Ask the Experts: How Much Time Do I Need Before and After the Ceremony?

By Azure Nelson, Published Oct 29, 2009

Ask the Experts is your chance to get wedding advice from a panel of wedding experts. If you have a question for our panel write us at We are getting married at a church and the church is having multiple weddings the same day. How much time do I need before the ceremony and after? I don't want to be too rushed, so if they can't give me enough time I may need to go somewhere else. From Mark of Video Magic Productions It is not uncommon for a church to have multiple weddings in a day, particularly if it's a highly attended or sought after ceremony location. Thus, you'll have to make the decision for yourselves, but here are some things to consider as you ponder the idea. To begin with, an ideal amount of time to have access in your church would be 60 minutes before the ceremony begins. This will provide ample time for the videographers to setup their equipment and the florist to prepare their displays. Additionally, if some pictures are desired at the church beforehand, you will need this extra time. Otherwise, you really don't need access to your church more than 30 minutes in advance. On the flip side of your nuptials, approximately 30-45 minutes is usually necessary to take pictures and get on your way. If this is the case and you're time is limited, make sure to advise your photographer of the most important shots that you'd like captured and make sure he/she can work fast if necessary. All in all, if you really love the location or it's your home church, don't let time constraints get in the way. Good luck! From Brandi of All Events Planned Here are some things to consider. Will you want to get ready at the church? If not, then will you be arriving completely ready to go or will you want time for prayer and celebration with your bridal party, as well as touch ups before you head down the aisle? A huge chunk of time can be spent on the before/after shots of the family and bridal party at the church. Your photographer will have a good idea of how many photos he can fit into a certain amount of time. You will want to decide how many photos you want, who you want photos with and if you are going to be happy feeling “rushed” through sets of pictures on your wedding day. Are you planning to release pews or have a receiving line to greet all of your guests? This could take as little as a half hour to as long as two to three hours depending on your guest count. A typical receiving line with 100 guests can take up to an hour, so plan accordingly. When releasing pews, it can take 25 minutes or more. Consider what type of setup you wanted to have at the church for your ceremony and then who will be doing the cleanup. Will there be enough time for your florist to setup and then quickly tear down any décor before the next service? If you truly have, your hearts set on this church and are willing to add another element of stress to your day (i.e. a tight ceremony schedule) then I would allow for at least one hour before and after the ceremony, absolutely no less. Brandi Hamerstone is the owner & senior wedding planner for All Events Planned..In her nine years of experience in the wedding industry, she has planned over 300 weddings. Mark Salloum is the owner of VideoMagic Productions based in Canton, MIchigan. He has traveled the country producing weddings for nearly 2 decades while earning countless awards for the quality and creativity of his cutting-edge wedding movies.

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