Choosing the Best Time of Day to Get Married

Have you wondered what the best time of day to get married is? Should it be early and celebrated with brunch? Or in the afternoon and let everyone raise a glass to you over a cocktail hour.

To make this decision, you need to consider all of the factors at play, including lighting, time of year, travel time, vendors, the type of ceremony, and more.

Bride and Groom, Enjoying Amazing Sunset on a Beautiful Tropical Beach, Romantic Married Couple Kissing

What’s the best time of day to get married?

Are you a morning person? Or do you come alive at night? The most popular times to get married are in the late morning from 11 am and 1 pm or in the afternoon between 2 pm and 4 pm. Both these options have their reasons for why they work well.

Your preferences will be one of the things to consider when choosing the time of your ceremony. You can go earlier, later, or somewhere in between. But there are a few other things you’ll need to think about. Going too early means your guests may not have time to get there (or, they’ll still be waking up during the ceremony!), too late can be limiting too. There are things to consider too such as –

The wedding venue

The venue is a big consideration when deciding when the best time is to get married, for many reasons.

What time do you get access to your ceremony venue to decorate? Morning weddings are beautiful but if you can’t get into the venue beforehand to decorate and for set up, it’s going to be an issue!

What time does your wedding reception venue close? If you are wanting a lengthy reception, this could mean having to push your ceremony time earlier so you can still fit in speeches and dancing. A wedding day timeline is going to really come in handy here, to ensure you can fit everything you want.

You’ll also need to consider how far guests need to travel if you are having your ceremony and reception at different locations.

The time of year

Your wedding date plays a big part in the decision of the wedding ceremony start time. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony in the cooler months, then an evening ceremony may be a bit too cold.

Or, if you’re wanting photos taken in daylight, the lack of sun in the winter months could make it too dark too quickly to use natural light. A popular time and some of the best lighting to shoot photos for many wedding photographers is the golden hour. This is the hour before sunset time. The time that this happens will depend on the season.

If you’re having a summer wedding, evening outdoor ceremonies can give photographers amazing natural light to work with for much longer. It’s also not going to be as hot in the evening as it would be in the middle of the day. In cooler months, consider a late morning or early afternoon outdoor wedding for the best outdoor natural light.

If you are choosing an outdoor ceremony when it is dark, there are lighting options available, like candles and fairy lights, to create beautiful wedding photos even in low light.

The food

What kind of meal would you like at your reception? A formal sit-down meal is traditionally held during an evening reception after the ceremony ends. For early afternoon weddings, you might just serve nibbles and drinks.

The budget will play a big part here. Evening weddings that feature a dinner will be more expensive than an afternoon wedding with just a cocktail hour.

Weekend or weekday weddings

What day of the week is your wedding going to be? A weekday wedding ceremony in the morning runs a bigger risk that some guests may not be able to attend due to work or other commitments.

This might work out in your favor if you’re wanting a smaller ceremony and reception, but either way, it’s something to consider.

The guest list

Will you have any guests arriving from out of town on the day? If your wedding is in the afternoon this will give wedding guests plenty of time to arrive.

If you are inviting children, a mid-morning or early afternoon wedding will be more suitable for young children.

Accommodation and destination weddings

If you are having a destination wedding, providing guests with hotel rooms or accommodation, can also be a consideration. If guests arrive the evening before then there is more flexibility in having a morning wedding as the guests will already be on site.


How big is your entertainment budget? An earlier ceremony will require you to provide additional entertainment to bridge the gap between the ceremony and dinner.

Getting ready

Consider how much time you would like to get ready before the ceremony. Again, a wedding timeline will really come in handy here.

When will your hair and makeup artists be available? If you and your soon-to-be spouse are wanting first look photos and you want an early ceremony, ensure you have enough time to fit this all in.

What time are you thinking of having your wedding ceremony? Let us know below!

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