Best time for an evening ceremony?

posted 3 years ago in Ceremony
  • poll: What time is best for an evening wedding?
    1 pm : (0 votes)
    2 pm : (1 votes)
    4 %
    3 pm : (0 votes)
    3:30 pm : (1 votes)
    4 %
    4 pm : (4 votes)
    16 %
    4:30 pm : (5 votes)
    20 %
    5 pm : (5 votes)
    20 %
    5:30 pm : (3 votes)
    12 %
    6 pm : (6 votes)
    24 %
  • Post # 2
    97 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: October 2018

    I’ve always heard weddings, parties, celebrations, etc. start on the half hour as the minute hand on an analog clock is moving up, with funerals beginning on the hour as the minute hand goes down. 

    Post # 3
    3829 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: April 2017

    It depends on your timeline.

    – How long will your ceremony be approximately?

    – Will you be doing all the photos after the ceremony? Do you have a lot of family who need to be photographed? Do you have to go drive anywhere to take your photos?

    – What time is the reception? Is it in the same location or far away?

    We had our ceremony at 4 and reception at 6 and were quite actually pressed for time for photos in between. But could be different depending on your plans.

    Post # 4
    4038 posts
    Honey bee

    Do you have guests that will be traveling? What time is check-in, for the hotels in your room blocks?

    Daughter #1 married at a hotel. Over 50 rooms were booked by guests; only a few were for out of town guest – mostly for convenience. Check-in was 3:00 PM, so her wedding started at 5:30 PM.

    Daughter #2 married at a non-hotel. Set-up 4 hotel room blocks in the town. All had 4:00 PM check-ins, so the ceremony didn’t start until 6:00 PM  (but in hindsight, could have been 6:30).

    Both couples had first looks, so all personal, bridal party and family photos were taken before the music prelude. The cocktail hour started right after the ceremony’s end and all the bridal party attended. Both had formal weddings, so the 5:30 start was pushing it a bit (that couple added an extra half hour onto the reception). Our social circle tries to avoid time gaps, like the plague. 

    Post # 5
    1202 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2018

    I’m glad you did your research as the first thing that came to mind is the sun setting early in winter. I guess it’d depend on whether you’re taking photographs during cocktail hour right after.


    (Mine will be 5:30pm but it’s in may)

    Post # 6
    1050 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: City, State

    View original reply
    leelee93 :  are the ceremony and  reception at the same location?

    Post # 7
    5398 posts
    Bee Keeper

    Ours started around 430pm. We had a cocktail hour while we did photos. 🙂

    Post # 8
    942 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2016

    Is there a time the reception needs to end by? You could just go by that and work backwards. Ours needed to end by 10:30pm as a rule of the venue, so we ended up with a 5pm ceremony, 5:30-10:30pm reception (on the same property).

    Post # 9
    509 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2017

    Sunset at 7:30 on our wedding day. Ceremony time was at 5pm (13 minutes), we had cocktail hour outside after, and 6pm dinner inside the venue. Dancing and Lawn games outdoors for the raminder of the night. DH and I left the venue at 10pm. Venue contract stated we had to have all of our stuff out of the venue by 11:30.

    Everything worked out perfect… But the day really does go by insanely fast! Make sure you give yourself a set time to eat! So many couples don’t get to eat at their own wedding! 

    Post # 10
    681 posts
    Busy bee

    My wedding is at 4:30pm. That way it’ll be over my 5:00. We can have cocktail hour from 5-6 and then at 6 or so start the main meal. 

    Post # 11
    82 posts
    Worker bee

    View original reply
    leelee93 :  We’re starting the actual ceremony at 6:30pm (sunset on that day), and we have the venue until midnight.  We are both night owls, so that works for us!  

    Post # 12
    550 posts
    Busy bee

    View original reply
    leelee93 :  getting married on 3/30/18 and we are getting married at 6-6:15, pictures from 6:20-7:00 and sunset is scheduled for 7:35 that day.

    7 pm-dinner

    reception ends at 11pm

    Post # 13
    603 posts
    Busy bee

    View original reply
    leelee93 :  I am getting married 03/24/18 and we decided to do the ceremony at 430pm, which is generally the warmest time of day in spring. We chose this time for two major reasons:

    1. It will be the warmest time of the day, so if it is on the warmer side, we may have our ceremony outside.

    2. If our reception ended at 10, our Out of Town guests could comfortably make the last train home to the city if they did not want to stay overnight.

    Post # 14
    25 posts
    • Wedding: September 2019

    I think it really depends on a lot of factors. Are you having a reception following immediately? Is it in the same location or Not? If it’s not, how far away is the reception? Are you having a cocktail hour? I think it really depends on the flow of your day! Also, if you’re getting married at a church sometimes they have set start times. For example, there is a popular church in my city that will often have two weddings a day on Saturdays so they will do 3:30 and 5:30pm only. 



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