How to plan a twilight wedding

19 Apr 2022

Whether you've decided on or are just considering a twilight wedding, here's a guide to planning your nuptials at night fall

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Image gallery

Twlight weddings are growing in popularity, not least because of their romantic nature but as an appealing option to budget-conscious couples. 

With the ceremony held later in the day, typically from 5pm onwards, this means brides and grooms can save costs on various aspects of the wedding – such as entertainment and catering. Couples might even choose to forgo the traditional wedding breakfast altogether in favour of a more informal evening meal, and instead spend the recouped costs elsewhere, such as on a breathtaking firework finale. 

There is less expectation from guests purely because there is less time to fill, although this doesn't mean couples should compromise on having the wedding that they want. Although shorter than a typical wedding, twilight weddings are still full of fun, and with the ceremony running straight into the evening reception celebrations are encouraged from the outset. 

Here are the main things to consider when planning a twilight wedding to ensure an evening to be remembered. 

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The running order of a twilight wedding 

Whether you are holding the ceremony outside or indoors, you will most likely want an impending sunset. Autumn/winter twilight weddings tend to take place from 4pm as the evening draws in earlier, while spring/summer twilight weddings should be set for later. This is also dependent on your wedding venue, so check with the venue team first. 

Here's a typical running order for a twilight wedding: 

  • 5pm: Guests arrive for drinks and canapés
  • 6pm: Ceremony
  • 7pm: Drinks reception and photos
  • 7.30pm to midnight: Evening reception party and food (including first dance, cake cutting and speeches if desired)

Kate Trythall married Sam Wrightman in a twilight ceremony at the Roman Baths in Bath, Somerset. She said: "We always dreamed of something a little different for our wedding and knew that we wanted to get married at night, with lots of candlelight. We wanted a romantic and vintage wedding at a historic setting.

"We had a sunset ceremony at the Roman Baths and guests had canapés and champagne before moving upstairs for dinner, surrounded by candles and candelabras. Dinner was served in the terrace room overlooking the baths followed then dancing and drinks in the reception hall."

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Read more about Kate and Sam's wedding day (Bullit Photography)

The best dates for a twilight wedding

A recent study by Burton Constable Holiday Park in Hull has highlighted the best dates in 2022 and 2023 for a wedding under the stars with zero to near-zero illumination. 

2022 dates:

  • Friday, 1st July (3%)
  • Friday, 29th July (0%)
  • Saturday, 30th July (1%)
  • Friday, 26th August (2%)
  • Saturday, 27th August (0%)
  • Saturday, 24th September (4%)

2023 dates: 

  • Friday, 19th May (0%)
  • Saturday, 20th May (0%)
  • Saturday, 17th June (1%)
  • Friday, 15th September (0%)
  • Saturday, 16th September (1%)
  • Saturday, 14th October (1%)

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Themes for a twilight wedding  

While many couples opt for a romantic or vintage theme to reflect the style of a twilight wedding, a celestial wedding theme will allow couples to fully embrace the concept. From a dress featuring moon and star motifs, to a cake with inter-galactic elements and stationery in a metallic colour palette, a celestial wedding theme is beautiful in every aspect. 

Pinterest has recently reported a surge in star-themed searches for weddings, so it appears the celestial wedding trend is only gathering pace and shows no signs of slowing down. 

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Above: 'Orion' by E&W Couture (Tim Bishop Photography)

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Above: Mini 'Orion' by E&W Couture, from £475 (Francesca Hill Photography)

Key aspects to consider when planning a twilight wedding

With the time of day a focal point of your wedding, you will want to consider appropriate lighting in and around your venue for practicality while also elevating your wedding theme. Twinkling fairy lights, festoon lighting and lanterns nestled among floral arrangements will set the mood and create an elegant ambience. 

Also consider the drop in temperature as day turns to night, and have blankets and outdoor heaters at the ready... even in the summer months. 

You will also have to think about key features to include in your party that makes the most of a setting sun. Golden hour shots with your photographer are a must, when the sun is at its most spell-binding. A sparkler tunnel send-off could also be arranged as dusk draws in, and a silent disco might make the most of the great outdoors without the worry of noise curfews. 

Whatever you choose for the twilight wedding of your dreams, make sure it is a true reflection of you and your partner to ensure the perfect start to married life. 

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Are you planning a twilight wedding? We'd love to hear your story; email sarah.harris@archant.co.uk

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