One of the main questions I get from my couples is “What time should we have our ceremony?” I always respond with “Whatever time you want” because in the end it’s the time that matters most to you. Some couples choose the same time that they had their first date and others choose the time based on the schedule of the wedding day. As long as you’re happy with the time that’s all that matters. However, here are some tips to help you decide.
The time of year you choose to have your wedding will greatly influence the time of your ceremony. For example, Winter weddings usually have earlier ceremonies to ensure there is enough natural light for portraits after. Summer, Spring, and Fall weddings can get by with having a later ceremony because the sun is out longer. If you’re having a Winter wedding and you’re set on having a later ceremony, consider having a First Look.
Think about your guests. If you know there will be a lot of kids attending your wedding, you might want to consider an earlier start time. Think about what time you want to eat. Ceremonies generally last 30-45 minutes, followed by a cocktail hour, and then it’s time for dinner. If your ceremony time is at noon, you would be eating by 2pm- which would be a later lunch instead of a dinner- and your reception would probably be finished by 7pm.
Finally, think about how long you want your reception. Do you want to be dancing into the night or are you planning to head off to your honeymoon earlier? If you want to have a later reception, consider having your ceremony at 4-5pm.
It really all depends on you, as a couple, and what your expectations are for your big day. Regardless, make sure you have a conversation with your photographer about the ceremony time to ensure that you have enough light for portraits.