It’s here! The day we’ve been waiting for and planning towards for so many months has finally arrived! Whether we’re off in another country or on familiar grounds, it’s time to make some magic. Here is how a wedding day typically looks like on my end as the photographer, and what you can expect from me, outlined in detail, for every part of it.
I typically arrive at the ceremony venue location, or wherever you both are getting ready at, about 15-20 minutes before my start time. This gives me time to find you, use the restroom, and anything else I need to do to get ready, including bringing my equipment in so I can start setting up! I’ll always find where you are first so I can say hi, and excitedly celebrate with you.
WHAT I START WITH
I start my coverage by taking some getting ready photos of you, your ceremony and reception venue before all your guests arrive, and any other pre-wedding items. If you’re a bride with bridesmaids getting the finishing touches of your makeup on, I’ll capture that and any in-room details. If you’re a groom, I’ll be taking pictures of you and your guys putting their bow-ties on, fastening cufflinks, things of that sort once you are already dressed. If time allows, I’ll get some editorial “altogether” shots here as well of your two separate parties, once you’re all dressed and ready to go!
HOW I PHOTOGRAPH YOUR DETAILS
Whether you decide to have your gown pictured with your bridesmaids dresses, or solo with the veil, I’ll make sure the coast is clear and gather those before any potential first looks happen. I’ll also be sure to capture shoes, wedding bands, cufflinks, bouquets, invitations, jewelry, watches, class rings, and any other meaningful mementos. This usually takes about 30 minutes. I’ll bring everything back to their respective places as soon as I’ve finished!
FIRST LOOKS AND SPECIAL MOMENTS
If you decide to do a first look with each other or with parents, siblings, etc. I can help orchestrate those moments. If you know me, you know that I love first looks! They help calm any nerves before walking down the aisle, and give you so many sweet, additional photos in your gallery. It also can be a huge help to your timeline because since you’ve already seen each other, you can get family photos and maybe even wedding party photos completed before the ceremony! That being said, I have worked with so many couples who decided not to do this as an option, and I am all for that. This is your day — you do you! All in all, each first look can take about 5-10 minutes.
If you don’t want a “first look”, but still want a few minutes together before the ceremony, there are other options such as a “first touch” or a “first prayer” where I place you around a corner of the venue, in a beautiful garden, or another location on site. You face different directions (or maybe one of you is blindfolded) while holding hands, exchanging personal vows, prayers, or any gifts to make the moment special.
Oftentimes, wedding days are very much about the big party. Being a bride before, I can tell you from experience that you don’t always get a lot of time together on your wedding day, where it is just the two of you. This is anther reason I love first looks — it gives you those calm moments together before all the crazy ones, verses having to wait many hours before the opportunity arises! (I especially encourage implementing a first look into your schedule if you think you’ll be nervous leading up to seeing each other. It really does help with nerves and is a perfect time to get out any jitters!).
At the ceremony, I am usually (I call it “dancing”) walking around quite frequently, taking pauses between strides to capture all the elements you’ve talked about for this part of the day. Depending on the venue, I’ll double-check with your planner or venue coordinator if there’s any limitations on where I can stand, how close I can be to the altar, etc. So while you two are focused on each other, I am capturing you both, your details, the space as a whole, members of your family, your guests, special moments, and traditions (and non-traditional moments as well). If you have a videographer, we’ll work together to make sure we’re not in each other’s line of view or in each other’s shots.
FAMILY AND WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS
You’ve done it! You’ve said “I do” and have walked down the aisle. We’ll take a second to celebrate, but then we’ll make our way to our previously arranged spot for family photos. Once we go down the list, we’ll take wedding party photos (if we haven’t already after your first look!) either in the same spot or in another area on the venue grounds. Altogether these usually take at least 30-45 minutes.
These are taken immediately after we send your families and wedding party members to go mingle with all your guests. It’ll just be the 3 of us (and maybe the videographer if you have one), so we’ll take some time to wander around and go on a custom adventure that’s perfect for the two of you.
This is the part of the day that I truly believe hold the sweetest, breathable moments, aside from saying “I do”. Since all that’s left is to go and celebrate, I make sure we have a set time to do exactly what we’ve envisioned. Of course, depending on what you’ve talked about timeline-wise with your coordinator or with each other, this part of the day can be as long as you want it to be! Couples usually opt to stretch this time out as much as they can, so not only do we get those amazing editorial shots of you two as newlyweds, but you also get to take some extra time in getting back to your guests. You can chat with each other about how you’re doing, meander slowly back to the venue, and just share some time together. Feedback I’ve received from my past couples tells me this part of the day ended up being very much needed and they were so thankful for it!
Once you’re ready to walk into your reception, it’s time to celebrate! We’ll have already gone over what you plan to do, but some items you might want to include are:
- a first dance
- any mother/son, father/daughter, etc. dances
- bouquet toss
- garter toss
- family traditions
No matter what the rest of the celebration holds, you bet I’ll be there for every second to capture it. From the cake cutting to the toasts to the dancing.
As an important side note, since most people do not like their pictures being taken while they are eating and chewing, this is when I typically will take a brief pause to eat as well!
THE SEND OFF
Whether you decide to use sparklers, lightsabers, or bubbles for your grand exit, I’m prepared for any and all the options! I’ll help guide you on how to walk out, when to pause and kiss, and any other points of direction so you’re not lost on where to go. And if you’re worried about guests leaving early before it’s officially time to go, I often advise couples to do what’s called a “faux send-off”, where earlier in the day (maybe right after dinner but before cake cutting so people don’t actually leave!) we stage your send-off which is full of all your guests! You won’t actually leave, but you might actually get in your getaway car and drive off and them just loop back around to the venue! It seems silly, and you might be wondering if people actually do this in real life, but I can promise you that all those pictures you see on Pinterest probably were taken during a faux send-off. It happens more frequently than you’d think! It’s a great way to capture all the epic-ness of the getaway car, but still being able to return to dance the night away with your family and friends.
Behind the scenes of your wedding day, along with helping guide you both from start to finish, I work with day-of coordinators, planners, makeup artists, DJs, and anyone else I need to communicate with so that we are all on the same page. To help ensure you have a successful, beautiful day, I have a “dream team” of individuals such as florists, makeup artists, hair stylists, cake designers, and skilled planners I love to work with and am more than happy to recommend them your way.