Which Season is Best to Get Married?
Ah! You’ve said “yes” and now everyone’s asking, “so, when’s the big day?” According to the Wedding Wire, the most popular months to get married are October, September, June, May and August. But are these the only months you should get married? Which season is the best to get married?
The truth is, you can get married whenever you want. You just have to think about what kind of vibe you want and what time of the year would work best for you. Each season comes has its advantages. When considering which season is right for you, you’ll want to think about how each season might affect the colors, compositions, wardrobes, and overall mood of your wedding. Choosing a wedding date should involve more than just thinking about the weather. You should also think about what kind of atmosphere you want to create for your wedding.
As a wedding photographer, I often have clients tell me, “I heard my photos aren’t going to be as pretty in the off-season.” But this isn’t true! If a photographer says this to you, you need to find yourself a different photographer! There are so may gorgeous shots you can take in winter that you just can’t create in summer (and vice versa). Each season has its own unique visual elements— you just need to think about how these elements can work to your advantage.
Spring (March – May)
Spring is my favoritetime for a wedding. In the Northwest, the weather is perfect! The trees are growing bright green leaves and the flowers are just starting to blossom. And, since everyone else is gearing up for “wedding season” during the popular summer or fall months, you can typically get some great deals on your vendors and your venue. Also, if you go with a spring wedding, you’ll have all summer to travel as a newlywed couple.
In spring, mother nature is in overdrive. So, a major advantage of a spring wedding is all the stunning scenery. After waking up from a long, stagnant winter, mother nature is pushing out all the vivid colors of spring, from new flowers to lush green vegetation. Sunlight seems fresher and crisper in spring, too.
And unlike in summer, in spring the sun remains fairly low throughout the day, giving a gentler sunlight that’s can make your wedding photos look lovely. Also, have you ever seen cloudscapes during a spring sunset? The colors are gorgeous!
If you want a dreamy or minimalistic look for your wedding, a spring wedding is perfect for you. Since spring offers so many vibrant colors in your background, you can let nature take center stage and keep your decorations simpler.
When talking about spring weddings, I do have to talk about the elephant in the room: the chance of rain.
I’ve found that there’s a stigma around spring weddings because people are afraid they’ll be ruined by “April showers”. But, while I would never wish rain on your big day (unless you asked me to), rain is awesome for artistic and creative photos. When it’s wet outside, colors become deeper, richer and more saturated. Rain drops and streaks on the windows can create a new textural element in your photos that no one else has. Low hanging clouds can add a really mysterious quality to your images making excellent black and white photography. Also, when the rain stops, there is nothing more special than capturing a rainbow in the background.
For wedding timelines, spring days are somewhere between the short days of winter and long days of summer. This will allow you to grab some incredible shots right before sunset but, also, give you plenty of time during the day. During the reception, when natural light disappears, keep the whimsical feel alive with string twinkle lights or paper lanterns. It’ll give you and your guests enough light to dance while continuing the same dreamy mood you’ve had throughout the day.
Summer (June – August)
There’s a reason summer is popularly known as “wedding season.” Summer days are longer and warmer. The trees and flowers are in full bloom, giving you gorgeous statement pieces like arches filled with roses, brightly colored sunflower fields (hello, Gilmore Girls flashbacks!), and verandas filled with every color of hydrangeas. Because of this, summer weddings will have warmer color tones just a happier, sunnier vibe overall.
There’s a lot to love about the blue skies, dreamy white clouds and balmy breezes of summer. Unlike other times of the year, sunshine-filled summer days compliment nearly every color palette possible. While you traditionally see bright colors, this doesn’t mean you should shy away from deeper and richer blues, grays and even black. And, oh yeah, did I mention the food? In summer, tons of delicious fruits and veggies are in season.
Summer weddings are not all sunshine and butterflies, however. Since summer is when the sun is at the highest point, its harsher sun can lead to squinty eyes, visible sweat marks, over-exposed hot spots and unwanted shadows on your upper lip or under your eyes. Since the sunlight’s intensity, direction, and color changes over the course of the day, summer weddings require a more strategic approach to your wedding timeline [link “strategic approach to your wedding time” to “Why Light Matters on Your Wedding Day” blog post]. If we’re unable to avoid midday shots, we can, fortunately, combat this by taking photos at a higher vantage point which often results in better colors and details than eye-level shots. This will also remove the risk of undesirable shadows on your face (i.e. shadow mustaches and shadowy dark circles under your eyes).
While the summer sun comes with disadvantages, it has advantages as well. For one, the sun being higher in the sky means extended shooting hours that you won’t get at other times of the year. And the changing light patterns will give your photos variety. If your wedding day schedule won’t allow you to avoid summer’s harsher midday conditions, you can incorporate softer lights by posing in front of a tree, archway, or the side of a building. Finding areas with softer lighting conditions will reduce the possibility of unflattering and harsh light, while also giving your photographs beautiful contrast.
