If you’re not a photographer, you probably have no idea what I mean when I say “golden hour” wedding photos. However, when you see them you’ll probably know exactly what I’m referring to. Golden hour photos are those photos that almost look magical, like they have come straight out of a fairy tale. Some of them do have a golden hue, but others do not. Instead, they might feature a cotton candy pink sky or just soft, beautiful colors with amazing backlighting.
In photography, the golden hour refers to the hour (or so) right before sunset where the lighting is extra favorable for great photos. I love taking photos during the golden hour. It’s my first choice for engagement photos, and when a couple is willing to schedule wedding portraits during the golden hour I get super excited because I just know they’re going to get great images out of it.
Golden Hour Photos Versus Traditional Afternoon Photos
When you schedule your wedding photography right after the ceremony, there’s just so much going on! You have all the family members nearby who are eager to get photos taken with you, and it’s so easy to feel like you’re caught up in a bit of a whirlwind. After all, you just got married! The moment you’ve been planning and dreaming about for months has just happened and you haven’t even had a moment to process it.
It definitely makes sense to utilize the time between the ceremony and the reception to shoot portraits, especially family portraits. But if I can, I love to do most of the couple portraits during the golden hour. It gives you a little more time to move past any lingering nerves from the ceremony, plus the lighting and colors are a dream. come. true. You never know what you’re going to get, but you’re guaranteed to have MUCH better lighting and fewer shadows than you do at two or three o’clock in the afternoon!
How To Plan for Golden Hour Portraits
This is where it can get a little tricky. Golden hour usually happens right in the middle of the reception, but depending on the time of year, it actually can time out pretty perfectly. Once you finish the cake cutting and the first dance, it’s usually just about 7pm which is just about when golden hour starts for most of the “traditional” wedding season.
I don’t like to take too much time, so even if you can only sneak off for 20 minutes, it’s enough time to get some really great shots. That way, you can get back to your reception with plenty of time left to dance the night away! Just let your DJ or other hired entertainment know that you’ll be gone around that time and ask them if they wouldn’t mind playing some songs that your guests can dance to while you’re out getting your portraits taken.
While it’s important to think about setting up a wedding day timeline that makes sense and makes the best use of your time, it’s also important to consider the memories you want to hold onto from your day. Wedding photography isn’t just about snapping a photo to document the occasion. It’s about creating a beautiful heirloom that you will love and cherish and even show your children and grandchildren someday. It’s something that’s important enough to sneak off for a few minutes to get just right… and I’m not saying that because I love photography!
If you have questions about golden hour wedding photos or want more tips about working them into your timeline, just let me know! I am always happy to help!
There are SO many wedding blogs out there, you could spend years reading through all the advice for couples getting married. There’s lots of good content out there, but there’s also a lot of stuff that you really don’t need to worry about. Personally, I’ve seen brides with emergency kits that must have cost a fortune to put together! It’s good to be prepared, but chances are, your wedding day will go smoothly.
However, after attending so many weddings, there are a few things that I wanted to share that I feel like don’t get talked about a lot. Hopefully these tips will prevent you from feeling disappointed or having regrets after your wedding is over.
Oh, and you won’t find “it goes so fast” on my list because that’s something you’ll hear from everyone before your wedding. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. It does go SO fast. Be prepared.
#1 – You Won’t Remember the Vows
I’m not saying you’ll get up there and forget what you wanted to say. What’s probably more likely to happen is you’ll be up there, and you’ll see your partner’s mouth moving, but you won’t really hear his or her vows because you’ll be so nervous and caught up in the moment!
It’s a lot like the proposal for most people. You probably remember generally what was said, but it’s difficult to remember the exact words. This is why I love when couples opt for videography at the ceremony. It’s so wonderful to be able to sit down later and really absorb everything your partner said to you on your wedding day.
#2 – You’re Going to Wish You Had More Pictures
No matter how amazing your wedding photographer is, they’re just one person and they can’t be everywhere at once. While you’re getting your portraits taken, there could be something happening at the cocktail hour that won’t be captured.
Having two photographers is an option if you’re concerned about not getting enough photos of your wedding day. I just advise against going the disposable camera route. Sure, you’ll get lots of photos, but most of them will be such poor quality you won’t be able to even make out what you’re looking at. If photography is important to you, ask about a second shooter or more coverage throughout the day.
#3 – You Won’t Be Able to Talk to Everyone
This one kind of depends on how many guests you’re inviting, but if you’re having an average sized wedding (100 guests or more), chances are you aren’t going to be able to talk to everyone individually. If you’re someone who is super into etiquette, this is probably going to bother you.
I’ve seen couples make a real effort to talk to each guest at the reception, but there’s also so much going on, like the dinner, speeches, the cake cutting, and of course, dancing. Your guests will understand if you don’t have time to carry on a conversation. If they were at the ceremony, you probably got to hug them and thank them for being there, so don’t stress too much about getting to everyone during the reception, too.
#4 – Someone is Going to Drink Too Much
Hopefully it’s not you or your brand new spouse… unless that sort of thing doesn’t really bother you. I’ve seen couples get a little too tipsy after too many toasts and celebratory shots, especially if they didn’t eat enough (which is very easy to do).
