Engagement session tips, timeline guidance, vendor recommendations and more!
We’re so excited to be working with you and we can’t wait to get to know you better over the next several months! We know photography is one of the larger investments you're making for your wedding day and we're so honored you chose to work with us!
Whether you're planning a multi-day celebration or an intimate elopement, there will be many moving pieces coming together to make up your perfect day.
Having photographed many weddings over the past few years, we know the planning can sometimes get a little overwhelming. We thought it would be beneficial if we put together a guide that walks you through everything from timelines to engagement sessions and inclement weather.
"Pick me. Choose me. Love me."
We’re big fans 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 that is significant to the two of you. We've created an entire page dedicated to outfit tips, location ideas, timing considerations and more!
"I just want to be friends plus a little extra. Also, I love you."
Over the years we've learned the important role quality vendors play in creating a stress-free wedding day. We've worked with many of the vendors below and we can't recommend them enough! This is not a paid list - we chose these vendors for both the quality of their work as well as their professionalism on the actual wedding day.
DJ & BANDS
HAIR & MAKEUP
Invitations & Calligraphy
"Our love is like the wind. I can't see it, but I can feel it.
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.
If you're considering a bridal portrait session, we recommend a full trial run of hair, nails, makeup and your bouquet. We typically spend 1-2 hours shooting at bridal 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, we recommend a site that is well manicured, clean, and has a variety of indoor and outdoor options.
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 session, another great thing to keep in mind is the weather. In order to avoid being too hot during the summer months or too cold during the winter months, we highly recommend Spring and Fall. However, we'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 getting ready room and other venue services. We typically have to work with the venues on times, but we love to shoot bridal portraits in the afternoon as late as we can to get that softer afternoon light. However, if your venue has strict hours, we are happy to work with their allotted times.
Hair and Makeup Trial
Hair pieces & jewelry
Bridal Portrait Session Checklist
That moment the Bride and Groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day is magical. And this is true whether the couple chooses to wait until the bride walks down the aisle or chooses to do a “first look" prior to the ceremony.
First looks are a private moment couples choose to spend together prior to the wedding ceremony and have become more popular over the last few years. Most of our couples this year have chosen to do a first look.
Here are 3 reasons to consider a ‘first look’:
Is a First Look Right for You?
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 catch up with. We always encourage our couples to take a few minutes every so often during their wedding to stop and soak in everything that’s happening.
1. A first look cuts through the chaos of the day.
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 full bridal party pictures and, sometimes, for a few bride and groom portraits (although we prefer to do bride and groom portraits at sunset). This allows the couple to get the most out of cocktail hour, which makes the rest of the evening feel less rushed.
2. IT MakeS more time for Pictures without sacrificing cocktail hour.
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.
3. Avoid possible bad weather and/or have time to freshen-up after crying
Wedding Day Timeline
building the perfect
Whether you are getting married in a chapel or eloping on a mountain top, we will work with you to create the best timeline and plan for your images.
A good timeline can be the difference between a stress free day and one that feels rushed and hectic. Having a timeline does not mean that your wedding will follow it exactly. In fact, about 90% of our weddings run late at some point during the day.
Having a good flexible timeline in place and vendors who are adaptable and can think on the fly are crucial.
Two things that make a huge difference in how your day is scheduled are ceremony time and when you choose to see each other for the first time. If you choose to have a sunset or evening ceremony a first look is a great option to allow family formals be done early and take advantage of the natural light.
Having at least 30 minutes for details ensures that we have plenty of time to get that perfect image of the dress, rings, shoes, bouquets, and the other details of the day.
This allows for plenty of time to get flat lay details, pictures of the dress, venue shots and other images that form the story of your wedding.
Having an hour of preparation is ideal for our style. During this time, we are getting close ups of the makeup and hair being applied as well as the candid moments and the bridesmaids and groomsmen getting ready. Keep in mind that these are some of the most emotional and fun times of the day, so you don’t want to cut it short.
The first look should be around 45-60 minutes. During this time, the bride and groom enjoy seeing each other for the first time on the wedding day. While the actual first look might only be 5-10 minutes, the rest of the time is spent on a few basic portraits of the couple.
Ideally we are saving the bulk of the couples session for later (see the “sneak away session” section). However, if there is no other time in the day, it is best to allocate another 45 minutes to an hour here so that we make sure we have enough photos of just you two.
Wedding Party Photos should be around 45 minutes to 1 hour. During this time, we get a variety of shots in a variety of poses. We start off with the basic, classic photos focused on great expressions and lighting.
Then we move into a set of fun and creative shots. Finally, we know how much your wedding party means to you, so we are sure to get pictures with you and each one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen individually.
Please allow 30 minutes for us to take pictures of the ceremony site, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area.
Before you have the guests seated, it’s important that we are there to capture the complete set up of your ceremony site so we can capture the scene at its best.
Formals should take around 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of your family and the number of guests.
Plan on 3 minutes per group on average. For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 30 minute time slot.
Some couples have decided that they want a picture with all guests while others have decided that they only want pictures with select VIPs to save time. We recommend something in between.
We also recommend being very organized, with a list of groups and helpers from each side of the family to help round people up.
