• Raina

How to Choose Your Wedding Ceremony Time

You’re engaged!! We are sure that your head is spinning with all 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 Nashville 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 photography perspective.

Decide if You are Having a First Look To be honest, we love the modern tradition of a first look. Capturing that moment before the ceremony with the two of you is magical, and the couples we work with often tell us that their stress melted away the moment they saw each other.

Doing a first look means you can launch right into wedding portraits, and sometimes even wedding party and parent photos. Getting those knocked off the list is wonderful schedule wise because that means that you can get right to celebrating after the ceremony and enjoy things the you've been dreaming of like champagne and hors d’oeuvres with your loved ones.

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

Logistics and Travel Play a Role

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

  • Hair and makeup at the salon or hotel where you are getting ready running late.

  • The time it takes for a wedding party to pack up/get on a bus or into their cars

  • A shuttle/bus/limo running late

  • Weather delays

  • Traffic delays (check for any events in your town that could cause backups such as sporting events, festivals, marathons, parades or road closures)

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

Tennessee weather can be, shall we say, unpredictable? While it should be in the ’70s in mid-October, it could also be 90 or 30...we've seen both extremes. 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, large box fans/heaters or fleece blankets for your guests. After all, the common saying, "If you don't like the weather in Tennessee, wait five minutes" didn't come about by accident. Our highs and lows could make you wonder if Mother Nature was bipolar. Also, consider the time of day. Don’t plan a noon ceremony in August when it’s likely to be a scorcher. When in doubt in the summer, go early (think brunch wedding!) or much later in the day.

When is Sunset on your Wedding Day? Photographers are suckers for a good sunset. We haven't met one that doesn't live right up to that cliche. There isn't anything much better in life than two people in love 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. (And don't forget to plan for those stunning night photos, as well!)

We are always 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!


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