Wedding Day Prep & Planning

So I know this is a lot, but I promise it's good!

Below is an awesome collection of thoughts and trends that are widely used in the industry, as well as ideas of my own to help you in your wedding planning/finalizing phase. I figured you haven't planned very many weddings so I want to throw out some ideas to help you out a bit!

Types of Timelines

Timing is everything on your wedding day, and it is often not what you expect it to be and that's ok, as long as we can plan for the unexpected. One of the best way's to build an "insurance policy" to be sure that any timing hiccups won't disturb your photographs is to try and schedule your timeline around your portrait session. There are two main ways to schedule your day: Golden Hour and First Look


For a Golden Hour schedule, the couple does not see each other before the ceremony. The first time you see each other will be at the ceremony just before you join together as one. All of your loved ones will be there to witness this truly emotional and epic moment.

The reason I call it a Golden Hour timeline is because the majority of your portraits together will likely take place later in the day when the sun is lower in the sky providing the most beautiful, golden light for your photographs.

The Golden Hour schedule is pretty common but has some issues that will need to be addressed. Prior to the ceremony, only photos of the bridesmaids and groomsmen will be taken. After the ceremony, LOTS of photos need to take place before the reception starts: family formals, entire bridal party, then the couple Portrait Session. In most situations this is happening during cocktail hour and the couple will then head directly to the reception.


  1. It's the classic route. You may be that person that has always envision coming down the aisle to your fiancé seeing you for the first time!
  2. The light! The ideal time for photographs is 1-2 hours before sunset. The sun is lower and the light is softer, doing the Golden Hour route allows for shooting later in the day with amazing light!
  3. No more stress! The wedding is over; the hard part is finished! Let's go enjoy our time together and take some portraits. Couples love the idea of the anticipation being over and are able to fully relax!


  1. The biggest con is scheduling. Some weddings only allow for an hour in between the ceremony and reception. This means that family formals, bridal party and your portrait session all happens in 1 hour. This is doable as long as you are ok standing at one location and understand that you will not have tons and tons of portraits of just the two of you.
  2. If cocktail hour is something you value and you only have 1 hour, chances are you wont be able to attend much of it if you are going with the Golden Hour timeline. However, if you have a longer cocktail your, you should be able to catch the tail end!
  3. I would suggest not to do a receiving line with a Golden Hour timeline. Receiving lines can take upwards to an hour. Again, you will need as much time as you can get after the ceremony to take all the photographs you need!


I'll start with what exactly is a first look -

A first look is when you spend some time before the ceremony (yes, before!) in a private moment where I get to capture the intimacy of you two seeing each other for the first time on the wedding day.

Typically, I'll scout out a spot that is remote, romantic and away from guests. From there, I and my second shooter will guide you two towards the secret rendezvous just for you. Not only does this make for some amazing memories and photographs, but you get to share in a private moment just between the two of you.

During your first look you get to take as much time as you need together, I & my second shooter will simply capture your emotions candidly. Whenever you are ready, you can call us over and we will spend some time (typically 15 minutes) capturing some portraits of the two of you.

The First Look timeline allows for two Portraits Sessions throughout your day. We will do a quick session after your First Look and then again later in the day, after your ceremony, we will do a second portrait session during Golden Hour.


  1. You get to spend a lot more time with your soon to be husband/wife! Many couples have mentioned that seeing each other prior to the ceremony helps calm nerves as well.
  2. So much more time for photographs! After your first look we will do a portrait session, then if you build the timing into your schedule, we can invite the full bridal party for their portraits - all done before the ceremony!
  3. Couple Portrait Session - Check!
  4. Bride & Bridesmaids - Check!
  5. Groom & Groomsmen - Check!
  6. Full Bridal Party - Check!
  7. The time between the ceremony and reception doesn't have to drag out because most of the photographs are finished, the reception can start shortly after family formals.


  1. Days typically start earlier. Due to most of the photographs being before the ceremony, everyone has to get ready earlier in the day.
  2. Quality of light may not be as good since the First Look tends to happen in the middle of the day when the sunlight is directly overhead and can be harsh. This can totally depend on the weather and the season of your wedding however, this is why I scout a location beforehand to find a spot with the best lighting!
  3. Tradition. Many couples want to follow standard wedding traditions and that's ok! If a first look is always what you dreamed of, then do it! It's your wedding day, do what fits you best!

