#4: Ignoring the Setting Sun

Outdoor Scene at Eldorado Country Club

This is the second installment in our series of posts about the top 5 planning mistakes we’ve seen couples make in the past.  In case you missed it, here’s our first post:  #5 – Assuming Your Wedding Vendors Communicate.

Mistake #4 is all about lighting and timing.  The most popular wedding ceremony photos we see pinned on Pinterest are of gorgeous outdoor weddings, captured at the perfect time of day.  However, the traditional ceremony time of 6pm may not work for those perfect photos you desire depending on your date and location.  When you’re choosing your ceremony site and your ceremony time, you need to consider the importance of light to photographers (and videographers) in capturing your wedding day the way you picture it.  Being married outdoors with the setting sun can be beautiful, but if you want all your formal wedding party and family photos taken after the ceremony, you can be significantly limited with the amount of time you have.  Photographers prefer to shoot during twilight (after the sun sets below the horizon, but before the light fades altogether) because the light has a buttery, romantic quality. To accommodate this, some couples consider taking photos together before the ceremony, bucking tradition, but allowing them to take all of these formal photos before the ceremony and allowing the ceremony the “spotlight” of the twilight lighting.

If you do not prefer to take photos before the ceremony, you can move your ceremony time up and choose a photographer able to reproduce this twilight look in stronger light using the correct lenses, filters, and possibly additional lighting.  Make SURE you choose the correct photographer for the style you want to achieve.  Assess a photographer’s strengths and if lighting is questionable, make sure they can show you photos where they have dealt with similar lighting conditions.

Dramatic uplighting can be affected by your reception time

The amount of sunlight can affect the look and ambiance of your reception as well, whether outdoors or if the venue has windows facing west.  In Texas, summer evenings have sunsets close to 9pm.  If your vision for the reception involves quite a bit of up lighting, twinkle lights or other lighting effects, a venue with windows may remain too bright and you will not achieve the look you are going for until the last hours of your reception.  You may need to push your ceremony time back, or choose an alternate venue to help create the correct ambiance.

A bride’s best friend in deciding the timing for the ceremony and reception is the Weather Channel sunset calculator.  This handy tool will show you the times for sunset and for twilight on your wedding date, and can help you with your wedding day timeline.  When choosing your ceremony time, allow enough time for your ceremony as well as the photos before and after the ceremony.  (Check with your officiant on how long the ceremony will be.  Typically we allow for 30 minutes for the ceremony.) Talk to your venue, your photographer and your planner about optimal ceremony and reception times to achieve the look and feel you want.  We can all help advise on what will work best and you’ll end up with the photos you were hoping for!

First photo courtesy of El Dorado Country Club, second photo courtesy of Edison’s and taken by Caitlin Ronquillo Photography.