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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.

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