Emma's answers to Ending the evening
My fiance and I would like to leave our reception at around 9pm. I was just wondering whether printing 'carriages 9pm' in the invitations was a polite way of telling people what time the reception will end. I've seen this printed on another invitation, and had never heard of it before.
'Carriages at xx' is indeed a formal way of telling people what time the party will end. It stems from the Regency, I believe, when smart people would be dropped off at their ball for the evening by their personal carriage, and the carriage would return at a given time to pick them up.
I certainly think that if you are intending to end your reception any earlier than usual licensing hours its polite to tell your guests, and 'Carriages at 9' is a neat way of doing this.
Alternatively, you might decide to put something like 'The bride and groom will be leaving the reception at 9pm.. The bar closes at xx' - traditionally the party would continue after the bride and groom had left for their honeymoon.
Emma is here to help with all of your wedding-related dilemmas. Whether you're having problems with your dress, wedding or partystyle, flowers, decorations, or even wedding nerves, she's here to help you!