Tips for Planning a Sunset Wedding

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I love sunset wedding photos. Especially in Fort Myers or Naples, Florida; where the sky lights up with a beautiful orangy glow against the deep blue waters – no two sunsets are alike. Add the natural beauty of a southwest Florida sunset to the romantic joy of a young newly married couple in love, and you’ve got wedding photos that look like they could be in a bridal magazine. :)

Sunset weddings are tricky, though, because there are several factors that you do not think of while you are planning your wedding timeline. The main factor being: it gets dark fast.

What I usually like to tell my clients is to look at the time that the sun is supposed to set today (you can find this information by plugging in your information on this website: http://www.sunrisesunset.com/). Once you plug in the information for today’s date, look to see what time the sunset is supposed to take place tonight. Then, watch what happens the hour before the sun is supposed to set. You will probably notice that it gets dark – and fast – about an hour before the sun is supposed to set.

With this being said, you need to decide which you would prefer: a sunset wedding or sunset wedding portraits. If you would like a sunset wedding, then you should plan your wedding around the time that the sun is supposed to go down. However, be prepared that the light will be all but gone by the end of the wedding. You will have to decide if you would rather take your formal portraits indoors, do your formal portraits beforehand, or do your formal portraits outside (making sure that your photographer has pro-grade flashes to handle lack of light).

If you would like to have portraits of the bride and groom at sunset, then I would suggest scheduling your wedding an hour and a half before sunset. Why? Assuming your wedding is going to last around half an hour, it would be done an hour before sunset. The light starts to fall out about an hour before sunset, but there will still be plenty of light for the family portraits. Formal portraits generally take around an hour to photograph, with the last 10-15 minutes of the pictures generally being the bride and groom’s portraits. At that point, the sun will be setting.

As you can see, there can be several factors that influence the lighting for your wedding day (such as, when it is a rainy/overcast day the lighting gets dark faster) but for the most part, this advice has been a good general rule of thumb that has helped my brides with deciding when to schedule their wedding start time.

If this helped you, let me know! :)

Take care,

Charlotte

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