The day has finally come! This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. The moment you’ve been dreaming of since you were a little girl. All of your closest friends and family are here just for you. Waiting for you to walk down the aisle and marry the love of your life.
And if you’ve decided to get married in Punta Cana, the sun will be shining, the palm trees will be swaying, and the ocean will be shimmering in the background. This is your dream come true!
Let’s back up a minute… Before you get to this moment, we need to do a little bit of planning first. You want your wedding ceremony to be perfect, right? The timing needs to be just right so you have beautiful lighting in your wedding photos. And of course, so that you look absolutely stunning as you say I Do!
So when is the best time for a wedding ceremony in Punta Cana? Let’s find out!
The best time for a wedding ceremony in Punta Cana
As a general rule, the ideal time for a beach wedding ceremony is 1.5-2 hours before sunset. It won’t be quite so hot and humid at this time of day, and you’ll have beautiful, natural light during the ceremony. Plus, you’ll have plenty of time to take sunlit photos with family and friends afterward.
Why is this the best time of the day?
It’s the golden hour! Your ceremony will be comfortable for your guests, it won’t be too hot or bright (which means you won’t be melting in your wedding dress), and you’ll have beautiful lighting in your wedding photos.
Need I say more?
Well, the lighting during your ceremony is really important!
If you get married outside in the middle of the day, you’ll have extremely harsh lighting with dark shadows and lines of light on your face. Plus, it’s harder to keep your eyes open so you’ll be squinting the whole time. Not a great look for photos…
But here’s the kicker:
This won’t happen if you get married later in the day! The lower the sun is, the more soft and romantic the lighting will be. One and a half hours before sunset, you’ll have beautiful colors with smooth lighting for the ceremony and for your photo session afterward. (If you’re worried about running out of light, you can always start 30 minutes earlier.)
Destination wedding ceremonies are usually symbolic, and they only last about 15-20 minutes. After the ceremony, we’ll take photos with your family and with your wedding party. Then, as the rest of your guests head to cocktail hour, we’ll grab you and your new husband for a private photo session on the beach.
Photos at this time will be stunning! The sun is setting and the lighting is soft, sensual, and oh so romantic! The colors of the sky look magical. Clouds transforming into different shades of pink and orange.
And then there’s you:
You’ll look (and feel) like the most beautiful bride ever!!! And that’s exactly how you should feel on your wedding day!
Now: let’s determine the best time for a wedding ceremony in Punta Cana, based on the month you’re getting married.
The lighting will change depending on the time of year
Although you can always expect warm temperatures in the Caribbean, every month of the year is different. The weather, the humidity, and the amount of rainfall will change depending on the time of year. And with that, the lighting will change too.
The sun will set much earlier in the “winter” months (November-January). During this time, the lighting will be softer, and it won’t be quite so humid. You’ll want to have your ceremony earlier than you would in the summertime.
In the summer months (June-August), the sun will be stronger, and it will stay brighter later. It’s a lot hotter and more humid in the summer, so you’ll want to have your ceremony later on. Otherwise, you, your fiance, and all of your guests will be melting. And no one wants that!
The other months of the year fall somewhere in between, timing-wise. I’ll tell you more below!
If you haven’t finalized your wedding date yet, check out Four Reasons to Have a Spring Wedding in Punta Cana, and keep reading to find out exactly what time you should have your wedding ceremony.
So when does the sun set in Punta Cana?
If the best time for a wedding ceremony in Punta Cana is 1.5 hours before sunset, then you’ll definitely need to know what time the sun sets, right?
Don’t worry! I’ve created this table with the month and time that you should have your ceremony based on the sunset time in Punta Cana. (You can also check the exact time that the sun sets on your specific wedding date through the link here.)
Here’s everything you need to know:
And there you have it! That’s the best time for a wedding ceremony in Punta Cana!
If you’re not convinced, here are a few more photos to help make your decision a little easier:
Want another option for your wedding ceremony?
If you’ve gotten to this point and you’re thinking “Yes, these photos are beautiful… But I want that bright blue ocean in my photos!”
…Or if you want to do something totally different like at sunrise or under the moonlight, then that’s possible too. And I hear ya! You want your wedding to be unique. Not every couple wants that golden hour lighting. Sometimes you want bright photos with vibrant colors instead.
You want to get married during the golden hour, but your resort doesn’t have your ceremony location available at that time of day.
In other cases, like if you’re having a civil ceremony, the judge can only come at certain times, so you may be booked into an earlier time slot. But don’t stress. Anything is possible. And you can definitely get beautiful photos at any time of the day!
So let me show you some other times for a beach wedding ceremony so you can compare all of your options.
Sunrise Wedding Ceremonies (Between 5am-6:30am)
I have to admit.. A wedding ceremony at sunrise is not common. Most couples don’t want to wake up that early. Especially considering that you’ll have to start getting ready in the middle of the night. If you’re a hardcore morning person and you’re never late for anything, then this time might work for you. And even then, it’s a little tricky since you only have a short amount of time in the morning before the sun comes up.
To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend this time of day, but here are a few pros and cons so you can make your own call.
