For Nearlyweds

How to Select your Wedding Ceremony Time

February 20, 2024

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Selecting the ideal ceremony time for your special day is a crucial decision that requires thoughtful consideration. The timing of your wedding ceremony can significantly impact the overall experience for both you and your guests. From the practicalities of the timeline to the available natural light, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you pick the perfect ceremony time.

Check Venue Regulations:

Different venues may have specific regulations or restrictions regarding ceremony times. Some venues may have noise ordinances, time limitations, or scheduling constraints. Be sure to communicate with your venue coordinator and check their policies to avoid any last-minute surprises.

Consider Seasonal Variations:

The time of year can significantly affect the available daylight. In the summer, you may have more flexibility for later ceremonies, while in the winter, you need to plan for earlier times to make the most of the daylight. Take into account the seasonal variations and plan your ceremony time accordingly to ensure optimal lighting conditions. I always check the scheduled sunset time on the specific date when helping couples create a photography timeline.

Photos Before or After your Ceremony:

You will want to consider the lighting that will be available before and after your ceremony for your portraits. If you are opting for a first look, you can complete most if not all of your formal portraits before the ceremony. In this case, you have a little bit more flexibility in how late you can schedule the ceremony to occur.

If you plan to have the traditional aisle reveal then you will need to set aside at-least an hour and a half after the Ceremony for your family portraits, wedding party portraits, and newlywed portraits. Making sure there is still natural light and the sun won’t go down during that time period is crucial if you want those romantic naturally lit images. In fact, I would even add some buffer time to that so that if things run behind you don’t feel rushed to cram all the photos in before the sun goes down.

Golden Hour:

Many people will say that this is such a magical time of day to have your ceremony because of the soft light. BUT, I don’t recommend doing this. If you schedule your ceremony to occur an hour before sunset, there is not a lot of buffer time if things run late. Before you know it, you will run out of light and will be getting married in the dark. This also means that all of your portraits will have to be completed before the ceremony. Instead, I recommend sneaking away during golden hour for romantic newlywed portraits of just the two of you.

Establish Your Timeline:

Consider factors such as the reception start time, the duration of the ceremony, and any travel time between the ceremony and reception venues. Ensure that your ceremony time allows for a seamless flow throughout the day and provides ample time for celebration without feeling rushed.

Factor in Travel Time:

If your ceremony and reception venues are at different locations, factor in travel time when setting the ceremony time. Allow ample time for transportation, especially if your wedding day involves multiple stops. This ensures a smooth transition and minimizes stress for both you and your guests.

Choosing the perfect ceremony time involves careful consideration of various factors, from the practicalities of your wedding timeline to the available natural light. By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that your wedding ceremony unfolds seamlessly, creating a memorable experience for everyone involved.

We love to help our couple with a photography timeline and work closely with your planner to ensure we have an ample amount of time to capture images your will cherish forever. Find out if we are available for your wedding date HERE.

Images on this blog post were photographed by Brittany as an associate for Stephanie Mason & Co. Images were edited by Brittany Navin Photography.

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For Nearlyweds




welome to my blog

I'm Brittany and I'm so happy you're here. This blog is a journal about our lives, travels, and all things weddings. Stay a while and say hello!

Learn more




steal our wedding day timeline

Two different wedding day timelines based on 10 hours of photography coverage


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photos by brittany navin