For a dramatic backdrop to the ceremonial exchanging of vows, consider the unexpected idea of an evening wedding, cloaked in darkness. Evoking moods of twilight mysticism, black tie elegance or a celestial style of magic, ceremonies performed after dark, in open air blanketed by the night sky (or indoors following an aisle of cascading candles) make for a truly unforgettable experience, and perfect segue into the celebrations to follow. If this idea resonates, we’ve put together a mini-checklist of essential considerations for nuptials unfolding after dark…
Double check the time of sundown for your specific wedding date and location, which will shift by several hours throughout the year, determining your start time. If you love the idea of a ceremony under darkness, but don’t wish to start proceedings super late at night, consider a Winter Wedding. The sun will set significantly earlier - plus it’s low season, opening up options on venue availability.
Hint at the mood of celebrations to come, via your invitations, considering an aesthetic appropriate to a twilight affair (perhaps black bases with a white or gold font). If your ceremony is to be held outdoors, be sure to mention a note on clothing recommending ladies to bring an extra layer.
Lighting & Mood
By far the easiest way to create mood and ambience, twilight wedding lighting possibilities are infinite. If outdoors, guide guests toward the ceremonial area via a trail of bare bulbs or lanterns. Dress aisles and altars with a cascade of candles or canopy of fairy lights. If possible (location & venue dependant) perform a lighting ‘test’ the night before to check you’re happy with everything and there are no unforeseen hazards (consider the distance beween any naked flames of candles and floor grazing hemlines)! For a particularly magical take on twilight ceremonies, we love the idea of weaving together candlelight and a circular ceremony set up. Place a candle on each guests chair, which are lit in a ‘passing of the torch’ fashion around the circle from one persons candle to the next, forming a closed ring of candlelight around the bride and groom, before the ceremony commences.
Find a photographer with plenty of examples of work after dark, and whose style you love. Be sure to brief them on the darkness of the celebrations so they can prepare any specialty equipment to perfectly capture all the details. Also check they can stay for the duration of evening (as many photographers for an afternoon wedding finish by 8-9pm, however a night wedding may only begin at 6 or 7pm).
Consider also that while night portraits are stunning, with incredible framing and mood devices, having portraits taken together in the late afternoon or early evening could be magical. While it’s unconventional, as you will need to ’see one another’ before the ceremony, that golden hour of dusk half light is the most magic of all for photography, and it will make for a beautifully relaxed and loved-up time together, before the official proceedings begin. Plus, practically speaking, given the later starting time, disappearing for photos for several hours between the ceremony and reception may push the reception start time (& dinner) unreasonably late for guests.
Vows Under Darkness
As there is much reading involved during a ceremony, both for the celebrant and the reading of your vows to one another, consider the source of light by which to do this. Check there will be either enough peripheral lighting as is, or plan for an aesthetically pleasing ‘reading light source’, such as a lantern to saving having to pull out an iphone torch at the last minute!
A Ceremonial Conclusion
For a celebratory finale to official proceedings, the walk back down the aisle together as husband and wife, or a ceremonial ‘release’, adopt a suitably evening approach of guests waving sparklers rather than tossing petals. Or a lantern release, with each guest making a wish for your future as husband and wife together.