How to Choose Your Wedding Ceremony Time

So, you’re engaged, and your head is spinning with alllll the planning details! You’re thinking about all the amazing things that you will have, all the amazing people you will invite, and playing out what it might look like as you pin those GORGEOUS wedding photos at sunset. And then, you discover that the sun sets at 5:40 in Boston for your late October wedding, and you planned on a 4:30 PM ceremony. Nooooooooo!

Unfortunately, this does happen to couples, and once the ceremony is set, we have to work with what we have.  If you’re reading this and you haven’t set your wedding ceremony time, then here are some things to consider from a photographer’s perspective.

Decide if You are Having a First Look

I’ll be honest that I love a first look. Capturing that moment before the ceremony with the two of you is magical, and the couples I work with often tell me that their stress melted away at that moment they saw each other.

Doing a first look means we can launch right into wedding portraits, and sometimes even wedding party and parent photos to knock that off the list so you can get right to the fun stuff after the ceremony like champagne and hors d’oeuvres (yummmmmmm).

However, some people don’t want to do a first look because of time constraints, religious objections, or they just prefer to keep it traditional. Whatever YOU choose, I am behind you 100%. We can modify your timeline to get what we need, but it may mean some time away from the cocktail hour and your guests. As long as you are happy, so am I.

Logistics and Travel Play a Role

If you’re not getting married and having your reception in the same spot, logistics can come into play. Here are just a few things I’ve seen wedding couples not consider when planning their timeline between the wedding and the reception:

Be sure to “pad” everything well if you’re in different locations to reduce stress if things go awry.

The Time of Year You are Getting Married

New England weather can be, shall we say, unpredictable? While it should be in the ’60s in mid-October, it could also be 40. Plan for the season, but keep an eye on the weather and have a plan B for locations and amenities you might want to have like umbrellas or shawls for guests.

Also, consider the time of day. Don’t plan a noon ceremony in August on the beach when it’s likely to be a hot AF scorcher. When in doubt in the summer, go early (think brunch wedding!) or later in the day.

When is Sunset on your Wedding Day?

Photographers are suckers for a good sunset, and I live right up to that cliche. There are not much better things in life than two people in love in front of my camera and those beautiful, golden rays of the late day surrounding them.

If you love those photos too, then the best thing to do is to look and see when the sun sets on your wedding day and work back from there. Make sure that your dinner is not smack in the middle of sunset, because there’s nothing that will tick off a caterer more than when a photographer drags the happy couple outside into the sunset during the plated dinner. 

I’m happy to help with advice on your timeline and when to set your wedding ceremony time for! Together we can form a plan to take advantage of the best time of day to get married and to have photos taken that you will love for a lifetime. Let’s do this!

This content was originally published here.