The Riviera Maya is one of the most romantic settings for a wedding, which is why I live and work in Playa del Carmen. Before a bride books a wedding with me one of her main concerns is the weather.
Weather conditions do factor into photographing your beach wedding. The wind, sand, bright sunlight, and rain are not ideal conditions but as much as you can’t control the weather, I can and I do photograph in all weather conditions…so do not worry, the pictures will be fabulous regardless.
Even though a professional wedding photographer can adapt if external conditions change, I decided to put together a weather guide for your Cancun wedding to help you better idea of what to expect when choosing the date of your wedding.
Time of Day
Before I talk about the seasons, it’s important to cover the best time of day for shooting. I am asked this question frequently, and rightly so, since shooting at a beach setting comes with its own challenges.
For instance, if you decided to have a Cancun beach wedding, the most ideal time of day is in the mornings or one to two hours before sunset. That’s when the light is softest, waiting to be captured with you and your partner in the frame.
Take for example, Tina’s wedding ceremony at Grand Oasis Cancun.
This was a sunset ceremony and you can see the late afternoon hue offers a gorgeous spectrum of light on this beautiful couple.
January, February and March
This is peak wedding season. Plan ahead. These three months mark a low in temperatures, but a high in wedding photography. Rainfall tapers off immensely, so by February the average number of rainy days is only 55.6. That’s good news for your wedding ceremony and photos!
Temperatures go as low as 15 C / 60 F in the evenings, so don’t encourage the groom to wear short sleeves for the ceremony. Read my article on Mexico Beach Groom Attire: How to Keep the Groom Happy.
During the day temperatures can reach 26 C / 80 F. Try to account for wind, which picks up somewhat this time of year. This affects details like hairstyles and dress choices.
A worry-free hairstyle choice is an up-do with an extra coat of hairspray, to battle the wind and humidity of Quintana Roo. Also, if there’s wind, a veil, as pretty as it is, can whip around during photos — something to consider as you plan. For more hair tips, read my article: How to Have a Terrific Hair Day at Your Beach Wedding.
Even though temperatures are a bit like roulette, dusk is intensely spectacular this time of year and worth the photos. An ideal hour to begin the wedding ceremony is around 4:30 pm.
I love how Angelica and Daniel’s romantic moments were caught as dusk sets in.
(View more of their wedding photographs here: Angelica & Daniel – Riviera Maya Destination Wedding, Playa del Carmen, Mexico – Part 2 )
April, May and June
NOTE: Since 2014 Quintana Roo, Mexico (includes Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum) does not have a time change it gives us longer days throughout the year!
Sunset happens at 7:00 pm, which sets the tone for a lingering wedding, well into the night. So while the days are getting hotter again, come evening, temperatures cool off slightly.
Having a wedding into the night means fighting bugs, not a pleasant thought, but something you must deal with. Consider using pleasantly scented citronella candles but place them in tall glass vases, so the wind doesn’t blow them out. Always have insect spray ready for guests, and burn some mosquito coils in some subtle spots around the wedding reception area.
With night shoots, I have already worked out scenarios before yours takes place. The key is setting. Darker settings come out differently than ones with more external lighting. But for the most part, as a bride your job is to keep glowing, be put together, and bright for night shooting because that’s when tiredness sets in.
You can see, I use as much natural light as possible to capture the beautiful evening setting, as shown here for Andrea and Luis’ special night.
(To see more of their evening wedding photographs: Andrea & Luis – Hacienda Misne Wedding, Merida, Mexico – el final )
June, July and August
A summer wedding in Playa del Carmen or Cancun always sounds ideal, but many people do not realize the summer months are extremely hot, bright and humid in Mexico.
That certainly shouldn’t stop you from having a beach wedding, but keep in mind you want to setup your wedding to account for these conditions. A good way to account for hot days is setting up covered outdoor areas, having fans and air conditioned indoor locations for you and your guests.
The resort or wedding planner you work with should offer cooling options – ask them for details. You may also ask the resort management to supply spray bottles of water to freshen up your guests, or request they place ice buckets all around with wet towels to distribute to the wedding party if it gets hot. Finally, remember to have water available for your guests at all times.
My recommendation during these hot months is to avoid having your wedding ceremony outside during the hottest time of the day between 11:00am to 4:00pm.
Here is Olga’s Trash the Dress:
No matter what the season, an experienced photographer can capture the special moments like, in Blanca & Alejandro’s beach wedding, so do not worry. Let me do the worrying, you enjoy your wedding.
September to October
Fall is rainy hurricane season so there is frequent rain but the advantage is resorts offer discount wedding packages; make use of those discounts if you can! Since weather is somewhat unpredictable, prepare with your wedding planner or the resort for last minute adjustments. Perhaps you might have to move the ceremony from the beach to an open air area, with roof coverage.
Though rain is more intense in September, the amount of rainfall is in short bursts, so don’t be disheartened at cloudy skies. Just look at the photos I did with Claudina and Nicholas in Progresso.
Clouds make photographs appear more vivid and dramatic. Sunsets are lovely, but without clouds the scene often looks flat. So, if you remain flexible during this season, your Riviera Maya wedding photography will still be wonderful.
November to December
This time of year is when high season is beginning and a prime time for destination weddings. Also, the rainfall from September and October tapers off slightly, with more clear days. If It does rain, it is brief with mostly sunny days.
The weather during this time is ideal for wedding photography and weddings in general. There is an ocean breeze that is refreshing, with temperatures hovering around 26C / 80F. The evenings can be slightly cool so you can plan for wedding accessories, like an elegant shawl.
An added advantage during November and the initial weeks of December is not peak season so the resort rates are lower.
For great photos when the weather shifts from bouts of rain to sun, stick to oil-free makeup and big fans to cool off the wedding party. The water is still quite warm during this time so it might be the good time to consider a Trash the Dress session!
Check out Blanca and Alejandro doing just that in Playa del Carmen.
Though planning a destination or beach wedding involves a lot of details, it can also be exciting to envision how fantastic your important day will unfold, while factoring in things like weather. I hope this guide helps you create memories that you will look at for years to come.
More Helpful Articles
- Mexico Beach Wedding Groom Attire – How to Keep Him Happy
- How to Look Spectacular in Your Beach Wedding Photos
- 8 Makeup Tips for a Fantastic Beach Wedding Photo Shoot
Based out of Cancun & Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya Mexico, Dorota has extensive experience of photographing weddings at exotic locations like Mexico, Bali, India, and South Africa.
Dorota was a wedding photographer in San Diego, California and brings this modern photography style and personalized service to Mexico.
She can be reached at [email protected]
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