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  • Wedding Planning

Mastering Evening Reception Etiquette: Your Comprehensive Guide to Getting it Right!

  • Posted 5 months ago

Twenty Stationery on Go Book It

How To Plan and Invite Guests to Your Evening Reception

If your guest list is growing and you’re concerned about the cost of hosting a large wedding, consider shifting some guests to an evening reception.

We asked 15 brides what they paid for their evening guests and on average they paid between £8-£12 per head. Which is considerably less than a day guest! So it could be a great option for cutting costs, but it is important you communicate it properly.

To help navigate this with consideration for all involved parties—we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to evening reception etiquette!

Your Evening Reception Invitation – Be clear!

Always print a separate invitation card for the evening reception, heading your cards with ‘evening reception’ or ‘evening celebration’ to set expectations. But what exactly should you write on an evening-only wedding invitation? Keep it informal, mentioning the wedding date and expressing excitement to celebrate with them at the after-party.

What do you write on an evening-only wedding invitation?

We spoke to Twenty Stationery to see what advice they had, and this is what they said;

When it comes to invites for evening-only guests, our advice is to be as explicit as possible BUT in a thoughtful way so that they still feel fully included. It’s all about telling your evening guests what they can look forward to, not what they might miss.
For the text on your evening invitations, opt for wording like “You’re invited to our Evening Reception…” and state a specific arrival time such as “Seven in the evening”, to avoid any confusion! If you are using a different venue for your ceremony and reception, we’d recommend removing any mention of the ceremony venue to ensure your evening guests know exactly where they’ll be able to join in the fun.
We’d also suggest adding a few details on what they can expect on the night including any food that will be served and when the party will finish, but remember to keep it short and sweet. Why not end your evening invites with a note to say how excited you are to celebrate with them, or that you’re looking forward to meeting them on the dance floor!
Finally, don’t overlook the aesthetics of your evening invites. Try to incorporate the same styles and design of your day guest invites for continuity, and take some time to think about the message you want to share. Remember your stationery is a first look into your wedding and will set the tone for your special day.”


Twenty Stationery on Go Book It


How to welcome your evening guests

Besides providing a welcome drink and some evening food, you could consider holding off some of the special moments until they arrive. Most couples like to make sure to be available to greet these guests as they arrive (top tip: once you have greeted your evening guests, make sure to have time for yourself, it is your wedding day and it goes so fast!)

Get photos with the reception guests

Bride and groom dancing at evening reception

As your evening guests arrive you may want to consider getting photographs with the ones who are most special to you. Remember to mention this to your photographer ahead of time so they it gets done before he/she finishes up!

Want to be extra organised and plan your wedding photos ahead of time? Download our free Wedding Photo Checklist here 

Save Special Moments for Evening Guests

A great way to make sure your evening guests feel welcome and included is to wait until they have arrived before you do your first dance. By waiting until they arrive, you ensure they don’t miss this significant moment. The same goes for the cutting of the cake (if you are doing it). By including evening guests, they will feel an integral part of your day.

When should I send an evening invite?

Timing is key when it comes to sending out evening invitations. Aim to send them out approximately 8-12 weeks before the wedding day. This gives your guests ample time to make arrangements and ensures they feel included in your celebration.

Do evening guests get wedding favors?

This is a personal preference. If you want our honest advice though, we would say no. If we are even more honest, most wedding favours get left behind. So unless it can be eaten or drunk, don’t bother!

Do evening guests get food, and if so, how many evening guests do you cater for?

Providing food for evening guests is a standard gesture, even if they may not partake in the main meal. The number of evening guests you cater to depends on your budget and preferences. Chat to your catering suppliers or venue on what they generally recommend.

So, there you have it; our top tips on inviting your evening reception guests to your wedding! Now all you need to do is send those invitations and wait for the RSVPs to start rolling in! Happy wedding planning, enjoy every second!