Bridal Buds WeddingWire Blog

De Asks: Is it okay to have an early afternoon reception?

I am having my wedding on a military base and I am running into a big problem (at least for me anyway). The chapel only allows weddings from 12 noon to 2pm due to scheduled 3 pm baptisms and 5 pm Catholic services. They say they do not want to rush people out after the Catholic services because of their fellowship. Do I need to just accept the 1pm wedding with a 2 pm reception? Is it a big deal to have such an early reception?

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  1. Richard Newton

    Richard Newton


    As a rule of thumb, I try not to alter people’s eating habits with mid-afternoon receptions. I would encourage you to have an evening reception. Nice thing about a 1pm ceremony is that, in all likelihood, guests will grab a quick lunch beforehand or plan to do so after, whatever works best for them. Doing an evening reception will also enable them to have the afternoon free and be able to refresh/ reenergize for a wonderful evening event.
    A side note, if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, you might want to put afternoon activity suggestions on your website.

  2. Janelle Clarke


    I’m having my ceremony at noon and the reception at 1pm. It’s not the best but to have an evening wedding it was $30 more pp. Most of my guest are out of town. I don’t think it would be a big deal. Everyone is adjusting their schedules for you anyway you look at it. I wouldn’t worry about it. So far I haven’t heard any complaints about the time being an issue for my guest.

  3. Alex



    My advice would be dependent on what your alternative would be? If you reception was still going to be in the afternoon, than I do not see much difference between a 2:00 PM reception and a 4:00 PM reception. When you also have a ceremony, immediately followed by the reception, you will have more guests attend your ceremony. I would however agree with Richard, in that an evening reception is always more favorable, and allows for easier time management when it comes to taking photos.

  4. Chris Garrow

    Chris Garrow


    Honestly, some of my favorite and most fun receptions have been earlier in the day. If you go that route, it doesn’t mean things will turn out awful. There are advantages and disadvantages for every scenario. For example, I think a lot of people like knowing that after your reception, there is still time to go out and continue the party. Many folks will appreciate getting home at a reasonable hour and will reflect on what a nice change of pace it is to have a fun day without having to sleep in the next. As Rich mentioned, (if you decide to have the big gap) it might be fun for some of your guests to try some of the places or activities you suggest to kill time between the ceremony and reception, but there will be some that feel like they are wasting time. It’s a tough call. I think Janelle hit the nail on the head. Your guests are rearranging their schedules for you anyway so chances are everyone should be fine with whatever you decide. My recommendation would be to really put yourself in your guests’ shoes, and guide them as you might want directed if you were them. Definitely give them some ideas of things they can do… really an extension of the overall experience of your special day.