Summer will always be a popular season for weddings. Guests usually have more vacation days, so they’re more willing and able to travel. The flowers, fruits and vegetables are in season. The warm weather brings ample venue opportunities both indoors and outdoors. So, I’m in! Bring on the signature, fruity cocktails, BBQs, and long summer night dance parties!
Fall (September – November)
Alright, as a photographer, I have to admit, fall is one of the most amazing times of the year for photo-ops. Fall has crisp air, the vivid colors of the changing leaves, and the still-warm weather of summer. Nature is just so beautiful during this time of year, which means you’ll barely have to decorate, since your background will be gorgeous. All you need are a few special accent pieces and you’re done!
Because extreme temperatures and humidity are not an issue, fall is the perfect season to host an outdoor wedding that feels cozy and personal. Despite the increasing popularity of fall weddings, peak wedding season starts waning in the fall. This gives you a little more negotiating power and flexibility with booking dates if you choose a later month in the season.
To stay on theme, it’s popular for many people to choose a color palette that mimics the fall foliage, including gold or copper. However, since Autumn’s backdrop is filled with warm hues, I highly recommend creating contrast with your bridal party by dressing them in cool shades of blues and greens or a deeper and richer shade of purple. To liven up your wedding photos, considering using seasonal elements like fallen leaves in your wedding decor, which add great texture.
Later in the season of fall or early winter before the first snowfall, colors start to feel desaturated. Fortunately, this color composition will highlight the warmer hues of your skin, giving you stand-out portraits. And since the red, orange and yellow leaves of autumn are translucent, light can pass through them when backlit. This provides an explosion of luminance and color in your photos.
Of course, fall is a transitional season which includes the end of Daylight Savings Time, meaning days are shorter. This means you may need to push forward your wedding events in order to catch a quick “golden hour” session when the light is more flattering. It may be helpful to plan on doing a bulk of your portraits earlier in the day before the ceremony as well. When the sun goes down, though, it’s the perfect time to light up your space with cozy fire pits, rustic lanterns, and bistro lights strung overhead, all while sipping on some yummy apple ciders.
Winter (December – February)
Winter is a time for snuggling up to loved ones by a cozy fireplace. It’s for sipping on hot chocolate while snow softly falls outside your window. When you imagine the frosted mountain peaks, the festive evergreens, and the dancing snowflakes of winter, it’s hard not to consider winter the most wonderful time of the year.
Many couples are drawn to how frost can transform mundane landscapes into a magical wonderland. I, personally, love seeing portraits where the romance between two lovers is instantly dramatized with accents of red roses against the stark white snow. A lot of times, winter is considered moodier because of its heavier shadow elements and cooler color tones. However, when paired with the right palette, your wedding can feel cozier (think emeralds, plums, warm creams, and berry tones) or more elegant (think silver or gold accents or the classic black and white combo).
Another appealing reason to get married in the winter off-season is the opportunity to negotiate down costs on your venue and vendors, since it’s traditionally a slower season. There are a few other variables to remember, however, before starting your winter wedding planning. For instance, off-season flowers are can be harder for your florist to get a hold of, which makes certain blooms more expensive. Though, this does allow for the opportunity to introduce other textures like pine cones, berries and evergreens, which perfectly align with the unique season.
Another factor to consider is that winter weather is very fickle. During some years, an area may be covered in crisp, white snow during winter. While during other years, the grounds are left brown from snow that has fallen and melted quickly. Unexpected changes in weather conditions can also impact your guests’ ability to travel, and there are always pre-existing holiday plans to work around. The best way to overcome this is by studying the weather forecasts and snowfall records for the last several years and head to areas with a steadier weather pattern that’s still easy for your guests to travel to.
Though winter has some unique challenges, I can’t help but love the beautiful stillness, clean, white backgrounds and softer light winter provides. Unlike other seasons, especially summer, the shadows are less defined and are longer due to the sun’s lower positioning. The winter’s overcast clouds act as a giant softbox. This means the light is naturally diffused consistently in your portraits, giving your skin a smoother, cleaner finish and making it possible to shoot anywhere, anytime. If you’re a lover of black and white photos, winter may be the season for you. During this time of the year, the endless, cloudless sky and clean white back drops make for some of the most stunning conditions for black and white photography.
Snowfall, while unpredictable, can also add another unique element to your wedding photos. Gently falling snowflakes can create interesting background action, which means your photographer can decrease the depth-of-field (i.e. make the background of your portrait a little blurry so the focus is on you as a couple). And heavier snow fall adds instant texture to your image, as colors appear softer as they join with the white of the flakes.
For a winter wedding, it’s important to schedule portraits earlier since the days are shorter than the rest of the year. Depending on where you’re located, sunset can happen as early as 4:30 p.m. I recommend shooting in the morning when the light is best. During the reception, continue the romance by adorning tables and walls with open-flame candles. Imagine the warm flickering flames dancing off your guests’ faces while they’re enjoying winter comfort foods and mulled wine. Stunning!
Now that you know a little more about how each season will impact your wedding mood and photography, let me know in the comments: which season are you most drawn to?