The Pros and Cons of an Evening Wedding Ceremony

An evening wedding ceremony location decorated with lights and candles.

The average wedding ceremony starts around 5:00 pm. The couple exchanges vows and rings, the guests have cocktails, and everyone dances well into the night. But these days, there is another option gaining popularity: a wedding that starts AFTER the sun goes down.

Evening weddings are a fun and unique way to tie the knot—particularly if you and your fiancé are night owls. But like all things, this type of wedding isn’t for everyone. Here are a few pros and cons to help you decide if an evening ceremony is right for you.

Pro: It’s SUPER Romantic

Just picture it: you and the love of your life, your faces lit by flickering candles, saying “I do” under the stars. It’s the kind of scene you’d see splashed on the cover of a romance novel! And if you have an evening wedding ceremony, it can be a reality.

Evening weddings have that magical, ultra-romantic vibe that will have everyone swept up in the drama and elegance of it all. If that’s the kind of thing you want for your big day, you should really consider waiting until sunset to start the wedding march!

Con: It (Can Be) SUPER Expensive

Any event that starts after 6 o’clock is automatically considered fancier. Because of this, venues and vendors may charge you a premium for your evening wedding ceremony! Additionally, venues may charge more because evening weddings become late-night receptions—and that means even later clean-up for their crew.

Of course, every venue is different. It might be possible to save money on your evening ceremony if you negotiate well, or if you pick a less popular day (for example, Fridays tend to be less in-demand than Saturdays).

Pro: Fewer Sunburned Guests

A tent at a wedding reception with a pink sunset behind it.

Have you ever attended a summer wedding and had a lovely time—only to wake up the next morning feeling burnt to a crisp? If you sunburn easily, that’s probably happened more times than you can count. You wouldn’t want your guests to suffer the same fate, right? Getting married after dark is an easy way to avoid that!

Evening ceremonies also mean saving money on things like canopies, fans, or misting systems. Your guests will be able to enjoy the evening air without the risk of burning or overheating.

Con: Fewer Guests in General

A bride and groom kissing at their evening wedding ceremony and holding sparklers.

While your guests might enjoy an evening wedding ceremony, you might discover that many of your guests take issue with the late start time. Your Great-Aunt Betty goes to bed before Jeopardy, so a wedding that starts at 7 is definitely not an option! Similarly, you may have guests with kids who can’t find a sitter for such a late event.

Of course, if you’re planning a small wedding, you may not mind having a few “Regretfully Declines” on your guest list. Just keep this in mind before you send out the invites, lest you suffer some hurt feelings.

Pro: You Can Skip the Wedding Feast

An evening wedding ceremony typically starts after dinnertime, which means that your guests probably won’t show up hungry. This can be a great thing; instead of devoting a chunk of your reception to eating dinner, you can simply offer snacks and small bites at a buffet table.

The snack-only reception gives you plenty of time to dance, mingle, or do literally anything else you want to do on your special day.

Con: Nighttime Photos Are Tough

Your wedding photos will likely be some of the most cherished photos you take in your life. They’ll be the images you show your grandkids, the memories of the happiest day in your relationship…but if you have an evening wedding, there’s a chance they might be hard to see.

Great night photography is not easy, and even a seasoned wedding photographer can struggle if they’re not used to shooting at night. Make sure you have a photographer who knows how to deal with low-light settings (again, this may cost extra).

There are serious benefits to getting married in the evening, but there are some drawbacks that couples should know about. Make sure you think about these details when planning your wedding, so you can have the ceremony of your dreams—whatever time it takes place.

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