Updated: Oct 4, 2021
One of the biggest mistakes that I see from weddings...is the ceremony time.
There are lots of factors that come into play to help you determine when the ceremony will begin on your wedding day.
As a wedding photographer, I encourage you to consider the sunset time when creating your ceremony time, especially if it is outdoors. It is even more important to think about in the fall, with the days getting shorter and shorter, the sun can go down pretty early (especially after daylight savings!).
But there are a few things to keep in mind when planning around the sunset time!
Scheduling your ceremony towards the end of the day allows you to have soft, beautiful lighting in your photos. You often don't have to worry about squinting or harsh, unflattering shadows on your face. For most wedding days, I typically recommend scheduling your ceremony 2-3 hours before sunset so that you get the best natural light for your ceremony and all of the portraits to follow afterwards!
If you schedule your ceremony too close to sunset, you may not have enough daylight afterwards to capture those important just married portraits with your new spouse, family, or wedding party. If you want to have your ceremony close to sunset, you may need to consider doing a first look with your partner and doing all (or the majority) of those portraits prior to the ceremony. But keep in mind, this would mean that you need to be ready sooner, and your family would need to arrive sooner to be in those portraits.
If a first look doesn't seem like a good option for you, just move the ceremony up a little bit to make room for those portraits afterwards!
Every wedding day and every photographer is different. You should definitely check with your photographer about this - they would be happy to advise you on the best time of day, and amount of time needed for your portraits. Photo timeline planning is something that is offered for all of my wedding couples!