Planning your wedding day around the sunset time


Let’s dig in to Planning your wedding day around the sunset time.👇

If you’re someone who doesn’t know when the sun rises and sets, and you don’t normally keep up with Daylight Savings Time, that will probably change when you start planning your wedding! The angle of the sun will actually make a big impact on the timing of your day.

But don’t worry, you can leave the science and math to your photographer! 🔭👩🏽‍🔬 They’ll make sure your photos are well lit and consistent with the style of photos that you hired them to create. But you do need to put some thought into the sunset time when creating your timeline.

Setting your timeline

Your entire timeline will be based off of the time the sun sets. This time changes throughout the year. In Texas, the sun sets anywhere from 5:30pm to 8:45pm, depending on the season. That’s a huge difference! If you don’t check the sunset time, and you plan to begin your ceremony at 6:00pm in December, you’ll get married in the dark. 🌙

For most weddings, I recommend starting your ceremony 1.5-2 hours before sunset. That way, the majority of your outdoor photos will be taken during the best lighting of the day! 

This time is especially important for outdoor ceremonies. It’s important that your photographer play a big role in setting your timeline. Before finalizing the time of your ceremony, check with them.

They should be be prepared to take photos in all sorts of lighting conditions throughout the day, but we want your ceremony, bride & groom, wedding party, and family photos to be taken in ideal light. 

Wondering how to figure out when sunset happens? Use this handy website to see tons of information about the sun’s lighting throughout the day.

Planning your wedding day around the sunset time

Let’s get technical

In the few hours before sunset, the sun’s angle in the sky is low. This creates more backlit, golden, and flattering lighting compared to the direct, overhead sunlight in the middle of the day. We can still take photos outside at Noon, but I’ll look for areas that are shaded, or I’ll be very specific about the angle that you stand.

In general, I want to give you the freedom to move around without worrying about the exact angle of your face and body. Being outside during ideal evening light makes it easy to achieve the natural, candid looking style that my couples and I love!

Planning your wedding day around the sunset time

First Looks

If you don’t do a first look, we’ll need to take all of your bride & groom photos and full wedding party photos after the ceremony. This means we’ll need more time after the ceremony before the sun goes down. You’ll also enter your reception a little later.

  • If you do a First Look – start your ceremony 1.5 hours before sunset
  • If you don’t do a First Look – start your ceremony 2 hours before sunset

It can be helpful to decide early on whether or not you’d like to do a First Look. This is a decision to make together. I provide my clients with lots of information and advice about how this can affect both your experience and your timeline.

Planning your wedding day around the sunset time

What if it’s cloudy?

If there’s full cloud coverage, in many ways, we can be more flexible with locations and timing. Clouds make the lighting even and smooth, casting fewer shadows across your face. However, cloudy skies often mean it starts to feel dark earlier than the actual sunset time. If the sun sets at 7:30pm, it may begin to feel dark by 7:05pm on a cloudy day.

No account for this, I will never plan to take bride & groom photos all the way until sunset. On your timeline, we’ll stop taking photos at least 20 minutes before the sun sets.

This timing also works well, because we’ll enter your reception around the time it gets dark.

I hope you’re one step closer to creating an awesome timeline! Planning your wedding day around sunset is super important, but also really easy.

Planning your wedding day around sunset

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