Pros and Cons: Late-Night Wedding Receptions

The perks and drawbacks of letting your reception extend far into the evening.

Pros and Cons: Late-Night Wedding Receptions

Photo: Sallee Photography

Planning out your wedding-day itinerary is a perfect combination of exciting and stressful. Getting organized is imperative for your nuptials to run smoothly, so being able to plot everything out for friends and family is important. Before shopping for venues, you and your sweetheart should decide on a rough timeline for the day – When do you realistically want to say your vows? Will you be serving dinner, and at what time? Additionally, a not-so-happy question: When would you like your fête to come to an end?

Some couples desire a short-and-sweet approach to their reception, while others want to elongate the fun and extend the party into the night – perhaps even into the wee hours of the morning. If this is the option that you and your partner are leaning toward, we recommend you look over the main benefits and downsides of having a late-night wedding below:


-   Dance, dance! This is the best option for pairs who really want to get the party atmosphere going during their reception. If you and your partner are envisioning a lively event with plenty of dancing, the more time your guests are given, the more likely they’ll get up out of their seats and onto the dance floor. Besides, what better way to kick off your marriage than an energetic, all-night dance-athon?

-   A longer celebration. Even if dancing isn’t the main objective, extending your wedding will also be lengthening the time you get to spend with your loved ones. You may not feel as rushed to get through the reception milestones, such as the first dance, the speeches, and the cutting of the cake. They say that this part of your nuptials flies by so quickly that it seems like a blur in your memory; however, making the soirée last longer will give you more time to take everything in entirely.

-   The perfect excuse to sleep in. If friends and family have been asking about the itinerary for the day after the wedding, but you and your beloved just want to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet, this may be the option for you. Not many attendees will be up with the sunrise if they’re still exhausted from the late-night festivities of the wedding – it’s the perfect reasoning not to host more guests. You and your new spouse can sleep in and bask in the glow of your new married life.  


-   More expensive. Depending on the wedding packages offered to you by your venue, an event that extends well into the night could cost much more. Additionally, there are many locations that have strict policies on the end times of their hosted parties and may not allow your reception to extend into the wee hours of the morning. You may find it more difficult to discover a destination that can accommodate your ideal timeline.

-   Potential complaints. Unfortunately, with a lively, nighttime party comes grievances – both from guests and from outside spectators. Older attendees, people wearing uncomfortable shoes, parents with young children, and surrounding neighbors may have some qualms with the length of your fête, and though you may not hear these complaints yourself the night of, they may come back to you later. It’s important to respect your loved ones – even if they need to leave early – as well as other hotel guests or local residents.

-   Less chance for an inclusive brunch. On the other hand of the “peaceful relaxation” pro point, if you had plans to host a breakfast or brunch with your close family and friends the next day, you may find yourself out of luck. Even if you and your spouse are early risers, kicking into action with a few sips of coffee, this may not be the case for your wedding party. Take into consideration the amount of sleep that everyone will be able to get before you plan an early-morning event they next day.

See eight stylish sweetheart table designs for your wedding, decide between tall and short table centerpieces, and discover seven reception bar designs to add to your celebration.

Opening photo by Sallee Photography