Tips for Planning an Afternoon Wedding

Guests make their way over to their seats, waiting for the nervous, excited groom to see his beautiful bride for the first time. The mid-day sun creates a perfect backdrop, casting bright light on blooming flowers. Bridesmaids start their procession, dressed in long, shimmering, richly-colored dresses. Soft notes from an acoustic guitar float overhead. Inside the reception ballroom, tall flowers in sleek vases are being placed in the center of each table. Champagne is carefully poured into tall, thin glass flutes.

Photo courtesy of New York Dress.

Photo courtesy of New York Dress.

To many, weddings mean late nights and breakfast at noon the following day. Afternoon weddings can be charming and pleasant too, though. If you’d prefer a sunlit reception instead of a starlit one, follow these tips.

Invitations

Your invitations should reflect the formality of the wedding. Many couples opt for an afternoon wedding because they want a simple, casual affair. Invitations set the tone for the wedding, communicating how formal or informal the event is. For an informal wedding, invitations with loopy lettering, colors and fun images are best. Invitations with script lettering and neutral colors are better for formal weddings.

 

Photo courtesy of Not On the High Street.

Photo courtesy of Not On the High Street.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Plan an outdoor ceremony and reception if you’re having a spring or fall wedding. Set up sheer tents for coverage from the sun and inclement weather. During the summer or winter, plan for an indoor wedding. Let natural light stream through the windows for a bright setting or have the curtains drawn for a more nighttime atmosphere. If your heart is set on an outdoor wedding during the summer, wait until the late afternoon, so that the sun will go down during the reception. Mid-afternoon is too hot to keep your guests outside.

Photo courtesy of Loverly.

Photo courtesy of Loverly.

While white candles are a mainstay at most weddings, they won’t be noticed with bright light shining. Unless you’re planning for an evening scene indoors with low lighting, skip the candles. You can also ask the catering service to light them when the sun starts to go down.

Bridal Party Attire

Choose bridesmaid dresses that are semi-formal while still being elegant. Short dresses that end at the calf or the knee are ideal for afternoon weddings. Groomsmen can wear a tuxedo if the wedding is formal or a suit if the wedding is on the casual side. Suits can be in light colors to coordinate with the bridesmaids.

Photo courtesy of Color Attire.

Photo courtesy of Color Attire.

Cocktail-Style Catering

Serve small, cocktail hour foods throughout the day instead of planning for a full meal. Fruit, finger sandwiches, nuts and chicken salad are perfect options for a daytime wedding. Think about the foods that would be served during lunch and then offer these in bite-sized portions. Swap beer and hard liquor for wine and champagne.

Photo courtesy of Elegala.com.

Photo courtesy of Elegala.com.

Music

Afternoon weddings tend to be more subdued and quaint than even weddings. Hire a small band, like a vocalist or guitar player. Alternatively, you can have one instrumentalist instead of a band or DJ. Or, if you have access to high-quality, loud speakers, create your own playlist and play it through your iPod.