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For Brides

July 22, 2020

What’s the ideal ceremony time for my wedding?

How do I decide my ceremony time?

Did you know that the ceremony time for your wedding effects every other aspect of your day photography-wise!?

In our wedding photography magazine that each of our clients receives after they book, we talk you through how to choose your ceremony start time based on the time of year you’re getting married!

I always joke that if someone looked in my search history in my phone, they would think I like to obsess over sunrise/sunset times. I don’t, necessarily. Ha! But I’m always looking to see what the sun is doing for ideal portrait lighting!

1.What season do you want to get married in?

When choosing your ceremony time, you have to consider what time of year it is and what time the sun sets. In the Summer, the sun doesn’t set until 8:45 or later, so you have tons of time to work with. In the dead of Winter, it sets a little after 5pm. Those are drastically different times!

Have you always envisioned a Winter wedding, that’s fine! Just know that you may want to consider an earlier ceremony time. No later than 4pm is ideal.

2. When does the sun set during the month you’re considering?

Since we are natural light photographers, our ideal window for portraits is no more than 2-3 hours before the sun sets. This allows us to achieve our bright and airy style. Of course, we can make any time of day work, but we do have times that are more ideal than others.

You don’t want to be sweating in the middle of June because your outdoor ceremony is at 3pm. That means your portraits are going to be at 1pm in the middle of the day and family portraits will be after the ceremony, at 3:30, also a super hot part of the day.

3. If you’re confused/unsure, please ask us!

If you ask us what we suggest and we will be more than happy to give our suggestions, earlier than later!

In order to create the types of images you’re used to seeing us share, we suggest you have your ceremony 2 hours before sunset if you are doing a first look. This will allow for a good amount of time for family portraits and then romantic bride & groom portraits with a beautiful sunset and glowy light! If you share a first look, you’ll have some bride & groom portrait time and all of your wedding party photos done before the ceremony.

If you aren’t sharing a first look, we suggest your ceremony time starting at least 2.5-3 hours before sunset since you will need more daylight after the ceremony to get all of your family photos, wedding party, and couple photos done.

Sample Timeline:

Here is a sample timeline for a April wedding in Greenville, SC with a first look:

2:00-3:15     Detail shots of rings, dress, flowers, etc.
3:15-3:45     Bride gets into dress (getting ready photos)
4:00             Bride + Groom’s First Look
4:15-4:45    Bride + Groom Portraits
4:45-5:10    Wedding Party Portraits
5:15-6:00    Freshen up, Photogs get detail shots of venue and guest arriving
6:00-6:30pm    Ceremony
6:40-7:10     Family Portraits
7:15-7:30     Bride & Groom sunset portraits
(sunset at 8:03pm)
7:30-10:00   Reception

Have questions about your wedding day timeline? I’d love to chat!

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