Wedding Planning

What Time Should You Start Your Wedding Ceremony?

April 13, 2023

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and the time you start your ceremony can make a big difference in the quality of your photographs. So, what time should you start your wedding ceremony? Here are a few tips to help you make the right decision.

Wedding Ceremony in Raleigh, NC
Venue: Haywood Hall in Raleigh, NC

1. Don’t start your wedding ceremony too close to sunset.

One of the biggest mistakes couples make is starting their ceremony too close to sunset. If your timeline runs behind, you run the risk of losing light and missing out on some of your most important photographs. This is especially important if your wedding date is after the fall time change in November, as the days are much shorter and the light fades much quicker. This is also incredibly important if you choose to forgo a first look and photograph the bulk of your portraits after the ceremony. To avoid this, start your ceremony at least two hours before sunset to give yourself plenty of time for photographs.

Summer Wedding Ceremony at Highgrove Estate
Venue: Highgrove Estate in Fuquay-Varina, NC

2. Time your ceremony for golden hour.

Golden hour is the time just before sunset when the light is soft and warm, making for beautiful photographs. It’s the best light of the day, so it makes sense to schedule your bride and groom portraits during this time. To do this, start your ceremony at least two hours before sunset, and plan for your couples portraits to take place during the last hour of light.

Lakeside Wedding Ceremony in South Carolina
Venue: Catawba Falls Events Center

3. Consider your photographer’s style.

Another factor to consider when choosing your ceremony time is your photographer’s style. If your photographer is a natural light-only photographer, then a ceremony at sunset may not make for the best images. However, if your photographer is experienced in using artificial lighting, then you can still get beautiful images even if your ceremony is at sunset. It’s important to discuss your photographer’s style and preferences with them to ensure that you’re both on the same page.

In conclusion, the time you start your wedding ceremony can make a monumental difference in the quality of your photographs. Avoid starting too close to sunset, time your ceremony for golden hour, and consider your photographer’s style to ensure you get the best images possible on your wedding day. By following these tips, you’ll be able to create stunning memories that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Hi! I’m Tierney, a wedding photographer who serves Raleigh, Durham, and the Carolinas! My husband Christopher and I are all about helping couples have an effortless photography experience that makes them feel entirely taken care of. Does this sound like the experience you want? Contact us!

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