One thing that we've noticed a lot of couples forget to think about is what time the sun sets on their wedding day. And since sunset time varies by about 4 hours throughout the year, it can make a HUGE difference in your timeline!
A sunset ceremony might sound like a beautiful and romantic idea, but not if you wanted to take any pictures outside afterwards! Sunset time surprised us for one of our November weddings, because we all thought the time change was a week after the wedding, but it wasn't! The couple ended up choosing to do a first look so that they would have outside portraits (and they were so happy that they did!) So we always recommend that couples double check the sunset time before sending their invitations to print!
During summer weddings, we are often well into the reception by the time the sun sets, and our couples love to sneak out for another 15-20 minutes of portrait time in this perfect light! If we have a clear view of the sunset (and a cloudless sky) we can probably shoot right up until sunset time, but often we have to stop shooting 15-30 minutes earlier. This means that if the sun sets at 8:10 on their wedding day, we want to plan the reception timeline so they can be out taking portraits from 7:40-8:00.
Just remember. Sunset time is when the outside photos need to STOP, not when you start sunset portraits. Here's a general idea of what time we’ll lose light throughout the year:
January – 5:00
February – 5:30
March – 6:00 (7:00 after time change)
April – 7:15
May-August – 7:45 or later
September – 6:30
October – 6:00
November – 5:45 (4:45 after time change)
December – 4:30
It's also important to note that if the sun sets behind a line of trees or buildings at your venue, we’ll lose light even earlier. And since you never know whether you're going to get a sunny wedding day or a cloudy one, I always like to leave a little buffer before the sunsets. I would hate to have to cut portrait time short because it got dark sooner than we thought it would.
As you can see, fall and winter weddings need to happen much earlier in the day to make sure all portraits are finished before the sun goes down. And if you choose a date around either Day Light Savings time switch, triple check the ceremony start time with sunset time that day. It's so easy to get confused, and we certainly don’t want to be off by an hour!