Late ceremony - General query

Hi there, 

We are still in the very early stages of planning, therefore, nothing is set in stone just yet, however, I've been looking at ways to reduce costs and I'm interested in having a ceremony later on in the afternoon around 3pm, but have some questions I'm hoping you can all help me answer. 

Example order of the day:
Ceremony - 3pm
Photos & Drinks - 3.30pm
Food - 5pm 
Cake Cutting & 1st Dance - 8pm
Cake served as evening nibbles at 8.30pm 

My question:

- I only want very close friends and family at my wedding ceremony around 25 guests in total, therefore, do the evening guests arrive between 3.30pm-5pm and join in with maybe a buffet or do they still arrive later on in the evening around 7pm and only have the wedding cake as nibbles? 

Thanks :)


  • I personally don't think that's enough food. Wedding cake isnt a meal so I would say you need proper evening food for your all day guests at least. 
  • Do you think 8.30 pm would be too early for more nibbles? I'm torn between what options I want, I was thinking something along the lines of a two-course meal for my day guests or an afternoon tea style buffet and then if I was to have additional nibbles in the evening, what have people had for their evening food?

    The venue I'm looking at is very flexible with food options, from baps to bowl food and BBQ's, I just can't decide what I want. Most of my family inc. myself are very picky eaters hence why I thought of a two-course meal instead of a 3-course as most starters seem to be options I don't like inc soup which most of the family also cannot stand. Any ideas on food would be helpful. 
  • So my friend had a wedding later last year, i think the ceremony was 4pm, and there was maybe 15-20 people invited to the ceremony itself, then we went back to the venue where we were met by a few more guests, maybe to total 35-40 and had a hog roast (probably 5:15ish by this point.

    Evening guests arrived about 7:30pm but the speeches had over run so they arrived part way through, and then at about 8pm she had a standard buffet table out, and i dont know if its down to where the table was ~(in the corner of a very dark room) but it was barely touched. 

    I do personally think its better to have too much than not enough, and i think you could pop on a decent enough of a basic buffet spread for £100/£150. 
  • I definitely suggest a proper buffet, often a lot is left but the majority of people don't actually really like cake or simply forget its there to be eaten so there needs to be an alternative, is this regard, when your evening guests turn up depends on your budget, if you can afford to feed everyone properly then invite them to come earlier but if you are limited on budget then invite them later around 7pm when there will be more simpler food/nibbles. one of the biggest costs in a wedding is the head count because of food so probably a thing to bear in mind!
  • Laura349Laura349 Posts: 1,001 New bride
    We’re getting married at 2.15pm I july this year, and have 30 guests at the ceremony so have had similar questions to yourself! 

    We’ve decided to have a buffet as well as the cake cutting etc as we thought people would still be wanting some food as it’s a long time between dinner & tea and drinking alcohol 😂 

    hope this helps!
  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 890 New bride
    We had a later ceremony and food at 5-6ish. We then had cake later on. We left out crisps in case people were hungry but they didn't get eaten. So in my experience a later buffet would have been a waste of money. But it depends on how big your earlier meal is (ours was a 2 course hot buffet -main and dessert) and whether the evening guests partake in it. If they don't they might not have dinner first, in which case they'll be hungry!
  • I came on here to ask a similar thing really. We are thinking of having the ceremony at 3-4pm but I can’t decide if I want to separate day and evening guests or just have everyone there (but this is some 140 people). My original plan was possibly:

    Ceremony 3pm or 4pm
    reception drinks and maybe canopies while photos are taken

    speeches and toast 5.30-6.30 ish

    6.30/7 evening guests arrive (if we separate). First dance and disco

    BBQ/Hog roast 7.30/8?

    what do people think? I’ve never been to a late ceremony but I don’t think I want the wedding breakfast.
  • MrsPope2018MrsPope2018 Posts: 1,335 New bride
    We recently went to a late ceremony wedding and they did it in the following way... (also they didnt have seperate day/evening guests everyone was invited to the whole thing) 

    3.30pm arrival drinks
    4pm ceremony this went on until about 5pm as they had 2 ceremonies for each of their religions) 
    5-6pm canapes while photos were being taken
    6.30 sit down wedding breakfast 3 courses
    Approx 9.30 cake and hot evening food of chicken/veggie wrap type things. 

    This was a very big wedding and they had a lot of guests to feed, I'm not sure how many people ate the evening food but I did as I was pregnant and hungry 😂
    Dont know if that's of any help but it's the only late wedding I've been to. 
  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 890 New bride
    Sparklybride I would bring forward the evening food to before the disco for two reasons. Firstly, your guests probably lunched around 1pm so might be hungry (especially if drinking) and secondly it might break up the disco if people start dancing and then stop for a meal. Just my opinions though!

    MrsPope that much food sounds incredible! At 25 weeks pregnant I think I would have enjoyed it too! At least until I got home and tried to sleep...
  • MrsPope2018MrsPope2018 Posts: 1,335 New bride
    @OmRum it was the week before our 12 week scan so no one knew and I was soooo bloated by the end of the night 😂 it was good though! 
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