Evening Guests: If they don’t make the day cut, are they really worth inviting?

 Photo credit:  Alexa Loy

Photo credit: Alexa Loy

If you can’t decide whether to have evening guests, take the advice of one of our brides (let’s call her Barbara) and get married far, far away so that the decision is made for you. Sound advice and something I practised myself. But if your wedding is not an 8-hour trek for the majority of your guests the question is: If they don’t make the day cut, are they really worth inviting? According to Babs and many others the answer is no; you either like people enough to have them at the whole thing or you don't. Half-including people feels wrong, and doing so is an extra hassle near the end of an intense day. Tell us how you really feel! However, on the other side of the fence are another large chunk of our brides who said that having evening guests is a really nice way to include the people in your life who perhaps you aren’t as close to but who do play a part, especially if your venue (and budget) is restrictive on numbers. Not to mention a handy card to play when your parents are trying desperately to put all their besties, neighbours and the dog walker’s cousins on the guest list.

Now given our love of hindsight we wanted to find out which side has the most regrets after the day. Interestingly, no one in Babs’ camp was banging their head against the table wishing they had invited extras for the evening. But there were a few (not all I might add) from the other side who said that given the chance again they wouldn’t bother, for the following reasons:

  • Due to delays it’s hard to get right the arrival time of evening guests. Often they are waiting in the wings during speeches or standing like lemons in another part of the venue while the day guests scoff the remains of the wedding breakfast.   
  • There can be a notable shift in atmosphere once a new crowd appears. Prior to their arrival everyone has sussed out the other guests, people are pretty comfortable with who’s who and then.....BAM, 30 more people turn up.
  • It’s hard enough making sure you spend time with all your day guests, often brides found that they spent little or no time with their evening guests.
  • Years later, a lot of those who were ‘just’ evening guests no longer feature in their lives.
  • And finally, a bride can only hold it together for so long. Some found themselves a little bit tipsy when greeting the newbies….  

Those that did stand firm in their decision to go for a double party concurred that it is essential that you are ready to receive the new recruits. Having activities such as cake-cutting, photo fun and/ or the first dance saved until their arrival should make them feel welcome. If you can nail that then the more the merrier.

Now enough of the blessed Brides' opinions, what about the evening guests themselves? Turns out some do indeed feel awkward when turning up – you’re not sure where anything or anyone is and everyone’s a little bit sozzled. You can feel like a spare part that’s arrived too late to the party. Others quite like not having to worry so much about their outfit and don’t mind jumping right in to a good old knees up. Especially if you never expected a day invite, it's 10 minutes down the road and you’re of the nosey persuasion.

Thankfully, like nearly everything wedding related, the conclusion is that there’s no right answer! Which camp are you in? Do you roll your eyes or fist bump your partner when you receive an evening-only invite?

 Photo credit:  Alexa Loy

Photo credit: Alexa Loy