Wedding day and night guests – how to decide who makes the cut

Day and night guests – who makes the cut?

The structure of a UK wedding is generally split into three parts – the wedding ceremony, wedding breakfast and wedding reception. Most marrying couples choose to host guests for the day and night as well as invite guests just for the evening celebration, a fact that makes deciding who makes the cut – and who doesn’t! – particularly important.

In this blog post, we answer the most common questions surrounding wedding day and night guests, including how you can decide who makes it onto which guest list.

Why do we have all-day and evening guests?

While the ceremony order of service is etched in tradition, the decision to split the wedding into three parts serves a very practical purpose.

With the cost of the wedding breakfast constituting a large proportion of the wedding budget, cutting guest numbers goes hand-in-hand with cutting costs. With this in mind, inviting some of your guests just for the evening can slash hundreds of pounds off the overall cost of your big day.

The size of your ceremony space may also influence your decision to invite some guests for the day and night, and others just for the evening. Due to the space restrictions of the average ceremony venue, many couples traditionally host their ceremony and reception in different places, however, with the Country House Weddings group of venues, your whole day and into the evening is catered for in one location.

Who should I invite for the day and night?

The personal aspect of the ceremony is another reason why marrying couples cut their guest list into two. Your wedding vows may after all be private, and something you’re only comfortable sharing with close friends and relatives. Many couples choose to invite just their nearest and dearest to share their wedding ceremony and reception as a result.

This ‘A-list’ should feature all the people you couldn’t get married without, such as immediate family and close friends. You can then work outwards beyond this list of non-negotiable guests to decide who else you’d like to celebrate with you all day and who would be better suited as an evening-only guest.

Your chosen venue will have a certain number of guests it can accommodate so use this as a guide. Don’t be tempted to fill it to capacity if you don’t have to though. There’s no shame in wanting a smaller wedding – in fact, they’re all the rage!

What about my evening-only wedding guests?

Outside of your A-list will be the work colleagues, old school friends, distant relatives and acquaintances who didn’t make the cut for the daytime celebration. You should also include everyone who participated in your hen or stag parties and other pre-wedding occasions.

Guests with work or childcare commitments may prefer to be invited for the evening only if scheduling problems make it difficult for them to attend day and night, so be sure to find out your guests’ circumstances before deciding on your final guest list. You may want to account for plus-ones for certain day guests or members of your wedding party if you know their significant others too.

Again, it is important to consider the capacity of your venue before deciding on the guest list for your reception.

Do I need different invites for both sets of guests?

While your wedding invites may be similar in style and sent at the same time, the content of your evening-only invites should be different. You need to make it clear who is invited to what, and as wedding invitation designer By Jo explains, it’s all in the content:

“Your guests really just need to know the date, time, venue and how to reply. If you think it would be helpful you can also give them a few extra details such as accommodation suggestions, recommended local taxi companies or information about any transport you might be putting on. I often recommend a simple flat card invitation, with a design based on your day invitations.”

Whether you’re in the process of finalising your guest list or searching for the perfect venue to accommodate all, our collection of country house wedding venues is well worth exploring. Click here for an introduction to all our venues and to find out more.

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