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Pros + Cons of the "Golden Hour" Wedding Timeline

Crafting the schedule for how your wedding day is gonna go should not be the hardest part of your planning process. There are lots of options out there for you based on if you’re wanting a first look before the ceremony or not. This particular post is for you if you are wanting to go the traditional route and wait to see each other at the altar. If you are wanting to stick to tradition, it is highly recommended that you take your wedding portraits during golden hour. Continue reading below for some pros and cons of going this route to see if it is a good fit for you + your boo.


1. It’s the traditional route.

This is the perfect option for more traditional couples who always envisioned themselves seeing their partner at the ceremony for the first time on their wedding day.

2. Gorgeous light

Golden hour is the most beautiful natural light you can have on your day. It’s so dreamy, warm, and brings out all the fuzzy feelings. Shooting can happen up to an hour before sunset to get the yummiest light.

3. Still works in winter

Winter weddings can still take this approach, just be sure to adjust your timeline to be a little earlier so you don’t miss out on the scrumptious light.

4. Google is your BFF

You can actually just go ahead and google the estimated sunset time on your wedding date to get an idea of when you should plan for the super important stuff.

5. Anticipation nerves are gone

The best part about waiting until after the ceremony for just married portraits is that all the pre-ceremony nerves are gone! For some people, it helps them relax knowing they can have a drink and just chill after having all those eyes on them.


1. Scheduling

One of the biggest cons to this approach is the timing. Sometimes couples only get 1 hour for cocktail hour and that means that that's the only time they get for family formals and wedding party photos. This is totally doable if you plan to stay at one location for these photos and if you’re planning on getting more couples portraits during golden hour.

2. You don't get to enjoy cocktail hour

If you’re one of those people who loves to live in the moment, this might be a little difficult since you might not have much time between ceremony and reception. This can be resolved by giving yourself some more time in between so you can get to visit with your loved ones.

3. No receiving line

A receiving line is when the couple stands at the end of the aisle to greet, hug, and laugh with loved ones right after the ceremony. This is one of my favorite parts to witness after a ceremony, but it may not be ideal with the time crunch. If this is important for you, then make time for it! Ultimately it’s your day and you get to decide what goes.

Are you a traditional or alt first look person? Let us know which route you’ll be taking on your wedding day in the comments below!

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