Saying, “I do,” after dark may not be the most obvious choice when planning a dream wedding, but evening nuptials are genuinely a lovely way to celebrate the beginning of a new family and they offer a number of distinct advantages. First and foremost, an evening wedding gives you and your wedding party a leisurely day to prepare and, considering your long to-do list, the value of this advantage cannot be overstated. Additionally, evening weddings keep the momentum going and are generally easier on guests and participants alike; flowing from ceremony to reception to after party happens organically when everything starts after six. If those benefits haven’t already convinced you that a twilight affair is the way to go, just think about all that’s possible with an elegant evening wedding: twinkling lights, black tie attire, candles, sunsets, and stars. If you’re imaging a wedding with a generous dose of elegance and a dash of drama and the unexpected, an evening event might be the answer for you.
All that said, evening weddings do require a handful of special considerations to ensure success. Keep the following tips in mind when planning your special night:
Lighting, Lighting, Lighting
While sunsets, twilight, and other evening lighting effects provide dramatic and gorgeous back drops to wedding festivities, it’s also true that they provide a challenge for photographers. Make sure you hire a photographer who is comfortable and experienced taking photos without natural light. Plan to have plenty of lighting set up for dinner and dancing; your photographer will be forever grateful! Keep in mind that you can get natural light photos by taking “first look” shots prior to the ceremony earlier in the evening, if that’s something that’s important to you. And, if sunset photos are on your wish list, check times carefully and schedule accordingly to make sure you don’t miss the best light.
Depending on your venue, you may encounter noise ordinances that go into effect later in the evening, affecting your ability to party all night. Check and double-check the rules ahead of time to make sure you don’t get unplugged on the big night.
Partying all night means your guests are going to need help getting home. Don’t take any chances; have plenty of guest rooms available and arrange for shuttles and other transportation to get your friends and family home safely after the festivities are over. You know someone’s going to overdo it, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Evening weddings are just naturally more formal than afternoon weddings. If you want your guests to arrive wearing their very best, an evening wedding is definitely the way to go. Conversely, if your evening wedding will not be formal, you should specify that in the invitation.
While we’re on the subject of attire, let’s talk about dresses for your squad. If you’re thinking that an evening wedding requires your besties to wear floor-length formal gowns, think again; those old rules no longer apply. Long or short, the choice is up to you and your girls. There are, however, a handful of guiding principles that work particularly well when planning an after six style for your crew.
• Length—If formal is the name of the game, floor-length gowns are the obvious choice. Simple, elegant designs such as style 6775 by After Six, are brilliant for evening weddings. This classic, strapless gown with sweetheart neckline and trumpet skirt represents formal wedding attire at its finest. But, if short is more your style, you can certainly make that work for a formal wedding. A number of style details effectively dress up short dresses, including metallics, statement shoes, updos, bold lips, and dramatic jewelry. If you do decide to go short, take a moment to imagine the photos of your crew. Photos of short dresses look better when the hems are all the same distance from the floor and when the (fabulous) shoes are all the same. (If you have besties that are exceptionally tall or short, this might be tricky.) Careful measuring and tailoring are key to getting the look you want.
• Sparkle—Sequins, beads, and studs work really well for partying after 6. These materials add texture and interest and will beautifully reflect your lighting. To pull this look off in a classy (not trashy) way, keep the dress shapes simple and the necklines modest. Jenny Yoo bridesmaid dress and Watters bridesmaid dress collections both include gorgeous examples of simple pieces that really shine.
• Color—Dramatic colors like jewel tones really shine in the evening, but subtler tones also work well. Your venue, the season of the year, and the overall “theme” of your wedding will help guide you to the best colors.
Ultimately though, evening weddings are no different than any other weddings; you want your girls to look and feel great while they stand up next to you on your big day. Brideside.com offers a sophisticated concierge service designed to help you and your crew find dresses that perfectly complement your dress, your venue, and their own individual style. We offer designer dresses at a variety of price points that are available to try on in our boutique or in your home. When you let the wedding experts at Brideside.com help you, it’s easy to find the best bridesmaid’s dresses that go together like best friends.
Imagine saying “I do” in the golden hour of sunset under a pink sky and then celebrating through the night under twinkly lights. If that sounds good to you, then an evening wedding is in your future. Here’s a great sample schedule for a night to remember:
Daytime: Enjoy some extra sleep and plenty of time to enjoy hair and makeup with your squad.
Late Afternoon to Early Evening: Depending on the time of year, this is potentially a golden hour where outside light is at its most beautiful. Use this time to capture natural light “first look” photos and any other formal shots you might like to do with your wedding party.
6:30pm: Begin the ceremony.
7:00pm: End the ceremony. You can have your caterers hand around drinks and canapés while you take photos with your sweetheart and your guests.
8:00pm: 8pm is a perfect time to start your reception. Serve your food (light dinner or maybe just dessert) and make your speeches.
9:00pm+: Now it’s time to dance and party!
Evenings are made for weddings; they are intimate, glamorous, and romantic. For an unforgettable wedding, tie the knot after 6!