Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Start time

We are completely stuck on what time we should start our wedding and reception...any ideas?? I want a morning ceremony to take advantage of a "whole day" of wedding activities, and for the natural sunlight for some outside pictures. We also want an evening reception for an "all-night-party", but don't want a huge gap of time in-between ceremony and reception start times. Did any one else have trouble picking a start time? Which do you think guests prefer more- morning, afternoon, or evening weddings?  Please throw us some suggestions!

Re: Start time

  • Do you have your date and your venue picked out? Because your venue might only have certain times available. That might help with your decision!
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  • I have enjoyed weddings the most when the ceremony time was between 4pm to 6pm.  The 3pm ceremonies tend to have receptions that just DRAG on and on, but for some reason that extra hour before the ceremony starts helps keep the night from feeling too late.  I have been to a few 7pm ceremonies and I personally am not a fan but that is my own personal preference.  In September the sun starts to go down around that time too, so you wouldn't get much time for natural-light photo opportunities.
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  • Our ceremony starts at 4pm and our reception starts at 5:30. Asking guests to go to a morning ceremony and than a late evening ceremony is a lot, maybe you could do a late morning ceremony with an afternoon reception? Then maybe an after party if you want the evening thing?

    Something else to consider, is how long it takes for the bride and bridal party to get ready for a wedding. I have five bridesmaids, and in order to be ready on time for my four o'clock ceremony, we have to be at the salon for 10am. 
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  • I would aim for a ceremony start time of around 4. That way it's not too long for your guests to wait and the wedding party has plenty of time to get ready.
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  • I would say three or four, but if you are wanting to go late into the might then start at 5 or 6. I had a wedding at three and it ended at eight... my guest were happy they didnt have to stay out late...and so were me and H ;)
  • I have mine at 1PM and the reception starts at 5.  Gaps are customary around here though.  (also getting married in Sept)
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  • Also, keep in mind that while you may want to party all day, your guests may not. You could certainly have an 'after-party' but don't expect everyone to stick around the whole time. We're doing a morning wedding (11am) with a lunch reception and dancing and we'll end around 4pm. And then we're outta there to our wedding night hotel and a romantic dinner.
  • how important are the pictures to you?  most photographers like shooting about 2 or so hours before sunset.  'high noon' pictures actually give terrible light.

    i'd shoot for starting your ceremony around 3ish, pictures after, then reception around 5 or 6.  of course that all depends on what your venues usually do.  i know we only had the option of 3 start times for the ceremony, and 2 start times for the reception.
  • I wouldn't ask guests to give us their whole day.  Accounting for travel time, that seems impolite, IMHO.

    We began our ceremony at 4:00, and the cocktail hour by 5:30 with dinner at 6:00.  We partied until maybe 10:30, with some guests trickling our earlier and some hitting the town in groups they formed as they went.  This schedule worked well for our Saturday wedding.
  • My FI and I were wondering the same thing. Guests can arrive at reception at 4:30 for champagne coctail hr starts at 5. Photographer needs 1 1/2 hrs after ceremony for pics, so we were thinking 2p, the priest says weddings are usually at 3, but he is letting us pick. church is about 30 mins from reception condsidering travel time guests could potentially be at least 30 mins early :( think if we move it to 3 we would be ok? i was told its not good for the couple to miss cocktail hr by the photographer...idk please help
  • vexievexie member
    The other posters have given you good advice regarding start times.  

    One other thing no one mentioned... the earlier the ceremony the earlier YOU have to wake up to have time to get hair and makeup done!  (hair = 1-1/2 hours, makeup =45 mins-1 hour on average, plus time to get dressed, photos etc).
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