Everything you need to know to plan your dream ceremony and brunch reception
Planning a daytime wedding in New Jersey? From bright and airy morning ceremonies to breezy brunch receptions, having your wedding earlier in the day opens up a whole new world of possibilities. In this guide, we’ll walk you through our Ultimate Daytime Wedding Preparation Checklist so that you can make your special day unforgettable.
The key to a successful daytime wedding lies in embracing the charm of an earlier timeline and basing your overall look and feel around that. So let’s break down everything you need to know.
What is a daytime wedding?
Also known as a “brunch wedding”, with a daytime wedding, all the magic happens from morning to afternoon. This means that it’s a fresh, cool, contemporary twist on the traditional evening affair—offering you plenty of scope to be creative and have fun. Picture saying “I do” with the sun shining bright and the morning birds singing, then enjoying a relaxed and elegant brunch surrounded by everyone that you love.
As far as timelines go, rather than having that last romantic dance at midnight, picture it being more like anytime between 2pm to 4pm. (Because yes, you can totally have dancing at a daytime wedding, although it’s also up to you. If you’re going for a smaller and quieter soiree, then a wedding during the daytime liberates you from the pressure of having a typical reception with a band or DJ).
Why choose a daytime wedding?
From bridal gowns to catering, an earlier wedding frees you up to choose an aesthetic that’s a little more relaxed than weddings with traditional timelines.
While the charms of a classic evening celebration are undeniable, a daytime wedding can bring its own light and airy atmosphere. An earlier wedding often creates a more personal and connected experience with guests, that’s less about the big boozy party and more about celebrating your love.
Plus you get to soak up all that natural daylight, making your wedding photos look like something out of a dream. Daytime weddings offer real advantages for photography, providing a better chance of picture-perfect shots with soft and bright lighting.
The best part? The schedule. No spending endless hours hanging around in the morning feeling jittery—you’ll be heading to your ceremony early to swap vows. Next, after photos, you’ll smoothly transition to your brunch reception, where it’s all about mingling, chilling, and celebrating.
And here’s the kicker – by afternoon, you’ve wrapped it up! That means you and your bridal party can either relax with Champagne and soak up the post-wedding bliss or venture into some cool post-wedding adventures. Alternatively, you and your boo can cozy up in your honeymoon suite for the rest of the day or treat yourself to some spa treatments, or even head to the airport for an earlier honeymoon flight.
If you want your wedding day to be a sun-kissed memory, then daytime weddings are where it’s at.
A typical daytime wedding timeline
You can shape your daytime wedding schedule in any way that works for you, but here is a sample timeline for inspiration:
- Getting ready (6am – 10am)
- The ceremony (11am – 11.45am)
- Brunch reception (11.45am – 2pm)
- Grand exit or extended celebration with dancing (2pm – 4.30pm)
Evening entertainment (optional)
While there’s no obligation to provide evening entertainment (that’s kind of the whole point), you could plan relaxed post-wedding activities for your bridal party, close family members, and any out-of-town guests. This could include drinks in a chic bar, wine tasting at a vineyard, or a restaurant meal.
Your essential daytime wedding checklist
Who doesn’t love brunch? The great thing about a daytime wedding is that everyone gets to celebrate your nuptials by digging into their favorite meal. Whether you’re doing a sit-down meal, relaxed buffet, or cocktail style reception, you can have lots of fun planning your mouth-watering wedding brunch.
Options are pretty much endless, but you might want to opt for a few crowd-pleasing classics like eggs benny and lox bagels, alongside more creative or gourmet brunch options. These could include dishes like truffle burrata toast, Italian cloud eggs, potato & Boursin frittatas, cardamom sour cream waffles, and creme brulee French toast.
You could also plan a “station style” brunch reception, with something to please absolutely everyone. This might include stations for crepes, bacon & eggs, breakfast burritos, build-your-own acai bowls, and that all important pastry corner.
And don’t forget your brunch canapes. Mini cinnamon rolls, smoked salmon blinis, and bacon & avocado bites would all taste terrific washed down with a mimosa or three.
You can still serve up cocktails at a daytime wedding and let your guests enjoy a mingle before brunch. Just aim to serve drinks that are suitable for an earlier celebration, for instance, lighter and more refreshing cocktails like Mimosas, Bellinis, Bloody Marys, Screwdrivers, and Tom Collins, as well as mocktails and a fruity punch bowl.
Invitations and stationery
Set the tone for your daytime celebration with invitations and stationery that reflect the elegance and charm of a morning ceremony. Consider light and bright colors, floral motifs, watercolor designs, rustic craft paper, and informal typography.
