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5 Things to Consider before planning an Outdoor Ceremony

Some photographers get to photograph outdoor ceremonies all the time; however, as a Toronto wedding photographer I find myself only having the occasional chance to capture the romance of a ceremony in the great outdoors.

Let’s face it; places like southern California have beautiful weather almost 24/7 while places like Toronto?  Well, rain can be imminent at any moment.  It’s normal to understand that the majority of brides or grooms would rather play it safe and opt for an indoor ceremony; but if you are considering something different, you must keep reading these tips for planning an outdoor wedding ceremony!

Planning an outdoor wedding ceremony actually takes a lot of thought and consideration.  Here are 5 things to consider before planning an outdoor ceremony.

Time of day

The most flattering type of sunlight occurs in the 60-minutes prior to sunset.  The closer you get to sunset, the nicer the sun is.  Noon?  One or two pm, on the other hand, are typically times when the sun is the strongest and can be troublesome for guests as well as the photographer.  If you’ll be getting married in a location where there is no shade whatsoever, opt for a sunset ceremony to ensure you have gorgeous photos.

Full Shade

If you’re getting married during the afternoon when the sun is strong, find a location where not only yourselves but all your guests can be in full shade the entire time.  Not speckled shade (when the light filters through trees) but full shade.  This will create an environment that is not only cooler and more pleasant for guests but will make the photos much nicer!


Sun Direction

Be aware of the direction of the sun in relation to where you’ll be standing during your ceremony.  Ideally, the sun should be hind you.  While will will create a backlit (or slightly hazy) effect it will be the most flattering.  If the sun is facing you, you’ll be bombarded by bright light and be squinting throughout most of your ceremony.  Similarly; if the sun is at the side of you (either side), ONE of the two of you will be squinting during the entire ceremony and making not-so-flattering faces.

Miller Lash House wedding photos by Toronto wedding photographer Ten·2·Ten Photography ©2015
Miller Lash House wedding photos by Toronto wedding photographer Ten·2·Ten Photography ©2015


The sun is hot.  That’s something we’ve all known ever since being little kids.  For some reason; however, we tend to forget that when planning an outdoor wedding.  One of the reasons that time of day and full shade is so important is that the sun is awfully hot and not all your guests (or wedding party attendants) may be able to handle the heat.  With many of the outdoor wedding ceremonies that I’ve photographed over the years, I often see a handful of people at each and every wedding that are perspiring excessively or even become a little woozy from the heat.  While you may love soaking up the sun, please be considerate of your guests and remember that temperature can play a factor in their enjoyment of the wedding.


An outdoor wedding ceremony isn’t the place for certain types of attire.  Dresses with a big and puffy tulle skirt will pick up the smallest blades of grass and even some of the creepy crawlies living in said grass.  Grossed out?  Sorry – but it happens!  Opt for sleek dresses when planning an outdoor ceremony.  The groom and his attire can be affected by an outdoor ceremony, too.  A full suit and hot summer days are not meant to go hand-in-hand.  Grooms should be wearing a number of layers that is appropriate for the weather in order to prevent discomfort, overheating and excessive perspiration.

What tips do you have for planning an outdoor wedding ceremony?  Tell us in the comments.

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