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What Time of Day Should We Have Our Ceremony?

Woohoo! I'm glad you're asking this question. Not everyone thinks about this, but it really can have an impact on your photos.

There are several things you'll want to ask yourself first.

  1. What time of year are you getting married (read: what time is the sunset)?

  2. Where is your ceremony taking place? Will it be indoors or outdoors?

  3. Are you doing a first look?

  4. How long will your ceremony last?

Okay, using those answers, think of this next part like a "Choose Your Own Adventure." You can skip past the parts that don't apply to you. Here we go!

Indoor Ceremony

If your ceremony is going to be indoors, the sun doesn't matter quite as much during the ceremony itself; however, we will likely be taking photos before and after the ceremony so the next question to ask is:

First Look

If you're planning to do a first look, you don't have to worry about leaving time for plenty of sunlight after the ceremony because we'll be able to fit most (if not all) of your portraits in before the ceremony. It's still nice to have either an earlier or a later ceremony because that means we'll likely avoid the middle of the day when the sunlight can be most harsh.

No First Look

If you're not doing a first look though, you'll want to plan on your ceremony ending with at least an hour of sunlight left in the day. That way we'll have plenty of light for the things we weren't able to get before the ceremony - family, bridal party, and bride and groom photos.

Outdoor Ceremony

First Look

If your ceremony is outdoors, try to plan for it to start about an hour or hour and a half before the sun sets. Try to have your ceremony positioned either in the shade or with the bride and groom backlit (guests are facing the sun).

No First Look

If you're skipping the first look, you'll want to plan on your ceremony ending with at least an hour of sunlight left in the day for all the shots we didn't get before hand.

Morning and Afternoon Weddings

These can work fine too especially if there is shade available at your venue. Ultimately I've shot weddings in a variety of lighting situations (and some have been far less than ideal) so don't stress too much if you can't make things happen just the way you want.

Elopements + Intimate Weddings

With elopements and intimate (or micro) weddings, there's a chance you just may have more flexibility. You aren't trying to keep as many people on the same page, so it's not as big of a deal if we have to move things around for whatever reason. We also may have lots more time to explore and enjoy some intimate moments away from the crowd (and get some epic portraits too). Really anything goes here. Want to have your ceremony in the morning and then spend the rest of the day adventuring and getting amazing portraits? Let's do it. Would you rather enjoy the day together and have it culminate in a sweet intimate ceremony at sunset with your closest family and friends? It's up to you guys and what you think would be best for you.

Your wedding is unique to you, and I'm always up for going with the flow and documenting your day as it unfolds! The main thing is that you two are vowing and committing yourselves to each other forever. I'm here for that first and foremost! But I hope these were helpful tips as you plan your ceremony time. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. Happy to help!

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