Tips for sunset elopement ceremonies

If you’re hoping to hold your elopement ceremony at sunset or during golden hour / dusk, here are a few top tips to think about beforehand. 


1. Privacy 


Of course this depends where in the world you are and the ceremony location you are considering, but popular sunset locations (take anywhere on the West coast of Ibiza, for example), will likely be packed full of people, especially during the high seasons for tourists.


For an elopement or an intimate ceremony, privacy is really important as you want the atmosphere to be intimate and close, without distraction or other voices around. If you are going to be standing on public land to exchange your vows, you are not allowed to stop anyone else from being there, too, so finding a location where it is less likely that members of the public will be is the best way to avoid this.


To find a location like this, try asking locals if they have any ideas or recommendations they can give you – and if they can give you directions! – or hire a car and go out a day or two before your ceremony and explore areas which are close to the popular spots for sunset, but a little off the beaten track.


If crowds usually gather along the coast to watch the sunset into the horizon, why not go inland and find some higher ground to enjoy it set behind the city at a distance or behind hills and panoramic countryside views? 


2. Timings


Once the sun begins to make it’s decent, you’ll be surprised by just how quickly it goes down and vanishes! 

Make sure you know more or less how long your ceremony will take, and check the official time of the sunset. 

If it’s cloudy, bring that time forward a bit as you might lose the sun sooner than you imagine, and once it’s dark, there’s nothing you can do about it! 


For the best light in your photos, you’ll want to start your ceremony whilst the sun is still fairly high in the sky, around an hour to an hour and a half before it is due to set, so that you can relax, be present and enjoy your ceremony, exchange your vows and then get some gorgeous photography done in the golden light before it goes dark. 

You don’t want to be in a race with the sun!


3. Mosquitos


If you’re in a hot country, near water or are particularly susceptible to getting bitten, this might be something worth thinking about, as mosquitos, gnats and other bugs do tend to make a big appearance around dusk. 

Bring some mosquito repellent with you or put some on beforehand, wear a mosquito band around your wrist or bring some scented repellents to place on a ceremony table or close to you. 

I know the smell of citronella is not the most appealing, but you’ll thank me later!


4. The after party!


After you’ve exchanged your vows, kissed and cuddled and had lots of photos taken, you’ll no doubt want to celebrate! 

If you’re not driving, why not arrange a bottle of bubbly in a cooler and some glasses to take with you and pop afterwards. This always looks amazing in pictures and gives you something to do and a way to interact with each other whilst having your photos taken, giving you lovely candid shots and especially useful if you don’t feel natural in front of the lens. 


Or, find out what restaurants are nearby or where and how you want to celebrate together after the sun has set. 

Maybe a romantic dinner for two back at your hotel? 

A walk down to the beach where you can enjoy al fresco dining? 

An evening swim or a glamorous night out? 

Try to decide beforehand so that you can bring a change of outfit if you need to or arrange for a car to take you to your next location. 


5. Discuss your plans with your photographer


Lastly, I would always recommend discussing your ideas and plans with your photographer, as they will usually have a good idea of locations and timings that work best and can give you suggestions, recommendations and ideas that you may not have thought or known about otherwise.

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