Regularly, we are asked to perform at a wedding reception until 1am. From our experience of over 20 years, we apply the following policy and encourage our clients not to extend their reception.
Overall, all good things must come to an end, how this is done is extremely important. After all, a final dance of a wedding reception is as important as the first!
Why midnight is the best time to complete a wedding reception.
Firstly, some of your guests will have been with you since early morning. While it will seem to be the shortest day of the happy couple’s lives, for everyone else it can overall be a long, tiring day.
People of a certain generation may find it difficult to envisage staying on until the early hours of the following day. It is often much more realistic to suggest a midnight finish.
Some of the guests have young families, often they have to relieve a babysitter at home. This is an additional cost to a guest on top of their outfits, wedding presents, hair, makeup etc.
Some entertainers will not perform for an extended period.
Many bands/DJs or other entertainers will not encourage a very late finish for the reasons above and charge significantly more for doing so. If the entertainers truly know what they are doing, they will regularly suggest a “less is more” approach based on their experience.
Your reception should ideally finish on a “high” with as many guests as possible there to share it with you. From the point of view of a couple’s future memories, this is of paramount importance.
It is far better for a couple to remember their reception for who was there, rather than who wasn’t.
“…but you don’t know our crowd.”
Some will have a different outlook. Often we hear the words “you don’t know our crowd” which is true. What we do have is vast experience of human nature in these situations.
Others have their own reasons for a 1 or even 2am finish. For example, a venue will encourage a late finish purely be to “line their own pockets” i.e. sell alcohol for as long as possible. This may seem brutal but it is ultimately true.
However, if the bar is still open between midnight and 1am, this can actually be a very memorable hour where you see your guests off, perhaps have a final drink and take a few moments to review the day which has passed.
Doubtlessly, it will have been the best day of your life. This will help ensure the best memories last longest.