What's the Best Time of the Day to Get Married?

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant © (30/04/2020) Categories: | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Planning |
previous    |    contents     |    next
Part clock face with
                      the words Time to MarryTiming is everything. The time of day you choose for your wedding will have a significant impact on your whole day, including on your budget, your photographs, your choice of venue, and possibly on the availability of your preferred vendors. It may also impact on the attendance of guests. With no legal restrictions in Australia on the time of the day you can marry, (in this country you can marry 24/7, indoors or out, any day of the year) your wedding start time comes down to personal, practical, and logistical choices. The start time for your ceremony, and of the celebration to follow, can also be influenced by local custom and expectations, but doesn't have to be.

The traditional time to get married


At the moment, 3.00 pm (on a Saturday afternoon) is the most common time to schedule a wedding. But we tend to forget that not so long ago, it was 2.30 pm, and some years before that, wedding ceremonies usually started at 11.00 am. In fact, at one time it was not legal to get married after noon. When wedding receptions were more generally an afternoon tea, 2.30 pm was the preferred time. The move to 3.00 pm coincided with a change to evening/dinner receptions together with extended photography sessions between the ceremony and the reception.

Make allowances for the season


Depending on where you are, the season can limit or expand the range of times that will be suitable for your wedding. Further south, with longer summer daylight hours, it can be practical to start your wedding later in the day than further north. Equally, it is always a good idea to avoid the hottest part of the day. Typically, your photographer will count back from sunset to suggest a start time for your ceremony in order to allow plenty of time for photographs between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of your reception. However, don't forget that that might mean that, if your ceremony is being held outdoors, you could be standing in full sunlight, hot and sweaty, and squinting into the sun. None of which will make for good photos, a pleasant experience, or happy guests. Take that into consideration too before agreeing to a 3.00 pm ceremony in the height of summer.

Your budget


The time of day you schedule your wedding has a huge impact on what type of celebration you are going to have afterwards. As receptions account for at least half of the average wedding budget, the type of reception you choose is a major driver of how much you might need to spend
  • Breakfast, lunch, morning or afternoon tea, and cocktail receptions are always less expensive on a per head basis than a dinner reception
  • The time of day also has a huge influence on your bar bill. People do not drink nearly as much at a breakfast or lunch reception, and you can get away with one glass of champagne for toasts at a morning or afternoon tea where tea and coffee  is served with the eats.
  • The time of day also has an influence on the type of venue, particularly if you're having a morning or afternoon tea reception.

Your photographs


For great photos you need good light, so it is a good idea to choose your professional photographer very early in your planning process and work with them to get a clear idea of how much time will be needed to achieve the number and style of photographs you want. As will the time the sun will set on your wedding day. Overall, the light is different at different times of the day. In Brisbane, morning light is less harsh, early afternoon on a sunny day the light is very harsh (which not only makes you squint, but tends to be quite aging in photos!) Golden hour (the hour before sunset), beloved of photographers, changes with the seasons, though not as much as it does further south. Twilight, too, is shorter here than in the southern states.

Your venue's policies


Some venues are less flexible than others, going as far as having set start times for ceremonies and receptions. Access to the venue to set up styling and to pack up again may also influence your decision about start time.

Local curfews


Local noise regulations dictate what time your reception must finish, so if having an evening reception you might decide your ceremony start time by counting backwards. Decide how many hours your reception will run for/, add how many hours you need for photographs and/or cocktail hour and how long you need for the ceremony and that's how many hours before curfew time you have. How many hours your reception will run for may be constrained by what the venue offers in terms of packages. Some have one-size-fits-all packages, others offer two or more choices, but you can usually expect something around four hours for a sit-down dinner reception.

Personal preference


Are the two of you morning people? Or night owls? Do you lean towards the vibe of an elegant formal evening affair, or would you prefer a casual wedding earlier in the day?

Other considerations


  • Availability of vendors, including hair and makeup services, decorators and stylists, and others
  • Delivery times for flowers, cakes, catering etc
  • Travel arrangements of guests
  • Pregnant Guests (there's a reason it's called morning sickness!)
  • Health status of older guests (many conditions make it difficult to get going early in the day or to stay up late in the evening)

Thanks for reading!

Jenny xxx Let's talk
                        soon about how you can have the best ceremony
< previous    |    contents    |   next    |    get in touch  >
0  Things