There are so many factors to think about when choosing your ceremony time:
- is your ceremony indoors or outdoors?
- Is your wedding a morning wedding or an evening wedding?
- Is your wedding on a Friday, Saturday or a Sunday?
- Is your ceremony in a church or at the reception venue?
All of these things come into play for different reasons. If you are getting married outside, it’s best for the light to be lower in the sky so it is not as harsh. This means the later the better! If your wedding is outdoors in the morning, usually an earlier start time is preferred. However, that gets to be difficult when everyone needs sufficient time to get ready!
If you are having a Friday wedding, later is best to allow for guests to not have to take the day off of work. Sunday weddings usually have an earlier start time so that they don’t go too late into the evening.
If the ceremony is indoors at a church, sometimes there are set start times to choose from. If this is the case for your wedding, then it’s time to decide whether or not you’d like to do a first look! (we talk about this in a different post 😉
Finally, if you prefer a light and airy style, then you need to ensure that all of your portraits are complete prior to sunset. This gets a little more challenging for winter weddings, and is almost impossible to do with a later ceremony without a first look!
If you haven’t already set your ceremony start time in stone, I highly recommend talking with your photographer to ensure it’s a photo-friendly start time 😉 To help give you an idea of a photo-friendly timeline, I’ve created a downloadable PDF that has multiple timeline options that I share with my brides: one with a first look, one without a first look, and several other options. Something to keep in mind is that the amount of time that I recommend for each part of the day should be relatively consistent. However, if your ceremony is at 3:00 instead of 5:00, all you need to do is shift the whole timeline ahead by 2 hours and you’ll be set!
I sincerely hope this is helpful for you! If you have any questions about why something is the way it is, feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help and serve as a valuable resource for you.
Here are some samples of ceremonies in different locations and times of the day:
Outdoor ceremony in the evening.
Outdoor ceremony in early afternoon
Indoor ceremony at a church/synagogue
Indoor ceremony at a venue.