Pros and Cons of a Sunset Wedding Ceremony

bride and groom cutting wedding cake at sunset in Sydney

There's few things more romantic than a sunset wedding ceremony. Just imagine saying "I do" as the sun lowers over the horizon and you stare into the love of your life's eyes... if that doesn't give you butterflies in your stomach then we don't know what will!

Sunsets are one of nature's amazing gifts to us that are often highly sought after for wedding ceremonies. However, although sunset weddings are undeniably beautiful, like everything in life, unfortunately they do have some cons.

Here, we break down the pros and cons of a sunset wedding so you can understand the full picture of what sunset weddings truly involve.

bride walking down aisle at Bilgola beach wedding

The Pros

We like to think of ourselves as positive people, that's why we're starting off with all of the pros to choosing sunsets for your special day!

  1. The wedding photos

    Sunset wedding photos can be the sole reason as to why the bride and groom choose a sunset wedding. I mean who could blame them!? If you've seen those photos of an afternoon wedding, you'll know why! Especially if the wedding ceremony venue has big open windows or is an outdoor ceremony - the colours and lights produced from a sunset are simply breathtaking.

    Being a wedding photographer business, we understand more than anyone the stunning photos you're able to capture with sunsets. With the glowing light coming through the backdrop, the stunning pinks and oranges that cast over the sky and that golden hour delivering the best lighting a photographer has ever dreamed of - the wedding photos that come from a sunset wedding are nearly impossible to beat.

    With a sunset wedding, your wedding photo album will look like your dream wedding.

    Hot tip: make sure your wedding venue takes advantage of the sunset with beautiful views and/or a space to have an outdoor sunset ceremony.

    landscape image of bride and groom on bilgola beach after Sydney wedding

  2. Cooler weather

    Sunset weddings are hosted at a beautiful time of day where a cool breeze rises.

    For us here in Australia this is a huge perk! For many having a summer wedding, the hot and steamy 40 degree weather can be a stressful thought when planning your wedding day. However, if you move your ceremony time from the midday to a few hours later, you can skip the heat and be met with that refreshing cool breeze.

    As your afternoon wedding turns into an evening wedding, you'll be delighted with a refreshing cool air so you can keep the party and celebrations going!

    jordan and jack posing for wedding photographer after bilgola beach wedding

  3. Evening reception

    Having a sunset wedding means once the wedding ceremony has completed, it will be night time. This makes for a lovely time for an evening wedding reception.

    Having your wedding reception at night time means you can dive straight into cocktail hour right after the wedding ceremony. Think: cocktail dress, beautiful fairy lights, night sky, and everyone in party mode!

    Evening weddings, when at the best wedding venue, can offer the best after party. Many guests will be more inclined to kick off their shoes, have an extra cocktail or two and live in the moment! Just make sure your evening wedding is hosted on the weekend otherwise you might need to write up a few sick notes.

    Evening weddings are ideal for night owls and those who generally prefer to have a celebration and dance in the evening. An evening wedding reception is the perfect way to complete your wedding day.

    guests at sunset wedding posing for Sydney wedding photographer

The Cons

Although we wish there weren't any cons to sunset weddings, like most things in life, sunset weddings also come with a few cons. Here are some important factors to consider if you're deciding to have your wedding at sunset.

  1. The wedding photos

    You're probably wondering how this could be a pro and a con.... Well the truth of it is that although sunset wedding photos are stunning, unique and eye grabbing, you only have a very short and specific time frame to capture the photos.

    Too early and you might have too much light, too late and the sky turns dark.

    Although golden hour lasts for a hour (1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening), the sunset itself only lasts for about 5 minutes. If you're a bride and groom who's really wanting your wedding photographer to capture sunset photos, there's a very tight time frame the wedding photographer will have to work with. In addition, the time of sunset can differ depending on the season and can also be affected by weather conditions too.

    To make sure your wedding photographer captures those romantic wedding photos, consider working with a wedding planner who will run the show. Wedding planners are experts in following a tight schedule and can work with the wedding photographer to make your dream sunset photos happen on time.

    Hot tip: time the wedding ceremony about 20 minutes before the sun sets so that your wedding photographer can capture you and your boo saying those two magical words on your special day.

    bride and groom holding hands at sunset after Sydney wedding

  2. Winter blues

    If you're having a sunset wedding in winter, rug up! As soon as that sun has disappeared you'll be feeling cold and chilly.

    As most sunset weddings usually involve an outdoor sunset ceremony or a wedding venue with big windows and open spaces, the winter weather will make your wedding very cold. These are important factors to keep in mind as you don't want your wedding guests leaving a bit earlier because of the weather.

    An outdoor sunset ceremony is made even more complicated if there's a chance of rain. Keep in mind the weather forecast for your wedding day and have umbrellas on hand for guests in the event of a shower.

    Make sure your wedding venue can cater for the beautiful sunset wedding ceremony as well as the after wedding party reception. The best wedding venue will offer the option for both outdoor and indoor wedding venues.

    When booking your wedding ceremony and wedding reception, talk with the wedding venue to see what your options are. For evening weddings, heaters and indoor spaces for guests are important.

    photo of bride and groom during wedding ceremony at Bigola Surf Livesaving Club

  3. Evening weddings

    When the sun has set and the sky turns dark, the rest of your wedding ceremony and reception will be celebrated at night. We hope you're a fan of evening weddings!

    If you're planning on having a summer wedding then you will have a few more hours of daylight. If you're having your wedding ceremony in winter, your evening wedding will be celebrated under a beautiful night sky.

    For many brides and grooms, celebrating their big day under the night sky sounds fun! Evening weddings can offer a lot of beauty and a fun after party.

    For other brides and grooms they're not as keen on an evening wedding. To get more daylight at your evening wedding, couples choose to have their evening wedding earlier to ensure there's enough time with daylight.

    It can be tricky organising the time of sunset around your wedding day. With the sunset timing so specific, changing any timing might ruin your sunset ceremony. Realistically, if you really want that beautiful outdoor sunset ceremony you've dreamed of - you might need to have an evening wedding reception.

    If you're having an evening wedding, make sure the wedding venue can cater to an evening wedding's specific. requirements (i.e. lights, heaters, covers).

    Hot tip: an evening wedding can be made beautiful by choosing the best wedding venue for your reception.

    bride and groom first kiss at Sydney wedding

The pros and cons

Now that we've run through the pros and cons, it's time to make a decision!

Getting married is a massive decision that will often only happen once in your lifetime. As the bride and groom, you want your wedding be the wedding from your dreams. Pressure is on!

Although sunset weddings are beautiful, there are a lot of factors to consider before you decide on choosing a sunset wedding. Once you've confirmed your wedding date consider whether you want an outdoor sunset ceremony, an evening wedding or an afternoon wedding. From here you can choose your wedding venue and determine whether a sunset wedding ceremony will be possible.

Talk with your partner on what you both would prefer on your big day. Discuss everything from the wedding ceremony, wedding reception, guest list, the venue, flowers, what you'll have for dinner and so on! Talking with your partner will answer a lot of questions.

groom on beach at sunset after Sydney wedding

Sunset wedding photos

Many couples choose an outdoor sunset ceremony purely for the wedding photos (which we can completely understand!). However, many brides don't know they can actually book a wedding photographer for a photoshoot prior to the wedding. This allows the bride and groom to get comfortable in front of the camera before the big day as well as get some stunning photos!

Talk with our team here at Emot if you're looking for a photographer to capture an engagement, wedding or even your honeymoon! Mention if you're after sunset photos and we'll make your wishes come true.

bride and groom posing for Sydney wedding photographer on beach


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