What time should my ceremony be?

We're making a ceremony local due to a close family member that can't go far. Our reception venue is 1 hr away, We'll need to arrive around 6:30-7pm at reception. We have a wedding photoshoot prior to the reception venue, this will be about 2 hrs.

Question Asked: 16/09/2023

Wedding Date: 9/08/2018

Most Helpful Response

Weddings By Steve Veenstra

(33) · Australia

Posted: 31/10/2023

I would recommend 2.30pm - 3pm start - guest to arrive 20 to 30 mins prior to ceremony commencing and all guests to be seated and welcomed 10-15 minutes prior to the ceremony. I hope you have a wonderful wedding :)

Answered by: 8 Experts

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Beswick Life Celebrations - Lesley Beswick

(4) · Ballarat, Daylesford, Ballan, Bacchus Marsh, Geelong & Bellarine Peninsula

Posted: 19/09/2023

I would say that, with the times you have presented, that anything from 2-3pm would work. My best advice would be to tell guests 2.00-2.15pm and start the actual ceremony at 2.30pm.

That then doesn't cram too much together, and means you will enjoy your day.

Rebecca Saunders Celebrant

(10) · Launceston, Hobart and surrounding areas

Posted: 19/09/2023

Give yourself plenty of time for those "just in case" moments. Given your time line I would suggest 2-2.30pm would be ideal. If you invite guests 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony you shouldnt have any arrivals during the ceremony. 

Brett Miller at Triple C Celebrants

(0) · Sydney, Southern Highlands

Posted: 19/09/2023

Hi there. Most wedding ceremonies only do for 30 minutes at the most. A 2:00pm start would be my recommendation as it also allows for some milling around time  with the family and friends after the ceremony. Then you need to get to your shoot. Not sure low long that will take. You be the judge of that. You say that the photoshoot will take two hours from say 3:30-5'30 at which time you then have an hour's to get to the reception by 6:30. I hope that helps.

Josh Withers

(42) · Australia's best freestyle celebrant, travelling from Southeast Qld worldwide

Posted: 19/09/2023

My rule for ceremony time is for it to be as late as possible, as close to sunset as possible, once you take into consideration what your photographer needs for portraits (usually no more than one hour, and often ony 30-45 minutes), and what your venue plus caterer needs from you.

For my style of ceremony - fun and enjoyable - I reccommend scheduling an hour, not because it takes an hour, but a ceremony barely ever starts on time, my ceremony takes about 18-20 minutes, and there is signing and congratulations, and maybe a group photo and some family photos, which can all easily fill an hour.

So if the curfew is no issue, and the caterer is no issue, and the sunset is 6pm, your photographer might want you for an hour, so in that case you'd schedule a 3pm ceremony.

If you wanted to tighten the day up a little, your photographer was making your portrait photos on-site, and you weren't having a thousand family photos or group photos, then you could invite people with the wording "3:30pm for a 4pm start" so the ceremony starts at 4pm and you're still sailing through some congratulations and portrait photos before the sun sets.

For summer weddings when the sun sets later, around 8pm or 9pm in some parts of Australia, that starts cutting into recepttion time, so you might consider portrait photos at sunset time, but the ceremony could be at 5pm or so and the party starts straight after.

Mike Larkan - Celebrant & MC

(121) · Melbourne, Yarra Valley, Dandenongs and Mornington Peninsula

Posted: 19/09/2023

I would suggest putting 2.30 on the invitation or 2.45sharp (there is always bound to be guests arriving late) intending to start your ceremony at 3. This still leaves plenty of time for photos ... the last thing you want to be doing is rushing your photographer. Enjoy your wedding ??.

Treasured Ceremonies

(17) · Byron Bay and North Coast NSW

Posted: 19/09/2023

work backwards from the time you need to be at the reception.
allowing 2 hours gets your to 4:30pm
greeting after ceremony means finish by 4:00pm
Ceremony allowance one hour
So perhaps commence at 3pm ? 
but tell guests 2:45pm start so they are all there in plenty of time

Perfect Memories Celebrant

(3) · Adelaide, Regional South Australia

Posted: 19/09/2023

A ceremony takes about half an hour generally, then another 25-20 minutes for signing and seeing/being congratulated. With your time frames you may need to look at 2-2:30 pm 

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