October 24, 2018
In this blog I will share with you the 4 things that you’ll need to know or already have decided before setting a ceremony time. You might wonder why and it’s simply, because each of these four things I’m going to share with you, play a huge part into the time of your ceremony.
As I think back to when I was planning our wedding day, I remember being so thankful I was a photographer and knew about lighting, in order to set our ceremony time! I know for most of you reading this, you more than likely aren’t photographers or don’t keep a close eye on the lighting times. No worries if this is you, I’m here to help you out and give you a new perspective for when thinking about setting a time for your ceremony!
Here are the top 4 things you need to already know or have decided before setting a ceremony time.
1. What month is your wedding?
2. Know the secret of the best lighting
3. Evening or mid day ceremony?
4. How long do pictures take after a ceremony
Let’s start with the big thing that will either be the best time saver or have the most conflict and that’s what time of the year do you pan on getting married? If you plan to get married in the Fall/Winter months, you’ll want to plan a much earlier ceremony time no later than 3 hours before sunset. The Spring/Summer months, It’s nice to know it gets darker so much later but then you’re left thinking about the heat!
The BEST thing I can say to do so I’m not boring you by listing out each month of the sunset times, download the App Sunrise Time. This is no joke my GO TO app for sessions and weddings when I put together timelines months in advance! You can type in your future month/date/year plus the location of your ceremony!!! This app will give you the exact time of the sunset! Trust me when I say, it’s a life saver when trying to plan a time for your ceremony or anything futurist for that matter!
WARNING: Don’t give any attention to where the app shows the “last light” in other words, the dusk time because that won’t give you the dreamy golden images.
Being a natural light photographer I’m going to let you in on a secret which might surprise you!
It’s instead what I like to call the vibrant hour. For my style of shooting, the best time is a few hours after sunrise or a few hours before the sunset time. For me, the last 30-45 minutes of the sunset which is part of the “golden hour,” starts to look pale on skin tones and gives darker shadows on my clients faces.
Even though you might think the golden hour sun set is perfect, it doesn’t last for pictures. I honestly am done shooting by then, because that lightning doesn’t give for the vibrant colored images that my clients come to me for.
For mid day ceremonies or ceremonies that are several hours from the best vibrant lighting, no worries! I have had some couples finish their ceremony then have their family formals and a few of their bride & groom shots and save the rest for later. They are then able to enjoy the cocktail hour with their guests. At some point during a reception, you can set a time to go back out when that vibrant light hits and get the best images!
If you like vibrant colored images and you want your wedding images to look the way your session images look, then the best time to plan a 30 minute evening ceremony is 2 ½ hours before the sunset. If it’s an hour long ceremony, plan it 3 hours before the sunset.
This all depends on if your doing a first look or the traditional. It also depends on how large your family is and if you’re wanting to add extended family portraits. It’s safe to say, plan for an hour and 15 minutes after the ceremony for pictures, but this is something I will walk you through based on the decisions you’d need to make before giving you an estimated time.
I can already here you brides saying you’ve already set a evening ceremony time and it doesn’t give much room for those vibrant portraits I’ve talked about. Don’t worry! There are three things I would say for you to do.
you should read the blog on the First look, this gives you more options and it’s here to better educate you!
make a list of things based of importance to you. If extended family isn’t as important to you to have captured in the best lighting, than your immediate family or your bride and groom portraits, save it for the reception. I ONLY recommend this for IF you’ve already set a ceremony time that doesn’t allow much room for picture time before it gets dark.
talk with your photographer! This is a BIG one because what I’m sharing is all based on my experience and how I like to work with natural light. Not every photographer will see it this way. If you’re my bride then this is exactly what you can expect with the lighting and you can knowing how to plan. If you’re not an AOP bride this is still great info for you but something your photographer will most likely talk with you on as well!
I hope this blog post was helpful to you! If this was helpful, or if you’re struggling with something else with planning your wedding, please let me know below in the comments. I would love to connect with you!