What time of day are you meant to have a wedding? What are the rules? Well the answer to the second question is easy - there are no rules! (Or at least, not any more.)
For a long time the traditional church wedding was in the morning, in a church, immediately after mass (which was then followed by the first meal as a married couple, the Wedding Breakfast, which was literally breakfast, since they fasted prior to the wedding). But no longer. These days, by far the most common time of day that modern weddings occur is afternoon, usually mid-afternoon, something around 3pm, give or take an hour.
As far as I can tell, the popularity of the mid-afternoon time-slot is based on two simple reasons: 1) the majority of secular wedding ceremonies tend to be outside these days (weather permitting), and so choosing a time near the warmest part of the day makes sense on that front; and 2) if the reception dinner is going to be at dinner time (with speeches and dessert and dancing and drinking following that), then working backwards and allowing a little bit of time in between for drinking and possibly photo-taking, mid-afternoon works well for the ceremony kick-off. An optional third reason is 3) because everyone else is doing it.
Now to be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with mid-afternoon for a wedding. I had a mid-afternoon wedding; it was great. It remains popular because it clearly works quite well for most people. But it’s important to realise that it is simply one of many options, and if you are planning your day, you should stop and think seriously about exactly what you want out of the day, in order to figure out what the best time is going to be for you.
One potential peril with an afternoon wedding, especially earlier in the afternoon, is catering. Consider a 2pm wedding: your guests are going to be leaving the house no later than say 1pm, probably earlier. They’re going to start getting ready no later than 12pm, almost certainly earlier. They hopefully had breakfast, but it’s very possible that they didn’t have time for lunch. Dinner isn’t til 6pm. How much are you feeding them prior to dinner? They may have eaten nothing for literally hours.
The later in the afternoon you get, the less the catering is an issue. Of course, if you get late enough, it becomes an evening wedding, which can be quite an elegant, ‘compact’ celebration. Just at the weekend, I did a 6pm wedding, which was followed by drinks and nibbles, and then a sit-down dinner in the mid-evening. The benefits of this model are that you aren’t hogging the whole day - the guests still get the daytime to go about their business, and then the evening alone is dedicated and focussed on the nuptial celebrations.
At the other end of the scale, maybe those old-fashioned churchgoers were onto something. I did a morning wedding once, 9.30am. What a lovely way to start the day. The Wedding Breakfast was actually a Wedding Lunch, then drinking continued through a sunny afternoon (the venue was a racecourse, so not entirely inappropriate there). By late arvo, things were winding up, and the happy couple were back at home relaxing after a long day, eating fish’n’chips for dinner in their pajamas.
So what’s my point? Well, nothing really, except to ask that you don’t just do a thing cos everyone else is doing the thing. (And also, to make sure you’re sparing a thought for your poor guests’ rumbling tummies!) Stop for a moment and think through all the options, and decide which one is going to be best for you, to help make your day what you want it to be.