How to Choose Your Wedding Ceremony Time

Choosing your ceremony time can be one of two things. It can be super simple because your venue or church will have a designated time for you or it can be difficult because you have to do it alone. FEAR NOT, sweet beautiful bride! Let me help you if you are in the latter boat!

There are a few things you should consider when choosing the time for your ceremony. The most important thing to think about when choosing your ceremony time is LIGHT! You want to make sure that the light at your ceremony will be pretty. Not only pretty, but not too harsh. Not only will that make your photographer extremely happy but it also will make your guests who have to sit in the heat or direct sun very happy as well! If you can choose a ceremony site that is constantly shaded, then you don’t have to worry about time all that much. In most cases, your ceremony site will be in direct sun at some point in the day. Talk to your venue or visit your venue to find out when that is! Obviously if your ceremony is indoors, you won’t need to worry about the light, but I would still continue reading before you choose a time.

The second most important thing to think about is the timeline of your day. You should be able to talk to you photographer or wedding planner who would be able to help you choose the best time around all other activities, but if for some reason you find neither of those helpful, let me take a wild stab at it. If you wedding is in the middle of summer it is best to say that the sun will be fairly high in the sky until after 4-5 pm. It would be safe to say you have light until 9 pm. So I would start with when you want to be feeding your guests. It is also important to decide whether or not you would be doing a first look to do portraits before the ceremony or after to allocate the right amount of time and then work backwards.

For example: In this scenario the couple wants to be feeding their guests by 6 pm. They opted for a first look so they could be mostly done with their formal photos before the ceremony (confused as to what a first look is? Check back next week for an informative post!). In this case it would be smart to set their ceremony for 5 pm. With a  30-40 minute ceremony, they will have time to walk back down the aisle as a married couple and get their guests into the reception and in the dinner line fairly close to 6 pm!

In another example: In this scenario the couple wants to be feeding their guests by 6 pm but they did not want to do a first look. Their photographer will need to do their bridal party portraits, family portraits and couple portraits all after the ceremony. If it were me, I would want 20 minutes for the family, at least 10 minutes for the bridal party, and at least 30 minutes with the couple. That is ONE HOUR of portrait time after the ceremony. So in this scenario it would be best to have their reception at 4 or 4:30 to be feeding their guests by 6 pm!

Ultimately, you can do whatever you think is best for your wedding day! Your photographer should be able to handle any situation you throw at them when it comes to the time of day your ceremony is, but if you want to ensure the best possible photographs at your ceremony, having the light low in the sky (later in the day) and allowing for time to get to your reception is most important!


If you found this post helpful, you might also like:

How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer

7 Things You Should NOT Do With Your Engagement Ring

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