Obviously the below notes regarding the better planning of your ceremony are based from a photographer’s point of view, this means it is necessary to consult with your celebrant as well as the  venue’s


In the interests of happier guests, a more comfortable bridal party and better photo and video coverage here are some general guidelines.


ceremonies usually take 30 minutes, followed by congratulations of the couple by all the guests, finishing off with family and possibly a entire group photo.

Typically for an 80 guest wedding expect this to last around 1 1/2 hrs.

10 min, bridal arrival

35 min, ceremony

15 min, congratulations

30 min, group and family photos


What will affect the time the ceremony starts? Many variables.

You might not have a choice though. Churches, celebrants and some venues like to set the time of your wedding or offer you a small window due to more bookings on the same day.

How long will the guests wait from ceremony to start of reception while the bridal party are having their bridal photos? If your ceremony and/or reception venues  conveniently located? If so, your guests can choose to spend a couple of hours waiting  at a local  bar or even having lunch. However, if you’ve decided to pick a more exotic location it is probably best to limit your bridal photos to only one hour or a least to organise canapes and pre-dinner drinks for your guests.

If you have only one bridal shoot location then try to allow ceremony to start 3 hours before start of reception (for the bridal party) AND try to delay reception until 15-30 minutes after sunset. The best bridal photos are definitely just after the sun has set. When it’s too dark to shoot anymore  photos the bridal party usually retire to a bridal room to refresh for 10 minutes before their grand entrance.


Is your ceremony outdoors? Do you have a plan B in case of bad weather? Have you personally seen where the sunlight and shadows fall at the exact time of day for your planned ceremony?


Shade is good, for both the bridal party and the guests. Sunlight does not have to be bad however. What’s really not good is a brighter background or patchy shade with intense light, especially on people’s faces.

Intense sunlight on people’s faces cause eyes to close, unnatural posing,  general discomfort, less smiling, an appearance of unhappiness. in summer heat will also cause headaches and sweating.

Shade also protects from  windy conditions and unattractive backgrounds.

October 7, 2015