Average Length of Wedding Ceremony in 2024

The timing seems to be one of the key features of a well-organized wedding. It is very useful to know when certain segments of your wedding will start or finish. Even though the main purpose of the wedding is for everyone to have fun, details like this can be extremely helpful, since they give the whole wedding a kind of structure.

Sometimes, deciding the length of a wedding ceremony is one of the biggest challenges for brides and grooms. In other words, predicting the length of the ceremony can be a bit tricky compared to calculating how long it will take for everyone to drink their cocktails, and picking the exact time you will have your first dance. You don’t want your ceremony to be too long, but neither too short. You don’t want everyone to get bored, but you also want everyone to remember that the ceremony even occurred. If you are facing a dilemma when it comes to the length of the wedding ceremony, keep reading our advice regarding this topic.

1. Decide on what time of the day you will get married

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The first step in planning the duration of your ceremony and the choice which will make the whole planning process much easier is deciding the part of the day the ceremony will take place. Traditionally, wedding ceremonies tend to occur between 11 am and 1 pm. However, sunrise or sunset weddings have been getting more and more popular lately. Therefore, no matter if you wish to get married under the sun, or stars, you should definitely go for it, just as long as you determine the exact time interval of your ceremony.

2. Consider the optimal duration for a wedding ceremony

It is often expected from the wedding ceremonies to last from 20 to 30 minutes. This time span refers to including the basics into the ceremony. In other words, your ceremony will be able to consist of words of welcome, a few readings, the vows, the ring exchange, as well as the final pronouncement. However, this timing is dependent upon numerous factors. For example, the number of elements you wish to include in the ceremony itself.

3. Talk to your officiant if you are having a religious ceremony

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A very important factor when it comes to determining the timing of your ceremony is the fact whether the ceremony is of a religious or secular nature. Most religious ceremonies tend to have a certain pattern which is recognizable at the majority of weddings. Thanks to the common occurrence of these elements, it will be easy for you to plan the ceremony, whereas sometimes it can be hard to predict the duration itself. Your ceremony can become a bit longer if includes elements like an additional reading, or one more song, or a blessing from a family member. However, if you want to know exactly how long this kind of ceremony is going to last, the best thing to do is talk to your officiant, and think about what elements exactly you wish to choose. You should also consider telling your officiant about those elements, and he will then be able to tell you the exact length of your ceremony so that you can plan this segment of the wedding just as any other.

4. Think about the elements you wish to include if you are having a secular ceremony

Intricate weddings can be amazing, you want your special day to be exactly how you want it to be! Roxanne from Ambrosia Events shares that a wedding planner can help you make decisions and ensure everything sticks to your plan. You want to make sure you can include all of the elements you want right? When it comes to secular ceremonies, you have a bit more control over the duration of a ceremony. Essentially, your ceremony consists of the agreement of the bride and groom to marry each other, and the official pronouncement. Every other detail is up to you. If you want your wedding to be short and concise, you don’t need to include any other detail in the ceremony. On the other side, if you wish to include more details, you are free to do that. Therefore, in case you want your ceremony to be more detailed and thorough, it will, understandably, last longer. In any case, whatever you decide, the experts agree that even some 5-to-10-minute ceremonies were beautiful and interesting.

5. Read your own ceremony out loud

In case you are writing your own ceremony, you should definitely consider reading the whole thing out loud. This is important because we tend to read faster if we read in our heads only. However, if we read a text out loud, it is significantly slower. Therefore, if you want your ceremony to be well-planned, and if you want to estimate its duration, you should go through it out loud at least once. Also, it is important to mention that you should take into consideration the total duration of walking down the aisle (the length of the aisle and the number of people walking down it). In this way, you can calculate the total duration of the ceremony and it will help you with planning other segments of your wedding, such as the cocktail hour.


To sum up, the duration of the ceremony is important, but it is definitely not crucial. While it is much easier to know when the segments of your wedding will occur, and how long they will last, you should not forget the most important thing in your wedding is for everyone to have a great time! Therefore, even if your ceremony is a bit shorter, or longer than expected, if everyone had a blast, it isn’t really that big deal.