The best time of day for your elopement ceremony

As we go through the process of locking in our couples, we frequently get asked what time of day is best to begin the ceremony. There’s a few different factors that will greatly influence your ceremony start time. Bear in mind that due to the varying nature of our elopements, there’s no one ‘best time’ across the board, but there is a best time for YOUR elopement that we can help you find!

Your perfect elopement start time can depend on the following things:

What are your plans for the day?

I know we say it a lot around here, but you really can do anything you like on your elopement day! Here’s a few things that our elopement couples have done:

  • An 11am ceremony, followed by a lunch at At The Heads, Barwon Heads.
  • A sunrise ceremony, followed by a breakfast at their place with 10 family members.
  • A midday ceremony in the Redwoods, followed by a photo adventure.
  • A 5pm ceremony in summertime, followed by dinner. They did all their couple photos before the ceremony so they could go straight into dinner and drinks.
  • A 3pm ceremony at the beach, so they could get some photos in twilight at the beach together afterwards.
  • An 8am ceremony in summer, with couple photos finished beforehand, so that they could avoid the heat of the day.
  • A couple went mountainbiking together (in their relaxed wedding clothes!) after lunch for some photos of them doing their favourite activity together, and then had a ceremony afterwards around 2pm.

Often the ceremony start time can be figured out by working backwards/forwards from your main plans for the day. This might be a shared meal, or an experience (maybe you’re going to a day spa afterwards).

If you’re wanting photos taken after your ceremony, then we suggest starting the ceremony at least 3 hours before sunset (as a rough guide).

How much importance do you place on great light for your photos?

Sometimes people really want the best light for photos – sometimes people couldn’t care less. Both ways are totally fine!

We generally recommend against midday sun in the warmer months for two reasons: the heat is uncomfortable, and the light is harsh.

Later in the day is normally softer, nicer light which will make for beautiful photos in a range of backdrops.


Where is the location of your elopement?

For all of our couples that elope in the Redwoods, we suggest lunchtime elopements year-round. This is because the Redwoods are actually in a massive valley, so the light disappears much quicker than higher up in the forest. As a rough guide, anytime from 10am-2pm is great for Redwoods elopements year-round. We’ll advise if it needs to be earlier!

Beach elopements will need to take permits into consideration, as well as things like school holidays/public holidays/etc. A 3pm ceremony in January on Torquay surf beach is definitely not recommended – unless you want a million budgie smugglers in the back of your photos and a whole heap of onlookers!

If your elopement is at a cool, indoor venue, then perhaps a nighttime ceremony would be possible. You might like to do your couple photos beforehand, and then have your ceremony once the sun has set.

Want the simple solution?

If you are struggling to pick a time, and just want to move on with the rest of your planning, then go with this as a rough guide.

Summer months, in daylight savings time – pencil in a 4pm ceremony.

Winter months – pencil in a 2pm ceremony.

This is a great starting point. Then, you can figure out whether you want couple photos done before or after the ceremony, and then slot in any other plans you want. Easy!

Hope that helps!

As always, if you have any questions feel free to shoot them through!

Jake, Jessie and team

Looking to elope with us? Get in touch here.