July 17, 2019
I’ve talked a little bit about this in THIS blog post about a wedding day timeline, but today, I’m going to specifically talk about how to choose the time for your ceremony! There are TONS of different factors that you have to take into account when choosing your ceremony time, so I’m going to lay out everything I know!
+ How long is your ceremony going to be? This is the most obvious one to think about. If you know you want to be announced at your reception by 6pm, for example, and you’re having an hour long ceremony plus an hour long cocktail hour, you should probably have your ceremony at 4pm. If your ceremony will only be 15 minutes long and you’re not greeting your guests until after dinner, then you could have your ceremony start much later.
+ How far do most guests have to travel to the wedding? This is one factor that most people don’t think about. If you have a lot of guests coming from a couple hours away, think about that when you’re deciding your ceremony time. You might not want to have your ceremony at 6pm followed by a reception if a lot of guests still have to drive a few hours home. If they live far enough away, they might just get a hotel or stay with family. But if it’s a few hours, they might not!
+ Is it a Friday wedding instead of a Saturday wedding? This is a big one to consider because most people work on Fridays! Consider a 5 or 6pm ceremony so that people don’t have to leave work quite as early.
+ Is there any travel time between your ceremony and reception venue? You HAVE to take this one into consideration! Sometimes locations are 20-30 minutes apart, so if you know when you want your reception to begin, start your ceremony early enough to have time for travel time AND greeting guests and a cocktail hour (unless you aren’t greeting guests or there’s no cocktail hour) before your reception is supposed to start.
+ Are you sharing a First Look? If you’re sharing a First Look, this allows you to have ALL your portraits (bride & groom, bridal party, and family) done BEFORE your ceremony even starts, which is amazing! If that’s the case, you don’t have to have an earlier ceremony time. However, if you aren’t sharing a First Look, you’ll need to allow at least 1 hour and 15 minutes to capture all those portraits in between the ceremony and the reception (this isn’t even including the time you need to greet your guests, unless you do that at the reception). This can be really difficult depending what time of year you’re getting married…
+ What time of year is it? If you’re having a fall, winter or early spring wedding, it gets DARK super early because the sun goes down! Without any daylight, I’m not able to capture the beautiful, light and airy portraits that you were wanting. If you’re sharing a First Look, having a 4pm ceremony isn’t a problem because we can capture everything we need before the ceremony. But if you aren’t sharing a First Look, we’ll need to plan your ceremony time early enough to be sure we have at least 1 hour and 15 minutes of daylight left after the end of your ceremony! On the shortest day of the year, you may need to have your ceremony start at 2pm, but that depends how long your ceremony is and when you’re greeting guests. If you’re having an outdoor summer wedding, consider having a late afternoon or early evening ceremony. It’s most likely going to be hot, so having it a little bit later in the day would hopefully allow it to cool off just a bit. Spring can also be hot, but not as often!
+ When are you greeting guests? I’ve already mentioned this one, but it’s important and oftentimes forgotten! Depending how many guests you have, I’ve seen this take anywhere from 15 minutes to 50 minutes. If you want to do this right after the ceremony, allow time in the schedule for that! You can also wait until the reception and mingle with guests after dinner! Both options take time!
There it is! All these things to take into consideration can be overwhelming to think about, so feel free to ask if you need help figuring yours out!