Marriage is so so wonderful and I am stoked that you guys are getting married!! YAY! This guide is just to welcome you to your wedding photography experience with me and to help shape your timeline. There are so many ways to arrange your timeline and I am totally here to help. I’ve been around the block with being a wedding photographer for 6 years so I can help point out some little details and tips that might help.
Basically for an overall picture before I get really deep, please allow 30-40 minutes for couples portraits/first look (usually broken up into 2 sessions), 20-30 minutes for wedding party, 30-40 minutes for family portraits.
Again, thank you so so much for trusting me to capture your big day; it means the world to me that you’ve connected with my work and that we’re going to be making magic together!
For vendor referrals, keep scrolling to the bottom of this page for all the details!
Alright, you ready to go? Let’s do this!
Most photographers are going to encourage you to have a first look (hey, that’s me!) but its totally not required. You can wait to have your ‘first look’ down the aisle. Yes, it’s easier to have your first look before the ceremony, then wedding party photos, and then family pictures. I usually allow at least 1.5 hours before the ceremony to complete all of this. A family member or bridesmaid/ groomsmen is usually running a little behind so this amount of time leaves enough wiggle room to do it all and have some chill time before the ceremony. Depending on the amount of photos, an hour is plenty of time for everything.
But ultimately, if you don’t want to do a first look, thats totally okay. As long as you’re open to doing those portraits during your cocktail hour, we can make it all happen.
*Please note your sunset time! For example, if your ceremony is at 5pm but sunset is at 6pm (like in late fall or winter weddings), I really insist on a first look. If we run out of natural light before we are done with your portraits, that’s a huge problem! Then we have to do them inside and set up flash and honestly that’s not very pretty or interesting visually at all.
So if you’re planning on a first look, I count those as couple photos, too, because right after your first look, I like to take some of just you two while you’re got the first look tingles. It’s fun! So I usually allow about 15-20 minutes after the first look, and then about 20-25 minutes for Golden Hour Photos. That’s when I can steal you two away from the reception, give you two a break to relax and breathe, and then chase that PNW light!! We’ll get some more bridal portraits that are covered with the golden hour light. SO good!
So this tends to be one of the most stressful parts of the day- but I’m here to help de-stress it all!
I highly recommend making a shot list of all possible immediate family formal portraits you’d want before or after the ceremony. You can always have a separate requests for a shot with extended family during the reception, but try to keep it to immediate so we don’t take hours photographing every possible combination.
I recommend also to have someone in the bridal party or family who knows everyone who needs to be in the family portraits to help rangle everyone together to make the process even smoother. I’m not familiar with everyone so having someone else on standby really helps.
Depending on how many combinations of immediate family members you’d like, usually family photos take about 30-40 minuets if everyone is ready to go. Sometimes it takes a while to either find someone, rangle everyone, but no worries, we’ll get it all throughout the night!
Depending on how big your wedding party is, I recommend about 20-30 minutes for the wedding party photos. If kids are involved like your ring bearers or flower girls, sometimes they don’t want to corporate, so a bit of time to organize everyone and have some fun with poses as a group is recommended. If you aren’t doing a first look, we will do each side separately before the ceremony and then the whole group together after the ceremony.
Just to help get you started with putting together your wedding day timeline…
If you have more questions and want to create your customized wedding day timeline, I’ll be shooting you an email to chat more about what all you want planned for your wedding day and we can create a timeline together over FaceTime, Skype, or just over the phone. I want to make this process as easy as possible for you so we’re in this together!
When you’re thinking about what kind of details you want photographed, I highly recommend having all your wedding accessories together in a bag or separate storage box so they are ready to go for me when I arrive to start shooting.
If you want detailed shots of your wedding rings, grandma’s old broach, veil and shoes, etc, please have all of them together and ready to go.
Something I love to do is style your accessories. I take your wedding jewelry, shoes, bouquet, wedding dress, etc., and make fun images that best represent your wedding style.
Make sure to also have your wedding stationery on hand for me to photograph that as well if you’d like.
I always ask my couples to make a family formal portrait shot list. That’s all the possible combinations you can think of for immediate family members that you want there before or after the ceremony for some nice formal shots. This shot list makes this family portrait time (which is one of the most stressful parts of the day) go by a LOT faster and helps run it all smoothly.
Example of a shot list:
-Bride, Groom, Brides Parents
-Bride, Groom, Bride’s Sibilings
-Groom with Groom’s Parents
-Bride and Groom with both sides of parents
-Bride with Sister
-Bride with each parent
If you need help putting together a shot list, just let me know and I’m more than happy to help!
