Tips for Your Wedding Day
Wedding days go by so fast. Here are some tips to savor your moments and let the day flow
Plan well ahead of time & day of, relinquish control.
The right way to do things is what feels right to you.
Communication is so important. If you have questions, please ask. I’ve been in the wedding industry for 9 years and I’m happy to help however I can.
Choose vendors whose vibe is on par with your own. I honestly can’t stress this one enough. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s because it isn’t. At the end of the day, it’s worth spending an extra $500 to hire the florist that gets you and sees you. It just is.
Scroll down for a sample wedding day photography timeline & some in-depth tips for each portion of the day.
Sample 8 hour wedding day timeline
This is just a sample to help you visualize what I imagine in my brain!
2:00 Photographer arrives; getting ready- candid + detail shots. finishing touches (your hair & makeup will have started hours ago)
3:00 First look + couple portraits
3:30 Full bridal party photos followed by split party sides
4:30 Immediate family portraits
5:00 End portraits, photographer to detail shots of venue & ceremony space, guests entering
6:00 Cocktail hour + portraits (here is where we’ll take any additional family portraits or bridal party shots we didn’t get to earlier. we’ll also take more couple portraits now that you got your rings on!)
7:00 Intro to reception + reception things (first dance, parent dances, dinner)
8:00 Toasts, cake
10:00 Exit / send off & end photography coverage
One of my favorite parts of shooting a wedding day is capturing the excitement, butterflies, and sweetness of the pre-wedding preparation.
A few tips for getting ready areas:
When possible, plan for a getting ready location with lots of natural light. This will make for more flattering imagery (and helps your makeup crew, too!) Airbnb & hotel rooms are a great way to go if your venue’s bridal suite isn’t up to par.
Of course wedding days can be chaotic, so let your bridal party know to keep the space as tidy as possible.
Have your dress and any details you’d like to be photographed ready when I arrive. I’ll usually start here and move into getting ready photos after.
Make sure the people you want to be with you for getting into your dress or suit are there at call time. Planning ahead can help this part of the day feel way less rushed.
Tip: If you want full coverage of both you & your partner getting ready, you’ll need to add on a second shooter. Typically, I spend most of my time with one of you and a brief time with the other (for hetero couples this is usually 45 minutes with the bride, 15 with the groom).
A note on first looks: A first look is when the couple see each other for the first time on their wedding day in a more private setting before the ceremony. Typically, these are simple, genuine, and intimate moments with just the couple and photographer present. I recommend first looks to calm your nerves and give you time to be present with your person. It also helps with the portrait timeline since we’d be able to take a lot of the portraits before the ceremony, giving you ample time to party and see your friends and family after you’re officially hitched. All of that said, if you want the traditional walk down the aisle and you feel like you’re giving something up by not doing it, DO IT. It’s your day! We’ll work with what YOU want.
The sweetest moments of the day can be those shared with your parents. I like to take portraits with your parents before the ceremony. You’re sharing your joy in this day together and often your wedding day means just as much to your folks as it does to you. These moments with just you & your parents (or people who filled those roles) can be tender, sentimental moments and I want to make sure they get captured. If you’ve given your folks tasks for the day, just make sure they’re around during this part of the day.
Bridal parties can get rowdy, and that’s totally fine. It’s a party after-all! I just ask that your bridal party is cooperative & ready to be photographed at the allotted portrait time.
For family portraits, you usually want to keep a short list of immediately family members (parents, siblings, grandparents); however, this is your wedding day and if you want photos with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. then by all means, just let me know on the final wedding day questionnaire. I’ll just need to know ahead of time to make the timeline work. Have your officiant make an announcement for family & bridal party to stick around for family portraits.
Your wedding day isn’t a photo shoot, but we’re still gonna take some badass photos. The photos after your first look are usually very straightforward and simple. After the ceremony is when we have a little more time and freedom to make some magic. If this time slot lines up with golden hour/sunset, perfect! If not, I may pull you guys for sunset photos later. You’ll be giddy and excited during this time, after you’re finally for real married and these photos will be super joyful, romantic, fun, and intimate. All the good things. We’ll be alone for these, so I’ll kindly pull you guys away from everyone and bring you back when it’s time to party!
Most importantly, enjoy it!
These are just tips from my experience. Some things may not go as planned and that’s totally fine. That’s to be expected, actually. Your wedding day is perhaps the only time you’ll get to hangout with all the people you love most at the same time. That’s pretty damn special. So try not to do any work on the wedding day. Hand off jobs to your planner/coordinator, bridal party, and other vendors. Let go of control, at least for the day. Be present.
If you have the freedom to choose and are having an outdoor ceremony during midday, try to plan for a backlit ceremony- meaning the sun would be behind you & your officiant. Simply put, the light is more flattering when it’s not beaming directly on you. Spotty sunlight & harsh, uneven light are not ideal so just something to keep in mind when planning. I’m happy to help you pick a ceremony time for your space if you’re having trouble deciding and want my input at all.
During the ceremony, I tend to move around a good bit and photograph candid moments. Just let your bridal party know they don’t need to look at the camera at all during this, but smiling during the processional is great.
I would highly recommend having an unplugged ceremony, meaning you’d ask your guests to be present in the moment and keep their phones/cameras tucked away and allow me to get all the angles I need to represent your day as it is without distraction. If anyone steps into the aisle with a cell phone, I may miss a shot and that’s a huge bummer for all of us.
Reception & Exit
During a reception, I’m basically just following along the timeline your planner has put together. I just ask for open lines of communication here. Wedding vendors should all cooperate and work together as a team and we should all be on the same page before introductions, dances, cake cutting, toasts, etc.
Vendor meals are usually abhorrent, to be quite honest, so please check in with your caterers and make sure the meal you’re providing is up to par. I hate even talking about this, but it’s a thing. Usually dinner time is my first chance to sit and eat all day, so I take the opportunity to scarf down food and change out memory cards and batteries while you guys are eating. I don’t take photos of people eating, you’re welcome ;)
Exit: If you’re having a grand exit, be sure to be together. You can be arm-in-arm or holding hands, you can stop and kiss as you run through the crowd, you can do whatever you want. These photos are always fun and a great way to end the night!