How Long Should Your Wedding Ceremony Take? 5 Steps To Decide

Posted on

How long should your wedding ceremony be? Only you can answer this question, and many factors go into finding the right timing. How can you design the perfect timeline for this key part of your nuptials? Here are five steps to take. 

1. Prioritize the Elements. Every wedding has a few vital elements. This includes the legal language needed to abide by state law, and key traditions (such as reciting vows, praying, being given away, lighting a candle, or reading a scripture). Your first step should be to decide as a couple what your priorities are. Number them in order of importance so you have options for changing the timing. 

2. Consider the Environment. Is your ceremony indoors or outside? Could the weather be fickle on the big day? Will guests be seated or standing? How hot or cold is it likely to be? All these environmental factors inform how long you want yourself and your guests to be in place for the ceremony. 

3. Build Out the Schedule. Look at your wedding day schedule starting from the most unalterable factors. For which hours do you have the reception or ceremony space? Do you have an appointment for hair, makeup, or limos? How long do you need to set up and decorate? Working outward from these unchangeable elements, start fitting in the schedule of things you have control over, such as the ceremony length. 

4. Blend the Ceremony Scale. The ceremony should be a centerpiece of the wedding day. Therefore, you don't want to spend only 10 minutes on it while spending 6 hours on the reception party. However, you also don't want an hour-long wedding with just a short cocktail party afterward. Scale the ceremony longer or shorter so it blends organically with the size of the other elements. 

5. Maintain Flexibility. Even after you decide which elements to include and the length you prefer, stay flexible about the final result. You may find during the rehearsal that things feel too long in real life. Changing weather could alter an outdoor ceremony timeline. The wedding schedule might run late. Or you may want to throw in a last-minute reading. Stick with your non-negotiable elements and remain open to changing other parts. Work closely with your officiant to stay on top of any needed changes. 

Want help using these tips to find the perfect length for your ceremony? Start by meeting with a wedding service with experience in planning ceremonies. With their help, no matter what you choose, you'll create nothing but beautiful memories to last a lifetime.

For more ideas, talk to a wedding ceremony location such as Pristine Chapel Lakeside.