed by a reception that started at 11:30 am and followed a traditional evening wedding schedule, and people had a blast! We did have to wake up early to get ready – the makeup artist arrived at 5 am, and the hairdresser at 5:30 – but we made it work. We had around 140 guests at the reception, and I’d say about 90 of them made it to the ceremony. We didn’t worry about folks who didn’t make it – our closest friends and family members were there, and we understood that an hour long ceremony at 9:30 am is a lot to ask. The people who wanted to be there were there, and we were happy to celebrate with everyone at a more decent hour with plenty of champagne!

Our reception had a cocktail hour from 11:30 to 1 pm, a three course lunch with traditional wedding dinner type food (filet mignon, roasted chicken, etc) and then dancing. I think the keys to really pulling it off well were:

1. Lots of booze. We had an open bar with signature cocktails, and a well-lubricated crowd is a ready to party crowd.

2. A great DJ. Our DJ had done lots of daytime weddings before and he knew that the crowd usually required a little extra push to get on the dance floor, so he played high energy floor-packers all day. He was also great at reading the dancers and figuring out what people liked and adapting to that. If you want people to dance in the daytime, splurge on the best DJ you can find.

3. Having friends and family who are delighted to party in the afternoon. I’m not trying to say they’re all a bunch of lushes, but most of our guest list was not averse to martinis at noon. 

We ended the reception at 4, and a lot of friends wandered off in groups to keep the party going while DH and I went back to the hotel. My parents hosted a super low key after party at the hotel for family and their friends, and people stopped by for a drink or some appetizers after they’d changed into regular clothes. In the end, I think everyone had a really wonderful time! We got to give our guests a really lavish reception that we wouldn’t have been able to afford in the evening (our venue’s afternoon reception was thousands and thousands of dollars less expensive than their evening packages) and a good time was had by all. So – don’t be afraid of an afternoon reception! 

Post # 42
741 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

I’ve never heard of anything as crazy as a 9Am wedding before.

Post # 43
1303 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: Hawksnest Cove Beach St John USVI

I had a 9 am wedding and a brunch reception and loved it!  The food was so much cheaper than a dinner reception, more variety of food than a typical reception too. 

Getting up early isn’t fun, but I didn’t sleep the night before since I was excited / nervous anyway. I had aDW so my guests didnt have a drive, but they had to catch an 8 am ferry so I had arranged cabs at the resort for 730 am. No one fell asleep or was yawning during the ceremony 🙂

Post # 45
766 posts
Busy bee

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KatieBklyn:  I think this sounds awesome!

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Ladybug16:  I think you’ve been given some awesome advice here.  I’d just add that while you can always do what you want, making choices that are at least reasonably accommodating to your guests also helps in the execution of your vision.  By that I mean, if you do an early AM wedding and later reception, many guests may make choices that you’re not happy with, and that will lead to disappointment.  I completely understand your frustration with the situation and that the church is very important to you, but I think making some compromises – whether it’s with the church or the reception timing – will lead to a happier day that more meets your expectations.

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