How to Choose the Best Time for Your Wedding Ceremony

When it comes to planning your wedding, it can feel like there are important decisions to be made around every corner. From dresses and details to dinner and DJs, the choices seem limitless. You’ll quickly notice that underneath it all, there is a common thread stitching everything neatly together – your wedding day timeline. It all begins with choosing the best time for your wedding ceremony!

At Pavilion at Carriage Farm, we get it – this feels like monumental decision. That’s why we’re offering up a quick guide to choosing the ideal time for your wedding ceremony to ensure everything runs smoothly! 

Best time of year and location of your wedding.

When selecting a time to tie-the-knot, there are few factors more important than the time of year and location of your wedding. Much of this planning will depend on the season, the light, and the sun.

The secret is knowing exactly when the sun will set on your wedding day. Most wedding photographers will tell you, something magical begins to happen as the sun begins to sink in the sky, the light softens, and everything begins to glow about 2 hours before the sun sets. So, start by doing a quick Google search and pinpointing the sunset time for your wedding day and location.

Next, think about whether you plan to hold the ceremony indoors or outdoors? An outdoor wedding during the winter would need to start much earlier in the day to take advantage of daylight, unless you are planning a more dramatic, candlelit walk down the aisle [NOTE: The Pavilion at Carriage Farm offers several indoor and outdoor ceremony locations that can be weather-flexible.]

Understanding how the season and daylight work together will help you begin to paint a picture of the best time for your wedding ceremony.

Photo courtesy: By the Reeses Photography

The logistics of guests and getting ready.

Are you early risers or night owls? Do you want to get things going early on your wedding day so you have more time to celebrate, or would you rather have a decidedly slow start and savor your coffee?  This is where you must stop and think about how you want your day to FEEL for a moment.

For most brides, it’s important to keep stress levels low and from a planning standpoint, giving yourself adequate time to get ready can make or break much of the day. How big is your wedding party? And how long do you realistically need to get ready before the ceremony (without feeling rushed)?

Lastly, logistics. How early can you arrive at the venue? How far will most of your guests be traveling on the day-of? Be sure to allow them time to make the trip both before and after the wedding.

Photo ops: First looks and family portraits.

We can’t talk about timelines without focusing on photos! The look and feel of your photos depend heavily on the available light and making space throughout the day for photography. Deciding whether you want to do a “First Look” can dictate when you schedule group photos and family portraits – either before or after your ceremony. Count on your photographer to carefully walk you through different options to ensure you capture all of the most important people and moments during the day. Our Gallery can help you envision the types of photos you may be looking for.

Pro tip: Setting aside time, just around sunset, to take a few special romantic photos of just the two of you, is a beautiful way to sneak away for some time quiet time together too!

Photo courtesy: Jenna Corley Photography

Dinner and dancing.

If dinner and dancing are the highlight of your reception, it’s time to talk about the food and festivities next! The type of food you want to serve can be a key element of planning your timeline. Do you picture a springtime garden-party lunch or a fashionably late black-tie dinner dining experience? Will this be a super family-friendly event with lots of kids or an adult-only affair that can lean a bit later? It’s helpful to know, most catered dinners last between 1 ½-2 hours. There are also toasts to be made, followed by breaking it down on the dance floor and eventually, your grand exit. It can be really smart to work your timeline backwards from the end of the night!

Because your wedding day is ultimately all about the two of you, you’ll want to tailor the timing to reflect the spirit and theme of your unique celebration. This is where your wedding coordinator becomes pivotal. Their years of experience and venue knowledge will be invaluable in helping you make the most of your day! 

Infinitely customizable and conveniently located, just minutes south of Raleigh, the Pavilion at Carriage Farm is a hidden gem. Known for its spacious, well-appointed grounds, rustic ambiance, and highly-professional team of experts – no matter what time of day you choose, your wedding day is guaranteed to be exclusively yours.

Call the Pavilion at Carriage Farm (919)621-2648 to schedule a venue tour today!