What Time Of Day Should You Get Married?
While 11am or 1pm remain the most popular ceremony time historically, sunset and candlelit weddings are pretty appealing too, wouldn’t you say?! So, how should you choose what time to get married?
When you first meet with your venue co-ordinator, you’ll be presented with options for the scheduled timings of a traditional wedding day. While they may be popular for good reason – a 1pm ceremony gives you plenty of time to get ready and take photographs with your bridal party – there’s nothing to say that your perfect day has to fit the same mould.
Over the last few years, here in the UK marriage laws have relaxed considerably. These allow for more relaxed schedules in turn. So, if you’ve been imagining a sunrise elopement with the dawn chorus or exchanging vows beneath the stars, they needn’t be pipe dreams anymore.
How To Choose…
There may be times that are particularly sentimental for you as a couple. How about the time of your first date, of the proposal, or other relationship milestones, for example. You could use these to guide the time you marry too.
The time of year you choose to tie the knot will influence the time you choose to hold your ceremony. If you want a candlelit ceremony or to have your couples portraits at sunset, then you’ll be able to tie the knot much earlier in the day during the winter months than in the summer.
But, while moonlit ceremonies do sound very romantic, you must consider the practicalities of your chosen times too. Your wedding needs to be held at a comfortable time for your guests to attend and suppliers to set up. Thorough planning in advance will make many things possible, though. Perhaps the set up can be completed the day before and accommodation provided for your guests…
There’s also the question of whether you want exclusive use. If you’ve chosen a venue that is open to the public, then you may need to work around their opening hours to have the place to yourselves. You could encounter this if your venue is a country house with open gardens during the day, a gallery or a museum, for example.
There are benefits of marrying a little later in the day once the crowds have dispersed, though. A 5pm ceremony means you only need to cater for one meal, saving you a significant sum of money that could be invested in your honeymoon instead.
On the other hand, if you’ve booked multiple entertainment acts, then it makes sense to hold your ceremony earlier to give you time to enjoy it all. We’ve seen couples book everything from magicians and fire-breathers to photobooths, bands and bouncy castles. Some entertainment will be better suited to the daytime or evening. Anything for children specifically should be planned earlier in the day.
Once you’ve decided what time you’d like your ceremony to start and approved it with your venue, you need to consider the information sent out on your invitations. When stating your ceremony time, factor in room for guests or – dare we say it – you and your best girls to be running a little late (it happens!). Your groom will need to be at the venue ready to greet guests before the advertised time too, so make sure it’s not so early that his wedding morning becomes a frantic rush.
It’s also best to leave plenty of time between your ceremony and evening guests’ invitation start times. Allowing for the ceremony itself, the drinks reception, photographs and wedding breakfast, you’ll likely want four hours at the very minimum before your evening guests arrive. You’ll need longer if you’ll be having a religious ceremony or need to travel between venues. Adapt these rules of thumb to your own plans and you’ll be on track for a perfectly paced wedding in no time.
Want to make every second of your wedding day count? Follow our hour-by-hour plan for a magical day that runs like clockwork!