Time is of the essence, and this adage is no truer than on your wedding day. It’s the one day where hours can pass by seemingly in moments… Before you know it, you’ve exchanged vows, cut the cake and you’re breaking out a sweat on the dancefloor! Trust me, I hear it from every single couple that I’ve photographed over the years… the day just goes so fast! This is part of the reason why it is so important to make sure that the time of your Ceremony allows for a calm, stress-free Wedding day, whilst allowing your photographer to capture the best images for you.
SO, HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT CEREMONY TIME?
There is a golden rule when it comes to the timing of your Ceremony, a rule though – that not many people in the industry share or talk about. Why? I have no idea. It’s pretty simple: If you’re having an afternoon wedding (which 99% of my couples do) you should start your Ceremony at least three hours before sunset. It might sound like a long time, but there is plenty going on during that time – the ceremony which normally lasts for about 30 minutes, congratulations from your guests, group photo, family portraits, photos with your groom & bridal party… it’s a lot to fit in a short time. Trust me, attempting to cram everything into less time will just mean you’re rushed and won’t be able to enjoy the afternoon as much as you could have… So, when planning your timeline and finalising the time for your Ceremony, look up the time for Sunset (remembering it’s way earlier in Winter) and work backwards until you get to approximately 3 hours before that time… and bam. That’s when your Ceremony should start!
Now, if you have already planned to have a later Ceremony, don’t stress. There are things you can consider to make sure you’re not rushed, such as:
– Consider having your family portraits at the Reception Venue later that night, especially if you have large families. On average, each combination for family photos takes about 5 minutes to organise (rounding everyone up, placing them in position, making sure sunglasses are off, suit jackets are done up & then taking the photo). So, if you have a long list, you can easily be looking at 30-45 minutes of family portraits… which, can easily chew up the remaining light if it’s late in the day. Announcing that we’ll do them at the Reception is a great alternative and means that you don’t sacrifice your bridal party photos – which are always the most amazing in the late afternoon, with the golden sunset light.
– Talk to your fiance about having a “First Look” with him before the Ceremony. These are becoming so very popular as it not only helps to calm any nerves prior to the Ceremony, but it also means that the bulk of your bridal portraits are done and you can enjoy canapes or such with your guests straight after the Ceremony. Worth thinking about!
– Be prepared to hustle a little. Every experienced photographer will be able to work fast when they have to, but just keep in mind, you might not be able to talk to every single person after your Ceremony as the rest of the timeline will have to be fast tracked!
I hope that helps love when it comes to organising your Wedding Day – if you would like a rather detailed look at a timeline, check out this blog post here that explains each part of a Wedding Day in detail – click here!
I’ve also made a video that helps answer this question, click play to watch it below: