white balloons set up outside for morning wedding

Morning Weddings: Pros, Cons, and Ideas

Apr 15, 2022
By Wedding Spot

Thousands of couples all over the world had to postpone their weddings amid the pandemic, and now we’re experiencing the “post-pandemic wedding boom.”  As venues began to re-open, couples scrambled to reserve available dates to prevent postponing their dream day once again. With so many couples on the hunt, and a limited number of venues available, some engaged couples went a unique route. Enter, morning weddings.

In this post, we cover all things morning weddings. From planning tips and menu ideas to the pros and cons of morning weddings, we explore the ins and outs to help you decide how early in the day to say, “I do.”

Learn all about morning weddings

Whether you’re struggling to find an available venue, are planning a wedding on a tight budget, or are just starting to consider having a morning wedding, we can help.

What are morning weddings?

Morning weddings are exactly what they sound like: wedding ceremonies that take place in the morning. Most morning wedding ceremonies begin around 9 or 10 am and last 3-4 hours total. They may include additional events, such as a rehearsal dinner or cocktail hour, but logistically, the majority of morning weddings include only the ceremony and reception or are ceremony-only events.

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Morning wedding ceremonies often have a unique style and charm that separates them from more traditionally-scheduled weddings. Having a relaxed atmosphere, newlyweds have an opportunity to spend intimate time with their friends and family. Morning weddings are also popular for destination weddings, waterfront ceremonies, beach weddings, and weddings in tropical locations.

How much do morning weddings cost?

The cost of a morning wedding can vary greatly from venue to venue depending on the size of your guest list, requested services, and setup needs. Some venues offer ceremony-only morning wedding pricing as well package pricing, while other venues are more restrictive.

Want to host your wedding in one of the most popular cities in the country? One World Theatre, a fairytale wedding venue located just 15 minutes outside Austin, Texas, offers morning wedding packages starting at just $3,000.

Do you dream of having a wedding in paradise? Get married at Haiku Gardens, a private luxury venue nestled in the Haiku Valley in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Restricted to Saturdays only, Haiku Gardens offers à la carte morning weddings starting at a minimum of $3,800.

Should I have a morning wedding?

Before booking a venue or sending save-the-dates, go fishing for feedback from your friends and family first. Float the idea to potential wedding party members, parents, and other important guests. If you receive a lot of pushback from loved ones, consider the headache you may face moving forward.

Rather than springing a morning wedding on unsuspecting friends and family members, weigh the pros and cons of hosting a morning wedding with those closest to you before committing.

Pros of morning weddings

1. More venue availability. Many engaged couples have a hard time locating wedding venues with evening wedding availability on a date that works for them. Couples in high-demand areas affected by the post-pandemic wedding boom may have better luck searching for venues that host morning weddings.

2. Lower venue rental costs. Wedding venues typically charge less for morning wedding packages and services, as they tend to be scaled back. As many popular venues earn most of their profits hosting large evening events, they may have morning wedding restrictions in an effort to minimize the staff and services required to accommodate your event. Venues may offer limited food and dining services in the morning, have guest list restrictions, or only make designated event areas available for morning weddings, resulting in lower rental costs. The Copper Creek Event Center in Springfield, Utah, for example, offers discounts for morning weddings, but does not host them on Sundays.

3. Budget-friendly menu options. Serving wedding guests a brunch-style menu can save engaged couples on a budget a fair chunk of change on catering costs. Many delectable breakfast favorites are made with affordable ingredients: eggs, flour, sugar, and so on. In addition, muffins, pastries, and other gourmet breakfast treats can be purchased at relatively low costs when bought in bulk.

4. Relaxed atmosphere. Morning weddings tend to be more casual than late-afternoon or evening weddings and have a more laid-back dress code for wedding guests and the wedding party. Engaged couples often choose to dress down for morning weddings as well. Of course, couples can choose to have a formal morning wedding with fine dining services and a black-tie dress code, but asking guests to don ball gowns at 9 am may not go over well.

5. Honeymoon-friendly timeline. Are you planning an epic honeymoon that includes complicated or early-morning travel plans? If so, consider hosting a morning wedding with the reception and celebrations wrapping up in the afternoon. Engaged couples will have plenty of time to double-check their tickets, pack, and get to the airport early without rushing.

6. Beat the afternoon heat. If you’re hosting an outdoor wedding in the late spring or early summer, avoid asking your guests to battle the intense mid-day heat and opt for a morning wedding instead. Greet your guests in the early hours of the day, after the dew has dried, but before the high temperatures settle in.

7. Plenty of time to party. After the reception, keep celebrating with close friends and family members at your wedding after-party, where the fun keeps going. Take a boat ride, spend the afternoon playing outdoor wedding games, or simply enjoy spending the day in each other’s company.

Cons of morning weddings

1. Tired guests. Sleepy morning weddings guests may be less enthusiastic than afternoon or early-evening weddinggoers.

2. Early call times. Everyone will be up early — very early — for a morning wedding, especially the engaged couple and wedding party. If you already know you’re not a morning person, perhaps an early afternoon wedding would better suit your style.

3. Complicated travel arrangements. Hosting a morning wedding has the potential to make travel plans more difficult for guests. Saturday is the best day to get married in the morning. Hosting a Sunday morning wedding may require guests to book an extra hotel night or fly out a day later than usual.