Drinking too much on your wedding night is not fun, and it’s one of the top regrets people have about their big day. Not only will you feel like garbage the next morning, you might forget parts of the night or end up too sick to enjoy your post-reception plans. If you know what I mean.
#5 – That Slight Discomfort Will Turn Into a Huge Distraction
So, you go in for your final dress fitting and it’s just slightly too tight. Or the boning is scratching you. Or the sweetheart top is just half a cup size too big. This is your final fitting and you wanted to take your dress home today, so you’re hesitant to bring up your concerns, but trust me on this: the slight discomfort you’re noticing now will be a huge distraction on your wedding day.
We’ve all seen a bride who constantly has to pull up her dress and you do not want to be that bride. You want to be able to let loose and feel comfortable dancing, hugging, and eating your delicious meal without pain or discomfort because of a too-tight or ill-fitting dress. Same with shoes and other accessories. If they’re bothering you at all now, try to avoid wearing them on your wedding day.
Some couples are surprised to learn that booking a wedding photographer requires a little more than just finding someone whose work you love and making sure they’re available on your wedding date. Those are probably the two most important factors, but you’ll also need to determine how much wedding photography coverage you need for your wedding day.
Most wedding photographers offer a few different options when it comes to wedding day coverage. For example, I offer three different packages: six hours, eight hours, and full day coverage. When you’re thinking about how much coverage you need for your wedding day, there’s a few things to keep in mind beyond just how long your ceremony and reception are going to be.
If you and your guests are going to be driving to different venues, e.g. from the hotel in the morning to the church and then from the church to the reception venue, you’ll need to factor that into your time estimate. If you’re right at six hours when you add up the ceremony and the reception coverage you want, it might be a good idea to bump your wedding photographer coverage up to eight hours to make sure you are covering the extra driving time and allow for unexpected things that might come up!
Traditional Catholic Masses do take a bit longer than non-traditional ceremonies; usually between an hour and an hour and a half. Most of my clients that are having a traditional Catholic Mass end up needing to go for either eight hours of coverage or a full day due to the length of the ceremony (plus travel time).
Receiving lines are one way to make sure you have personal, one-on-one contact with every one of your guests on your wedding day. With everything that’s happening and how fast the day goes, it can be hard to connect with everyone without doing one. However, they do add a bit of time to the ceremony. If you want to save time, some couples do table visits before dinner. You visit each table for a few minutes, which allows you to have more intimate conversations with your guests. However, you won’t have the chance to hug and talk to each person individually like you would in a receiving line.
If you know me at all, you know I love a first look. I think these are so worth the extra time they take before the ceremony. One hour is enough time for the first look, especially because I can usually find a nice spot near the ceremony venue. Not only does using the ceremony site save a bit of travel time, it also minimizes the risk of potentially messing up the dress, hair, or the bride’s makeup before the ceremony starts!
Are you doing some kind of send off at the end of the reception that you want photographed? Some couples have everyone come outside and light lanterns, hold sparklers, and some couples even have full on fireworks! Generally, you’re going to want to do this at the very end of the reception, in which case, you’re going to need a full day of coverage. Some couples do a “faux send off” before the dancing starts, but if you need it to be dark outside for the type of send off you’re doing, this may not be an option. Be sure to check what time the sun typically goes down that time of year if a nighttime send off is part of your wedding day plans.
Whether you opt for six hours, eight hours, or a full day of wedding coverage from your photographer, the primary thing you’re going to want to make sure you do is allow yourself enough time to enjoy the day without worrying about how much time you have left and whether it’s going to be enough. If you have questions about which option is best for you, just ask! I am always happy to look over a couple’s timeline and make a recommendation. Remember, your wedding photographer has literally been to dozens and dozens of weddings (if not more) and they know what to expect and what can happen! A good wedding photographer will give you good advice and won’t just try to upsell you.
Kelsey and Jimmy were married in the backyard of her family’s home overlooking the lake she grew up swimming in. They even own a home together on the lake now, so it was the perfect location. In typical New England weather, it rained on and off through their whole wedding, but that didn’t stop anyone from having fun and enjoying themselves. The ceremony was done by Kelsey’s brother; it was so special to see a sibling perform a wedding ceremony. Ruby, Kelsey and Jimmy’s puppy, joined us for their first look and the reception. I absolutely loved the laid back atmosphere of this wedding and the all of the sentimental touches throughout the day!
Caterer: BT’s Smokehouse
Flowers: Tolland Florist
Dress: David’s Bridal
The morning of Rachel and Gaston’s wedding I woke up to torrential downpours, followed by flood and tornado warnings. I was worried about their backyard ceremony, and trying to come up with a rain plan. I gathered together all of my umbrellas, a trash bag for my camera, and rain boots. But, the most miraculous thing happened, the rain cleared and the sun came out. Good ‘ol New England weather, the day completely turned around. The sun shined during their vows and first kiss!
I loved being a part of this intimate wedding, there is just something so sweet about being surrounded by your close family as you exchange vows. Rachel and Gaston’s daugher, Leksi, made the cutest flower girl. I also loved being able to spend so much time photographing the two of them taking photos!