Riviera Maya Wedding Photography Seasonal Guide
Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography. – George Eastman – Kodak
Del Sol Photography knows light, knows the region of the Riviera Maya in regards to all things “Destination Wedding” related. This post is our seasonal guide to planning destination weddings in Cancun, Riviera Maya weddings and Tulum weddings.
This seasonal guide will introduce you to some of our thoughts about the seasons and temperatures and weather considerations here in the Rivera Maya. OPTIMAL LIGHT FOR PHOTOGRAPHY is 30 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes after sunset, so called the “golden hour” in the world of photography.
Before you get started, do you have a location?
Here are our favorite Luxury Resorts in Cancun and the Riviera Maya for destination weddings in Mexico.
Ceremony Start time Calculation
For planning the start time of your ceremony, we would like you to consider a few things:
Ideally, 1hr prior to sunset if not a little more time, usually 1.5 hrs prior to sunset is perfect! We will always work with any time variance outside our suggested timeframes. As photojournalists, we are prepared to handle any situation at any time. Our style is to go with the flow, no matter what the conditions. For 95% of our events, our clients look for a continuity for the timeline to flow into the reception following an amazing ceremony service and the portrait session.
We usually recommend that you don’t have a wedding ceremony in the direct sun from 11am – 4pm in the summer / hot months (May – October). Our tips and suggestions that follow are based on optimal conditions.
*Many of our clients are concerned about weather. Since most of our events occur in a tropical climate, we have embraced the rain. For more “RAIN” + Wedding images, this is for you: Why rain on your wedding day is AWESOME. We simply can’t control the weather so we have adapted to shoot in practically ALL conditions. In fact, some of our most epic and award winning images have come from the rain.
January – February – March
The weather during these January, February and March is typically the most refreshing imaginable. Outdoors on the beach is IDEAL during these months. Evenings can be down in the 60’s (15 C). Long pants and shirts for guys in the evenings. Women usually need to wear wraps on as on windy evenings…locals feel COLD during this time of year. The temperatures during the day can be 75-80 (23-26C). Nights are mild / cool, depending on wind factor, it may feel 60-66 (16-19C). One quick thing, the DUSK light is totally amazing during this time of year….so think about that if you have a sunset photo shoot scheduled.
Wind can kick up at just about any moment and most of our days our breezy…the nights are breezy too.
Ceremonies usually start from 4:00 to 5:30pm for us on average during these months.
We find that many couples are engaged over the holidays and even through the popular month of February with Valentine’s day proposals and or last minute engagements and elopements. Need some wedding / engagement ring motivation, we have our top 25 ring pics here.
April – May – June
*First disclaimer: The state of Quintana Roo Mexico is always on daylight saving time, 12 months of the year. Its an amazing change for winter weddings as we have more daylight and longer days and this is GOOD For photography!
April, May and June are considered del Sol Photography HIGH season for destination weddings in the Riviera Maya. The sunset times are around 7:30pm in June, long days!!! Consider that the Riviera Maya is on the East side of the Central Time Zone, so evenings generally come early and temperatures will go down at night some and hopefully the wind will cool things off. We recommend starting ceremonies from 5:30pm – 6pm during these months.
June – July – August
Keep in mind, it may be HOT outside during all these summer months, but how about inside a wedding chapel? It might be hot inside there too, some are open air and nothing but the breeze to cool you off.
Here is our list of Top Ten Cancun Riviera Maya Church Wedding Venues.
CAN YOU SAY HOT…. The summer is also the high season for rain. Rain can fall hard and fast and leave before you ever realized it was raining or it can downpour for hours. Also are in the sub-tropics and have some interesting weather patterns coming in. Wind can also be a factor in some beach ceremonies and is unpredictable.
Under the full sun, these months can be brutal. Seasonal averages are 85 + degrees (32 Celsius). Watch out for mid day heat as on cloudless days, the sun is wicked hot and can turn a fun wedding into a sweating festival. Hotels will offer schedules at 12 pm, or 2pm, or even 3pm, so keep in mind that you will be HOT and light isn’t going to be as desirable under these conditions. One benefit, beaches can be less crowded during the summer months.
Disclaimer – We do not recommend planning your wedding to start from 12 noon – 4pm.
We have witnessed guess passing out from heat exhaustion. If possible, we don’t recommend that men wear coats or jackets in these months. Dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion very quickly. It happens, we have witnessed black suits or tuxedos on the beach in the full hot sun of July. Quick tip, make sure plenty of water / hydration is available if you must have guests in full sun.
We absolutely love the Cenotes, please visit them and please take care of them. We would recommend Casa Cenote, near Akumal as its close to the ocean. Also, try Yal Ku Lagoon, near Akumal and also close to Half Moon Bay, where you can swim with the turtles. Casa Cenote and Yal Ku are natural estuaries that borders a road and a small strip of beach. In Casa Cenote, the cave leads under the road and heads into the open ocean. Further into the jungle, this cenote has a massive current that comes from deep into the mangroves. A MUST visit, lots of fish and wildlife to see here especially tropical birds and even small crocodiles. Casa Cenote is an awesome shallow dive location as well.
Read about our 2006 Hurricane Dean Evacuation Wedding
More photos from that Evacuation wedding here
*This wedding was scheduled on Isla Holbox, Yucatan Mexico.
September – October
Note, this is also time to SWIM with the whale sharks off the coast of Isla Mujeres (Whale sharks – Tiburon Ballena). Season can start as early as July though the beginning weeks of September.
Hurricane season is here and the area seems to have less tourists. You can expect rain! Most hotels generally offer great discounts to stay in the region and we suggest you do some shopping or ask for tips for locations. Its also a great time for site visits. Temperatures are hot with high humidity levels 85 degrees with some degree of fluctuation. Remember, the weather is totally unpredictable and to always plan a contingency if you are getting married here during these months.
November – December
November and December are considered high season in the Riviera Maya, and a super time for destination weddings. November hotel rates still seem to be lower than January through March. Also a great time to visit if you are planning or doing any vendor research. For STAR GAZING lovers, we recommend the winter nights of Tulum for maximum star brightness. Here is a link to more of our “Tulum” properties and events.
November & December temps are wonderful, mild and quite refreshing. Days can reach 80-85 degrees but generally, the average is slightly lower 72-82, more or less. Breezy evenings may require a light jacket and longer pants or perhaps even a coat. The ocean water temperature remains warm enough to swim and often, the water feels warmer than the air.
And if you are worried about passerby’s in the background behind the wedding, well we always encourage you to see the lighter side of wedding photography and enjoy these fun destination wedding moments that stand out from the crowd :
December is usually a bigger holiday month for del Sol Photography and generally less availability.
Have you dreamed up a wild adventure… We can make that happen, plan the entire trip, tag along with our camera, and guide you on a mind blowing experience you will never forget. Check out our photograph adventure photo sessions.
If you have any questions about this seasonal guide, the Riviera Maya, wedding venues or our photography services, please Contact Us or visit our FAQ page.
More of our absolute favorite inspiration posts can be found here: