A NOTE ABOUT THIS GUIDE
I'm so stoked to be working with you and we can’t wait to get to know you better over the next several months! I know photography is one of the larger investments you're making for your wedding day and I'm so honored you chose to work with me!
Even if you're working with a wedding planner or you're planning a simple wedding, there are likely still a lot of moving pieces left leading up to your big day.
Having photographed more than 130 weddings over the past few years, I tend to get asked the same things over and over again. So I thought it would be beneficial if I put together a guide that walks you through everything from timelines to engagement sessions and inclement weather.
don't hesitate to let me know if I can offer any additional guidance throughout the wedding planning process!
I'm a huge fan of engagement sessions for a few reasons. Not only do they allow you to get comfortable in front of the camera, they also give you the opportunity to showcase your personalities in a more casual setting. I've created an entire page dedicated to outfit tips, location ideas, timing considerations and more!
The best peeps to make your day incredible
Over the years, I've learned how important quality vendors are in creating a kick-ass wedding day. I've worked with many of the following vendors and we caNOT recommend them enough! This is not a paid list - I chose these vendors for both the quality of their work as well as how amazing they are on wedding day.
GORGEOUS PHOTOS + PRACTICE RUN FOR THE BIG DAY
There's a big difference between looking at yourself in the mirror at a hair and makeup trial and actually seeing how that hair holds up in the elements and how that makeup photographs. When it comes to being confident in your choices on your wedding day, photos are invaluable!
When planning your Engagement Session, I recommend a full trial run of hair, nails, makeup and, if you want, your bouquet. We typically spend 1-2 hours shooting at engagement sessions and it's nice to have something to hold to make your hands feel a little less awkward!
When it comes to choosing a location for your engagement session, I recommend using locations that are well manicured, clean, and have great variety in indoor and outdoor locations.
Wedding venues are usually a wonderful place to start - especially historic homes and resorts that have well manicured areas. We want to keep your dress as clean as possible and still get a lot of amazing images inside and outside.
When it comes to selecting a date for your engagement session, another great thing to keep in mind is the weather. In order to avoid too cold and no visually appealing surroundings I recommend staying away from winter months. However, I'll shoot anytime and anywhere there's great light!
Many venues charge a fee for portrait sessions. Although inconvenient, the fee is often worth it in order to have use of their venue services. We typically have to work with the venues on times, but I love to shoot engagement sessions in the afternoon as late as we can to get that softer afternoon light. However, if your venue has strict hours, I am happy to work with their allotted times.
NOT SURE IF YOU SHOULD DO A FIRST LOOK, STOP HERE
That moment when you see each other for the first time on your wedding day is magical. And this is true whether you choose to wait until you walk down the aisle or choose to do a “first look’ prior to the ceremony.
First looks—a private moment couples choose to spend together prior to the wedding ceremony—have become more and more popular in recent years. More than half of my couples this year have chosen to do a first look.
While considering to keep things traditional is a great idea, there are definitely a few good reasons to consider a first look. Here are 3 reasons to consider a ‘first look’:
A FIRST LOOK CUTS THROUGH THE CHAOS OF THE DAY
Once the ceremony begins, the day takes off quickly. A ‘first look’ is an opportunity to enjoy some quiet time alone, enjoy each other’s company, and reflect on all this day means before your day takes off.
Wedding days can be a whirlwind and they tend to fly by. There’s much to do, and a lot of people to see and to catch up with. I always encourage my couples to take a few minutes every so often during their wedding to stop and soak in everything that’s happening.
IT MAKES MORE TIME FOR PICTURES WITHOUT SACRIFICING COCKTAIL HOUR
When there is no first look, the majority of the pictures have to be taken after the ceremony. Family pictures are generally done as soon as the ceremony ends because it’s the easiest time to round everyone up. Next up is full bridal party, and then bride and groom portraits. This generally runs into cocktail hour.
A first look opens up time prior to the ceremony for all of these (although if sunset is during cocktail hour we will do bride and groom portraits again). This allows the couple to get the most out of cocktail hour, which makes the rest of the evening feel less rushed.
AVOID POSSIBLE BAD WEATHER AND/OR HAVE TIME TO FRESHEN-UP AFTER THE FIRST LOOK
If you’re expecting poor weather on your wedding day, it might be best to plan on a first look because it gives you more options for pictures. If it’s pouring rain after the ceremony, you’ll be thankful you had pictures done in advance.
And reason 3b is for all you cryers out there. If you know the tears are going to fly the first time you see your other half the day of your wedding, a first look will give you time to freshen up before the ceremony.
First look or not, the first time you see each other on your wedding day will be special.
BUILDING THE PERFECT
WEDDING DAY TIMELINE
tips for a seamless wedding day timeline
Whether you choose to do a first look or the traditional "no see before the ceremony" we will work with you on making sure you have the best timeline and plan for images.
If you're choosing to go traditional, you'll need two different sets of photo times: images taken before the ceremony and images taken after the ceremony.
You'll need to plan for about one hour of pre-ceremony bridal photos (bridesmaids and bride's family) and about one hour of pre-ceremony groom photos (groomsmen and groom's family) at separate times. You'll also need 15 minutes of combined bridal party portraits, 15 minutes of combined family portraits and at least 30 -45 minutes of couple's portraits after the ceremony if you're not doing any portraits together until after the ceremony.
