It all depends on the location, time of year, and weather. The weather can be very unpredictable, but choosing a time that is comfortable for you and your guests can be an easy task!
There is one thing that can make or break any wedding photo, and that's lighting. You may be the most stunning bride or surrounded by gorgeous scenery, but if the lighting isn't right, you can be left with dull and flat photos.
One important thing to consider when choosing a time for your wedding ceremony is the direction of light. Is there shade? Is it 100 degrees? Will your guests be faced into the sun? Most ceremonies are held around mid-afternoon, which means lots of sunshine, harsh lighting, and shadows from the greenery. People are often hot, flustered and sweaty, particularly grooms in full suit attire. Also, when the sunlight is too strong and bright, the tendency is for people to squint during photos.
Let's talk about the “Golden Hour”.
This is the hour before the sun sets. The light is gorgeous and can offer the perfect haze for your photos. There are many advantages to choosing the Golden Hour for your wedding photos. Opting for a later ceremony will allow you more time to get ready and arrange any last minute details. At sunset the temperature starts to drop providing a more ambient and cooler temperature which is often enough to make everyone in the ceremony (and guests) feel a lot cooler and more comfortable.
If you are wanting the Golden Hour for your formal portraits, starting your ceremony about 2 hours before sunset is a great place to start.
A few things to keep in mind when planning the time of your wedding ceremony:
Will you be doing a first look? This offers a relaxed environment for your formal portraits. You both look your best and you don't have to worry about cutting your time for these intimate portraits short to rush off to your reception. After the first look, ALL formal photos can be done before the ceremony! That means right after your first kiss as husband and wife, you head straight to the reception! No lag time at all! Still wanting that gorgeous Golden Hour light? No problem! You can head off with your photographer for 20 minutes while guests are mingling at the reception!
Are guests traveling from the ceremony to the reception? If all formal portraits are done after the ceremony and guests still have to travel to the reception site, make sure you have cocktails and hors d'oeuvres for them as there can be at least an hour and a half to complete formal portraits.
How long is your ceremony? Most ceremonies we've photographed only last 15-30 minutes!
Mike & Tasha chose to do a first look on their wedding day. As you can see, the sun was high in the sky for this. Fret not, Kate Brown Photography uses a variety of lighting techniques to capture images that make you say "WOW!". Lamoille offers a lot of shaded areas, which is where we traveled next for intimate portraits along with the entire bridal party.
The ceremony was still very well lit, but just a short 10 minutes after the beautiful Ruby Mountains offered plenty of shade for family portraits.
Skyler & Jamie chose the Basque House for their ceremony and reception. Here there are plenty of trees and shaded areas not only for the formal images, but for the entire ceremony site!
Will & Madison had their ceremony in a fresh cut hay field at the base of the Ruby Mountains. Madison's getting ready location (down the road at her grandmother's) offered the perfect shaded areas for her and her bridesmaids. The ceremony site was in full sun as were the formal photos afterwards.
Our fall season can be very unpredictable. Just weeks before this it was snowing and we had freezing temperatures. Gerald & Mandy lucked out and we had incredible weather for their wedding day. They chose a perfect time for their ceremony in the Grove.