- The lighting will be beautiful as the sun comes up over the water.
- The temperature will be cooler than any other time in the day.
- You’ll probably be the only people on the beach.
- You can enjoy the whole day together, as a married couple.
- You’ll have to start getting ready super super early in the morning!
- Your getting ready photos will all be taken with artificial light since it’s still completely dark outside.
- Your guests will probably not be thrilled about the idea of waking up at 4am to get to your wedding ceremony.
- You’ll be tired for the rest of the day… Even with that just-married bliss, you’ll still feel sluggish. And who wants to be yawning at their wedding reception?
If you absolutely love sunrise photos, I would recommend booking a Trash the Dress session instead of having your wedding ceremony at sunrise. Then, you’ll get photos during the golden hour and at sunrise. Plus, I think your guests will really thank you for that one!
Morning Wedding Ceremony (Between 7am-10am)
Morning weddings are increasing in popularity in the US and Canada, but this new wedding trend hasn’t really hit the Dominican Republic yet. This can be a fun idea if you want to have brunch and mimosas instead of the traditional wedding dinner, but don’t expect your guests to get rowdy at 10 in the morning. If you’re hoping for a more laid-back atmosphere at your wedding, then this may be a good option for you.
- This time of day is definitely for the non-traditional bride. If you want to be completely unique, have your wedding ceremony in the morning.
- Your photos will be bright and vibrant with beautiful colors of the ocean.
- Expect to wake up at the crack of dawn to start getting ready.
- You’ll all be tired from waking up so early. Not to mention from the sun and heat spending all morning at the beach in Punta Cana.
- There’s not a real party vibe in the morning… Your guests will be hesitant to hit the dance floor, and they’ll likely dip out early and make plans for the rest of their day.
Here again, I would recommend doing a morning photoshoot or trash the dress session instead (like the couple above). You’ll still get those amazing colors in your photos, and you won’t have to rush so much the morning of your wedding. It’s the best of both worlds!
Afternoon Wedding Ceremonies (Between 11am-3pm)
If you’re looking for those bright turquoise ocean pics and that true Caribbean feel, then this will be your ideal time for a wedding ceremony in Punta Cana. You’ll have radiant colors throughout the day and you’ll get very bright and vibrant images!
- The colors are amazing! You’ll get bright, vibrant tones in your photos.
- The ocean will really POP!
- It is hot! And very humid! You and your guests will be sweating. There’s no doubt about that. Expect shiny faces and some harsh sweat stains in your photos.
- It’s hard to keep your eyes open at this time of day. You’ll likely be squinting most of the time.
- The sun is at its strongest point so you’ll have strong shadows and harsh lines on your faces.
This is a beautiful time of day… the sun is just very strong! Consider giving your guests fans, sunglasses, and some cold water during the ceremony so they don’t get too overheated.
Late Afternoon Weddings (Between 4pm-5:30pm)
This is the best time for a wedding ceremony in Punta Cana. Didn’t you read that already? If you skipped through the beginning, don’t worry, I’ll tell you again 🙂
If you want to be comfortable throughout your wedding day and receive breathtaking images, then this is the time for you!
- You and your guests will have plenty of time to get ready in the morning to look fabulous for your wedding ceremony.
- The sun is starting to set so it won’t be quite so hot and humid.
- You’ll have beautiful, romantic lighting in your wedding photos.
- You’ll still have plenty of time after the ceremony to take all the photos you want with natural light.
- You won’t get that bright blue ocean in the background of your photos.
- If your ceremony runs late, you might be in a rush to capture everything before the sun goes down. (Pushing everything 30 minutes earlier will help give you peace of mind (and you’ll get more pictures!)
Looks pretty great, right? I wish I could end it here, but there is one other time of day…
Nighttime Wedding Ceremonies (After 6pm)
Weddings at night can be very romantic, (you know with all the candles and whatnot) but it is not the ideal lighting when it comes to wedding photography. You’ll get a very different look in your images compared to any other time of day! (But yes, they can still be beautiful!)
- The weather will be cooler and more comfortable for you and your guests.
- There’s a more romantic vibe at night (and your guests will be ready to party.)
- You’ll need to put a lot more effort into planning your ceremony since you’ll need to set up artificial lights (string lights, candles, led lights, etc.) all around the venue.
- The ocean will be darker in your photos.
- We’ll need to use flashes or led lights at night so you’ll have artificial lighting in most of your photos.
If this time is more your style, consider in the garden of your resort or an indoor venue that is already well lit to make it easier on you (and on your photographer).
Check out more photos from this nighttime wedding in Santo Domingo.
And there you have it. We’ve made it to the end of the day!
Final Thoughts on the Best Time For a Wedding Ceremony in Punta Cana
Having a ceremony in Punta Cana is a beautiful experience, no matter what time of day! Don’t worry if your wedding plans don’t match up with my recommendations. It’s your day, after all! And you should enjoy it to the fullest. We can take gorgeous photos at any time of the day, and we would love to be there for you on your wedding day.
Get in contact with us to learn about our wedding packages and we’ll help set up a custom timeline just for you.