The ceremony is pretty much the reason weddings exist in the first place. The fact that you are gathering with your favorite people to say promises to the love of your life is a huge honor – so why does the timing of this seemingly become overlooked?
Based on whether your event is indoors or outside, there are a few things to think over when choosing the best time for your wedding ceremony. Keep in mind these suggestions are only based on the potential light that you’ll have in your space, and are not taking into consideration any other activities you have planned that day – remember to prioritize your schedule first and foremost by how you want to celebrate the day.
How to choose the best time for your ceremony:
Indoor ceremonies have a little bit more flexibility, as there are walls protect blaring sunlight and other unknown factors. This varies a little bit depending on where the windows are in your establishment, but the best time for indoor ceremonies is between 2pm-3:30pm. At this point, the sun is high enough in the sky where you won’t have it streaming through windows and causing shadows/hot spots, but it’s also low enough that you’ll get a bit of fill light from those windows. Nobody gets blinded, but everyone remains a bit lit still. Win-win for everybody!
The outdoors folks have a little less leeway when it comes to amazing lighting. While you can definitely choose to do a ceremony early afternoon, you run the risk of a sunny day taking a toll on your image. There’s absolutely no doubt that your photographer will know what to do, but even so, it maybe not be your most favorite or ideal situation. The best way to do this is to set your ceremony time for approximately 2 hours before sunset. The first reason being that the closer to sunset your ceremony is, the more even the light becomes, making for that warm glow that everybody loves and adores. Additionally, you’ll have plenty of time to do sunset portraits after the fact, making for some drop dead images of the two of your. Also, should it decide to be cloudy, you still have enough brightness that you’re not having a ceremony in the dark – and the clouds will create a nice, even lighting for you.
Have you followed any of these rules in choosing your ceremony time? If you’re already married, what would you do differently? Answer in the comments below!
Hey! I'm Makayla, a wedding photojournalist based in Duluth, MN and Saint Paul, MN.
I believe that stories are best told untouched, undirected, and with intentionality and meaning.
This blog is a space to share advice for couples about weddings, advice for photographers about witnessing events with intention, and steps to create decisions based on your values and what matters most to you.
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