If you're doing a first look, photos can be done all at one time, taking an average total of 1.5 to 2 hours pre-ceremony (although we also LOVE grabbing just the two of you for a few additional bride and groom photos at sunset!)
If you choose a traditional aisle reveal, all we ask is that you keep your ceremony time in mind when planning your wedding.
If you're planning a sunset ceremony or an evening ceremony, it's best to do all photos before the wedding, as daylight is crucial to getting amazing portraits for your families, bridal party and your couples portraits. Making sure we have enough time while the sun is up is a great way to make the traditional ceremony work.
EXAMPLE TIMELINE WITH FIRST LOOK
EXAMPLE TIMELINE WITHOUT FIRST LOOK
"Sooooo, what if it RAINS?!" I want to reassure you even if it rains, you will still have beautiful portraits and brights colors in your images. Overcast skies means vibrant colors! I know that rain isn't ideal, and no bride would wish for rain on their big day, but if it happens, it happens... and it's going to be JUST fine!
Something to remember... Let me worry about the pictures. I'll be sure to do some extra scouting to find covered a location, or two, for us to use for your first look, romantic portraits, and bridal party.
WEDDING DAY details
I love capturing all the little details you've carefully chosen to be a part of your wedding day! Once we arrive at your wedding, we need about 45 minutes to style and capture your details. I recommend choosing a getting ready location filled with natural light and, if possible, please keep the space free from trash and clutter.
It would be helpful if you could put all of your rings, jewelry, shoes, veil, purse, perfume, invitations, loose florals and other keepsakes in a bag and ready for me. Please unwrap your dress but don't worry about styling it - I'll hang it in a beautiful spot!
print this list
print this list
I always take a photo of your rings while you're getting ready. Be sure to have your engagement ring cleaned or clean it yourself.
To clean at home, soak your ring in warm water with dishwashing soap for 20 to 40 minutes. Then gently brush the stone with a soft toothbrush, rinse and repeat if needed.
YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY, DRESSED UP AND TOGETHER
I absolutely love meeting our couple's families on wedding day! Family formals are normally the first interaction with them and so I love to have a game plan in place for this part of the day.
Approximately 8 weeks before your wedding day, I send out our pre-wedding questionnaire, I'll ask you for a list of specific groupings, special situations (such as divorces or handicapped family members & more), but if you want to start brainstorming photos in the meantime, you'll find a sample list below.
We do have to limit family formal time in order to ensure that we have plenty of daylight for your romantic pictures (unless you are planning a first look). Please have a point person identified as the helper to round up your families and be ready to go.
print this list
If you've been to a wedding recently, you may have seen a sign from the couple asking for their guests to remain "unplugged" during the ceremony.
And while it might seem like a strange requests to ask guests to put down their phones, there's a pretty good reason for it! You made a big investment in photography and I'm sure one of the last things you want on your wedding day is for our photos of your ceremony to be filled with obtrusive iPhones, iPads and relatives standing in the aisle with their own cameras. In order to help us do the best possible job capturing your wedding, we recommend asking guests to unplug and be present during the ceremony.
Additional loose florals are important for your detail photos. Be sure to request loose florals for flat lays, to arrive at your getting ready location. Make sure and have your bouquet is delivered in time to make an appearance for the detail shots.
FIRST LOOKS FOR PARENTS
Planning on having a first look with your parents? Be sure they are fully dressed in their wedding attire.
I recommend you only. wear your veil when you come down the aisle. Saving the veil for the. ceremony ensures that I will get some "Just Married" portrait time with the couple because every bride needs a kissing under the veil shot of their own!
Be very intentional when planning the time of your ceremony. If you are not having a first look, I encourage having your ceremony 3 hours before sunset to ensure plenty of time for portraits. The lower the sun, the more romantic the lighting.
THE PERFECT WAY TO REMEMBER YOUR WEDDING DAY
I'm a big believer that images aren’t meant to solely exist in a digital space. One day, most likely, Instagram will be gone, your phone will be replaced and images that you can physically hold in your hand will be the best way to relive those precious moments we captured.
Think about this fact: twenty years ago, if I had delivered you digital images, they would have been on a floppy disk. With the fast updates to technology, you would have no way to access those images today. Even the online galleries I deliver will eventually fade away.
One of the best ways to make your wedding memories last is by ordering an album. These high quality professionally designed albums come in a variety of linen & leather colors. These aren’t the same albums your parents' wedding photos came in. They’re modern, lay perfectly flat and look incredible on a coffee table.
Wedding albums are available a la carte
20 page 10x10 album
Linen or Leather: $750 each
Additional 2-page Spread: $125 each
After I deliver your gallery, I'll work with you to order prints and design an album that will become an heirloom for your family.
Albums must be prepaid before design begins and typically take between 4 to 6 weeks to complete (including revisions).
With the exception of printing errors, all albums are non-returnable. Albums may be ordered anytime before or after the wedding day. The holiday deadline for beginning an order is November 1st.
I can't wait to start planning with you and getting to know you! If you haven't scheduled your engagement session yet, let's get that in the books. Feel free to email me any time at email@example.com.
If you have any questions or would just like to chat, I'm here for you. I hope this guide helps make the process of planning your wedding details much easier and less stressful. I can't wait to see you soon! Thank you so much for taking the time to read through my guide!