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The Pros and Cons of Planning an Evening Wedding to Cut Costs

Written by    Last updated: February 24, 2012

For those of us counting the pennies, having a late wedding may seem the perfect solution to cutting costs. The idea is that the later in the day that you wed, the less time you will have to entertain your guests and thus the less food and drink will be consumed, saving you pounds. Perfect, right? Well, yes and no…

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Having a late wedding (you can get married as late as 6pm in the UK) and holding only an evening reception will save you money, there’s no doubt about that. You can save hundreds on the cost of canapés, a full three-course catered wedding breakfast and late buffet by either serving just the wedding breakfast or cutting straight to the buffet. You’ll also have hours and hours to get ready and to have your venue decorated in the morning. The easiest way to put on a low-budget wedding is to have a late ceremony followed by a buffet and bar (where your guests pay for their drinks.) Hiring a local village hall and buying your buffet from a local bakers or supermarket catering service will also save you money.


The main argument against having a late wedding (apart from the fact that you’ll miss out on half of your special day!) is that once the sun starts to go down in the afternoon, you miss the best light of the day – which means that your wedding photos may be compromised. For those of you who have already crossed the words ‘wedding photographer’ off your list, I urge you not to be too hasty!  Your wedding day is just one short day and, believe me, the time will fly by in a flash. Once the day is over, all you will have left of it are your memories and those all-important wedding photos. Memories fade quickly but wedding photos last a lifetime (or more!) A good professional wedding photographer may seem expensive when you are costing everything up in a tight budget, but it’s an investment that’s worth it once your big day is over. If you have a late wedding ceremony at 5pm even in summer, you’ve missed the best light of the day and may not be able to have any outdoor photos taken. If you’re choosing your venue for its picturesque grounds then it would be a great shame not to use them in your wedding photos. Looking back, in years to come, on dark and gloomy indoor photos of your big day seems such a shame!

So the choice is yours – save on the day and risk less-than-perfect photos or spend that little bit extra and have photos that make the most of your surroundings and the light. The compromise here could be to have your wedding photos during the early lightest part of the day, just you and your fiancé and then marry and celebrate with your guests later into the evening. That way you get your perfect pictures and you save on having a late wedding too – everybody wins!

Find more great advice on our Wedding Planning pages!

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