What time do we set our ceremony????? It is such a common question when planning a wedding and it is also a decision you can't change once invites go out so it needs to planned with your photographer in mind always! Here are some tips to make your choice a little easier!
WHAT TIME IS SUNSET?
The sunset time is different for each season. Fall and winter the sun sets earlier so your ceremony will need to be pushed up earlier. The spring and summer sunset time will be significantly later in the evening.
Why does this matter? The two hours before sunset is the best time of the day! Golden Hour! After your ceremony, comes Family Formals, Full Bridal Party, and Couple Portraits and you want these in the best possible lighting GOLDEN HOUR!!!
HOW LONG WILL YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY LAST?
Depending on if you are getting married at your venue or you are having a church ceremony, some ceremonies can be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, to an hour long. This is important to know ahead of time so you can efficiently plan your timeline and get portraits in the best light.
IS YOUR RECEPTION AND CEREMONY IN THE SAME LOCATION?
If you are not getting married at the same location, you will need to include travel time from your ceremony location to your reception in addition to family formals photo time and your Couple portrait time. The last thing you want is to run out of light during your gorgeous couple pictures because your ceremony was set too late in the evening or have harsh light because your ceremony was too early in the day.
ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED IN THE CITY OR RURAL COUNTRY?
Believe it or not, this actually makes a difference in sunset time. Even though the sun may set at 7:30 pm, it doesn’t mean there will still be sunlight up until 7:30 when there are skyscrapers all around in a busy city. You will lose light a lot quicker in the city rather than the hill country.
At the very least, your wedding ceremony should really be at the latest an hour and a half before sunset. However this depends on the length of the ceremony. The ceremony time can really affect the length of your portrait time if it isn’t set at the right time. Why does that matter? This is so important because you want a good amount of time for photos of you two after the ceremony! The amount of time you have after the ceremony directly affects how many photos you will receive in your gallery.
ARE YOU DOING A FIRST LOOK BEFORE THE CEREMONY?
This will matter significantly in decision making. If you are planning a first look with your partner before the ceremony you will not have that golden hour light, however, you will be able to get a good portion of photos done before the ceremony if you want a later ceremony time you can push it to an hour and half or hour before sunset because all of your couple portraits and bridal party photos will be done prior to the ceremony starting. You can take family photos and head straight into you reception quicker!
Regardless which you choose you should take this decision very serious and consult with your photo/video team before making the choice and if you have sent out invites before booking a photographer then coordinate with your team to make the best plan of action! BUT ALWAYS BOOK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER IMMEDIATELY WE CAN HELP YOU!!! :)