If you want to have an engagement session with me, this section is for YOU! I’ve broken down some FAQ’s for y’all so you know exactly what to expect and what to plan for your engagement session.
I love to have a good time with my couples, so you best believe we’re going on an adventure! I don’t put you in an uncomfortable pose that makes you act like a doll and stiff, I make sure you’re all relaxed and as comfortable as possible is my goal. So then I’m capturing your you, your personality, your love and relationship, and not what’s trending. You are unique and beautiful and it’s my job to help capture that for memories that will last forever.
Let’s go somewhere that you two have a connection to. If you’re more into the city/ downtown vibes in a fun coffee shop or your favorite bar, let’s go there! If you’re more into the forest or adventuring around a beach, let’s do it! I want to find a location that best represents you and that’s going to bring out your love and your best; your best selves.
Don’t worry, I’ll scope places out and find great options for us ahead of time so we’re planned, organized, and bring plenty of snacks if we need it!
Even though I sometimes have trouble choosing my own outfits in the morning, I can totally help you with your engagement session outfits! I high recommend bringing 2 different outfits: one more dressy and one more casual, or two of the same style- whatever you want!
Keep in mind patters and clashing, so if you are wanting to wear a pattern top, your partner might want to wear plaid and sometimes that just is really hard on the eyes and clashes, so if one of you wants to wear a pattern, have the other wear a more solid color so it’s not too overwhelming.
Check out my Engagement Session Outfit Ideas Pinterest Board to help brainstorm some fun outfit ideas.
Also, wear something that makes you feel confident and comfortable. You can combine bold colors, complimentary patterns, with some casual accessories. Feel free to explore and get creative with your wardrobe! Make sure you’re wearing something you can move in!
So for engagement sessions, It’s usually just me, but sometimes my sweet husband will come along and help hold our bags, or drive us around. He’s a busy guy so most times, he’ll be working, but sometimes he’ll be able to come and we can have a double date!
It really depends on the time of year you’re getting married, but we can go on your session all year round (weather depending). Keep in mind if you really want to go to a national park, or a state park, a highly popular park/ lake/ bar/ whatever it may be, it might be best to go on a weekday or a Friday afternoon so it’s not so crowded.
Q: When do you start photographing those getting ready shots?
A: Usually I wait to capture more of the getting ready photos closer to the end of the getting ready process. Most ladies, and gentlemen, tend to not have them with half their makeup on and getting pictures of themselves, so I typically wait till the end to get better shots. But I still capture some of the whole process, just more photos as you get finished.
Q: What if the groomsmen are getting ready far away?
A: This is super common! Sometimes I’m either running back and forth from the girls to the boys, wherever they are, but if you choose not to have me run to the other side of town or somewhere they’re getting ready at, then we can always get those ‘fake’ getting ready shots of the boys. For example: when doing the groomsmen photos, I can have them adjust their ties, or have the best man fix the groom’s boutonniere or cufflinks. Things like that to make it seem like they are getting ready.
Q: Do you need a shot list for the wedding party?
A: Nope! I’ve been around the block a few times to know how to get all the wedding party fun shots, the classic shots, and individuals of all the groomsmen together, all the girls together. If there are specific shots you’d like that are not so traditional like the groom with all the ladies, or the bride with all the groomsmen, let me know so I can work those into the wedding party portrait time.
Q: What if the groomsmen are really rowdy?
A: Don’t worry about a thing. I’ve worked with tons of rowdy groomsmen, and I am on it. Again, when I need to, I’ll whip out my Momma Brown-ness and I might sound demanding, but I just gotta get those shots for you and get the boys into shape! When Momma Brown comes out, the boys listen and we get awesome photos. I’ve even been told afterwards that “that’s just what they needed!”. lol!
Q: Soooo what if it rains?
A: I got you! If you need, I have a ton of cute clear umbrellas we can use during portraits or the ceremony. I also have raincoats for my cameras so nothing gets damaged and we’re all good to go.
Q: We’re getting married at a Catholic Church and there are some restrictions on where a photographer can move around, is that going to be a problem?
A: Nope! I’ve worked with a lot of churches who don’t allow the photographer to go to certain places, I was even not allowed to go down an aisle- the AISLE! So I’m used to restrictions. It can mean, however, that I won’t be able to get certain types of shots of you guys getting married. I’ll do my very best but please understand that strict restrictions might effect the ceremony photo vision you might have.
Q: What do you recommend is the best send off?
