Wedding Ceremony | How To Choose A Time | Courtney Carney Photo

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How To Choose A Time For Your Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Tips

April 21, 2021


Do This Before Setting Your Wedding Ceremony Time!


You’d think setting your ceremony time would be as easy as talking with your ceremony site and picking a time, right? WRONG!! There are so many factors you need to work through before choosing the time for your wedding ceremony. Want soft, romantic portraits of your ceremony? Setting your ceremony time at 1:30pm in the blazing afternoon sun with no cover is not going to give you the effect you’re wanting!

So if you’re reading this haven’t set your ceremony time just yet, here are a few things to consider when planning your ceremony time!

1. What is sunset time for your date?

I believe this is the most important aspect of choosing a time for your wedding ceremony. This helps determine when golden hour is! And I’m a sucker for shooting during golden hour! Golden hour is the softest, dreamiest light of the day. And there’s nothing better than having two joyful, newly married people in front of my camera with the golden hour light shining around them! Golden hour is a short window of time, so researching will help ensure you’re not missing it! Knowing the sunset time also gives a deadline of when portraits need to be done for the day. That way I’m not pulling you out for sunset portraits while your caterer is trying to feed you or your DJ is looking to start toasts. Which takes me to question number two…

2. Are you considering a First Look?

If you’ve been around here for any amount of time, you know that I love a First Look. There are so many benefits, but one that’s not talked about enough is how it can help with your timeline. Doing a First Look means portraits can be completed before the ceremony begins, leaving you the chance to get right to the fun stuff after the ceremony! Having portraits done beforehand means you can set your ceremony time at the beginning of golden hour. Then once the ceremony is done you can grab some quick sunset portraits together before moving right into the reception!

If you’ve decided not to do a First Look because you’d like to stay more traditional, you need to pick a ceremony time that leaves enough light to capture all the wedding party and family photos that need to be done! You don’t want to set your ceremony for 4:30pm only to discover sunset is at 5:20pm for your late fall wedding and you have all your natural light portraits to complete in 20 minutes. That makes my heart beat fast just! 😅

3. Is your ceremony inside or outside?

Having your wedding indoors gives a little more flexibility in regards to the first two steps, but not by much! Depending on where your ceremony will be set up, you’ll still want to ensure the light is doing what you want it to be doing during the ceremony.

If you’ve decided on having your ceremony outdoors, you’ll want to decide on the type of ambiance you want for your day. If you’re looking for that glowy sunset light, I would recommend your ceremony time 30-60 minutes before the scheduled sunset for your day! Also, if you’re looking for a sunset ceremony, you would have to do a First Look, as there would be no natural light left to complete all your wedding day portraits without doing one.

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