I was involved in an interesting debate recently about the etiquette surrounding splitting your wedding guest list in half, by creating day and evening invitations. Some loved the concept and others loathed it.
Is it ok and perfectly acceptable to invite certain guests just to the evening celebrations of your wedding? Will guests see it as an insult? Like they’ve been demoted?
An insult? No way! Sometimes it’s just not financially possible to feed everyone during the day! If people see it as an insult they weren’t very good friends in the first place, Brooke, Newlywed
I think evening invitations are a bit harsh,but totally understand the need for them (regarding money and wanting to have people there)… I often wait on tenterhooks as I think it kind of defines your relationship with the couple.. and i guess we’re always hoping we’re the friend/family member that is near the top of the list. Jemma, Team Married.
It’s fascinating isn’t it the psychology and feelings associated with wedding guest lists and the assumptions and meanings we place behind receiving a day v’s evening invitation.
When we were conjuring up our guest list – Mr Nu Bride HATED the concept of evening guests. He felt it was disrespectful. Associating day invites for VIPs and evening invites for people who weren’t important. Alright, alright Mr Nu Bride, calm down. Disrespectful….That’s a bit harsh isn’t it?
Image via Etsy by Wishmade Cards
I tried to talk him round, but he wasn’t budging at all, he was adamant that his guests should and would be limited to day guests only. As for me, I ignored him (of course lol) and saw nothing wrong with opening up invites to include evening guests. I saw it as an opportunity to invite even more gorgeous people to share in our day that wouldn’t have been financially possible as day guests.
Inviting evening guests is okay IF the couple pays for an open bar. To make guests come after AND make them pay for their own drinks is a big no-no! Elisabetta, Wedding Planner | Linen and Silk
I was just having this conversation with someone last night, not specifically about wedding evening invites, but about weddings and the choices of the bride and groom. Anyone who doesn’t respect the bride and groom’s choices, doesn’t care about them in the right way. It’s not about me, it’s about their special day. Celia, In a relationship
I am also beginning to hear more and more about couples inviting guests to the ceremony, then asking them to retreat and then come back again for the evening reception, cutting out the big meaty money chunk in the middle….food. I wouldn’t personally recommend this option unless the guests you are asking to travel back and forth live right on your venue doorstep – otherwise it could be a logistical nightmare for them.
As a guest – I have no issue with being invited as an evening guest, because I understand weddings cost money and there is also a level of intimacy that the ceremony and daytime celebrations bring. So, if you do not have a super close relationship, it’s completely understandable that you might not be invited to or want share the whole day.
But ultimately your invitation choices should be nobody else’s business but yours right? While you should certainly be considerate, couples shouldn’t be made to feel like they have to justify their invitation choices.
I think, if we all start to accept that there absolutely is a hierarchy system with day / evening invites the less of an issue this is. For example, we have friends, we have best friends, we have family, we have close family. We have acquaintances, we have work colleagues. We share more personal information with some, more than others. So why wouldn’t this be reflected in who we invite to our weddings?
Personally I loathe the concept. It’s like turning up to a party late and we all know how awkward that is! However, it all depends on the plan of the day. The last thing you want to do is have evening guests arriving into the same room where the other guests have just had a meal. My first thought would be “Where do I sit”, all the seats would be taken by the other guests. Ricky, Ultimate Wedding Magazine
For many couples, splitting their guest list in half makes a huge and positive impact to the guests they can invite to share their wedding day with them, often meaning they can have a larger overall guest list and can focus on quality during the day instead of quantity. But for some, like Mr Nu Bride, the concept of evening invites are a complete and utter insult. Here’s the best of both worlds….
Yup. Suffice to say, if you haven’t already discovered along your wedding planning way – the BIGGEST expense is the price per head for food and drink.
So quite simply, the more guests you invite – particularly during the day, the more your wedding will cost. It seems completely illogical to put yourself into marital debt, because you are worried about upsetting someone if you invite them to the evening and feel obligated to have them as a day guest. If you can’t afford a large guest list, you have to find ways to cut down costs and this a useful way of doing so.
Avoid Guest List Disputes
Image via Etsy by Feel The Magic
Splitting your invite into daytime and evening guests can save money and it can also dilute some guest list politics. (Yes you know they type lol) These little critters almost always arise when your beloved or family want to invite long-lost friends, ex-partners (yes, really), or relatives that you have never even met and probably don’t really want to be spending some of your wedding budget on, effectively, a stranger. Evening invites can be a GREAT compromise!
On the flip side – just having a day guests means everyone gets comfortable is settled for the entire day and you don’t need to worry about interrupting the flow of your day and there is no offence caused or any ill-feeling around ‘VIP’ syndrome!
Splitting your day in half means you can focus on quality and not quantity and enjoy an intimate wedding ceremony.
This option might be appealing especially if you are worried about being in front of lots of people, or if those giving speeches are nervous about large crowds. It also means you will be able to spend a good amount of time talking to and spending quality time with your day guests.
Celebrate With More People
By opting to have smaller selection of day guests, will mean you can afford to have a more generous overall guest list by inviting more of your favourite celebrate with you in the evening
Guest Ego Wounded
Some guests may be disappointed when they realise they are not invited to your whole day. Most of your friends and family will understand, most won’t even mind and will just be happy to celebrate with you….but there will always be some who might. Some who will take be disappointed or may even offence. Just make sure it’s not your mum or best friend invited to the evening, that will cause a riot. lol!
To ease the blow ….we informed some guests in advances. For example I invited some cousins to the evening only – I sent a private message / phone call before invites out, just letting them know how much I wanted to celebrate with them and boogie on the dance floor in the evening and that we had opted for an intimate ceremony and that their parents would be ‘representing them all’ for the day. They didn’t mind at all.
Timing: Interrupt Your Flow
Guests who have been with you all day will have already settled well into the wedding atmosphere.
You will need to consider at which point you want your evening guests to arrive so that the ‘flow’ is not interrupted and that they do not arrive too early! (Do you really want your evening guests to arrive when you’re in the middle of a mouthful of pudding, in the middle of a speech and having to ask them to step outside? Awkward!)
1. Make sure your wedding invitations clearly state it is an evening invite and the arrival time for evening guests
2. Make sure your evening guests are greeted by your wedding party or host and are made to feel as welcome as your day guests.
3. Where possible make sure you have a separate room or bar area where they can be greeted with a drink when they arrive, so they don’t walk into the middle of a wedding breakfast that is running over!
4. Think about what time you want them to join you. A good and natural time to have them, is after the wedding breakfast, especially if you are changing or turning around rooms, this is a natural break in the ‘flow’ of your day and means they can be included in some of the formalities like the cutting of the cake and first dance for example.
6. Consider having images or brief video footage from the ceremony on display on tablets or via a projector, so you’re evening guests get a feel for what they missed during the day and you all get to reminisce too!
What do you think ladies and gents? Will you be splitting your invites in half and having daytime and evening guests? Do you loathe them or love them?
Evening invitation image in header by: Wedding Invitation Boutique