Couple session should be around 45 minutes and should take place ideally 1 hour before sunset. The is the best time in terms of lighting.
Sneak away sessions are a perfect way to get a moment for just the two of you to be together after you get married as well as take some great portraits.
Please allow 20 minutes for the us to take pictures of the reception room, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area.
Similar to the ceremony details, this is the only opportunity we have to capture the beauty of the reception room prior to guest arrival.
"Every great love starts with a great story"
If the forecast is calling for rain, fear not because rainy days can still be beautiful.
If rain is in the forecast, we recommend ordering a few clear umbrellas on Amazon. It also might be good to re-evaluate portrait locations to make sure we can still shoot there with the rain.
If you don't own a pair of cute rainboots, now may be a great time to order a pair - even if you're just wearing them in between shooting locations.
If you're not working with a planner, it might also be a good idea to check in with your entire vendor team to make sure they're aware of the weather.
Hair and makeup may need to be tweaked to withstand humidity and if your wedding is outdoors, DJs and bands may need to take extra precaution to protect their gear. A quality rental team can also minimize the amount of mud at outdoor events.
While we can't guarantee that rain on your wedding day is good luck, we can put a plan in place to ensure a beautiful day and beautiful images.
Rainy day weddings may require a little more flexibility and creativity, but there isn't any reason why they can't be as beautiful and as joyful as sunny weddings!
We 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 30 minutes to capture and style details. We 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 wonderful if you could put all of your rings, jewelry, shoes, veil, purse, perfume, invitations and other keepsakes together in one spot for us. Please unwrap your dress but don't worry about styling it - we'll hang it in a beautiful spot!
Rings (both engagement and wedding bands)
Invitation Suite ( 2 full sets with envelopes + stamps)
Any other paper stationary you may have like program cards.
Bridal DETAILS Checklist
Socks (if they're special)
Tie or Bow Tie
Anything else he'll have that is special or sentimental.
Any other sentimental keepsakes you would like to include
We once had a bride bring her grandmother's hand mirror. This is completely optional - but if you have something sentimental you'd like styled with your details, we love including family heirlooms in our detail shots.
Bonus: We'd love to have a few cuts of the florals you'll be using throughout your wedding day. If your florist will supply us a small bucket of extra pieces we can incorporate those in your detail shots.
GROOM DETAILS Checklist
When we can, we always try to take a photo of your rings while you're getting ready. If possible, try 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.
For family portraits, we’ll place you in the center of a large group photo with all of your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, godparents, etc. And then we’ll remove the extended family so it’s just grandparents, parents and siblings.
We’ll keep removing family members and switch a few closer family members in and out so we get photos of you and your parents, you and your siblings, some with the groom and your family, etc. Then we’ll repeat the process with your spouse's family. The whole thing will go quicker and smoother if you let family know how the portrait process will work ahead of time.
When we send out our pre-wedding questionnaire, we'll help you with 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 our typical list below.
Bride + Groom + Bride's Extended Family
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Bride's Siblings + Bride's Grandparents
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Bride's Siblings
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents
Bride + Groom + Bride's Siblings
Bride + Mom
Bride + Dad
Bride + Groom + Groom's Extended Family
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents + Groom's Siblings + Groom's Grandparents
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents + Groom's Siblings
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents
Bride + Groom + Groom's Siblings
Groom + Mom
Groom + Dad
Bridal Portrait Session Checklist
Please note that this list is just a starting point and that we're happy to take any requested family portraits as long as time allows!
If you've been to a wedding recently, you may have seen a sign from the happy 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 we're 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 during the ceremony.
"Two weeks together, that's all it took"
1. If you're getting married in the summer months, a "not-so-heavy" snack or lunch time before portraits is always a good idea for you and your bridal party to avoid hungry bellies and passing out.
2. If it's going to be hot, a cooler of cold waters and frozen washcloths can help keep a wedding party cool - especially if your men are wearing lots of layers.
3. Make sure and have your bouquet delivered in time to make an appearance for the detail shots and for your first look. Often they are delivered in water and need to be dried off before use. Having towels handy can help.
4. If you're planning on having a first look with your bridal party or a parent, they often feel more comfortable being fully dressed in their wedding attire.
5. If your reception is at a separate venue, add some "fluff time" so that we can run over to the venue to capture it while it's still "untouched" by guests.
6. We always recommend the bride go into hiding 30 minutes before the ceremony at the absolute latest. Guests typically arrive early to weddings.
7. To help make family portraits go smoother, it's best to have a breakdown of what portraits you'd like and it's really wonderful if both sides of the family have a chance to have their input on what portraits they'd like before the wedding. Supplying us with a list ahead of time, we can go over it and make sure we shoot things in an order that is efficient and won't leave anyone out.
8. During the cocktail hour and the reception, we'll follow you around. Anytime you'd like a photo with someone, grab our attention. We love being your personal paparazzi!
9. We love to help you plan your timeline. If you'd like our input, don't hesitate to email or call!
We can't wait to start planning with you and getting to know you! If you haven't scheduled your consultation yet, let's get that in the books. Feel free to email us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or would just like to chat, we're here for you. We hope this guide helps make the process of planning your wedding details much easier and less stressful. We can't wait to see you soon! Thank you so much for taking the time to read through our guide!