Things to Consider When Planning A Daytime Wedding

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

While some couples dream of having a wedding where guests party all night long, you two consider yourselves morning people and don't feel like that has to change for your wedding day! Rather than starting the festivities at 5 pm and staying up til midnight, you want to be curled up in bed with your new spouse by 10 pm, and we so don't blame you. But now that you've decided you want to have a daytime wedding, you realize that you have to ask yourself questions that other couples planning a wedding might not be thinking about. That's why we're here to make sure your daytime wedding is still the stuff dreams are made of.

Setting the Time

As you start thinking about what time to start your ceremony, the biggest factor to consider is the setup and preparation! Wedding setup typically takes about 3 hours for all your vendors to make the magic happen, so you'll want to make sure your venue is willing to open their doors early enough for the time you have in mind. Another option is to complete most of the setup the day before, if your venue will allow.

For just the bride's hair, makeup and dressing time, it takes about 2 hours, and you'll also need to consider any travel time and the ability to wake up without feeling immediately rushed out the door. If you're getting ready at the venue and have an 11 am ceremony, for example, you'll want everyone fully ready by 10:30, so hair and makeup should begin at 8:30 am. As you consider waking up, getting showered and ready for your day, and traveling to your venue, you could easily be looking at a 6 or 6:30 wake-up time. With that in mind, we recommend starting your ceremony no earlier than 11 am.

Keep in mind that with an early ceremony, there likely won't be as much time for photos beforehand, so if you want to include a first look or getting ready photos, you may need to begin getting ready earlier. Chat with your photographer about having most photos happen after the ceremony and decide what photos you want to prioritize before.

Etiquette and Invitations

While daytime weddings are awesome, they aren't the norm, so your guests might not be expecting an early start time. Be sure to draw special attention to the time on your save the dates, invitations and wedding website so that no one misses it! If you know that many of your guests will be traveling into town for your wedding, be sure to set up a hotel block that's as close as possible to the venue so guests won't have to travel far in the morning.

You'll also want to be mindful of the fact that not everyone is a morning person like y'all are. If you're set on having a sunrise ceremony, you'll want to consider keeping the ceremony intimate and inviting a larger crowd for your brunch or lunch reception later in the day. For any weddings starting before noon, it's a welcome gesture to provide a pre-ceremony coffee & juice bar to help guest be fully awake and present as you tie the knot.

Set the Formality

We've all been there - the guest who gets a wedding invitation and immediately begins asking all her co-workers what to wear. Be kind to your guests by setting the formality so their Google search doesn't fill up with "What to wear to a brunch wedding." The general expectation is that wedding guests will be wearing daytime attire rather than formal evening gowns, but you still get to set the formality.

If you're going the casual route, mention that blue jeans are welcome; for semi-formal, you can recommend sundresses and dress pants; and if your dream brunch wedding is a mix between the Annual Bass Brunch at the Palace and Blair Waldorf's wedding to the Prince, mention dress suits and cocktail attire.

Book the Right Vendors

Because daytime weddings aren't as common, you'll want to talk to each potential vendor about how they would handle a daytime wedding. With most vendors, you should feel comfortable asking if there is a discount since the wedding isn't at a common time - but never get offended if the vendor sticks with their prices.

For hair and makeup artists, you'll want to have a clear picture of how long the process will take, especially considering if you want bridesmaids or moms to get made up. With photographers, ask if they can handle high sun photos and see if they have examples, since the sun's position can greatly effect how your photos turn out. You'll want to check that your venue, planner, DJ and any other vendors will be able to arrive to set up early, and ask about realistic set up times so you can be prepared. And of course you'll want to take with your caterer about all the delicious options they can provide...

Setting the Menu

As you consider the formality, think about the style of food service you'll be hiring. A more casual wedding is well suited for a cocktail style reception, while a formal sit down lunch leans semi-formal to formal. And once you set the formality, it's time to think about the menu! Brunch food is kind of the best, in my personal opinion, and you can't go wrong with a brunch spread of all your favorite goodies like fresh fruits, pastries and bacon. Lunch menus allow so much creativity because you create lighter, more playful versions of dinner entrees, and your favorite foods can easily find their way onto the menu.

While you're thinking about food, you'll also want to consider your bar and dessert. When it comes to serving alcohol at a daytime wedding, guests are likely to drink less than they would at an evening reception, so you can easily cut costs by volume alone. This gives you wiggle room to have fun with your specialty drinks - for brunch receptions, mimosas and Bloody Mary's are sure to be hits, while a lunch reception pairs well with light, fruity drinks like sangrias and margs. For dessert, you can absolutely go the traditional cake route, but you can also get playful with options like waffle cakes and crepe cakes to keep with the brunch theme.

Entertaining Your Guests

If you opted for a daytime wedding, having a packed out dance floor likely wasn't your top priority. And good thing, because guests are way less likely to want to dance in the middle of the day. Because of this, you have the options of creating a shorter reception timeline or providing alternative sources of entertainment. Since you won't need a band to hype up your guests, you may want to consider a harp player or violinist to provide light background music while guests enjoy their meal. Yard games are great ways for guests to have fun during your reception.

And since the wedding is going to end earlier than guests are used to, it's great to provide recommendations of fun activities in the area for guests to enjoy afterwards, especially if folks are traveling into town. Give guests a map of the town you're getting married in, and pin point your favorite restaurants, bars, and hang out spots so guests are still celebrating you through the evening.

Want more tips & tricks to plan the wedding of your dreams? We want to work with you! Let's chat today.

Let's get social!

Follow us on Instagram @beautybudgetevents to keep up with all the fun.


“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." - Mark 10:9

Proudly serving North Carolina and beyond.