Pick the Best Ceremony Time for you!

Why Sunset May Not Actually Be The Best Time For Your Ceremony Photos.

How Different Months and Ceremony Times Affect Lighting in Wedding Photos

Let’s jump in!

All of the GORGEOUS photos you’ll see in this blog have 2 things in common! They were all shot by the same photographer, and they were all taken at the exact same venue! However, where they differ is in the Ceremony times, and the month in which they were taken – which resulted in DRASTICALLY different photos.

Time of day & lighting can literally change everything! We all know that in the Summer, the days are longer, and you won’t see the sunset until closer to 7/7:30. But in those colder winter months- the sun can set even before 5 o’clock! Your choice of time for your big day really has a huge freaking affect on the photos from your wedding! And if you don’t want to take my word for it, here is the visual proof!

Ceremony Time: 1:15pm / Sunset Time: 5:19pm


Midday ceremony time in Southern California wedding

Choosing a mid-day ceremony time isn’t the typical first choice but let’s talk about how helpful it can be on your day! When you allow yourself plenty of time between your ceremony & sunset, you can prioritize other things! For example, this couple was able to join their cocktail hour & hang out and take photos with all of their loved ones & later on, we snuck out for sunset photos. They got the photos they wanted but were not rushed & there was no threat that we would miss the sunset.

Ceremony Time: 3:30 / Sunset Time: 5:36


Late afternoon ceremony time at wedding venue in Beaumont, California.

Two to Three hours before the ceremony time would normally be a sweet spot to have your ceremony. One that I would even recommend. But this is where the direction of the sun comes in. In this photo, the sun was directly facing them the entire ceremony & they were being blinded. So my tip to avoid this would be to really consider the direction of the sun before you pick & if possible maybe even consider having the ceremony face a different direction.

Ceremony Time: 6:30 / Sunset Time: 7:42


Sunset wedding ceremony time, shot by Southern California wedding photographer

What you can partially see in this photo is that the sun was setting behind a building, which meant that the venue was partially sundrenched. This can be a challenge, yes but it’s not as challenging as rushing to get your romantic couple’s photos. Allowing for anything less than an hour & a half between your ceremony & sunset can really pose a challenge if things run behind so save yourself the stress and give yourself that cushion.

Ceremony Time: 6:30 / Sunset Time: 7:25


Sunset wedding ceremony in August at Beaumont, California wedding venue

Ceremony Time: 5:00 / Sunset Time: 4:46


December night time ceremony in Southern California

Yes, you read this one right. These two love birds said “I do” after the sun already set. While this isn’t the norm. It definitely had its perks because we were able to do a first look, family photos, wedding party photos, their romantic couple photos & everything else before they tied the knot. Which meant this moment was very calm & stress-free, which I love! If you are considering a nighttime ceremony my recommendation is to flood the space with twinkle lights, candles & any and all pretty lights that you can possibly add so that your photographer can still get beautiful photos. But they will need light to pull from.

As You Can See, the time of day has a surprisingly huge effect on the outcome of your photos!

Here are some key factors to consider BEFORE locking down your ceremony time:

Sunset Time – How harsh will the sun be? Undoubtedly, sometimes that gorgeous golden glow can be a little TOO intense. Here’s an awesome website you can use to calculate Sunset Time on a future date! But let’s talk about why it may NOT be the best time for your ceremony. There are two main reasons. You may not be able to get the beautifully lit romantic photos you are dreaming of if you plan the ceremony during sunset especially if you are not planning to do a first look. And depending on the direction of your ceremony, that golden glow may end up blinding you & your guests instead of highlighting the beautiful ceremony.

Time of Year – If your wedding is scheduled for December, you’ll have to think about how the time change in autumn will affect the lighting. You may need to rearrange your timeline! If you need some extra help with that, I’ve got some tools for you here!

The Position of the Sun During your Ceremony – I’ve mentioned this factor a few times but it is probably the biggest one other than the actual sunset so I highly encourage all of my couples to go to their selected venue during the time they’ll be getting married, to see where the light will be coming from!

Now Go Make Some Wedding Day Magic!

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