Every couple who are getting married have probably wondered how long are weddings supposed to be? It can be difficult to answer because you need to find the right balance of every element of your wedding. You want to have a special ceremony where you and your soon-to-be spouse can savor every moment, but you also need to make sure that everything is moving at such a pace that your guests are not getting bored or fidgety. While your wedding is your special day, you also want to ensure that everyone is having a good time.
Consider the Timing
One of the most important things that you need to consider for your wedding is the entire event’s timing. Even something as simple as setting a time at the start of the wedding and the time it will finish will be immensely helpful in determining how your wedding should be. It will help you schedule events more smoothly as well as give you control over how your guests will experience each part of your wedding.
Make Time for the Essential Parts
To determine how long weddings are, you need to choose which elements of a wedding you want to include in your own. Here are some of the basic parts:
- Words of Welcome – While this part is usually given by the officiant, allowing an officiant to give the words of welcome might also mean that you won’t have control over how long this part of the wedding would be. You can talk to the officiant to give them a time limit, or you can even offer words of welcome on your own.
- Readings – If you’re having a religious ceremony, it would not be complete without readings from scripture. Limit the readings to your favorite passages or ones that have a special meaning to you and your would-be spouse.
- Your Vows – The part where you and your would-be spouse are exchanging vows is where you have the most control when determining how long are weddings supposed to be. You can choose to have short and sweet vows or have vows that are heartfelt and a bit longer. Ensure that you include everything that feels important to you and keep in mind that your guests have a limited attention span.
- Exchanging Rings – This should be short, sweet, and quick. There really shouldn’t be any reason why this element of your wedding would take more than a minute or two.
- Final Pronouncement – again, this part of your wedding is up to your officiant, but it should also be quick.
While there is no hard and fast rule on how long weddings are, they generally last between 25 to 30 minutes.
Religious vs. Secular Weddings
Another thing that can dictate how long are weddings is whether the wedding is a religious or a secular one.
Religious ceremonies usually follow a set pattern. For example, most Christian or Jewish weddings have the same set of traditions from start to finish. However, you can have a little bit of control when it comes to the length of the wedding. If you want to make your ceremony a bit longer, you can invite someone from your audience to give their blessing or ask to include additional readings from a religious text. Conversely, you can also lessen these elements to cut down on the length of your wedding. Keep in mind that orthodox ceremonies tend to be lengthier compared to more relaxed ones. You can ask your religious wedding officiant to give you an estimate of how long your wedding would last.
If you are having a secular ceremony, you will practically control every aspect of your wedding. There are only two requirements that should be present: you must have your vows, and the officiant must pronounce you as married. The rest of the elements can be present or not, depending on your needs. If you want to shorten the ceremony, you can do away with the words of welcome and the readings. On the other hand, if you want to make the ceremony longer, you can tell a funny anecdote or two about your partner. It all depends on you.
Consult with Your Wedding Party
If you are unsure how long are weddings, you can consult with different people in your wedding party beforehand. If you have hired an experienced wedding officiant, they can tell the exact time how long a wedding would generally last. Give them an idea of what elements you want to be included in your wedding and how long you want them to speak.
Aside from the wedding officiant, you can also consult with some of your more important wedding guests, such as your immediate family or your wedding attendants. Since they are part of your special day but not necessarily the star of it, they will be able to give you valuable insight into how long they would feel comfortable for your wedding ceremony.
Finally, you can consult with your wedding planner. While they might not be part of the ceremony itself, they also have a lot of control over other parts of the wedding, particularly the reception. If you have a long reception planned, it might be a good idea to shorten your ceremony time. This way, you’ll be better equipped to answer how long a wedding ceremony and reception should last.
There is no exact answer to how long are weddings supposed to be. It will mostly depend on your needs and how you want your wedding to proceed. There is nothing wrong with having a short and simple ceremony, just as there is nothing wrong with having a ceremony with all the trimmings. Just do what feels right for you, because in the end, it is still your special day! Know more about wedding guides.