What Time Should We Start the Ceremony If We're Getting Married Outdoors at Sunset?

Etiquette

Saying "I do" at sunset is so romantic — the light is soft and glowy (and super flattering!). Not to mention the fact that your wedding photos are guaranteed to be spectacular. But when should you start the ceremony to catch the best light? Our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your wedding ceremony questions in our daily post.

We're having an outdoor wedding and want to get married at sunset. What time should we start the ceremony?

Timing your outdoor ceremony to coincide with the sunset is a wonderful idea — you and your groom will remember the moment forever and your wedding guests can experience the magic as the light wanes and the candles at the reception begin to glow. But timing the ceremony start time perfectly can be a bit tricky. If you wait until the sun has begun to set to start your walk down the aisle, then the light will be gone by the time you say your vows and you may be left exchanging rings in the dark. Instead, if you're having a 15- to 20-minute ceremony, begin the ceremony one- to one-and-a-half hours before the actual sunset time. (The Weather Channel has a handy wedding-sunset calculator.) Then, the setting sun will cast a soft glow during your vow exchange but it will still be well-lit enough so your photographer can get all the important shots. And as the sun sets and turns to dusk, you'll still have enough light for fabulous post-ceremony group photos, newlywed portraits, and cocktail-hour candids.

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