(Closed) How late is too late for dinner?

posted 10 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
406 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2009 - Small church ceremony with mountain-view log cabin reception

ooh- this is a tough one. Honestly, I think 9 is just too late for a full dinner, and guests will be hungry by then. Have you considered doing the carriage ride before the ceremony and taking pictures before? That way you could have your ceremony still start around 6:30-7 and have time for dinner and dacing. Our ceremony was supposed to start at 6:30 (ended up starting around 6:45), and toward the end of the night I felt like we were just starting to really get things into high gear on the dance floor. Your guests will appreciate an earlier dinner, and you won’t be rushed while taking pictures. You’re not going to want to leave your reception for a carriage ride when you’re already celebrating with your guests. 

Also.. one thing to keep in mind: pictures taken during daylight are usually easier for the photographer, and at least for me, gave us better results. Just some thoughts! If I could do it again, I would move our ceremony a half hour earlier (6:00) to allow for more dancing. If that’s important to you, I would consider moving the ceremony time. Whew! ok I’m done.. best of luck!

Post # 4
2470 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I agree that 9 is awfully late for a full dinner. However, it really depends on your guests. If you have children or elderly/seniors there they may not like a late dinner. Also consider commuting time for your guests. If they have a bit of drive after the reception, they may not appreciate leaving a reception later.

I’d suggest upping the ceremony up a bit and perhaps doing your carraige ride separate.

Post # 5
1 posts
  • Wedding: August 2009

What about 8:00? Our ceremony starts at 7:00 and with a cocktail hour and passed hor devours the earliest we can have dinner start will be 8:00. I guess there is nothing we can do but I just want some confirmation that it isn’t too late….I hope.

Post # 6
304 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I think 9pm will be too late for a full meal, especially if you have young kids and older family members in attendance.  I would imagine that the young kids would get hungry and finnicky.  The older family members in my family eat early, so they would probably complain (but they like to complain)!


Post # 7
289 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I’m in pretty much the same boat, olallafishy! Our ceremony is at 7 as well…and we still have to take pictures afterwards!

I do agree that that 9 might be a bit ate for a full dinner… 

We’re doing a buffet rather than a served dinner. I liked the idea of just having heavy hor devoures but I was outvoted by pretty much everyone. Still, I think the buffet will be a nice way for people to get what they want without having a rigid, planned dinner…which somehow translates in my head that it doesn’t matter what time it is. (?)

Post # 8
596 posts
Busy bee

I agree that 9 is a little too late for a full dinner.  Your guests will be super hungry by then!  Can you take pictures before the ceremony?

Post # 9
225 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

9 is really too late for dinner; I would rethink your schedule.

Post # 10
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Personally I think the evening weddings whose ceremonys START at 7pm should all skip the full dinner and do a cocktail or dessert reception. I think dinner should be served by 7 at the latest. (plus it’ll save you a ton of money that way). ESpecially seniors and people with children who normally eat dinner by 5pm. People are going to be starving- I know I would be starving if dinner wasnt until 8 or later. I’d probably end up eating before I came, eat a few appetizers and skip the actual meal.

I also have to agree about the photography aspect- pictures in the dark dont look so hot. In order to get the right exposures photographers have to use a lot of fill lights and flash and people (especially your skin) looks MUCH nicer in natural light.. you get more of a healthy glow than you do with artificial light.

Those are just my two cents. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

Post # 11
1116 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

We recently went to a wedding that started at 7:30pm and we had a buffet dinner shortly after 8.  It was a little late, but we had some snacks/appetizers around 5ish to tide us over.  But like everyone else, I think 9 pm would just be too late for me to eat a full dinner.  I’d just serve some snacks/desserts/drinks afterward if you want t keep your time table as is. 

I’d also recommend trying to take pictures earlier in the day.  We were with our wedding guests from 4pm until anywhere from 8-11 pm, and it still didn’t feel like enough time.  The pictures are really important, that I don’t deny, but it’s really important to celebrate with your friends and family – they’re all there for you!  As a guest, I really appreciate weddings where I get some good face time with the bride and groom….and when they don’t dissappear for long periods of time during the festivities.

Post # 12
193 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

I think that a 9:00pm dinner is very late for your guests. First off, people typically have dinner between 6-7pm. By the time dinner comes around, and then is finished your older guests and children are going to be very tired and leave shortly after. I think that a way to get around this is to push your ceremony up by an hour or two. Have some sort of cocktail hour while you are taking pictures, and then have your dinner closer to 7 or 7:30 pm. The reception is really for your guests to celebrate… You don’t want them hungry!

Post # 13
12 posts
  • Wedding: December 1969

I agree that 9:00 pm is too late for a big dinner.  I like your idea of having a cocktail-style reception with hors d’evours instead of a big buffet.


Best of luck!

Post # 14
452 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

if you’re having appetizers and cocktails before dinner, then it’s okay to do dinner at 9. i think people will understand that if the ceremony is at 7:30. as long as you have something for them to eat and drink during the hour you’re gone, it shoudln’t be a problem. just amke sure you word it on the invitation that there will be cocktails, dinner adn etc. people will know and will probably just eat something light beforehand.

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