Wedding Wednesday Discussions – Does Everyone Need an Evening Do?


wedding wednesday discussions

Today I am opening up the blog to you as we talk about the evening reception. Weddings are great, love in abundance, the ceremony, outfits, friends and family, drinks, food and then the evening do. Now I LOVE a good party! I love a good drink and a good dance, the louder the music the better! However I am also aware that some other couples are quieter and may prefer something a little more sedate. The evening reception can be some people’s favourite part of the wedding celebrations, while for others it can be a complete nightmare.

So today I wanted to be slightly controversial and suggest that maybe not everyone needs an evening reception.

wedding entertainement 1

(Photo by Paul Joseph Photography)

I think that many couples go along with the wedding plans and just add band, DJ or evening entertainment into their plans because that is what’s expected of them, but who’s to say that the part has to go on untill 12am/1am/2am, it could indeed finish after the wedding breakfast at say 7/8pm!!
I remember a couple of years ago I planned a wedding for a couple who had a lot of elderly guests coming to their wedding and who were planning on getting off on their honeymoon at about 10pm, which meant the celebrations ended at 7pm after the wedding breakfast and the speeches. None of the older guest cared to stay on and ‘party’ and the bride and groom were way more interested in getting in the taxi to the airport! Was there anything wrong with this? Not at all, after all it was their day, no one else’s, so it was their choice to make.

wedding entertainement 2

(Photo by Jay Mountford)

As I said I love a good party, at my wedding we were up till 5am dancing, drinking and splashing about in the pool! (well it was Ibiza after all). However there are many good reasons not to go all out for the evening do and keep things short and sweet.

  • Budget – If you are on a tight budget keeping the evening reception shorter can save a whole heap of money. No entertainment bill, no evening food, the photographer can leave earlier; all in all you could save thousands.
  • Older Family – If your wedding guests consist of mainly older members then you may want to end the celebrations early. With a large proportion of the guests leaving early is their much point carrying on with only a half full venue?
  • Time on your own – Maybe you want to spend the wedding night alone? Maybe you want to head off on honeymoon? Having the whole evening to yourself could just be the start to your wedding you are looking for as Man and Wife, much more romantic than on a hot sweaty dance floor?
  • Other kinds of entertainment – Maybe your day has been chock-a-block with alternative entertainment, village fete games, garden games, board games. Maybe this themed of wedding just doesn’t warrant a disco or band? Maybe your guests are happy to carry on into the early evening and then leave?
  • Not big drinkers – You and your guests may not be big drinkers so may not be used to or want to stay up late. Maybe you prefer lower key celebrations and would prefer a quieter way to celebrate.
  • An early start – If you are starting your wedding ceremony early, you may not feel you want to carry on into the evening. Some couples opt for a breakfast ceremony, and literally have a wedding breakfast or brunch; this could mean that the whole day is over by mid-afternoon! This approach is useful is you’ve chosen London venue hire for the event, as it means there’s still plenty to do around the city for anyone who wants to keep things going, while everyone else can get the tube or train back home.
wedding entertainement 3

(Photo by Chris Milner)

Whatever you’re reasoning, not everyone wants an evening do. So the point of this post is to say that if you don’t want an evening reception, or feel it’s a waste of money, or something you just won’t enjoy, then don’t bother. No one is telling you you have to! No one is gong to think you strange if you want the day to end at 7pm or 8pm. After all it’s your wedding day nobody else’s, so do what makes you happy!


I’d love to hear from you, what are your thoughts? Did you finish your wedding earlier than normal, or are you currently planning your big day and not planning in an evening reception or still undecided if an evening do is for you. Or do you feel a wedding isn’t a wedding without a big party?
Whatever your views, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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    Karen Whybro

    Great post & something that is rarely discussed! We recently catered & styled a wedding where the couple really didn’t want an evening do. They had quite a large number of guests & just wanted to go home & relax after the long day so it all ended at 6pm with evensong back at the church. A few people I spoke to thought this was a shame but actually it was really lovely. I loved the traditional element to it and also that the couple didn’t have to stress about anything other than the ceremony and a relaxed tea party afterwards. They did exactly what they wanted – and that is the main message I try to get across to brides. Do exactly what YOU want to do because it’s YOUR day.


    Thanks for this post. I don’t usually comment but had to on this topic as it is something that we have been dealing with for our wedding next year. Neither me nor partner are drinkers and we are both quiet people having a small wedding with afternoon tea. We decided not to have an evening do partly due to cost but also personal inclination. Some people have been disappointed by this or think its odd and we are nervous the day might feel a bit unfinished. But this post shows its not so odd and it’s ok.


