(Closed) Lunch reception vs. evening reception

posted 13 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
173 posts
Blushing bee

I attended a lunch reception, and 4 hours was plenty of time. The reception I went to didn’t even take that long. I think it’s because there’ll be less dancing– not because people won’t dance, but because you won’t have the die-hard partiers dancing into the wee hours of the night.

Really, 4 hours is plenty. Maybe even too long, unless you really space out the events. You ought to have plenty of time for pictures, too, because your ceremony won’t go more than an hour (right?) and you can get in tons of photos in the hour after that and still have 4 hours for the reception.

Post # 4
142 posts
Blushing bee

I like the idea of a lunch reception, especially lower cost and no gap. 

 But I’m biased, because that’s what we’re doing =P  You can always go out somewhere later for an afterparty (which is also what we’re doing).  That way you get the fun of a longer party, without the cost, and in a much more relaxed atmosphere, to boot!

Post # 5
22 posts

we’re having a lunch reception because it was going to save us so much money by doing so.  we’re having a morning ceremony at a church, which leaves us at least 4 hours for the reception.  we didn’t want dancing at our wedding anyway, so it worked perfectly for us. 

as for the posed pictures after the ceremony, work with your photographer and wedding coordinator so that they get everyone together quickly after the ceremony to take photos.  i think 4 hours is enough time at the reception for your photog to take candid shots of everyone.  if your church is really close to the reception venue, then that’s even more time saved.  i’m not a huge fan of a seven hour time gap between the ceremony and reception, so i say have a lunch reception.


Post # 6
42 posts

I would go Lunch bc you probably want your guests to attend both.  If you spread them out people are less likely to attend both.  I went to a wedding at 2 with a 7 reception at which the immedite family were the only to attend both from what I noticed.  Some attended the ceremony and didn’t show up to the reception others opposite. 

Post # 7
156 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

our church ceremony is at 10am, and we’re also having a lunch reception, 12-5.  we are concerned about people not dancing/ weird afternoon wedding vibes so we’re having another party @ 7 at our favorite bar! no gap & we get to party all day/night long. with a little of the money you save, you can host a cocktail hour w snacks at the 2nd party.

Post # 8
27 posts

i agree with people above. if your heart is set on the 10AM ceremony at the church, i would go with the lunch ceremony. i myself am going for the lunch reception because of the huge cost savings and our site is more beautiful during the day. if you’re worried that there isn’t enough time, sooometime, you can ask your venue if you pay a little extra, to have the place for one more hour (my site does), although i’m sure that this is often not offered because the next ceremony is starts right after… but i definitely think 4 hrs is more than enough time…that’s over 5 hrs of your guest’s time! and i agree with everyone that an AM ceremony with an evening reception is way too much of a gap in time. that means that most people have to basically spend the entire saturday waiting around since most ppl likely don’t live super close to the church/reception site..

Post # 9
1315 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Do your pictures before the ceremony so you can get right to the reception.


I have been to 2 different lunch receptions that were about 4 hours long.  It didn’t feel rushed or too short. 

Post # 10
143 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

Do lunch!! Save yourself some money and splurge on something else you really want.

Post # 11
38 posts
  • Wedding: August 2008

If you do the lunch reception, why not do your family formal pictures etc while everyone is still there, and then take advantage of the great afternoon light and have pictures with you and your new husband after the ceremony? Have a bridesmaid touch up your make up and hair, and take your time with the photos.

Post # 12
109 posts
Blushing bee

I think a lunch reception would be wonderful to attend.  Also you and your groom could always escape with the photographers right AFTER the reception and have a fantastic photo session with just the two of you in your favorite locations and then have an afterparty in the evening.  You could buy a cute short dress for that! Wow that sounds so fun I am jealous myself now.

Post # 13
251 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2021

A 10am-4pm block at a venue should allow for plenty of time.  If the ceremony is an hour or less, and you start the reception at noon, that allows you an hour in between to take photos, etc.

When you think about it, I don’t think you’re really cutting yourself short, the timing is very comparable to an evening reception, which would run at about the same timing (1 hour or less for ceremony, 1 hour cocktail reception while B&G take pics, then 4 hour dinner & reception).

A day wedding is lovely…especially if you choose a cook outdoor venue for people to enjoy.  You can do a "cocktail hour" while you’re taking pics, and serve brunchy type appetizers and mimosas, lemonade, etc. The only thing you might miss out on is the dancing part of things, but who knows?  Your crowd might be moved enough to boogie during the daylight anyway.

Post # 14
1 posts
  • Wedding: May 2010

Hello!   I am also doing a lunch time reception.  

There is a lovely place in Williamsburg, VA that I fell in love with.   I wish I hadn’t even gone there to even look….now no other place will do.   They don’t have a food minimum, but charge for the room and that depends on the size of room you get.    I love the place so to be able to afford it we are having a lunch reception.    Plus having a lunch reception will allow us to be able to take more wedding pictures around the lovely property after the reception since it will still be day light.  Which is a huge plus!!!   I am already praying for a beautiful sunny day for 15 May 2010!!!   🙂 

Do lunch receptions still have a DJ or band for dancing?

We are both older and the first time(and last!!!) marriage for us both….I will be 44 and he will be 49 when we wed.   Most of our friends and family are 55 plus, but I still want to dance.    We aren’t drinkers or big party people, but I still want to dance!!!!

Any input about the DJ or band for those who have attended lunch receptions would be appreciated.

 Have a great day,


Post # 15
1407 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I think lunch receptions with after parties are becoming more and more common. This is what we were doing and when I first started planning it, I felt weird, but now I am very excited at how special it will be! We are having a 10:30am ceremony with an 11am-ish brunch immediately following. We aren’t having alcohol or dancing – for us, this is actually an advantage because I come from a very conservative, religious family that actually opposes both those things. The atmosphere will be the "marriage" of an elegant garden party with a family reunion. Then, later that evening, we are planning an after-party for any adults that care to come, with heavy hor’s d’eourves (enough for people to fill up on but not quite dinner), a limited bar & a DJ. We will have our first dance & family dances then. Not only does this work for my sensitive religious situation, but I think drinking & dancing fits better in the evening. While I know some people have had great wedding receptions in the afternoon that are all out parties, if you have reservations, why not just commit to the more restrained, elegant atmosphere of a lunch reception and save your partying for the evening? If you don’t have a DJ/band or a bar at the reception, you can put that money towards the after party, and if you choose an after-party venue that doesn’t need much decoration, like a cool, cozy bar, the expense isn’t really that much more, and since you already saved on having the lunch reception, it will probably come out to about the same, but you get the best of both worlds!

Post # 16
33 posts
  • Wedding: July 2010

I plan on doing a lunch reception too, but having our photographer do something with us a few days beforehand in terms of getting some good shots. That way when we are going from ceremony to reception there are less pictures to do, and we get to the reception that much quicker!

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