A: Anything with light! haha Sparklers are a great staple, but some venues don’t allow any fireworks, or things that are not biodegradable, so I’d first ask your venue what they allow, then go from there. I recently fell in love with smoke bombs (picture on right), those are awesome, low light, but don’t last too long. Bubbles are also awesome and fun- better in the daytime, but night time works, too. Streamers, lavender send offs smell amazing and are cute. Or even greenery send offs- where your guests throw pine, eucalyptus, seeds, and fun organic things, rose peddles, so it’s like a nature send off!
Q: Do we have to have a send off?
A: Absolutely not! I’ll be there for as long as you have me contracted to be there and I’ll get everything during the reception that you’d like.
Q: How should I prepare all our wedding details for photos?
A: I would have them all in one place, in a bag or a box, so I can just grab and go. Details are typically the first thing I start shooting as you’re working towards getting ready, so if it’s all in one location and easy to find, that makes it super easy and a lot quicker.
Q: What all should I have for detailed shots?
A: Whatever you’d like! Some brides only like their rings on their flowers. Some want it all! It just depends on what you’d like, and I send a wedding questionnaire to you about 2 months before your wedding day asking what all you’d like photographed for details.
*First Looks are totally optional. So if this applies to you, keep reading!
Q: How does the first look work exactly?
A: So I coordinate the whole thing so there’s nothing to worry about. I’ll make sure your groom/ bride doesn’t see you. If you wish to have a private first look (most common), then I tend to go all Momma Brown on whoever tries to intrude, so no matter what, you’ll have a private and intimate first look moment.
Q: What if I don’t want a first look?
A: Totally fine! If you want your first look down the aisle, we can do the split party/ family photos before the ceremony, and the combined photos after. No problem! I also coordinate all that. It’s helpful to have two shot lists, so one before the ceremony with all family and wedding party photos, and then all the combined family and wedding party photos for after the ceremony.
Q: How long do family portraits take?
A: Usually about 30-40 minutes if everyone is ready and present. Sometimes family members are late, or forget where to go and so I highly recommend having someone who knows everyone, maybe 2 people: one from each side of the family, to help rangle everyone to do family portraits.
Q: Do you have a family portrait shot list?
A: Of course! I actually wrote a whole blog post about it to help make the process of creating one super easy. You can find the post and the download PDF here.
Q: What if all my family members don’t show up on time for pictures?
A: No problem! I can always get them throughout the reception. I’ll make a note on the shot list of the ones we didn’t get during the family portrait time, and we’ll make sure to get it during reception or whenever convenient.
Q: Is there anything about the reception that we need to keep in mind?
A: I’d say the lighting! Make sure you’re not backlighting yourself with your backs to a window for cake cutting or your head table. Some reception halls can’t help that, but just be mindful of photos with the bright lights behind you. It might make it for you to be darker than normal. I recommend not having the harsh florescent lights on, have plenty of natural light like windows open, no curtains, and to face windows. The natural light looks so much better in photos and makes your skin all even and glowing 🙂
Q: Do you take photos the whole reception?
A: Pretty much! I do not, however, take photos of people eating- they tend to really hate that, so that’s when I usually either take more photos of the reception details or take a short break.
Q: Do you require a meal?
A: I do! If your wedding is more than 5 years, I would love a meal so I’m re-energized and not starving. I bring snacks, but a meal is greatly appreciated.
HOPE THAT HELPS ANSWER ANY WEDDING DAY QUESTIONS! IF I MISSED SOMETHING, PLEASE CHECK OUT MY FAQ’S PAGE HERE OR SHOOT ME AN EMAIL ANY TIME!
If you’re still needing some recommendations on vendors in Washington State, feel free to check out my vendor list below. These are all vendors I love and some I’ve worked with.
If you’re wanting some Oregon State vendors, please email me!
TOP RECOMMENDATION: JESSICA VANN-CAMPBELL FLOWERS
Jessica is flat out incredible. She has such a fun and bubbly personality and is always willing to go that extra mile for your wedding florals. We worked together at the Big Fake Wedding show in Seattle and she’s just a doll. So sweet and her florals were AMAZING! She’s easy to work with, will make the most stunning bouquets and tabletop arrangements yo’u’ve ever seen, and just knock your socks off. Highly, highly recommend. 🙂
I’ve personally worked with Merritt, the owner, on a few projects and weddings, and he’s so very tallented! Knows his way around florals and is so creative. He’ll totally make your floral wedding dreams come true!
This small business in Spokane is seriously amazing and every floral arrangement and bouquet perfection. I’ve personally worked with these wonderful florists for a recent styled shoot and their bouquet was so gorgeous! Definitely check them out and get ready to fall in love with them!
