The wedding season in France is pretty much May-Sep with the odd wedding in late April or early October, but otherwise just 5 months.
The single most overlooked aspect of most weddings is lighting.
I’m not talking fairy lights or candles, – those are simply atmosphere providing ‘secondary’ lighting which isn’t really lighting at all, but rather something that look pretty.
No, lighting is the mix of artificial and natural light, but overwhelmingly, the natural.
Natural lighting can come in two principal flavours, quantity and quality.
We need a certain amount of quantity, but of more importance is quality.
A 3pm outdoor wedding ceremony in direct sunlight in June, at the same venue, will have more or less the same quantity (of harsh) natural light as at 3pm in September.
3pm, 3 months apart is not that different.
5 or 6pm is.
But who gets married at 5 or 6pm?
Sensible people that’s who!
OK, ‘sensible’ is perhaps the wrong term, but in all my years as a photographer/filmmaker, the best planned and most memorable weddings had a ceremony no earlier than 5pm, usually more like 6 and in some cases after 7pm.
“After 7pm?! But my day will be so short!”
Really? In that regard you’d be wrong…
Yes, if it was 7pm in September, it probably would indeed be a bit late, but not so in June.
Take a look at this wedding: Trisha & Paul That’s a ceremony scheduled for 6.45pm but actually didn’t start until after 7pm…and being June, it just would not get dark! But the light was fantastic as a result for; their ceremony, their drinks reception, their meal, their couple and family shots, their speeches… Because of, not despite of.
The most popular month to get married in France?
June has always is the most enquired after month and always gets booked up first.
Most weddings in June then have 3pm ceremonies in blazing harsh sunshine. Sit down meals at 6pm in blazing harsh sunshine. Speeches any time between 6-8.30pm in blazing harsh sunshine. Dancing at 9pm, usually indoors while the sun is still blazing away outdoors.
And those fairy lights and candles etc on the tables…? Well that didn’t work did it because it never got dark enough.
To conclude, this post was not really about which month is the best (though on balance, for most, Sep is it followed by; Aug, then July/early Oct equal in my experience, followed by June and then May), but about considering the quantity and quality of light for every part of your day based on locations intended and specific date.
Something I do is work with all my clients in an advisory capacity in not just this regard, but any and all aspects of a wedding day. I’m not a wedding planner and nor would I ever wish to be, but this stuff is just fundamental in regard to results and unless it’s planned for…