Your ceremony start time is super important regardless of if you are having an outdoor ceremony or an indoor ceremony. Your whole wedding revolves around your ceremony start time so choosing the perfect start time is crucial to make sure your wedding day timeline is exactly how you envisioned. However, when it comes it outdoor ceremonies, there are a few things that you want to take into consideration so you will having amazing wedding photos!
When it comes to outdoor ceremonies, you will want to keep the light in mind and where the sun will be! You won't want the sun shining into your eyes the whole ceremony or have half of your wedding party in the sun and half in the shade. Below are a few different ceremony start times and a few other things to keep in mind.
Early Afternoon Ceremonies
Most people do not have their ceremony in the morning so we are going to start with early afternoon ceremonies. The sun is usually it's harshest during mid-day. This is when the sun is high in the sky and shining directly down onto you which can cause some harsh shadows on your face and the dreaded raccoon eye. To help minimize this, you won't want to plan your ceremony to start during the high point on the sun. If you want to have an early afternoon ceremony, use a website like Time & Date to find the midpoint of the sun and schedule your ceremony start time for at least an hour afterwards. An hour after the midpoint, the sun will be on its descent so it will be more angled light than light beaming down from directly above. If at all possible, try to position your ceremony location so the sun will be setting behind you which will allow for more even light on the side of you that your guests and photographer will see.
Late Afternoon Ceremonies
Late afternoon ceremonies are the most common and the ideal when it comes to the light! If at all possible, schedule your ceremony start time for three-five hours before sunset. You can use Time & Date to find out when the sunset is for your wedding date. This will leave you with enough time for your ceremony and portraits before the sun sets and will allow you to take some of your couple portraits during golden hour when the light is soft, glowy, and diffused. You will still want to keep in mind the position of your ceremony location and try to make sure the sun is setting behind you and not in front of you. This helps everything be more evenly lit.
With sunset ceremonies you will want the sun to be setting behind you to capitalize on that pretty sunset glow! The main thing to keep in mind with sunset ceremonies is that you will need to do all of your portraits before the ceremony. If you wait until after the ceremony, it will be too dark outside. Therefore, all of your couple portraits, wedding party portraits, and family portraits will need to happen before the ceremony. You will also want to make sure your ceremony starts on time. The sun sets fast so if things get a bit behind, then you will be saying your vows in the dark. If you are more traditional and feel really strongly about not seeing each other before the ceremony, then a sunset ceremony may not be your best option.