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Things to Consider: Start time of the Wedding – Chico California Wedding Photographer

When planning your wedding, something you may or may not consider (probably most of you didn’t think much about it!) is the start time of your wedding, as far as for daytime lighting with portraits. You probably thought about how it concerns the length of your venue rental, caterers, dinner time, etc, but might not have thought about how the start time of your wedding might affect the light quality for photos.119

Everyone wants those glowy romantic, fresh and flattering portraits on their wedding day. Most people don’t realize that there is a very specific, fairly short time period that the sun drenched perfection sticks around. 1 1/2 to 2 hours before sunset is when the “golden hour” AKA MAGICAL light time is during the day.

SO, if you’d like the perfect light for your portraits, then I always suggest planning your wedding start time around portraits. So you need to be thinking about these things:

1031. Do you want a darker, evening wedding? If so – you need to seriously consider doing a “first look” (see my post about them HERE!!) if you want the gorgeous glowy light, otherwise with the later evening weddings you’ll miss it completely. Dark/evening weddings also generally mean photos that are more grainy, since the photographer will be shooting in low lighting conditions.

2. If you absolutely don’t want to do a first look and want the glowy portrait photos, then you need to figure out about how long your ceremony will be (chat with your officiant and ask them about how long their ceremonies last), and schedule everything so that it ends around the “golden hour”.

3. If you’re doing an earlier wedding/afternoon wedding and still want the glowy photos, consider doing early morning “golden hour” (1 1/2 hours after sunrise), or slip away for a bit during your reception with your photographer to grab some photos during golden hour.

One place that I go to check out sunrise/sunset times is on this site HERE. Go and check it out!

Good photographers can shoot in ANY conditions. SO – other lighting options for photos:

1. Mid day daytime photos. Not ideal, but you can still make it work! Generally more harsh
2. Evening photos (dusk) photos, with flashes /off camera flashes. Generally grainier photos.
3. Indoor photos.

If you’re planning your wedding and have been trying to decide on when to start the ceremony, factor in your photographer’s needs (kidding)! Seriously – if the photos are an important investment to you, take a minute while planning to think about lighting. Your gorgeous album full of amazing photos and future generations looking through it will thank you!


  • January 21, 2014 - 3:51 AM

    Sara - I love Kimie Grace Photography! What fantastic ideas she gives her brides. I wish she had been here when I was getting married. I would have never thought about these kinds of things.

  • January 21, 2014 - 6:23 AM

    Julie Fail - Great suggestions! I hadn’t thought about needing to think about the best timing for photos.

  • January 21, 2014 - 6:40 AM

    Kate - So important! Give yourself the best opportunity for amazing photos! Kimie to the rescue!

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