When most people think of weddings, they probably think of a late-afternoon ceremony followed by a cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing all night and into the early morning. However, if you've always pictured an event more intimate and low-key to celebrate your love – or your options are limited due to the influx of weddings postponed to next year, you should know that there are alternatives to the traditional evening wedding.
Though evening weddings are still the most popular – and likely always will be – morning weddings have increased in popularity and are a wonderful way to have a more relaxed affair that may even give you a longer timeline to spend with friends and family. That being said, though nuptials held in the morning hours are more common than they have been in past years, they are still not the norm and it can be difficult for brides and grooms desiring this type of event to find wedding planning ideas for a style that fits a morning wedding.
We've featured a couple morning weddings on InsideWeddings.com – one daytime wedding at a restaurant in Chicago and another garden brunch wedding in California – and they were both absolutely lovely! Though it often includes a wake-up call for your guests, everything about a morning wedding day can be just as romantic as an evening reception. Some couples even choose to have a morning ceremony and brunch wedding reception complete with Bloody Marys and a more-casual dress code, followed by an after-party at a different venue to get the best part of each type of celebration!
Should you choose to have a daytime wedding, discover our tips and suggestions for how to plan a picture-perfect morning celebration that will stand out from the endless dinner and dancing receptions that fill wedding season.
Photo by Elizabeth Messina; Planning and Design by Mindy Weiss Party Consultants
Be Fair with the Getting-Ready Schedule
Take extra care to ensure the bridal party goes to bed on time the night before, as getting-ready time in the morning will be tight as it is. Even late-afternoon wedding ceremonies require early call times for your wedding party, so keep your dearest friends in mind when making any plans for the weekend. For example, do not plan any bachelor or bachelorette parties that weekend! If you'll be having a rehearsal dinner the night before a daytime wedding, consider ending it at a reasonable time to make sure your bridesmaids won't be too exhausted as they dress for your celebration.
Don't Start Too Early
While you're of course excited to say "I do," it's important to have some time in the morning to get ready and spend time with your nearest and dearest as you get into your wedding gown! We recommend starting the ceremony no earlier than 9AM (and even that’s cutting it close). You don’t want to inconvenience your wedding guests and have them dread an early wake up as soon as they receive your invitations – even though they may have availability that early doesn't mean you should have it that early.
Start the Day Off Right
Have a coffee bar and pastries available pre-ceremony – some people need a little something to start their day! It's also a kind gesture to serve brunch-style alcoholic beverages. If you’re not having a dry wedding, morning cocktails and mimosas are sure to be appreciated by your guests.
Include an Array of Dining Options
Since breakfast and brunch foods are typically not as costly as dinner, it's nice to provide a wider variety of options for your guests. As you're wedding planning, get inspiration by thinking of what you love to see on a brunch menu when you go out to eat! Your loved ones will likely appreciate the same selection you enjoy – from pancakes and French toast, to egg breakfasts and bagels, and even burgers or sandwiches for those attendees who prefer the lunch-style items on a brunch menu!
Don't Skip Dessert
Unless you don't have a sweet tooth at all – and you don't feel that your attendees do either – don't skip a sweet treat after the meal! For dessert, consider a lemon cake or perhaps even a gourmet coffee cake. If you'd still like to participate in the classic wedding cake cutting, you can do so with something more appropriate for the morning, or make it your own and have a full-on wedding confection. We've also seen couples incorporate stack of pancakes or waffles for fun, unique ways to incorporate the tradition!
Consider Alternative Activities
Since many attendees are unlikely to be in the mood for dancing early in the day, plan some fun alternatives to dancing! Guests will likely be more in the mood to play some lawn games – like corn hole, croquet, or horseshoes – as a fun post-brunch activity. Of course, we still encourage you to have a first dance if you want to!
Be Photo Ready
While the "first look" has become popular for many reasons, but mostly so brides and grooms can take wedding photos before the ceremony to maximize time, the opposite can be true for morning weddings. Speak with your photographer about taking photos after the reception. It'll still be the afternoon, and you’ll be able to streamline the day for your friends and family – while not taking away from their experience with you.
Make the Most of the Day
Since your ceremony will begin earlier, it'll also end earlier. Be sure to enjoy the rest of the day together as newlyweds! Nighttime weddings can often leave everyone so tired that it’s difficult to get one-on-one time as a couple at the end of the night; however, if your wedding day ends at 4PM, you can spend the evening spending quality time with your spouse!