Guests can be the biggest problem you have when planning your wedding – I know it was for us when we got married. Guest lists are a tricky affair, even at the best of times. When you throw into the mix difficult family relationships, friends that aren’t really that close to you, partners of guests etc then you can spend hours and hours trying to figure out who to invite and who not to invite. So why should you invite people who are evening guests only?

It helps you stick to your budget

Place cardsLet’s face it, when planning a wedding your budget is quite high on the list of things you will constantly be considering. Unless you are lucky enough to have a bottomless purse you will in some way be monitoring your spending for the day. You will no doubt have an idea of where you want the majority of the spending to go – it may be that the food is the most important aspect of the day and where you want to spend most of your money, or you may think that the entertainment is the most important part of the day and therefore be allocating more of your budget to that area.

Wherever your spending plans take you, having some guests who are evening guests only will help control the spend in the day. The wedding breakfast is a very expensive part of the day and in most cases the food and drinks cost will outweigh the majority of other costs. For each person that attends in the evening only that’s one less person to buy a very expensive lunch for. The cost doesn’t stop at the food – for each person there will at the very least be a meal, a welcome drink, table wine, a favour, maybe canapes, and stationery for the place card, invitation, and save the date card. Evening guests don’t cost quite as much – maybe some food if you are providing evening food and a few added extras if you choose.

Cutting back your reception guest list can very easily cut down the spend for the day.

It makes choosing a venue easier

wedding breakfast room at the Tides Events Beautiful Narnia styled shoot at Longworth HallThere are some extremely beautiful venues to choose from, but when visiting these venues have you asked how many people you will be able to seat for the reception? Having a long day guest list can make choosing a venue very difficult due to this restriction and cutting back your list may be the difference between having your dream venue and not having it.

A smaller venue can actually be the perfect excuse to help you limit numbers, so it’s not always a bad thing! Most venues will have a much higher limit for evening guests because they are “standing room only” and don’t require a dedicated space at a table.

It’s a way to ensure everyone can come

There will be plenty of people that you would like to have come to your wedding, but are you close enough to ALL of them to have them share your really special moments such as the ceremony, and the speeches….. probably not. People such as your co-workers and distant family will be excited for you, and there will undoubtedly be some of them who believe they are very close to you. It can be very difficult deciding where to draw the line between who are day guests and who are evening guests but you shouldn’t feel pressured to invite them to the reception if you don’t really want to. I suggest to couples to go by this rule: if you haven’t seen or spoken to a relative in the past 12 months and aren’t likely to see them in the next 12 months then consider inviting them as evening guests only. Obviously there will be exceptions such as family members who live abroad, but it’s a good starting point. By inviting these people as evening guests only they will still feel like they’re a part of your special day. Also, don’t be afraid to invite one part of a couple if you don’t know them both well. For example, you may be very close to your cousin but you don’t know her new boyfriend well at all. In cases like this it’s perfectly fine to invite your cousin and say that the boyfriend can join her in the evening (in fact he probably doesn’t want to spend the day at a family wedding so early in the relationship so it’s a nice get-out clause for him too!).

It helps the day to flow

men dancingHave you ever been to a wedding where the early evening comes and the party hasn’t begun, or even worse everything has stopped? People are full of food and drink and fancy an afternoon kip, the bride and groom are busy doing the rounds chatting to people, and meanwhile, since there’s no entertainment on the go yet, the atmosphere falls somewhat flat. What happens then if no-one new arrives? The assumption would be that people would continue quietly on as they are until the evening entertainment arrives, and even then by then will they actually be bothered to get up and dance?

Here’s where your evening guests come in. A new influx of people suddenly brings new energy. Your day guests may well know the evening guests and in turn it gives them new people to talk to. The new guests are full of excitement for the wedding day and are ready to party! It’s also a good signal to everyone that the evening part of the day is starting and encourages everyone into a new mindset.


So after this how does your guest list look? Hopefully writing that list is a little easier for you now and you don’t feel so awkward about inviting people in the evening only.


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