How to Choose a Ceremony Time

Many brides aren’t sure where to start when it comes to choosing a ceremony time. They may just listen to what friends and family think is best, or listen to the advice of their venue. I strongly recommend you talk to your photographer before settling on a ceremony time. Why? In order for your photographer to best serve you, they need time, and if you choose to have a 5:30pm ceremony with a 6:00pm sunset time.. your photographer is left no time for photos following the ceremony. If you plan to do ALL of your photos ahead of time, then this isn’t a problem.. but typically, you will need time for photos following your ceremony.

One thing to keep in mind is that time of day affects the light and appearance of photos.. so you want to make sure you plan accordingly. If you choose to have a first look (which I always recommend.. you can read about that coming soon), this of course means you may not require as much time following your ceremony. All of this to say, this is a really a conversation you can and should have with your photographer. They can chat with you and determine your priorities as well as how much time will be required for photos following your ceremony. After that, they can help you work backwards to set a ceremony time. Here are a couple of tips to get you started:

  1. You can google the sunset time of your wedding date — for example “sunset time phoenix, arizona March 6 2017”
  2. Once you have the sunset time, subtract two hours, and that is usually a safe time to set for your ceremony (assuming a 30min ceremony)
  3. If your ceremony and reception venues are not the same, you will need to remember to add in drive time
  4. Always err on the side of caution, it’s better to have too much time than too little

If you are just getting started with your planning, a safe bet is to follow the subtract two hours rule. If you have a more complex timeline (i.e. driving from one venue to another, no first look, etc.) the best thing you can do is talk to your photographer and get their professional opinion. They will be so glad you reached out to them to ensure the most ideal amount of time for photos. Happy wedding planning!

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