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The Friday Fight-Out: Evening Only Guests Vs All Guests All Day

Choosing who to invite to your wedding can be an absolute minefield. The more people you invite the more the cost rises and the bigger the venue you require. So what are the options? Stretch the budget to allow for more guests? Reduce the guest list to fit on budget? Or there’s the third option – invite some of the guests to the evening post-meal reception only to lower the cost. But is that a good way to go? Let’s find out as we step into the ring to decide:

Evening Only Guests Vs All Guests All Day

In the Red Corner, arguing for all of the guests to be present for the whole shebang… well she just wants more people to photograph! It’s Dom “The Tog Bride”

In the Blue Corner, fighting for the evening only guests to allow for more people to come and party through the night whilst keeping the cost down… really? Matt arguing for the cost saving argument? Shocking! It’s Matt “The Gormless Groom”

Evening only guests vs all guests all day

Image by York Place Studios

Dom: It’s so much nicer having all the guests there for the full day. If they’re not important enough for you to really want them there all day then harsh as it sounds maybe they’re not people you really need to invite.

Matt: Paying to cater for lots of meals is often the single biggest expense of the wedding day. At anywhere from typically £20 to £60 per head having lots of people for the meal can be incredibly expensive. Having evening only guests still allows them to join in the fun but without breaking the bank to pay for everyone’s meal!

Dom: Only inviting people to the evening reception can feel like you’re rating your friends in terms of who you like enough to invite to the full day. The last thing you want is for your friends to feel like that!

Matt: But if the alternative is not inviting them at all they’re probably not likely to take kindly to that either! Most guests will probably understand that you simply don’t have capacity for everyone for the whole day but would still prefer to be invited rather than excluded completely!

Dom: A lot of guests often have to travel huge distances to get to a wedding – is it fair to ask them to travel all that way and then not invite them for the whole day?

Matt: Let’s be honest, sometimes there are guests that you feel you have to invite but that aren’t necessarily the people you’re desperate to be there. Sometimes just inviting these people for the evening is better all-round solution for everyone!

Dom: Your wedding day is one of the only times when everyone you love is in the same place at the same time. The evening reception is generally the noisiest part of the day, and most difficult to just catch up and have a chat with your guests so by not inviting them to the earlier stages you might miss out on the chance.

Matt: By having an evening buffet as well as the main wedding breakfast often it’s easier to catch up with the late arrivals then. Providing the buffet for them also helps to make them feel more welcome despite only being on the evening list and makes them feel more part of the wedding.

Dom: Any group photos are generally taken earlier on in the day so if you’re looking to have a group shot of absolutely everyone who was at the wedding then having some people turn up late on is going to be a problem.

Matt: For a lot of people it’s difficult for them to get out of work during the day and it’s much easier for them to only come along to the evening reception. A lot of people won’t feel like they can not turn up for the wedding but then come and join the party later, so giving them an evening only invite often makes it much easier on them.

Image by York Place Studios

So those are our arguments but what do you think? Are evening-only guests a good idea? You can register your vote below or join the debate by leaving your comments or finding us on Facebook or Twitter!


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  • Holly Kotzé - April 5, 2013 - 11:37 am

    I’m with Matt! And what Dom probably doesn’t realise is that some of my favourite photos from my wedding that she shot! Are the ones where me and Matty are greeting and hugging our evening guest arrivals! Everyone’s loosened up and ready to party! It really added an extra dynamic for us having fresh faced energy for the evening bash! Worked PERFECTLY! And given that we were already miles over capacity for even the ceremony and half the guests were stood up at the back we def couldn’t have invited any more to the day time!
    Honestly I wouldn’t do it any other way! XReplyCancel

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