4. Limited morning wedding services. Couples may find it difficult or more expensive to book early morning wedding services. Many wedding vendors work late into the night to accommodate evening receptions and may only offer morning services at a higher rate (if at all). Depending on which resources are available near the wedding venue, couples may struggle to find affordable wedding services, such as hair, makeup, entertainment, catering services, and other vendors.

5. Venue regulations and restrictions. High-demand venues often book weddings back-to-back, and they will require ample time to break down, clean up, and set up between events. Your party will be expected to wrap it up and depart on time. Breaking the end-time terms of your venue contract, even by just a few minutes, can lead to fees and penalties.

Do I have to host a morning wedding reception?

There is no steadfast rule when it comes to hosting a reception for morning weddings, as some venues don’t allow it. When conducting wedding venue site tours, pay attention to whether or not their morning wedding offerings are ceremony-only, or if they include post-ceremony services.

If you’re restricted to booking a ceremony-only morning wedding venue and would like to celebrate with guests afterward, plan to host the reception at another venue.

What should I serve guests at a morning wedding reception?  

Serving a brunch-style menu at your morning reception is a great way to appeal to guests who are in the mood for breakfast food, as well as those looking for a heartier meal option.

1. Set up satellite brunch bars. Satellite bars can be used for so much more than serving up booze. Prevent long food lines at the reception by setting up a variety of decadent made-to-order breakfast stations with the capacity to serve numerous guests at once. In addition to the main buffet line, set up specialized stations where wedding guests can select gourmet pancake ingredients, make extravagantly-topped waffles, build parfaits, have omelets made fresh-to-order, and so on. 

2. Add fresh fruit, seasonal vegetables, fragrant herbs, and edible wildflowers. Wake up the senses of guests attending your morning wedding reception by incorporating vibrant and aromatic fresh foods into your menu. Save money and build budget-friendly finger foods using in-season produce, wild herbs, and edible wildflowers for beautiful, fragrant garnishes. Couples can save a bundle by building a menu around in-season produce, planting a wedding garden, and shopping smart.

3. Turn up the heat at your morning wedding with a brunch BBQ. Some of our very favorite elevated brunch dishes harness the power of smoke: smoked salmon, candied maple bacon, and the classic breakfast duo of steak and eggs. Save money and wow your wedding guests with a grade-A BBQ station that serves up brunch-inspired favorites.

4. Keep cocktails on the menu. Unless you’re hosting a dry wedding reception, most guests will anticipate seeing a cocktail or two on your morning wedding menu. Offer guests classic brunch cocktails that use fresh fruits and in-season ingredients. Stock the bar with makings for mimosas, bellinis, bloody marys, and bright, fruity sangria.

5. Avoid heavy wedding cake. Traditional wedding cake may be a little heavy in the morning; opt for a lighter option that pairs well with brunch instead. Serve gourmet coffee cakes or personal lemon cakes with fresh raspberries and handmade whipped cream.

Planning tips for morning weddings

If you think hosting a morning wedding is the right choice for you, go for it! Here are a few planning tips to help you get started.

1. Choose a thoughtful wedding date. Pick a day that makes sense for traveling guests, as well as a considerate ceremony start time.

2. Look for a venue that’s easy to access and centrally located. If you anticipate having a significant number of out-of-town guests attending your morning wedding, look for a venue close to (or inside of) your host hotel.

3. Discuss morning wedding packages, restrictions, and overage fees when touring venues. Ask the right questions before booking a wedding venue for your morning wedding, such as:

  • What is the difference between early morning and early afternoon pricing?
  • What morning wedding packages are available? What do they cost?
  • What services are offered for morning weddings?
  • Are there noise restrictions or event cut-off time requirements?
  • What areas of the venue will be available for the wedding party to utilize on the day of the wedding or the day before (if needed).

4. Create a day-of-session plan with your wedding photographer in advance. Depending on available lighting, or which shoot locations are available pre-ceremony, your photographer may suggest saving the session for after the ceremony. While post-ceremony sessions can still be streamlined to ensure the couple gets plenty of time to celebrate, it may require giving up a professional “first look” photo session. 

5. Plan a reasonable “getting ready” schedule. Be fair to your wedding party. Avoid planning intricate hairstyles or makeup looks that would require a 3 am wake-up call for the bridal party.

6. Offer wedding transportation services to guests. You’re already asking your guests to arrive at your wedding full of excitement and vigor early in the morning; avoid asking them to also drive if you can.

7. Set up a coffee bar to help guests perk up prior to the ceremony. Offer lattes, gourmet muffins, mini-quiche, and fresh fruit. The last thing you want is people yawning when you say your "I dos!"

8. Forgo hosting a cocktail hour. For morning weddings, it’s perfectly acceptable to skip right from the wedding ceremony to the reception.

9. Keep the time gap between a morning wedding and the reception short. A long break could lead to wedding guests getting tired, falling off the wedding wagon, or forgetting to return on time.

Start planning your morning wedding today!

Are you still looking for the perfect venue? Next up, we’re exploring stunning outdoor wedding venues to help soon-to-be newlyweds find the venue of their dreams

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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.