Want pretty outdoor ceremony photos like these? The trick isn’t just finding a pretty location, it’s also about coordinating a time of the day for best possible lighting. If you plan your ceremony around high noon in the summer, awesome, as long as it’s in an open shade (i.e . shadow of a building or under a big tree). If there are no open shades, it might be worth considering moving it to a later time when the sun isn’t directly overhead. I promise you, the result is going to worth a thousand times.
Aside from lighting, there are many other things to consider when deciding whether an outdoor ceremony is right for you. As with many things in life, there are pros and cons to it. The importance of each one depends on each individual couple, some outweigh others, you just need to decide what’s more important to you.
- Beautiful scenery – this one is obvious. There are no limits on where you hold your ceremony: in a garden, at a beach, rooftop, the sky’s the limit.
- More personalized - If you want to go the extra mile, you have the freedom to decorate your ceremony spot, maybe a DIY backdrop, flowers, and/or columns, to make it more personalized. Churches usually have restrictions on decorating interior space. With an outdoor space, you can almost be as creative as you want.
- No mixed lighting - Church lighting can be difficult because there are two sources of light – the interior (artificial) incandescent light is usually orange-y, and the (natural) light comes from the windows is blue, mixing the two of them may throw off the white balance. Whereas outdoor lighting has only one source of light – the sun. If your ceremony is in an open shade or around sunset time, it’s bound to be gorgeous.
- Cost effective - Outdoor ceremonies are usually free, especially at a public space. Most reception venues have beautiful backyards or gardens that let you use for your ceremony for a small add-on fee or are sometimes complementary. It’s a win-win.
- Accommodate more guests – Depending on where your outdoor ceremony is, a beach or garden can possibly accommodate more guests than most churches if you don’t want to cram your guests in a confined space.
- Sound – one of the major drawbacks of having an outdoor wedding ceremony is that it can be difficult to hear vows and speeches, especially when there are a lot of guests in a busy/noisy area. Outdoor ceremony works best for intimate to medium-sized weddings as guests can either make a circle around the couple and officiant, or have them seated without the last row being too far away.
- Unpredictable weather - one of the must-haves for planning an outdoor ceremony is a backup plan in case of unfavorable weather. Need I say more about how unpredictable New England weather is?!
- Extreme temperatures – in hot summer days, the temperature can get quite high, this is when having an outdoor ceremony might not be favorable to you and your guests. They’ll love you for having it indoors with air conditioning.
- Lighting limitations - we covered this earlier. It might not be the best idea to do an outdoor ceremony if there are no open shades on a sunny day. The shadows under your eyes and chin aren’t flattering. Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to take your photographer for a walk-through before you finalize/book the location.
These are just some of the more important aspects to consider when planning an outdoor wedding ceremony. I hope you at least learn something new from the photographer’s perspective. If I missed anything important, please let me know in the comment below :)