Getting Ready

Getting ready is a major part of your wedding day, it's the moment before the moment! So many beautiful memories and images can be captured during this time: your someone special helping you into your dress, your groom enjoying some time with his friends, and all the thoughtful details you chose for your wedding day. I highly recommend having photography coverage start when you are getting ready. We can capture meaningful moments and all the details that make your day, yours.

Things to consider:

1. Getting Ready Close to One Another

  • If possible, I recommend getting ready as close as possible! I have had it happen in the past that the couple was over 30 minutes away from each other which caused a big delay in their First Look when unexpected hiccups occurred.

2. Hotel vs Home

  • Hotel - A major pro to a hotel is there is going to be less clutter! When there's less clutter, it's easier to find good, clean light. It's one thing for me to move a hotel chair out of your background, than it would be for me to move furniture and decorations in your home. Another pro to a hotel room is that everyone is in one spot, this easily allows for me and my second shooter to go back and forth between the guys and girls to capture more moments.
  • Home - The biggest reason for getting ready at your home is for storytelling. It cannot be denied that there is more meaning, intention and emotion behind getting ready at home. Your home (or your parents/grandparents home) holds memories, generations, and much more love than a hotel does.

3. Natural Light

  • When getting ready and throughout your entire wedding day, I will be looking for the natural light! In photography lighting is the most important aspect, it creates each photo and makes everything better! For your special day it will be important for us to try and incorporate as much natural light into your schedule. Wedding party, family photos and your portraits are best taken in natural light because it creates the best aesthetic for the photographs. Natural light is flattering and makes photographs clean, clear and natural! So can you still have your twinkle light dinner or nighttime sparkler exit? Absolutely! We'll just make sure we work together to try and create a schedule to allows for plenty of time to capture your important photos before sunset, in natural light!

4. Letters & Gifts

  • Your wedding day is all about expressing your love for one another and giving a handwritten letters (or small gift) to your soon to be husband/wife will never go out of style! A handwritten letter or little gift always makes for a meaningful and emotional moment. In the past, come couples like to open together after their first look, while others like to open and ready while getting ready, either way it makes for a powerful picture!

5. Reveal with People Who Matter Most

  • Do you love the idea of doing a first look, but don't want your love to see you before walking down the aisle? Consider doing a first look with bridesmaids, parents, siblings, or anyone else who holds a special place in your heart!

6. Have your Details Ready

  • While you enjoy your time with your bridesmaids/groomsmen as you get ready, I will be capturing the candid moments and all your special details! And, should you so choose, my second shooter will be doing the same for the groom. To make the morning go smoothly, and to makes sure a single detail isn't missed, I recommend having any of the following details set aside while you are getting ready.

Day of Details

Details, details, DETAILS! So it's no joke the amount of time, energy and planning that goes into a every single detail you have planned for your wedding day. So, during the "getting ready" portion of the day, it's a great time for me to capture all your details! We will iron this out during your timeline meeting, but generally I will arrive about an hour before your hair and makeup is scheduled to finish. During this time, while you are in the makeup chair and jamming out to your wedding-day-pump-up-playlist, I will be nearby laying out all your beautiful details, capturing some gorgeous shots! It's super helpful to me (and to you!) if you gather all the details and have them ready for me in box or pile ahead of time, so I can arrive and get started! Below is a list of some items you may want to have photographed, I'll make them look nice & pretty, I just need you to have them gathered together for me!

The same goes for the Groom and my second shooter! If you and your fiancé are getting ready in separate locations, we can plan for my second shooter to be with the groomsmen for their getting ready portion and capture his details as well!


  • Dress
  • Veil
  • Shoes
  • Dress Hanger
  • Bouquet
  • Bonus: any extra/left over florals from florist!
  • Invitations/Stationary
  • Bottle of Perfume
  • Engagement Ring & Wedding Band
  • Earrings/Jewelry
  • Letter/Gift from Groom


  • Jacket
  • Shirt
  • Belt
  • Socks
  • Cufflinks
  • Tie
  • Bottle of Cologne
  • Watch
  • Wedding Band
  • Boutonnière
  • Letter/Gift from Bride