I highly recommend checking out Safeway! They are seriously the best well-kept secret for wedding flowers. So adorable, can DIY your centerpieces yourself, and they do seriously amazing job at bridal bouquets. Best kept secret in the wedding industry.
If you’re into more small businesses (heck yes!) then I would check out Pots and Pedals Floral Design. SO gorgeous and local! Individually Inspired and custom ordered; so amazing!
Based in Spokane, WA but really amazing cupcakes, cakes, and other delicious baked goods. Always a pleasure to talk to and work with!
Located in Kennewick, WA but have really talented bakers in their bakery. Everything is delicious and at a great price. Will make wedding cake dreams come true.
A little more local (at least to Yakima) that is great quality and adorable cake designs.
I’ve worked with David at a huge wedding last summer and he was AMAING! He keeps the crowed engaged and he’s such an awesome guy to work with. Great music, great talent, easy to work with, and loves a great time. He’s totally the DJ for you.
Oh! Shoot Photo Booth is so amazing! A husband and wife team where the wife works the photo booth while the husband is the DJ! And he is SUPER good! They both were so awesome o work with and so friendly. They have tons of hilarious props and dancing lights too!
So fun to work with and their camera takes really high quality photos! I actually have some I snuck in on my About Me page! Really awesome people to work with, they send a rep to help take your photos, and you get a physical and digital copy! Love Snap Booth!
Super awesome people at Drunken Pixel and they have TONS of fun props to have fun with! Great backdrops and really cool people.
I can not say enough good things about Classic Events. Donna, the cook is a 100% doll and is SO great at what she does. Not only is the food incredible, you’ll have plenty left over, she helps clean up as people are done eating, and has seriously the best attitude. So sweet! My husband and I had Donna at our wedding and we STILL talk about how great her food is!
** Most catering recommendations are based on location. I just really love Classic Event Catering 😉
They have some of the most adorable benches in all kinds of wood, chairs, and tables. All so gorgeous and will make your wedding tables, ceremony chairs, anything just stand out and not be so traditional.
Also a great option for any rentals that are needed. They have more traditional but sturdy and great quality rentals like chairs, farm tables, and so much more. Highly recommend!
TOP RECOMMENDATION: ROAM AND ARROW WEDDING FILMS
This husband and wife team are so amazing and oh so sweet! They really care about capturing your personality and your love story more than anything. They are so awesome to work with and also do engagement session video to add to your overall engaged/ wedding experience video. So cool and they do amazing work!
These two are so chill and amazing to work with! Their personalities make you feel so comfortable and feel great when they are filming you. I worked with them on a promotional video for my business and they were just amazing. Highly highly recommend these two!
Miranda is such a wonderful person and is easy to work with. Highly recommend her for any wedding videography needs! Great prices and she’s just an all around amazing gal.
These girls seriously know what they’re doing! They have all the goods, do a phenomenal job, and are also super sweet ladies! Definitely check out their work on their social media! But seriously, wonderful gals and their make up and hair skills are insane!
Jackie is my go-to girl. She did my wedding hair and makeup and was SO fun to hang with. She is so good at what she does (she seriously knows beauty), that I did my tanning with her, waxing, hair and make up for my wedding prep. She’s wonderful and down to earth!
Spunky and outgoing. She really knows hair and makeup and does an amazing job! I’ve personally worked with her for a wedding and she’s amazing! Highly recommend!
Holy Moly, you guys! Aislinn is a fantastic artist and does all kinds of watercolor and calligraphy to make your wedding art dreams a reality! If you’re designing your own invites, have her do some custom calligraphy for you, calligraphy and water color art on a welcome sign at your wedding, any details, or even make some water colors to your decor for invites, anything- she’s your gal and I highly recommend her! Aislinn is super sweet, easy to work with, and a lovey gal 🙂
I use AU for literally all my prints and albums for family members. They have such great quality in all their products and I highly recommend them for your printing needs.
I recently discovered NPL and fell in love with their wedding albums. They are so well made and have all kinds of pages like lay flat, matted, glossy, you name it. I used them for wedding albums for a recent bridal show and everyone loved them. Definitely check them out!
Design + Styling: Bixby and Pine
Rentals: Archive PNW
Bridesmaids gowns: Mumu Weddings
I just want to say thank you so much for trusting me to be your wedding photographer! I am so excited for you guys to get married and I can’t wait to get to know you two more and dive into this season of engagement together.
There are so many things that go into your wedding day and planning it all, and I hope this really helps with planning your photography vision.
If you have any further questions about wedding planning or about photography, please feel free to message me, text me, call me, beep me, if you wanna reach me, anytime!
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