When Is It Appropriate to Leave a Wedding Reception?


Back in the day, wedding receptions were a clean and contained four-hours long. Now, that's no longer the case. While the bride and groom used to exit before the guests, they now choose to stay and party all night long. With after parties en vogue, a wedding, from ceremony-through-reception, ends up being a full day and night commitment — which can be a lot for some guests! Here, our etiquette experts weigh in on the proper time to arrive at a ceremony or reception, and when it's acceptable to leave.

Can I skip the ceremony and only attend the reception?
Unless you absolutely have to skip the ceremony, you should try not to. It sends the message to the bride and groom that you don't really care about their momentous commitment, but are willing to spend their money and party. Of course, if you have a reasonable excuse, just be sure to tell the bride and groom and to congratulate them once you arrive.

When is it appropriate to leave a wedding reception?
As we mentioned, these days, wedding receptions and their subsequent after parties can go on until the wee hours of the night. For elderly guests, or friends who just aren't good at staying out late, this can be a daunting task. While tradition calls for guests to wait until the bride and groom leave the reception, this is no longer the case — especially since the newlyweds are now the ones closing out the party! As long as you stay until they cut the cake, you're fine. Be sure, though, to thank the bride, groom, and their respective families for a great time!

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