A daytime wedding dress should radiate understated elegance. Consider lightweight fabrics like chiffon or lace, softer and floatier cuts, and tea-length or knee-length dresses. Delicate floral appliques or subtle embroidery can also capture the essence of daytime charm.
You could also pick a chic A-line silhouette for a graceful and breezy look that will let you glide around with ease through your chic brunch celebration. Or what about a Jane Austen-style empire waist cut for that airy “strolling through sunflowers fields” look?
Alternatively, you could rock a stylish suit in white, or ivory, or pastel—and if you’re going for a vintage 70s cut, then pair it with a big ‘rock star’s wife’ hat (think Bianca Jagger’s wedding look). The key is to keep it all simple, sophisticated, and effortlessly beautiful.
When it comes to choosing bridesmaid dresses for a daytime wedding, feel free to explore less traditional and more relaxed fashions, including gowns with a free and floaty feel, or shorter hem lengths. Mix-and-match pastels would be ideal, or fresh and feminine on-trend wedding colours like blush pink, gray green, or sunny buttercream yellow.
Hair & makeup
Your bridal hair and makeup should express your unique personality and style—meaning there are no fixed rules, no matter what time of day you’re getting married. However, if you’re looking for tips on how to capture that daytime vibe, then consider going for a relaxed look that’s also fresh, natural, and radiant.
For hair, you could opt for a soft and romantic updo, or loose curls or waves to express effortless charm. Also consider pretty braids and floral hair accessories. For makeup, go for light and luminous, with a dewy foundation, soft eyeshadows in neutral tones, and a hint of mascara. Make sure that your features are enhanced with a subtle highlighter for a radiant early morning glow. Peachy or rosy blush will add a natural flush, while a nude or soft pink lip color will complete your look beautifully.
When choosing a New Jersey wedding photographer, aim to find one who has experience of daytime weddings—or daytime events in general. Also, try to find one with a portfolio that shows they can make the most of gorgeous natural light and pretty scenery. Finally, ask any potential photographers what approaches they will use to capture the breezier feel of a daytime soiree.
For a daytime wedding, consider a cool jazz ensemble or acoustic guitarist to match the more easygoing ambience. Or if you’re hiring a band or DJ, then collaborate with them curate a playlist that complements the time of day, which could be anything from folky tunes to lively brunch beats. The key is to match the music to the lighter, brighter mood, rather than trying to create late night vibes with your soundtrack.
Enhance the enjoyment of your guests by adding thoughtful details. Consider providing blankets or outdoor heaters for cooler morning temperatures, plus serve various interesting mocktails for people who prefer to avoid daytime boozing.
If some guests will have to make a super early start to get to your ceremony on time, then include a list of hotels with your invitations as a helpful alternative. Also, consider serving strong coffees before your morning ceremony—you want everyone to be wakey-wakey when you’re swapping your vows, not dozing off.
As far as daytime wedding aesthetics go, consider a fresh and soft pastel palette with blush pinks, minty greens, and calming blues. You could also bring nature indoors with vibrant, unpretentious blooms like peonies, hyacinths, and tulips.
Also consider a laidback garden theme that combines rustic wood accents with dreamy linens, striking that balance between casual and classy. Keep it sweet and simple with minimalistic centerpieces—think potted plants or dainty candles—to let the natural lighting work its magic.
And for that extra touch of enchantment, throw in some fairy lights or draped fabrics, then personalize it all with elements that tell your own unique love story. Whether you’re leaning towards vintage or modern, the goal is to blend elegance with the easy-breezy beauty of a daytime wedding.
Here’s our super useful wedding decor checklist:
- Welcome sign
- Program display
- Aisle markers
- Aisle runner
- Wedding arch
- Vow book
- Ring pillow for ring bearer
- Signature drink signage
- Guest book table and guest book
- Cocktail napkins
- Memory table
- Table centerpieces
- Table runner
- Place cards
- Wedding favors
- Wedding cake display
- Dance floor decor
Ready for your dreamy daytime wedding?
Now that you’ve found inspiration from our daytime wedding checklist, it’s time to pick the perfect New Jersey wedding venue. Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove is ideal for a stylish morning ceremony and chic brunch reception surrounded by Italian gardens. Our venue has just had a makeover and been praised by New Jersey Bride, The Knot, and Wedding Wire. The Il Tulipano team will treat you like family, so get in touch with us today and let’s plan your dream wedding.
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