wedding invitation wording: when is it evening?

Reader Question: What is the time that the wording changes from “ the afternoon” to “…in the evening” on my wedding invitation?

Event Engineer Answer: I won’t lie, this stumps me too. I did a little research just to be clear and continued to be stumped. The most accurate answer to this question would be sundown=evening. But in the real world, we don’t call 7pm in the summer “afternoon” when sundown is around 8:30pm, do we?

So the general consensus is that after 6pm, you may consider that evening. It’s a general rule of thumb. Thanks for the question! If anyone has anything better to add here…we’d love to hear it!

plan on!



6 thoughts on “wedding invitation wording: when is it evening?”

  1. Katasha {at} K Sherrie+Company Weddings

    Jeff on Flipping Out says that evening starts at 5pm. I’m just sayin’. . .

  2. I’ve never thought about it as a sunset rule. That may be a new way to look at it. I’ve always said that afternoon ends at 4:30 p.m. Anything after that is evening. Formal wear is called ‘after five’ attire as well. You would only wear formal wear in the evening, hence, the evening begins at 5:00 p.m.

  3. You’re correct – according to Crane’s and other etiquette, evening begins at 6. Anything prior is afternoon, although people still want to say half past five in the evening, so they do in order to set the right tone for attire.

  4. I concur with 6:00 pm which is supported by most etiquette guides. For a formal invitation, I also recommend spelling out the time such as: half past six o’clock in the evening.

  5. As far as afternoon as opposed to evening, I would highly suggest that 4PM is the breaking point. EX: “in the afternoon” up to 4PM; “in the evening” 4:30PM and beyond. Yes, it sounds a bit early, but see, when you put “in the evening” 4:30PM onwards, usually it’s at least a half-hour to hour until the wedding ceremony begins. By the time people move to the reception, it may be past 6PM which is definitely in the evening. When people associate a wedding, they don’t really think about the actual ceremony (which is of course the beautiful part), but think about who they are going to meet in the reception, what food is being served, who they can engage in conversation with (if one is single), etc. Thus, in essence it’s better to put “in the evening” 4:30PM on…

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