Ceremony Start Time Calculator

Using This Guide

This ceremony start time calculator is meant to give you an idealistic start time based on our personal experience from photographing hundreds of weddings. Though not a definitive answer to when your ceremony should be, this guide it is meant to help give direction on when you should be thinking about for your ceremony time.

Factors we considered range from whether or not you wish to see your fiancé before the ceremony to what photos you would like captured before the ceremony. There are a number of other factors to consider, (i.e. bridal party count, size of your families for formal photos, etc.), and those will need to factor into to the equation afterwards. Look to your wedding photographer for guidance, as they will be best equipped for your wedding in particular, since they know their own level of efficiency.

Calculating the Start Time


Further Considerations

  • Guest tend to arrive more on time when the ceremony time is easy to remember, choose 7:00 over 6:55, 6:30 over 6:35, and 4:15 over 4:20.
  • The average bridal party size is 5 on each side, we’ve seen one on each side, as well as over a dozen on either side, remember to adjust your time if you have well over or well under 5 on one side of your bridal party.
  • Most of our family formals take ~15 minutes which is quite a bit faster than average. Be sure to check with your photographer to see how long to expect for family formals. Be sure to view our blog on how to plan your family formals. 😉
  • If you don’t want to see your fiancé before the ceremony, consider a cocktail hour, appetizers, and/or games for your guests.
  • Consider meal times when evaluating the best time for your ceremony. If you are saving the majority of your photos for after the ceremony, make sure your guests are coming from just after lunch, and/or they will have plenty of snacks, drinks, and entertainment at the ceremony.
  • The ceremony time is a bigger factor for outdoor weddings. For indoor weddings, ceremony time is factored around when/if you and your fiancé will be photographed outside.
  • The best outdoor lighting is approximately 1 hour before sunset. Referred to as “the Golden Hour”, the skin tones are warmer, lighting is softer, and dynamic range is more balanced. (Bonus: the closer your wedding is to the summer solstice, (June 21st +/- 1 day depending on the year), the longer the Golden Hour becomes!)

I hope this was helpful for you! We are always looking for new and creative grand exit ideas, so feel free to let us know if you have one to add!

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