    Great post – it struck a chord with me.

    We aren’t having a traditional evening do, we’re getting married next August – we aren’t big party people, and disco/dancing are not us. So we found a venue that is us, we’ll start the wedding mid afternoon, get married at 4, have some nibbles etc then we’re having a fancypants meal which will take a good few hours and then we plan on rolling out of a seats and chilling out talking to our family and friends until bedtime.

    We have the whole venue to ourselves and everyone can stay over. We could have done it all earlier and finished by 5 but we wanted to share breakfast with everyone in the morning.

    We can’t wait and everyone I have spoken too loves the idea.

    Fiona Pickles

    We had a really small wedding, only about 25 people in total, immediate family only really and didn’t have an evening do. After the wedding breakfast (we didn’t have speeches either!) we stayed around the hotel chatting with all our guests, some of whom had travelled a long way so it was lovely to catch up properly with them, then we headed off to another hotel at approximately 9ish. Even though I love a good party and could dance all night long, it wasn’t something we wanted for our wedding and it suited everyone else who was there. I’m sure the hotel thought it extremely bizarre but it worked for us Fiona x

    Mike Plunkett

    I’m only recently engaged to my boyfriend and we’re thinking of maybe getting married in the next 18months to 2 years. It’s great to read this as we were also thinking of not having an evening reception on the day. The ceremony will be only a handful of close family and friends followed by a meal, we’ll probably just book a table in a local restaurant rather than hire a venue. I have a very large exteneded family though so we’re thinking of just doing a buffet in a pub on another day to have a bit of a party with them and our wider circle of friends too. This way we can enjoy the wedding day without the pressure of rushhing on to something else and not having enough time to spend with those closest to us, there’s every chance it could develop into a late night but only the ceremony and restaurant booknig will be pre-organised. Having a laid back reception on another day means we can arrive to that refreshed and full of energy!


    It’s great to hear your stories and so glad to hear that people aren’t being forced into something they don’t want for their wedding. It’s your day after all!

    Kate Shepherd


    Well from a Industry point of view I think, a great idea is to just have a late meal, almost dinner dance style, we have had a big increase with this option along with a Afternoon tea wedding reception with people leaving at 6pm. People are starting to put there own stamp on there own day, and not following the crowd which is great!

    Atul Gupta

    Nice post and I think its different point of view for each person. Some prefer evening wedding because they don’t have time in day and some don’t prefer because its difficult to attend any wedding after working whole day in office. Everything is mainly depends on time schedule. So I think we should manage our wedding as according to our family and closed relative and It doesn’t matter how many person was there with you or not. If they are closed relative they will stay anytime , otherwise doesn’t matter ‘evening or morning’. Just don’t care and enjoy own wedding.


    If we do get married we decided only family. So that’s a total of 8 guests. His mom and would only be civil for so long. We reckon we’d just go for afternoon tea and then maybe go to the honey moon or a spa and be on our own


    I completely agree with this post, although I have been fraught with nerves over the whole ‘no wedding reception’ idea for months. We have just set our date for next summer and close friends have been hinting we really ought to have a wedding reception. We are getting married at 4 at a lovely historic building with a hog roast and a cash bar, followed by cake at the same venue, accompanied by music (maybe live if the budget stretches) and calling it a night at 8. Afterwards, close friends are invited to town to carry on the party in a club. I feel really excited about this plan of events, although I can see some people gasping in disbelief.

    Alberta Bride

    I’m planning a picnic in the park 50 ppl lots of flowers a few hours with a great photographer and all our close friends and family, some speaches juice coffee some finger foods and then drive off in grandpas old truck with cans rattling off the back; all before sunset.


    We are not too keen on an evening disco either. The type of music we like to dance to, will probably not be liked by most of our guests anyway! What does everyone suggest to do after the wedding breakfast? Would having some music playing in the background and socialising be too boring? Any ideas?

    Karoline Stanton

    We got married back in the 1980s and having an evening party wasn’t on the agenda at that time. I feel that it is something that became fashionable a few years later. I remember that many of our friends who got married around this time had booked an overseas honeymoon that involved their plane taking off on the evening of the wedding day or the next day, so an evening do wasn’t practical. Times have changed I know, but I do remember feeling so exhausted by late afternoon on the wedding day that I was glad to spend some quality time with my new husband before jetting off on our honeymoon. Having a sit down meal after the ceremony also meant that there was plenty of time to catch up with people we had not seen for a while which made the day even more special for us.


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