Sunset is Crucial on your wedding day. Here’s why…

This ones a long one, but a surprisingly quick read, and packed with information. It'll be worth it, I promise!

When should your ceremony begin?

Most of the time the discussion goes something like this:

Well, the church only does ceremonies at 1 or 2 PM, let's do it a little later. But 3PM is the heat of the day during the popular Spring and summer Wedding months of May, June, July, & August. Older and more frail guests may have difficulty sitting in the sun during the hottest time of day. OK, well, we don't want to have it too late, People will be hungry for Dinner. Ooh, dinner!, Let's set the time for dinner, then work backward...

This is where most discussions end, and it makes perfect sense. I am here however, to suggest the Sun is what your wedding day should revolve around, Why not, the whole earth is revolving around the sun, shouldn't your wedding day? 🙂 Let's Explore...

Here comes the sun...

For Starters, I'm located in Portland Maine, so the dates and times We'll be discussing here pertain specifically to weddings in Maine and New England. Where do you want to be when the sun sets on your wedding day? I'm asking this quite literally. I don't mean when the day ends, but when the sun actually sets. Do you want to have a sunset ceremony?

Well, it's not a bad idea for the fall when the sun sets earlier, but if you have your ceremony during Sunset on the fourth weekend of June you might want do forget dinner and just get to the dancing as the sun won't be setting til about 8:30 PM. It can be done, and could be fun having the ceremony as after an after dinner activity, but you'll have to design the day around the sunset.

In a more traditional setting... If the sun is setting at 8:30, you may want to duck out for photos after dinner. In fact you may be able to do everything before the sun sets, toasts, Formal Dances and everything so you can go for pictures after the formalities, while guests are dancing. I will tell you from experience that for some reason, in an out door setting, people dance much more easily after dark. You will want to stick around long enough to get the dancing underway before heading off for sunset pictures. Remember, these are you and your new Husband or wife in these sunset pictures, not the whole wedding party 🙂

Spring Sunsets in Maine and New England

In the spring, the sun sets after 7PM beginning around April 1st. The sun sets after 8PM in Maine and New England from mid may through the 1st week of August. Based on this, you would think most weddings would be in the spring, and they were, for a very long time.

Fall is King!

Fall has reigned supreme in the New England Wedding scene for a good 10 years now. The Sun's challenge with Fall is how rapidly the sunset happens earlier and earlier. On September 1st The sun sets at 7:20, 10 days later it's 7pm! By the time we get to October 30th, the sun is setting at about 5:40 PM! Fall sunsets, on Fall weddings, in Maine and New England at least,  are our real wedding planning challenge. I will get into the merits of Fall vs Spring weddings in a future blog, but for right now, we have the primer for the topic at hand.

Wedding Plans! But first...

Before we get into the plans I have to share a link to where you can find out the sunset time for your wedding day. https://sunrise-sunset.org/ This tool will help you  whether you are planning a wedding in Maine, Memphis, Montana, or Marrakesh.

Let's try a few time lines and see what planning your wedding day around the sun looks like in a few (sun)settings. We will start with the most popular, then move toward the more unique. I include elements from weddings I've been involved in, so if there is something you see that you are interested in, or have questions about, or if you would like help designing your wedding day around the sun don't hesitate to contact me here at M&M Entertainment - [email protected] 207.450.4960 Now for the plans...

A word about after 8 sunsets for your Maine Wedding

I'm starting here with the general category of after 8, so I want to give you the information to make the most of this timeline

The sun sets after 8 For Maine Weddings from about May 15 to around August 4th). What do you want to have done by this time? How long will that take? By 8PM, The most essential activities the Bride and Groom will be needed for will be done. For example:

The after 8 Sunset Maine Wedding Plan A:

- Ballroom or Country Club Wedding - 5 hours

4:30 Ceremony
5pm Cocktails
6PM guests invited inside for dinner
Grand Entrance
Formal Dances
Toasts
6:30PM Dinner served
7:30PM Cake Cut
7:40 Dancing! Sun set at 8, whisk away to the balcony, boardwalk, hilltop, lake, ocean, gazebo, etc, for photos, and be back just in time to do..
Traditions such as...
Bouquet & Garter toss, Anniversary Dance, or reverse Anniversary Dance
Other Traditionals?

When the sunsets closer to 8:30, you have even more time, so perhaps get Bride and Groom Trivia in, or a reverse anniversary dance...

Of course, if you want to be out of the room when certain participation songs are playing (Aunt Jean loves the Macarena, but you can't stand it) when you head out for photos, that's a perfect time to break it out 🙂 You will have to plan that one carefully with your DJ and or event planner. If you want to be there for these party dances, then they will be waiting for you when you return...

