Is 5PM Too Late for a Wedding Ceremony? (FIVE FACTORS)

Couples usually have to decide what time they’ll have their wedding ceremony.

This decision is often influenced by several factors, like the season, the number of guests who live out of town, and the length of time the reception will last.

But, Is 5 pm Too Late To Begin Your Wedding Ceremony?

No. 5 pm is not too late for a wedding. If you work everything out well, your big day will go well. It is common to get married at 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Some people do it out of choice, but in other instances, it is the circumstances that make people settle on this timing. For example, if the venue you like is only available at this time, you have no option but to wait.

Getting married late in the afternoon has various advantages. For instance, you’ll have lots of time to prepare yourself. So you won’t feel rushed to reach the wedding venue. Additionally, your guest will appreciate jumping from the ceremony to the reception to the evening drink right away. 

Five Factors That Influence Wedding Ceremony Start Times

As earlier mentioned, the time you choose to have your wedding ceremony is influenced by various things, including:

1. Where Your Guests Come From

You need to think about the number of guests staying out of time and when they prefer to attend the wedding.

If you are having a destination wedding, you know that many guests will come from out of town from different time zones.

It is wise to choose a favorable time.

You don’t want them to get up too early or stay out very late.

Think about the people coming from other states/countries and the time it will take for them to get to your wedding.

2. The Season

The season your wedding will be in affects the time your ceremony will be.

For example, if you are getting married during the summer, you know how hot the day gets.

In that case, it is best to have an evening ceremony to keep your guests comfortable.

If you are getting married in winter, remember that the nights are usually dark. Therefore, it’s best to do the ceremony early.

Another thing to think about is the time you want to take photographs after the ceremony.

If your family and friends wish to take lots of photos with you, you will need to give them more time. So, it’s best to start the ceremony early.

3. The Type of Wedding

The timing of your wedding highly depends on the type of wedding you are considering.

For instance, the requirements for a religious ceremony are different from those of a civil ceremony.

If your ceremony is a religious ceremony, check with the officiant the appropriate time to start and end the service.

4. How Much Time You Need for Pre-Wedding Activities

How long do you need to get ready for the ceremony? If you usually take less time to be prepared, you can have a ceremony late in the morning or early in the afternoon.

But a late afternoon wedding will be more suitable if you need a lot of time and have a large bridal party.

You must also consider whether you want photos taken before or after the ceremony.

Remember that getting your loved ones to take pictures of you and your husband before you say your vows will be difficult.

So if you plan on doing this, schedule your wedding ceremony in the late afternoon.

It is also wise to think about the time you want to allocate between the ceremony and reception.

A late afternoon wedding means the reception will begin just after sundown. But if you love sunset, it’s best to stick to the early afternoon.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Specific Wedding Start Times?

1. An Afternoon Wedding

The main disadvantage of an afternoon wedding is that you have less time to be prepared.

Now, if you may have to rush the preparation to save time.

At least ensure you start the ceremony by 2 pm, then a reception at 4 pm, and you can leave the venue by 6 pm for your honeymoon.

An afternoon wedding is great if you want children to be part of the festivities compared to the evening, as they will likely get bored and grumpy.

Afternoon weddings are generally shorter. But this means that you will have to stretch your budget.

You can follow your ceremony with a tea party instead of a bottle of champagne.

Such weddings give you more freedom in the reception venues. For instance, you can choose a country house hotel for your reception or a stately home.

2. An Evening Wedding

There aren’t many legal restrictions on when a wedding can take place.

As such, it has allowed individuals to have a nighttime wedding and a celebration.

You can hire a stately mansion to host your evening weddings or on days they aren’t open to the public.

The good thing about an evening party is that you won’t feel pressured to serve formal meals. But it is good to have a buffet to allow people to socialize at the event.

You can also have a DJ or live band to entertain your guests in the evening.

But ensure that you provide enough space for people to hang out when they don’t want to dance.

That way, they can communicate effectively.

Think about where your elder guests will be seated before moving tables to create space for dancing. You don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable and leave the event early.

Also bear in mind that an evening wedding can attract more guests.

So ensure you plan the cost of food and drinks as it might be more than a brunch or lunch wedding.

3. An All-Day Wedding

You can decide to entertain your guests from noon until midnight.

But make sure you consider their needs and demands and your finances.

If the wedding ceremony starts at 2 pm, you need to offer cocktails or tea to entertain your guests.

Also, serve beverages in the evening before a meal which be a buffet or a formal dinner.

Then you can allow your guests to rest and freshen up for the evening festivities.

Final Thoughts

A 5 pm wedding is still workable if you plan everything right.

Ensure you inform the guests of your schedule and budget for the nighttime entertainment.