You’ll probably have to make some decisions early in the planning process, like choosing your ceremony time.
It might seem simple at first, like you’re choosing a time that sounds nice …
or saying “I think 3pm is great, because all the weddings I’ve been to have started around then”.
BUT there’s actually a series of questions I’ve put together which can help you make a more informed decision.
Instead of going in blind and making a random choice (that’ll actually affect everything from your meal time to the photo quality), it becomes a really simple process and YOU don’t get overwhelmed and bogged down with making one of the smaller decisions in the process.
Sometimes, especially at a church, there are specific times you can choose for your ceremony.
For example, some churches might have pre-set time slots of 1pm, 3pm or 5pm, and you can only choose from those times.
But if you’ve got free reign of your ceremony times, you can literally pick any time you want!
So these are the questions you need to answer before you decide on your ceremony time.
1. When do you want to eat?
What time do your guests want to eat?
Dinner is usually served about 20-30 minutes after your bridal party’s grand entrance.
2. How long do you want photos after the ceremony?
I usually recommend that 90 mins is a really good time frame, but it does depend on how many locations you’ve chosen (and the travel time between each spot).
So consider how long you want to have photos for.
I suggest 1 hr minimum, and 2.5 hrs maximum.
…and that’s for your sanity and exhaustion levels on the day. You’re welcome!
3. Are you having a receiving line?
That’s where you’re pronounced “married”, that’s where everyone comes up and congratulates you
4. How long will your group photos go for?
It does depend n your guest list and how many groups you want photos of.
As a general rule, for a group of roughly 75 people, you want to allow about 15-20 minutes
5. One of the biggest questions you wanna ask; what time is sunset?
This does actually make a huge difference, especially for your photos.
If the sun’s right overhead, it’s gonna be really unflattering on your face (hello, squinting and running makeup!).
If the sun’s too low, even right on sunset, it can often be too dark for the cameras.
This will help you decide on the time for your location shots.
If you’re having them between ceremony and reception, you might have heard about Golden Hour! That’s the most flattering, beautiful warm light, so it’s a great time to have your romantic coupley shots.
Sunset time also depends on the time of year. Summer nights vs winter nights looks very different.
6. How many locations do you want for your photos?
1, 2, 5, 20? … please don’t have 20 photo locations! That’ll legit take forever.
You should choose this before you pick the ceremony time, otherwise you’ll restrict yourself and might not have the time available to go to all the places you want.
7. How many people need to have their hair and makeup done in the morning?
If it’s just you, that’ll be about 2.5 hours. No worries!
If there’s 4, 5, 8 people … one you take into account bridesmaids, mums, grandmas, aunties etc…
Each person will take around 2 hours, and that time adds up quickly (even if you’ve got a team of stylists), so you can track that back to when you’ll need to wake up, in order to have everything finished before your … *say it with me* … CEREMONY TIME!!
Not every timeline looks the same for each couple!
For example, I had MY ceremony at 4.30pm, because we had our location photos done beforehand, and went straight from ceremony into reception party-time!
But a lot of couples will have their ceremony at 3.30pm (for example), because they have 2 photo locations, and plan to enter the reception at 6pm.
BUT you need to answer all these questions first in order to work backwards and find out if it’s the right choice for you.
You also need to factor in travel times
This includes everywhere, like between your house and the ceremony, and between each photo location. Wedding cars and limos commonly take much longer to travel than a normal car, so allow twice as long to get somewhere than the GPS says.
TOP TIP #1:
Please allow time for pee breaks!
Otherwise you’ll be hustling between places doing a pee dance.
Do your future self a favour.
TOP TIP #2:
Make time for some quiet alone time with your honey.
Trust me, the whole day goes so fast. You’ve always got something scheduled, or somewhere to be … and it all goes so quickly.
It’s really nice to take a moment to enjoy the day you’ve been planning for the months (or years)!
Savour the moment together.
You can change and tweak the schedule as you go through the whole planning process.
Nothing is set in stone until much closer to the wedding day.
Remember that you’ve always got the flexibility to make changes, and your vendors and venue will try their best to work around you, ‘cause we all want the day to be exactly what you want.
You can legit mould your wedding day to look exactly as you want it.
Don’t feel like you need to have your ceremony at 3pm, just because all your friends did.
If you want a 10am ceremony with a champagne brunch reception, or a sunset ceremony at 5pm, you can absolutely do that, and I’m here for it!
Pick the time, day and schedule that fits in with your priorities, and the kinda of wedding you wanna look back on in 10 years and go “Damn, that was fucking awesome!”.
BLOG & IMAGES BY:
Coordinator & Planner | Wedding Warriors