Why Your Ceremony Time Matters! | North Georgia Photographers

© Capture Thirteen Photography

Last week we met with some new 2019 brides to be and any time we meet with our brides we try to give them tips to help them along the way as they plan for their day. One subject that seemed to be common between all of our brides this past week was timing. Ceremony – Reception Timing to be exact. So today we thought we would pass along some of the same information we gave to them to you today!

First things first… Ceremony Times. Many brides plan their ceremony times based on the menu and style of reception they are having. Do they want a full sit down formal dinner, followed by dancing the night away, or do they want something a little more relaxed with finger foods or a dessert bar followed by lawn games or a time to visit with guests. Determining your budget for food is a great way to help you decide your style of reception… this, in turn, will also affect your ceremony time, but there is one more important factor to consider… what time will the sunset on the day of your wedding?

Why is this important? Well, friends, in the late spring and summer, we have longer days… in the summer sunsets are closer to 9pm which means there is plenty of light after a 6 or 6:30 evening ceremony to have pictures after. However, for our late fall and winter brides, the sun sets much much earlier! The fall and winter seasons are the seasons in which we have the least amount of light during the day time hours. That means it will be completely dark out by 6:00 pm or earlier, so all of your post-ceremony pictures would be occurring after dark.

Now by no means are we saying don’t get married in the evening, we just want you to be aware there are some things you’ll need to take into consideration, especially if you are planning a fall or winter evening wedding. For example are you okay with all of your bridal party and bride and groom portraits being taken at dark or inside?

Now before you start to stress over your ceremony time, we’ve got tips!


  • Do a First Look!
    • If you’ve already set your wedding ceremony time and are thinking… oh no! No worries friend! Have you considered doing a first look? If not we would suggest going with a first look, many brides often worry about this taking away from the first look of the ceremony but friends these moments are so much more intimate and sweet. Honestly, we LOVE first look moments around here!  By doing a first look this would allow you to take all of your bridal party, family and the majority of your bride and groom portraits prior to the ceremony. With starting pictures earlier in the day, you can have most all of your formal pictures finished before the ceremony and once the ceremony is over you’ll get to relax and enjoy your party and time with your guests!


  • Check the time of the sunset prior to setting your ceremony time!
    •  While we love a first look around here, we know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. So if you love the idea of sticking with the tradition of not to seeing each other prior to the ceremony, you may want to have an earlier ceremony time. By having an earlier ceremony time, you’ll still able to get those beautiful outdoor shots with your groom and bridal party members, that also showcase your venue’s location. No matter what season your getting married in, look up the sunset time for your wedding date and location! Once you’ve done this, you can work backwards from the sunset time (or ask your wedding coordinator, or photographer 😉 ) to figure out your ceremony time. In most cases, you’ll want to plan for somewhere between an hour and a half to 2 hours prior to the sunset. Here’s a peek at our normal wedding timeline for pictures for a non-first look day.
      • Ceremony Time (30 mins)
      • Family Pictures (approximately 30 mins. these pictures immediately follow the ceremony.)
      • Entire Bridal Party Together (15-20 mins)
      • Bride and Groom (30 mins)
  • Bonus Tip: If you are not planning to see each other prior to the ceremony, you’ll want to have something to entertain your guests during the picture time. A few ideas, are a mocktail or cocktail hour, lawn games, or allow them to start eating.


  • Sneaking Out of the Reception!
    • Whether our couples do a first look or not, if the sun will set during their reception, we offer to sneak out of the reception with them to capture a few dreamy sunset shots. This can allow our couples with earlier ceremony times, no matter what season it is to catch that evening glow. It can also help our non-first look couples get to the reception a little early because we can break the bride and groom portrait time up into two parts. For the most part, the reception time is the most flexible part of the wedding day, in that you don’t necessarily have to cut the cake at 8:05 on the dot, the reception a lot of times moves with the flow of the evening. So we sneak our couples out at times when guests will hardly realize their gone, so while everyone is hitting the dance floor or enjoying their dinner, those are the times we sneak out! 😉 We haven’t had a couple yet who didn’t love this moment, not only do our couples get those dreamy photos, but they also get a few quiet moments to take it all in + watch their guests enjoy the day.


  • Plan a Post Wedding Session!
    • If none of the above seem like the perfect solution for you… we still have one more suggestion. 🙂 We call these our newlywed sessions. Here Newlywed sessions most often happen sometime in the week following the wedding day. This is a session in which our brides and grooms get to wear their wedding dresses and suits and join us post wedding for formal bride and groom portraits. Sometimes couples book this to save time on the wedding day and opt to do formal pictures during a time they are more relaxed. A post-wedding day session also allows you to take advantage of all the great location options at their venue that you might not have time for on the wedding day, or to have wedding photos with a more artistic approach. There are a number of ways this session can be done and for some of our couples its the perfect solution for an evening wedding that falls in the winter. If this sounds like the best fit for you be sure to talk to your photographer and see if booking a post-wedding session will work for you!

Capture Thirteen Photography is the combined talents of photographers Alison and Brandy. We’re based out of the Northeast Georgia area between Braselton and Gainesville, Georgia serving the North Georgia areas and beyond. We’re currently booking 2019 weddings and some early 2020 weddings. We would love to chat with you about your wedding day! To view more from information on our wedding day investments click here. Or to check your wedding date, please fill out the form below!

**Information submitted is used solely for the administrative purposes of Capture Thirteen Photography and is not sold to third parties.**

%d bloggers like this: