May 26, 2023
When first meeting potential couples, I always ask if they have a time selected for their ceremony. Most of the time, since it is so early in the planning process, they don’t, and I usually use this as an opportunity to guide them on selecting a time that will photograph well, and that will best highlight how beautiful their wedding day was.
Of course, this is most important if you plan to have an outdoor wedding ceremony, but even if you plan to get married indoors, the time that you choose for your ceremony will affect the time that your portraits are taken, so it is still important.
When choosing your outdoor ceremony venue, there are a few things you should consider. Is there shade? If not, will you or your guests be looking directly into the sun at the time of your ceremony? I can’t tell you the amount of weddings I’ve shot where the sun is beaming directly into the guests eyes, or even worse, directly into the bride or groom’s eyes resulting in squinty, shadowed photos. Not to mention the fact that it’s nice to be able to see into your spouse’s eyes as you exchange vows.
Justin and Jordan were married in this beautiful space at Celebration Farm in Iowa City. As you can see, there was plenty of shade behind them to filter the sunlight coming through from behind the arches. These are all things that photographers pay attention to during portraits, however there is a bit of a challenge and loss of control during the ceremony, which is why it’s so important for you as the couple to consider light during your ceremony.
If the ceremony space does not have shade, it’s not a total loss. You could also look up the time of sunset on your wedding day and try to push your ceremony closer to that time. You can get a pretty good idea of where the sun will be on your wedding day depending on if you are facing North, South, East or West. And then you’ll be able to determine if it will be shining directly into your eyes.
I realize that mid afternoon is a popular time for ceremonies, and admittedly, it makes for a nice flow for the rest of the day. With that being said, just keep in mind the direction that the sun will set, and you’ll be able to figure out a plan for how and when to set your ceremony. Sometimes it’s as simple as shifting the angle of your setup.
I promise, you won’t regret taking light into consideration when planning the most important part of your wedding day!