Choosing the best ceremony time for your Oklahoma Wedding can be a challenge! That’s why I’ve put together a blog giving you some tips and tricks behind ceremony times that I’ve learned over the past 8 years of being an Oklahoma Wedding Photographer! Whether you’re getting married in the winter, spring, summer or fall, I can help you pick the perfect ceremony time that will help you get your dream wedding pictures!
Picking a ceremony time for an outdoor summer wedding can be a tough decision! There are lots of factors to consider like weather, location of the ceremony site in relation to the sunset, and available shade for your guests. If you’re planning an outdoor summer wedding and are struggling to pick a ceremony time, keep this things in mind! If your guests are your #1 priority, think of the shade and the heat! If you’re picking a venue far enough in advance, I recommend touring your venue around the time you’d like your ceremony to take place so you can assess what the conditions will be like for those in your crowd. Speaking from experience, your guests do not want to sit in direct sunlight at 5pm on a June day in Oklahoma! Those 98 degree days are not for the faint of heart and might leave you with fainting guests, or even a member of your wedding party!
If you aren’t planning on doing a first look, a 6 or 6:30pm ceremony time could be ideal for your summer wedding. This gives you plenty of time after the ceremony to take family, wedding party, and bride & groom photos during a full hour long cocktail hour. Since you’ll be taking a full hour for pictures, starting at 6:30 means you can get into your reception around 7:30 to get the party started! Summer weddings typically mean later exit times, usually around 11 or 11:30, but I assure you your guests won’t mind as long as the party is still going!
If you ARE doing a first look, you can push back your ceremony time since you won’t need a full cocktail hour for pictures! If your venue has a gorgeous outdoor ceremony location but is subject to full or mostly sun, I highly suggest doing a first look and pushing back your ceremony to 7! Those extra 30 minutes can make a world of difference in temperatures for your guest and since you’ll have most of the pictures out of the way before the ceremony happens, you’ll still be able to start the party around 7:30 or 7:45!
*the above photo was taken on June 5th at Coles Garden at 6:30pm.
Fall and Spring wedding dates typically go the fastest because the weather is truly the best! April, early May, late September and October are known to have the best weather and venues often book these dates 12-18 months in advance! These dates book fast because the weather is cooler, the trees look amazing, and having an outdoor ceremony is less of a risk. My own wedding date was October 24th and I think it is truly the perfect weekend for a wedding!
Before picking your own ceremony time, I must advise you to check the sunset time for your date at your venue! Daylight savings gives us some help but I promise you do not want to have a 6pm ceremony if sunset is at 6:30!
Whether or not you do a first look a 5:30 ceremony time is great for Spring and Fall weddings in Oklahoma! If you’re having a wedding during the last two weeks of October, you might want to consider 5pm if you aren’t doing a first look. Both ceremony times will give you plenty of light for your ceremony, great weather for your guests, an early entrance into your reception, or time to eat alone before you make your grand entrance!
*the above photo was taken at the Farmhouse at Grassroots Farm on October 10th at 5:30pm
Ceremony times for winter weddings in Oklahoma can widely vary! Ceremony times are also very dependent on your desire to do a first look or not. Before picking a winter wedding date, please carefully consider what doing or not doing a first look will mean for your wedding pictures! Though I am not a stickler for doing first looks, if you’re planning on a winter wedding there are way more advantages to doing one than not!
Since the sunset is usually anywhere from 4:45 to 5:30 during the winter months (November-early March), it poses an issue for usual ceremony times. Unless you are okay with having a 3:30 or 4pm ceremony, a first look is probably required to get the same wedding photos you see all over Pinterest and Instagram. If you are planning on doing a first look, a 5 or 5:30 ceremony will be great for you! I do advise having members of your immediate family arriving before the ceremony for pictures, but if you don’t mind family pictures with a flash then you’ll be just fine!
*the above photo was taken at The Grand Canadian Theater at 6pm – the couple did not do a first look and took all of their family, wedding party, and portraits after sunset.
The best ceremony time for an Oklahoma wedding taking place indoors in the Spring and Fall, follow similar timelines to outdoor ceremonies during the same months! A ceremony taking place anywhere from 5 to 6pm will fit most couples needs! As always, whether or not you are doing a first look plays a factor on how much time you want between your ceremony and sunset. I usually recommend at least one and a half hours between the start of the ceremony and sunset if you are choosing not to do a first look! This ensures that we can make it through family photos, wedding party pictures, and portraits of the Bride & Groom with plenty of light left. If you are set on no first look and only an hour between your ceremony and sunset, we usually switch the order of photos and do portraits of the Bride & Groom first, then wedding party, and finish with the family pictures which can be done indoor with a flash. If you are doing a first look, a ceremony starting 1 hour before sunset would be fine as well!
*the above photo was taken at Sparrow Beginnings on March 9th at 5:30pm
If you’re planning a church wedding in Oklahoma, ceremony times can seem extra daunting! First, I highly recommend hiring a wonderful planner who can handle the logistics of two wedding venues. Secondly, over communicate with your church to make sure you choose the perfect ceremony time for both you and the church!
Catholic weddings present a challenge due to Saturday Mass. Most couples opt to host their ceremony after the evening mass but some couples opt to fill the afternoon time slot! This is where communication comes in! If you choose to do an afternoon wedding, usually around 2:30 or 3, it might be a good idea to create a between events activity for your guests! An extra long cocktail hour with games, live music, or even a third location for guests to enjoy can help fill the time while you are off taking pictures. Most couples who do afternoon weddings do not opt to do a first look, or if they do, they choose to just do the first look and save most of the posed pictures for between events.
If you are doing an evening weddings, make extra sure you check the sunset time for your wedding day, or reach out to your photographer for help! The rules that apply to the seasons listed above will also apply to you and will help manage expectations around first looks and desired photos.
*the above photo was taken at St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral in OKC at 2:30pm
Finally, what ceremony time is best for an indoor summer wedding in Oklahoma! My answer for this is usually 5:30 or 6pm! This is really the sweet spot for wedding ceremonies because it is right before usual dinner time and means guests aren’t likely to be cranky and hungry during your event, you’ll have a 4 hour reception which is usually the perfect length of a party, and it means you can choose to do a first look or not and still have maximum coverage from your photographer!
I hope this blog gives you more insight on the best ceremony time for an Oklahoma wedding! My best advice to you is to seek advice from a professional wedding planner or photographer before making a final decision on your ceremony time! Your wedding pro’s are here to help make sure you have the perfect day and perfect pictures to remember it by!
Looking for more Oklahoma wedding tips and tricks? I have more blogs for you here!