How to Time Your Ceremony for the Best Light!

February 15, 2019


When you’re planning your wedding day, you have a crap load to think about… you are trying to accommodate 487 different schedules and timelines.. Planning a honeymoon, working with the venue.. It’s hella lot.

Here are a few questions brides ask themselves..

“What time do I want my wedding to begin? What time do I want my reception to end? Do I want a daytime wedding or night time wedding? What time does everyone normally get off of work?  What time does the venue allow us to set up? How much time do I need for hair and makeup? What time does my plane leave the next day? Generally… the LAST thing you are thinking about is I wonder what time the sun sets?

Like- why on earth would you care in the slightest?!!?

Well, Martha, I guaran-dang-tee thats the FIRST question your photographers asks themselves.

Why? Let me explain..

When you book a natural light photographer, they want to plan the most important parts of your day around golden hour! Golden hour is the magical light that makes everyone look like super models. It’s the light that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s the light that photographers cry over because of its beauty. It’s the light that will make any outdoor reception look like it was taken place in heaven. It’s THE light and the ONLY light that makes YOU look like your skin can qualify for an Aveeno commercial and makes your photographer want to frolic in a sea of sunshine. This golden hour is exactly one hour before sunset. It’s magical. It’s beautiful. And if you want images that look like your photographer’s best work- this is the time you should schedule for your ceremony and portraits to take place!

So here’s the deal- if you are having an outdoor ceremony and want to have enough time for your ceremony and portraits after.. Its a good idea to plan your ceremony to start 1 hour-1.5 hours before sunset…

Here’s an example timeline with a 5pm sunset when you choose not to do a first look.

4:00- Ceremony Begins

4:30- Bridal Party/ Family Formals

5:00- Sunset Bride and Groom Pictures

5:15- Reception Begins

Now- if you decide to have a first look, and have all the portraits done BEFORE the ceremony (which I HIGHLY recommend..) you will want to start your ceremony 30-60 minutes before sunset!

Heres an example timeline with a 5pm sunset.

3:00- First Look and Bride and Groom Portraits

3:30- Bridal Party/ Family Formals

4:00- Bride Rests and Retouches

4:30- Ceremony Begins

5:00- Sunset Bride and Groom Pictures

5:15- Reception Begins

Each wedding day and timeline HAS to be custom planned because every sunset is different, every venue is different, and every bride is different and has a certain amount portraits she wants done!

Definitely work with your photographer so that you can both plan the best timeline for the best light so that you can look your best!!

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