Caring For your Guests at a Late Night Wedding
While traditional wedding-day timelines are still very common, more creative schedules are gaining in popularity. Morning ceremony and a brunch reception? Go for it! Cocktail party where you say "I do" in the middle of the room, halfway through the night? Sounds great! Ceremony after sunset, a late dinner, and dancing 'til the wee hours? How fun! The only downside to that last option, however, is that there's a lot of time to kill beforehand — and the chance that guests will get hungry or tired. So how can you make a late-night wedding work for you? Our experts weigh in.
First things first, make sure guests really know that your wedding starts on the later side. Even with the start time listed on your invitation, you'll want to make it abundantly clear on your wedding website, as well. Whether you offer activity ideas for earlier in the day or recommend your favorite place to grab a late lunch so they're not starving by the time dinner is served at 9 p.m., making an effort to help guests fill up their day will help emphasize that it's not the usual start time.
Once guests arrive for your wedding, take care of them! You might be more limited in a house of worship, but if you're having the ceremony at your reception venue, consider setting out a snack and a drink for guests to grab on their way in, then ask them to raise a glass and toast with you as you finish your vows. Be sure to have food stations ready to go for cocktail hour so anyone whose stomach is rumbling can take care of it quickly. Keep the setting and music upbeat. Opt for a funky jazz band over the string quartet, and consider hiring a mixologist to provide a little extra entertainment while you mingle. Even if you're planning a full dinner with no interruptions, consider going straight into a short dance set (three or four songs) right away to get everyone excited about the party to come — and ready for dinner! Again, keeping the energy high is key, so save things like the first dance and father-daughter dance for after dinner.
As the evening progresses, a great way to keep guests grooving late into the night is to have snacks and fun shots passed on the dance floor. An espresso-based sip would be a great boost, alongside a tray of sweets for a little sugar rush. You could also set up a gourmet coffee bar, with different flavored syrups and toppings. Incorporate a few surprises to keep guests guessing, and to have them looking forward to every last moment.
Wedding Rules You Can Break
When you put your wedding planning hat on and start making decisions about what you want to include in your wedding and what you want to leave out, it's important to make a list of wedding traditions and etiquette rules that you don't prefer or like very much. You can easily toss them to the curb and leave them out of your big day, or you can adjust them a bit so they fit your wedding style and personality. To get you started, here are four wedding etiquette rules you can totally throw out the window.
1. Having the Bride's Parents Pick Up the Bill
For ages, it was almost assumed that the bride's parents paid for the wedding. But that's no longer the case. Now, it's more of a conversation. Both families sit down with the couple and chat about money and set a budget before the wedding planning starts. It's even common, now, that the couple pays for the entire wedding themselves.
2. Having Party Favors
Skipping out on party favors is an okay thing to do at modern weddings. It will cut cost down and even save you from buying items that most of your guests will forget to take home with them.
3. Having a Seating Split During the Ceremony
You no longer have to have the bride's family sit on one side and the groom's family sit on the other. Mixed seating is okay to do and even makes the newly fused together families feel more comfortable at the ceremony.
4. Walking Down the Aisle
If walking down the aisle is something that makes you feel jittery or even suffocates you with nerves, you can skip that tradition altogether. You don't have to do a long straight walk. You can have the ceremony start with both of you up there together or even walking down the aisle together.
Who Needs Flowers?
Flowers play a huge role in weddings. They top tables, line aisles, are woven into hair, and of course are carried by the bride and her bridesmaids and pinned to the grooms' lapels. But beyond the members of the wedding party, who else do you need to include in your budget for personal flowers? Our experts have a few guidelines to follow as you're figuring out for whom you should get flowers.
Not surprisingly, this question comes up all the time when clients meet with their florists. So what's the answer? "The real answer is that there are no rules, and you can choose to give flowers to whomever you wish," says Liz Griffith, owner of Siloh Floral Artistry. "Every wedding is unique to the couple, and just because it has been done one way or another doesn't mean it has to be your way."
However, there are a few things to keep in mind as you decide who will be getting flowers on your wedding day. "Think about whether giving someone flowers to wear or carry will make them feel honored, valued, or special as a part of your wedding. And remember their personality. Would they want to carry or wear flowers, or would they rather not? And third, think about whether it would be practical or possible for them to wear or carry a flower. These questions will usually help a couple narrow down who they would like to give flowers to," Griffith explains.
As a rule of thumb, she recommends that anyone who will be prominent in pictures or part of the processional be given flowers to wear or carry, including:- The Bride- The Groom- Bridesmaids- Groomsmen- Parents of the Bride and Groom- Grandparents- Ring Bearers or Flower Girls
If you wish to honor other people in your wedding, giving them flowers to wear or carry is a great way to do so. "Remember that this isn't necessary and can be decided on a case-by-case basis, but that it could be a meaningful option," says Griffith. Additional people to provide flowers for could include:- Siblings not acting as bridesmaids or groomsmen- Ushers- The Officiant- Extended Family Members- Ceremony Readers- House Party