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What Time to Start Your Ceremony

What Time to Start Your Ceremony

Let’s talk ceremony time…your wedding date is set,but now you’re considering what’s the best time to have my ceremony start?! No worries, let’s talk this through with these helpful tips down below. These will surely help you decide what time to start your ceremony. 

One of the things to consider is the lighting. I understand it’s tough to think about the lighting…that’s my job. So let me shine some perspective for you. If you’re considering a noon ceremony, that’s when the sun will be shining directly on your faces, which creates harsh shadows.👎 Not good! Our goal is to get that romantic lighting, which happens when the sun is starting to set. To achieve this, I suggest starting your ceremony three hours before sunset, if you’re NOT doing a first look. If you are doing a first look, then I suggest your ceremony start two hours before sunset. We need to make sure we have a little time after the ceremony to get those “just married” shots!😍

During the summer months the sun sets around 8:30PM. So for an outside ceremony in the summer, 6:30PM would be an ideal start time. During the fall months, it gets to be a little trickier, since the sun starts setting earlier. A ceremony time between 5:00-6:00PM would be preferred. The sun sets very early in the winter months, which of course, you probably aren’t planning an outdoor ceremony anyway (depending upon your location). For a winter wedding, I definitely suggest you do a first look before your ceremony! We’ll want to grab all of your portraits outside before the sun sets. If your ceremony is outdoors in the winter, then I would recommend starting at 3:30PM.Lastly, if you’re getting married in the springtime, then I would start around 6:30PM. Again, all of these times can vary because of the different time changes!

I understand the superstition about getting married when the second hand of the clock is going down, which would be at the half hour mark. Whether you truly believe in that or not, it is totally up to you when you want to get married. Just know that my suggestions are purely based on my knowledge from all the weddings I’ve photographed over the past several years.

A bonus tip for you! It’s frustrating when you go to a wedding and guests arrive an hour before the ceremony actually begins. But remember, these folks are here to celebrate you and want to get the full experience that you’ve planned. So I suggest, if you’re having music play before the ceremony starts, then I’d start the music 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and note that on your invitation. So for instance, “Music starts at 4:00PM.” Then people will know to arrive at 4, and the ceremony will start at 4:30PM. If you would rather not put that on the invitation, then I suggest putting the actual start time of the ceremony. Otherwise, people tend to arrive an hour early for the ceremony.

I hope that all of this information was helpful and now you can easily figure out exactly what time to have your ceremony start. No matter what time of day it is, just know that it will be absolutely beautiful!

Read more wedding planning tips…

Columbus Fall Wedding Guide

Columbus Summer Wedding Guide

Wedding Day Timeline Tips


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