Fun stuff such as... Bride & Groom Trivia, Reverse Anniversary Dance, Participation dances (Cha Cha Slide, Cotton-Eye Joe, Cupid Shuffle), Others?

8:15 Away for Pictures

9:20 last dance sequence
9:30PM ... and they lived happily ever after...

 

Keep your guests in mind, some of your older guests might bristle at the thought of eating this late. Of course you can always move your ceremony time back to accommodate a more flexible timeline. After all, the point of this blog is not to give you a time line, but to help you envision just when Sunset will occur on your wedding day so you may plan accordingly.

One other thing to note: This one happens to be at a country club, so getting guests from one space to another isn't a big deal, but let's say your wedding day is happening at a Barn, Camp, resort, or other scenic, spread out location.....

The after 8 Sunset Maine Wedding Plan B:
- Camp, Resort, Barn Wedding - 6 hours

3:30PM Ceremony
4pm Cocktails (If ceremony is off site, or any distance away from the Ceremony, leave more time)
5:30PM guests invited inside for dinner
5:45 Grand Entrance (if cocktails are a distance from Dinner, leave more time)
Formal Dances
Toasts
6:15PM Dinner served
7:15 PM Cake Cut
7:30 Dancing!

10 - 15 minutes into dancing, you can duck out for an 8pm sunset
Traditions such as...   Bouquet & Garter toss, Anniversary Dance...

Other Traditionals?

Finish the last tradition, and head out for an 8:30 sunset

Fun stuff such as...
Bride & Groom Trivia, Reverse Anniversary Dance, Participation dances (Cha Cha Slide, Cotton-Eye Joe, Cupid Shuffle), Others?

9:20 last dance sequence
9:30PM ... and they lived happily ever after...

You will notice the time line for the Ballroom/Country Club wedding is 5 hours compared to 6 for the camp/resort/ barn wedding. This is because it takes more time to move your guest from one space to another when that space is a) scenic, and b) a distance away (even a small distance makes a difference). It's for this reason that Camp, Resort, and Barn weddings tend to average 6 hours for ceremony, cocktails, dinner & Dancing, where a traditional ballroom or country club is closer to 5.

What if you want Sunset to take place during Dinner so you can take care of Sunset photos along with your other post ceremony photos, what might that look like? This is perhaps the second most popular scenario because it's still light out when your guests come in from cocktail hours, it's still light out during your grand entrance, and you have a lot of creative freedom once you are in the reception space

September Weddings in Maine

So this example would be a September wedding - another reason this is the second most popular way to configure a wedding, September is BY FAR the most popular wedding month on the calendar in Maine, specifically the Saturday after Labor Day. If I had 50 DJ's on staff I would still need to refer to other companies for this date. I've already booked that Saturday for 2019, 17 months in advance. This is something to consider when you are booking your wedding date. If it absolutely has to be in September, make it a Saturday or Sunday, or plan on a long engagement 🙂

The 7pm Sunset Maine Wedding Plan:

- Ballroom or Country Club Wedding - 5 hours

4PM Ceremony
4:30 Cocktails
5:30PM guests invited inside for dinner
Grand Entrance
Formal Dances
Toasts
6:30 PM Dinner served - Sun sets about 7PM
7:30PM Cake Cut
7:15 Dancing!
Traditions such as...   Bouquet & Garter toss, Anniversary Dance...

Other Traditionals?

 

Fun stuff such as...
Bride & Groom Trivia, Reverse Anniversary Dance, Participation dances (Cha Cha Slide, Cotton-Eye Joe, Cupid Shuffle), Others?

8:50 last dance sequence
9PM ... and they lived happily ever after...

Maybe incorporate sunset photos into your bridal party photography toward the end of September when the sun sets around 6:30

The 6:30pm Sunset Maine Wedding Plan:

- Ballroom or Country Club Wedding - 5 hours

5:30PM Ceremony
6PM Cocktails
7PM guests invited inside for dinner
Grand Entrance
Formal Dances
Toasts
7:30 PM Dinner served - Sun sets about 7PM
8:30PM Cake Cut
8:45 Dancing!
Traditions such as...   Bouquet & Garter toss, Anniversary Dance...

Other Traditionals?

Fun stuff such as...
Bride & Groom Trivia, Reverse Anniversary Dance, Participation dances (Cha Cha Slide, Cotton-Eye Joe, Cupid Shuffle), Others?

10:20PM last dance sequence
10:30PM ... and they lived happily ever after...

These are just a few examples, and I could easily go through a half dozen more. My intention here was simply to get you thinking about your wedding day, whether it be in Maine or away, in the most natural way. With outdoor venues so popular right now, I believe it's the only way to go. Thanks for reading, and happy planning!

~Mike

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