Photo by Alex Marks Photography.
Curfew. It’s a word we’ve all never really associated with good things.
It probably stems from teendom – curfews hung over your head, signalling the impending end to fun times, as well as cranky parents if they were abused.
Then, for a glorious period, curfews disappeared. You became a grown-ass person and you got to call the shots on when the night wound down.
But if you’re planning a wedding, we’re very sorry to say, but the original c-word is back. Almost every venue will have a curfew, and we feel it’s about time we addressed this fact with honesty and a bit of logic.
Curfews suck. We get it. We didn’t want them for our weddings either. Our friends and family were at our weddings to celebrate our love – not to cause riots and destroy property. So why the need to potentially close the curtains on the celebration early?
But then we managed a wedding venue. And we finally understood why curfews are (and we’re sorry to say this) 100% necessary.
Why do wedding venues have a curfew?
We’ll break down some of the reasons below.
Most wedding venues don’t have a choice – they are required by council to wind the party down at a certain hour. If they don’t, they are subject to fines or to having their event licence to host weddings revoked. Not ideal as you can imagine.
Can you imagine if almost every weekend of the year your neighbour held a bender that went until the wee hours of the morning? Reckon it might strain the relationship? Our venue owners are part of their local community and it’s in their best interests to keep the peace. Plus, no couple wants the police turning up at their wedding to crash the party and turn the music off.
We’re just going to say it: a lot of your guests are going to get drunk. Free alcohol and intoxication go hand-in-hand. Not to mention the fact that if you have any wait staff providing a drinks service it quickly becomes difficult to keep track of how much you’ve consumed.
With inebriation comes a loss of inhibitions. The later the night, the higher the chances of accidents happening. Many venues have open waterholes, barbed wire fences, surrounding bush or busy roads nearby. We know, we know – your mates are probably responsible legends and the chances that they might go AWOL and get into trouble are probably slim… BUT there’s still a significantly higher chance of something going awry after 1am and two bottles of champers.
It’s important to venue owners that you make it home in one, safe and happy piece, which is another reason curfews are important.
Next day pack up
It’s a lot harder to pack up a wedding when there are guests crashed out across the venue. Which is liable to happen when there’s no curfew and the party continues into the early hours (no judgement here – we’d be there until the end too).
Licensed servers leave (and the bar closes)
You might not know this but if you’re having your wedding at a venue that doesn’t have an alcohol licence, you’re still *technically* required to arrange your own liquor licence.
Don’t worry, we didn’t know this either – and the good thing is if you’re working with a catering company (which most people do), they have the licenses, RSA and insurances to make sure you’re sorted in case anything goes wrong.
But the catering team inevitably needs to clock off at some point in the night, which means the (official) drinks service will stop. So you might as well either wrap the party up or move on elsewhere (more on this option below).
So, how can we get around the fact that there’s a curfew?
Here are some suggestions we have.
Start everything earlier
Everything. Earlier ceremony, first dance, meal, speeches. Have a lunchtime wedding. Basically, give yourself the maximum amount of time to celebrate and make the most of the dance floor so you feel like you’ve had an epic long party by the end.
If you know that there’ll be a solid contingent of guests that are keen to kick on after curfew, arrange an after-party at a local bar or hotel that will still be open. You can let guests know that a bus will be arriving at the curfew time to transport the party people to the next destination. The only thing to remember is that not everyone may be allowed in (don’t forget what we said earlier about people getting intoxicated).
New Year’s Eve wedding
Some venues will be a bit more lenient on the curfew if it’s NYE. After all, the party can’t really wrap up before midnight (this is what our co-founder Mel did and it worked a treat.
Plan a recovery session the next day
Have an amazing wedding, go to bed and then get up the next day knowing you’ll continue to enjoy your friends and family’s company because you’ve organised a get-together.
Whether it’s a recovery brunch where you consume the leftovers or a pub lunch, we loved enjoying all our guest’s company the next day. And it made saying goodbye on the wedding night easier.
Private property wedding
If a curfew is an absolute deal-breaker and you really can’t handle one of the solutions above at one of our lovely venues, consider asking if any friends or family know someone with a farm that would be open to hosting a wedding (*note neighbours could still call the cops after 12pm).
In summary… as much as many venue owners would love to allow you to kick on past their assigned curfew, the consequences and penalties can be harsh. And it’s just not worth risking extending their curfew for one wedding, because it can jeopardise all the weddings to come.
Here’s a good way to look at it. Your wedding will be one of the best days of your life. You will be surrounded by all the people you love. You will have so much fun for hours and hours on end. So maybe it’s just not worth burdening yourself with unnecessary worry about a curfew, or the responsibility if something goes wrong if you go past it.
Just focus on enjoying the entire day – and then go home and consummate your marriage. There, we’ve found the silver lining of a curfew.
Want more no-BS wedding advice? You’ll find it here.