If you've seen some beautiful, warm, romantic portraits you love, they were probably taken during the so called 'Golden Hour' which starts around one hour before sunset. At golden hour the sun is low, so it's light has to travel through more of the atmosphere before it gets to you - this diffuses the light and makes it more orange in colour than earlier in the day.

If you'd love to have some golden hour portraits on your wedding day, then you need to plan your timeline to allow for this - I can't tell you how often I've sat through beautiful golden light while everyone is enjoying their wedding breakfast!

Bride and groom golden hour portrait at New House Farm
Golden hour portrait near Armathwaite Hall in Cumbria
Wedding couple enjoy view over Windermere in Lake District
Golden hour autumn wedding portrait at Augill Castle

From the table below you'll see how sunset times change through the year here in the Lake District. To get natural golden hour portraits, you need to have them taken sometime in the hour before sunset, though there's more flexibility for winter weddings when the sun (should it appear at all!) will be low in the sky throughout most of the day!

Sunset times by month in Lake District

With a summer wedding, you may want to think about timing your first dance for an hour before sunset, so you can sneak out immediately afterwards to get some beautiful golden hour portraits before the evening gets into full swing.

If you're planning a spring or autumn wedding, it may be best to try to time your wedding breakfast to finish an hour before sunset so you can get your golden hour portraits while your venue team gets things set up for the evening.

Then, for winter weddings, it's about planning your wedding breakfast to start at around sunset with your portraits in the hour beforehand. At this time of year, you've no chance for daylight photos after your wedding breakfast, but instead can have some night portraits instead!

Bride and groom portrait at Silverhome Manor by Windermere
Wedding couple portrait at Cragwood Hotel in the Lake District
Bride and groom photo at wedding in Cumbria

And if your wedding day schedule doesn't allow for golden hour portraits or the weather doesn't play ball despite all your planning, there's no need to despair - talk to your photographer about how a similar effect might be achieved with a couple of flashguns and some creative post-processing!