It’s all about timing when planning the best time to get married
Organising a wedding takes most couples the best part of a year – if not two.
However, it doesn’t matter how meticulous the planning, timings are usually the biggest issue on the day. So what’s the best time to get married?
Even with the help of an experienced wedding coordinator, the various events within a wedding day can and usually do run over.
You may have underestimated the time the photographer needs to take photos outside church, for example. This has a knock-on effect of shortening your arrival drinks reception or putting the wedding breakfast back 30 minutes or so.
Even if all of the above run perfectly to timings, chances are speeches will take much longer than you think and can even run into the evening reception.
While you can’t manage every part of your wedding day to perfection as far as timings go, you can establish a great template from the very beginning. How do you do this? By choosing the right time to get married.
If you’re getting married in a church, you can expect the service to last around an hour while civil ceremonies usually take 30 minutes.
Usually guests will arrive at the ceremony location 45 minutes before the start of the event. You also have to factor in travel time to and from the venue if this is different from your reception destination.
Most photographers want a few minutes of photographs following the religious service or civil ceremony. People generally allow 30 minutes for this and travel time to the reception venue if this is in a different location.
Generally, drinks receptions are 40 minutes and the wedding breakfast itself can range from 90 minutes to 120 minutes, followed by 30 minutes for speeches.
Some couples are tempted to get married as early as possible in an effort to lengthen the day’s fun and festivities. While in theory this is a good idea, weddings are exhausting occasions and by choosing an early start guests could start to flag earlier than usual.
One of the biggest considerations when deciding a time for your wedding is your reception plans. If you have a four-course banquet planned followed by cheese and biscuits and coffee & mints, you might want to consider an earlier wedding.
One of the dangers of getting married too late in the afternoon is the wedding breakfast runs into the evening reception. Evening guests don’t generally mind waiting a few minutes at the bar until the party gets underway but if you can avoid this, it is advisable.
One way of guaranteeing this doesn’t happen is to invite everybody during the day however this is not always possible due to financial and space restrictions.
Late afternoon weddings are becoming increasingly popular because you can remove the formal wedding breakfast altogether and serve a hot buffet for all your guests. This can be considerably cheaper than a formal three-course dinner.
One of the advantages of hosting a civil ceremony and reception all in the same venue is the time it saves travelling between destinations. And this is important if you’re getting married in winter.
If you’re planning to get married after October, remember the clocks go back and there will be less daylight hours available for your photographer.
Natural light is very important for clear, high quality photographs so an early wedding might be advisable during winter months.