With the approach of the end of Day Light Saving time and colder temperatures, there may be questions on what your wedding day timeline should look like as far as having enough light for amazing photos. Of course in Florida, as we all know, temperatures do not change overnight. However, the time that the sun rises and sets does change drastically! This is a crucial thing to take into account if your wedding falls during the months when there is no Daylight Saving Time. (This would be November through March. Thanks Google.) Some brides and grooms may make the mistake of not timing their ceremony correctly and lose their window of opportunity for their portraits. This is very unfortunate and should not happen. Shame, shame! Please consult with your wedding photographer before setting a ceremony time and sending out invitations. Most photographers, including me, offer timeline assistance to make sure we have optimal light to make everyone look incredible. Optimal light in the world of photographers is often called “Golden Hour.” This is the hour just before sunset or just after sunrise. Any photographer should be prepared to be able to photograph at any time of day, however, for the special photos of the two of you together just after sharing vows, I love magical, glowing light. Also consider that the higher the sun the hotter it is and the more equipment that will be needed for my assistant and I to get the right light on your faces.
Below I am going to share some tips and advice on how to build your wedding day timeline based on the time of sunset as well as share some photos with you.
TIPS ON FALL AND WINTER WEDDING TIMELINES:
1. Find out what time the sunset is on your wedding day. A wonderful tool that I love to use is the Sunset/Sunrise Calendar. I’ve been using this site for quite a while and it has always been very accurate. There are also lots of free apps you can download that are likely accurate as well.
The photo above as taken during an engagement session at Fort Desoto Park in early October around 7:20 PM.
2. Figure out if you’re doing a first look/reveal. This is important to know because we will need enough time before the ceremony to complete photos after the first look. Typically we would do some photos with you as a couple, bridesmaids, groomsmen and any family that may be ready by that time.
This first look was during a wedding at Lange Farm and the photo was taken at approximately 4:00 PM in February.
3. Once you know what time the sun sets, you also need to know approximately how long your ceremony will last. Since I started my business as a wedding photographer, I have witnessed 15 minute short and sweet ceremonies and I have photographed 1 hour long Catholic ceremonies and many between. Depending on the type of ceremony you’re having determine the length.
Their ceremony was right before sunset at 220 West Seventh Tampa in December at 5:15 and this photo was taken around 5:30 PM.
4. Now you need to set your ceremony time. The ceremony time should be the first thing you plan and from there everything else should be easy to set a time for. Plan to have your ceremony end at least 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours before the sunset. Remember, we likely still need to do family photos and entire bridal party photos after the ceremony.
5. With timeline and photos, location can also be taken into consideration. For example, if you’re getting married on the beach on the west coast of Florida, you’re going to certainly have more access to sunlight as it sets than you would if you were having a garden, rustic or urban wedding inland. If there are large trees or buildings that provide shade, photos can be taken earlier and we would still have pretty light. Also consider it may be difficult to find/see the sun just as it sets and it may be better to do portraits a little earlier than just before sunset. You also have the option of finding an open field to take your last photos in before the reception.
This one was actually taken outside of The White Chapel in Palm Harbor right after the sun had set in October around 7:00 PM. Remember, even though Daylight Saving Time doesn’t end until November, the sun starts setting earlier starting in September and October.
5. Please, please, please talk to your photographer even in the inception of your faintest thought of, “Hmm, I wonder when I should start the ceremony?”
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always happy to help!