What is the best time of day to get married?

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A few years ago the majority of weddings that I photographed were held around 1pm. There have always been exceptions to this, particularly with a non traditional wedding, so perhaps a Chinese tea ceremony would begin early in the morning, or an African wedding would be held much later in the day, but in general,1pm was considered to be the norm. However, I have noticed a definite trend in later weddings, and I think this is because nowadays people are taking only the elements of a wedding which are perfect for them, and creating a truly bespoke day.

I once photographed a wedding at the Hilton Doubletree in Chester when the ceremony began at 10am. It was a beautiful sunny day and the bride & groom celebrated with their friends and family for a few hours, then there was a break in the proceedings for everybody to do a bit of sightseeing before coming together for the wedding breakfast later in the day. This is obviously not for everybody, but it suited the couple perfectly, and the guests were happy enough to have the opportunity to see the sights of Chester! At the other end of the scale, I photographed a wedding in Warrington around Christmas time, which began at 5pm. It was completely dark and freezing cold outside but the bride & groom still wanted a few traditional family photos outside, so I placed a groundsheet on the floor to protect the ladies shoes and dresses, and then set up my portable LED light panels and literally took a handful of people at a time outside for a very quick photo before getting back into the warm!

In general though, if a wedding ceremony is to be held in a church then as long as you factor in enough time to travel to your reception venue and allow some time for photographs, then this will be fine. If a civil ceremony is held at the same venue at the reception, there will usually be a gap of an hour or two inbetween the ceremony and reception but this is not always the case if you choose a later ceremony time. For example, I photographed a wedding only last month at Hyde bank Farm in Romily and the bride & groom chose to get married at 4pm. They had decided to eat a tapas style meal which would be served at 5.15pm. This gave me only 45 minutes to capture some lovely couples shots along with the group photos, and the bride gave me a list with 17 requests, which is quite a lot! I did explain when we met that this would be tight and wouldn’t leave much time for mingling with their guests, but they were perfectly happy with this so I made it happen and had an extremely busy half an hour but I got everything done (and the photos are gorgeous of course!).

In summary, I would say then that there is no one particular perfect time to get married, as everybody has a different idea of how they see their perfect day. However, even though I take a very natural approach to your wedding photography throughout the day, it is important to factor in at least a little bit of dedicated time for photographs, particularly for the family/ bridal party groups which we can talk about before the big day, and a few minutes for some lovely couples shots of the newlyweds.