What is the best time to have your Wedding Ceremony?

What is the best time to have your Wedding Ceremony?

No rush today

I often meet with couples who have decided on a time for their ceremony without considering the things that are affected by that time.  If invitations have already been sent out, then they sometimes need to adjust their plans for the rest of the day.

So, what is the best time to have your wedding ceremony?

My experience in Perth, Western Australia, is that most weddings are planned for the afternoon.

This gives plenty of time for preparations like make-up, hair, and dressing.  It also leads smoothly into an evening reception.

Between the end of your ceremony and your entrance to the reception, four things will need to be considered.

  1. After your ceremony, your guests will want to congratulate you. If you have invited a hundred family and friends, you will be getting about a hundred congratulations.  Now if each one of those folk takes just thirty seconds to say how great the ceremony was, and how good you look, fifty minutes might have past.  (And surely none will want more than thirty seconds?)
  2. Photographs with siblings, parents, aunties and uncles are treasured memories of the day. However, sometimes getting family organized is difficult.  If you have just twenty family photos to do, count on at least thirty minutes to get the pictures done.  That is of course if some don’t wander off to find a bathroom or have a cigarette away from everyone else.  And if you have an all guests photograph, that can be ten minutes just to get most of the people together.
  3. Having the stress and expense of make-up, hairdressing, shoes, bling, and of course the wedding dress, you want to ensure that your bridal pictures are great. Great photographs take time.  How long will vary with the location of the photos, and also the style of your photographer.  Allow about an hour if your photos are going to be taken at the same venue.
  4. After your pictures, and before you enter your reception, it is often nice to share a champagne and relax with the special people who you have chosen as your bridal attendants. Twenty minutes is a good time to relax before the formalities begin.

When you take these things into account, you might want to allow two or three hours between the end of the ceremony and the time you want to walk in to your reception.

And of course, all of this is based on nothing going wrong.  You might want to allow some time in case the bridal cars are late, or maybe the ceremony is delayed because of rain.

But I’ve already sent out the invitations!

There are ways to cut down the time needed after the ceremony.

  1. Have your celebrant tell guests that the times were chosen so guests would be able to go to the reception without a long delay. Guests are asked, in view of this, to give their congratulations at the reception.
  2. Have an all guest picture taken after the wedding documents are signed, but before you are announced as a married couple. All of your guests will be in one spot at that time.
  3. Have a clear list of family photos and the sequence they will be called upon.
  4. But please, DON’T skimp on the time for your own photos! Just ensure you get them started on time.

If you consider the things to be done after the ceremony, it will give you a good lead into the best time to start your wonderful wedding.

Plenty of time to enjoy, no need to stress!


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