Your wedding day is one that you spend so long planning that you’ll wish it will never end. But whilst it may sound appealing to have as long as possible to celebrate your nuptials tiredness will creep in. You would be surprised how a day full of excitement (and alcohol!) can have an effect on you and your guests’ stamina. As a result, you need to set a finish time.
Before 2012, the exchanging of the vows were limited to between 8am and 6pm. Now, couples can tie the knot 24/7 and thus celebrations can take place day or night and go on for as long as you like.
You may therefore be wondering when the best time is to shut up shop and end your wedding celebrations. There are a number of aspects that can determine the finish time of your nuptials.
So, take a look below at the factors that may influence when your wedding will finish.
Where is your wedding taking place?
If you are holding your wedding at a specific venue, then you may be subject to certain rules and regulations that dictate when you have to finish your wedding.
If you are holding a DIY wedding, in a marquee in your back garden or a field, then there are very few or no restrictions on when you can finish. It’s a last man standing job!
Either way, it’s best to have some structure in place, and to know how long it takes to get from your ceremony venue to your reception.
Hotels and Country Estates
Many wedding venues will require your music to finish by a certain point, such as midnight or even 11 o’clock.
Turning off music at a certain time is very often the case with hotel venues and venues in close proximity to residential areas. Your DJ or wedding band will most definitely disturb guests or people nearby and keep them awake!
However, a venue like this also gives you flexibility because of on-site accommodation. Providing rooms for your guests at your venue means that your loved ones don’t have to worry about taxis or driving home themselves. Moreover, if your guests are all staying in the same hotel they can choose to stay up and drink at the hotel bar.
Designated Wedding Venue
A given venue may also not have the necessary license to serve alcohol past a certain point at night. A 24 hour alcohol licensing is possible here in the UK. However, establishments have to purchase a special license to serve past a certain point – and not all venues do.
This means that some venues will only serve alcohol up to 11 o’clock. We’re sure your guests will start to leave once the bar is closed.
Furthermore, a country venue with nearby neighbours may not appreciate your wedding party drunkenly partying outside until the wee small hours. Be mindful of your venue and plan the day accordingly.
A DIY Venue
If you have chosen to pitch up a marquee in a field for your reception, or else are hosting at you or your friend’s house, there is little to stop you from going all night long.
As mentioned above, be mindful of neighbours and other people who might be affected. That is to say, you may not want to go to sleep, but others might. If you truly are in the middle of nowhere then you are only restrained by what you hire in terms of DJ, caterers, bartenders and heaters!
When is your wedding taking place?
True, you may have got the week off work for your wedding and honeymoon, but not all will be so lucky. If you choose to have a midweek wedding, you may wish to start and end your wedding earlier. Likewise, a Friday or Saturday wedding is perfect if you plan to party until the following morning.
The time of year should be taken into account, too. For instance the nights are lighter for longer in spring and early summer and drinking cocktails outside will be perfect. On the other hand, the sky falling dark earlier in winter leaves the perfect opportunity for fireworks.
Furthermore, what time of day do you plan for your wedding to start? To clarify, that is what time do you want to start getting ready, and when do you want the ceremony? Work both backwards and forwards when planning your wedding day.
One of the most common formats is 4pm until 10pm; that is, ceremony starts at 4 and the reception closes at 10. This enables a lie-in before needing to get ready in the morning, and time for staff to leave before midnight. However, you can choose to have everything finished by 4pm, or not even start until 7pm.
Meanwhile, if you started around midday, people may start to wind down around midnight. The amount of evening guests you have invited will also have an impact on the time your occasion finishes. If you have kept it intimate and not invited too many extra guests then the evening may fizzle out early doors anyway.
What else is important?
When your wedding reception finishes may also be effected by the entertainment you have planned. If you have a comedian, magician or funfair rides during the early evening and then move on to the dancing a bit later, the time will fly by for your guests because they will be occupied.
However, if you have invited quite a few reception guests, they may not appreciate an early finishing time! The extra influx of guests can also give your celebrations a burst of energy and encourage the celebrations to go on until the early hours.
If you have invited children to your wedding then you can either end the party earlier, or find a way of encouraging them to leave. Moreover, you don’t need to advertise the finishing time. Whilst it is important that you have at least a vague idea, most guests should get the message when the DJ calls the last dance, the bar calls last orders and the lights go up.
An average ‘last orders at the bar’ time for many weddings is 1am, but remember that you don’t have to stay to the end if you have arranged for the clean-up!
Your wedding day is an amazing event, and with all the planning and preparation you put into organising it, the last thing you want to think of is the end! But it is worth a quick ponder, and it’s a question that your venue will ask you, so, be prepared!