Georgia Weddings have the privilege of being held at every season since the weather is moderate and the winters are mild for the most part. When planning a time for your ceremony, as a general guideline, I recommend the ceremony time to be within 1 1/2 to 2 hours before sunset.
Here are 8 things to consider:
The weather on your Georgia wedding day is unpredictable, you choose the day and the wedding will happen no matter what, rain or shine. But, you always want to plan as if the day will be sunny first. The reason for that is because the direct sun will give the strongest and harshest light. While a cloudy day will diffuse the light and make it even. So if you have the ceremony in the middle of the day when the sun is the strongest, you may be more confined in areas for pictures because you’ll be hiding from the sun, and the light could be really harsh during the wedding.
During those hotter months, you may want to have the ceremony the latest possible since that’s when it’ll be the coolest outside. But you’ll want to make sure that you still have plenty of daylight left for pictures after the ceremony.
I have photographed a lot of Georgia weddings and on Sundays, people often start leaving early, specially during the later receptions because they have to work or they need to get their kids home and in bed because they have school the next day.
Weather you have a ceremony that’s inside or outside, at some point you’ll be taking pictures outside. Some ceremonies are short and sweet and others will last up to one hour. Knowing how long the ceremony is going to be, will help you plan for the best time for outside pictures.
It’s important to be aware of when the sun sets. I have had clients book their venue and set up the ceremony time in the winter when it was already dark out not realizing this. Thankfully they were open about a first look and we were able to get their portraits in natural light. I’ve also had clients who had their ceremony only one hour before sunset, therefore it was darker outside during their family formals. I much rather have a ceremony that is a little bit earlier, than one that is too late in the day because once we lose light, it’s gone. Yes I will use flash and still get beautiful pictures but nothing beats natural light.
Venues have so many different options on where you can get married in such as under an oak tree, inside a gazebo, in front of a lake, under a pavilion etc. If your ceremony pictures are one of the most important pictures to you, consider asking the venue about the lighting or seeing it in person to see what it might look like.
More than likely you know your guests pretty well. You know if there are mainly family members and if they are older, you know if they like to dance and have a good time, you know if they they will endure a longer reception or a shorter one. This will help you plan on what the latest the reception time should end therefore planning the ceremony around that.
If you plan on having a first look, your ceremony can start later in the day about 1 1/2 hours before sunset. If you will not be doing a first look then make sure you leave more daylight time for portraits after the ceremony so around 2 hours before sunset.
During your actually ceremony depending where the sun is, you or your partner may have a sun spot from a window or peeking through the trees right at your face. You’ll be able to feel the light on you, so if this happens, you can try to shuffle your feet a little bit back or forward and see if that helps. I have had that happen to my clients where one of their faces is in the sun. I will never interrupt the ceremony because of this reason. But I will look before the ceremony starts if that may be an issue, and I talk to my clients to shuffle their feet until they feel the light move away from their face.
I hope that all of the above will give you the knowledge you need to help you make the best decision of what time to have your ceremony in Georgia. You may not be able to work around every single one of these reasons, but you’ll be able to make a decision based on what is the most important thing to you and your partner for your wedding day!
If you are looking for a wedding photographer for your beautiful Georgia wedding, I would love to chat! You can simply contact me here and I will soon reach out to you!