Four Tips for the Perfect Outdoor Ceremony | Raleigh Wedding Photographer

Are you two dreaming about saying I do under the open skies and surrounded by nature? Here are four things to keep in mind if you are planning an outdoor ceremony – with your wedding images in mind!


When choosing a spot for your ceremony, be aware of the surroundings! Keep an eye out for what will be behind where you two will be standing during the ceremony, as this will ultimately be the backdrop of all your ceremony images.


The lighting is so important when it comes to your wedding images but also when it comes to your comfort! Here are three lighting situations – if you can, try to avoid spotty light and full sun and keep an eye out for full shade instead. Here is why:

  • Spotty light: This often happens if sunlight is being filtered through a tree, which creates a mix of bright spots and dark shadowy spots. This light is not ideal, as it is very uneven and even professional cameras can have trouble making both the very bright spots and dark shadows look good at the same time. If you can, try to avoid this situation!
  • Full sun: This situation happens when there is no shade at all and the sun is fully on you. While this kind of light is an option, it is prone to be very bright and bring out skin imperfections. It can also get very hot to stand in that kind of direct sunlight and it might be hard to not squint – not ideal for this beautiful moment of your life!
  • Full shade: By far the best lighting scenario, and the one to look for! Full shade means beautiful even lighting, which is very flattering and great for skin tones. This is what you want to look for when choosing your ceremony spot!

If you’re location does not have a lot of options available, don’t stress too much! One way to get beautiful images even if there is no way to avoid spotty light or full sun is to make sure your ceremony and you are angled AWAY from the sun or to have the sun behind you.


If you book me as your wedding photographer, this won’t happen but it’s good to be safe (I have a 100% sunshine guarantee). If you are planning an outdoor ceremony, make sure to have a plan B available, so you don’t have to stress about it. Talk to your wedding planner and your venue about options to move your ceremony inside (into a building/tent etc.) in case of rain.


Keep your guests in mind when planning your outdoor ceremony!
For a summer wedding, if there is no way around them sitting in the full sun, think about ways to keep them comfortable. Some examples I have seen are large umbrellas for shade, cute folding fans, bug spray or water bottles at each seat. For a winter wedding, keep your guests warm with blankets or hand warmers!

I hope this blogpost will be helpful for you and will make planning your outdoor ceremony a little easier. If you are one of my couples, I would be more than happy to come out or face time you while you’re doing your venue walkthrough and I can help you choose the perfect spot – with your wedding images in mind!

© Simone McAdams Photography