What you think will happen: In the romance-drenched movie in your mind, you envision dusk falling way to starlight gradually with each choreographed movement of your wedding day. Guests arrive and take their seats, perusing the program (which they can still see clearly in the natural light) and watching as the wedding party walks down the aisle. The burgundy bridesmaid dresses are the perfect contrast to the rosy pink sky.
Ultimately, you exchange vows and kiss just as the sun begins to disappear over the top of a mountain ridge or where the horizon meets the lapping waves. You take the most exquisite post-ceremony sunset photos ever, then joyfully enter your reception just as the stars start to take their place in the night sky.
The reality: You chose your ceremony time based on the reliable information on your weather app. It said to expect sunset at 6:20, so you started your ceremony at 6:15.
Your maid of honor’s hair appointment ran over, so now you will be lucky to start the ceremony before 7:00 PM. Your guests believe your program is probably pretty useful, but either can’t read it in the dark, or, can no longer read anything thanks to the permanent spots they will see after receiving direct sunlight in their eyes throughout your exchange.
You watch as your bridal party, in their perfect burgundy bridesmaid dresses walk down the aisle. Or, at least you watch someone walk. You can’t quite make out the dresses in the dark (in fact, maybe those are the groomsmen – you really wish you could tell!).
Your caterer explains that you can’t delay dinner service anymore to chase the waning rays. Even if the sun was still descending, you’d have no chance of escaping for those private sunset poses without holding up everyone’s event.
The only images you cared about are the only images you won’t have of your wedding day.
Common Sunset Wedding Mistakes and Their Solutions
Sunset weddings are complicated affairs and take real expertise to accurately plan. The good news is that there are pro tips you can follow to make your sunset wedding as wonderful as possible!
1. Mistake: You started your ceremony too early or too late – either the sun set long before you were ready to shoot, or you were still waiting for sunset an hour after you said “I Do.”
Solution: Plan for your wedding to begin about 60 – 90 minutes before sunset, depending on the length of your ceremony. Ideally, you want to be taking sunset photos around 30 minutes before the actual descent of the sun, so you want to pace events to culminate during this golden hour of photography.
2. Mistake: You timed sunset right, but never considered positioning your guests so they weren’t staring directly into the setting sun. You failed to take their comfort into consideration.
Solution: Find the perfect ceremony angle by visiting your venue close to the big day and noting the position of the sun at your ceremony time.
3. Mistake: Sunset came and passed – and now your guests have to navigate in the dark. Not safe, especially for the very young and the elderly.
Solution: Provide flashlights, generator-based lighting or staff with lanterns to light the way from the ceremony to the reception and to help guests find their cars when they depart.
Professional photographers can help you create an accurate and functional sunset wedding timeline. Consult with your photographer early so your images will be everything you want them to be.
Guest Author Bio
Super-Connector at OutreachMama. Wendy is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Youth Noise NJ who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition. You can contact her on Twitter.