Welcome to the Works by Sarah Jane Photography Wedding Planning Guide!! Woohoo! Getting married is such a wonderful and awesome experience and I’m absolutely thrilled that I get to capture it all for you two! Over the past 7 years of being a wedding photographer, I’ve learned a thing or two about what it all takes to not only plan a wedding, but to prepare for it from a professional photographer’s perspective. So this little guide is to help prepare you both for wedding photos, lighting, detail photos, basically anything you can think of so I can document everything you’ll ever want (and more!) beautifully. 

In this guide you’ll find helpful tips and tricks for ceremony lighting, how to prepare for your detail photos, what the heck a shot list is, and oh so much more. 

Again, thank you 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!

Alright, you ready to go? Let’s do this



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Your Wedding Photography Experience

Yay! You’re engaged! Being engaged is such a special time with tons of anticipation and excitement! You two are taking a huge life step together and we definitely need to celebrate. I’m here to document the crap out of everything for you to look back on and relive your wedding day all over again! 

There’s so much that goes on during your wedding day, but I’m here to help keep it all organized and looking oh so awesome! I help with making a custom timeline with you, help with a shot list for all family members so no photo goes un-missed, and help keep everyone on track the day of. If you have a wedding planner, I work closely with them so we stay on schedule and we’re all on the same page. 

With so much going on, all the work we do together like a timeline and shot list is all done beforehand. So when your wedding day comes, it’s ALL taken care of and all you need to do is get ready to see your love. 

Your wedding day is about YOU. I help ensure you guys are not stressed, you’ve got everything you need (even a snack or water), and you’re having the best day of your life. It’s hard not to worry about things that go on during your wedding day, but I’ll be there to help with anything anyone needs. 

Your wedding photos will represent your relationship and your love together. How you hold your hands, how you look at each other, those emotions at the first look, everything. I love capturing your reactions to seeing your favorite people at your reception, and those awesome toast reactions at dinner.  

So overall, your experience with me includes: 
Being relaxed as possible 
No stress
And getting kick-ass wedding photos

Wedding Planning Checklist 

Timeline and planning to help this whole process super smooth. 

Okay, now I know there are tons of amazing wedding planning tools out there that really help with everything about your wedding day. But I just wanted to make my own for you so everything you’ll need to know about wedding photography and a little bit of planning is right here in this guide. Cool? Cool :)

If you’re working with a wedding day planner/ coordinator… awesome… if you’re not, that’s totally okay, too! We got this and you’re going to have an amazing day! 

Okay, so here’s a little wedding planning checklist for you :) 

First Steps: 12 Months Before

Determine your Budget + Find your dream VENUE and at the same time, your DATE. 

Once you have your location and date, start looking at the big vendors you need to book in advance. 
Find your Photographer, caterer, HUMA, Videographer, Wedding Planner, Cake Artist/ desert, DJ, etc. (All recommended vendors are at the bottom of this guide) 

These big vendors book up QUICK so booking them sooner rather than later is recommended. 

Then, determine your guest list! 

Once you have your big vendors booked and deposits are made, have some fun and get your wedding party picked out, go dress shopping, find the right tux, anything along those lines. Think about what gown you want to wear or what tux you want to wear, etc. 

11 Months Before

9 Months Before

I recommend getting your wedding dress about 9 months before everything depending on if the store needs to order it for you, if it’s custom I’d go shopping sooner, and then once it gets into your hands, then you hang on to it until 2-3 months before. 

Block out hotel rooms for your guests to stay if needed. 

Create a wedding website with all your wedding details for your guests including your wedding registry! 

7-8 Months Before 

Have your engagement session! 
For your Save The Date Cards, those are sent out roughly 6-7 months before your wedding date, so be sure to coordinate with your wedding photographer (if they offer engagement sessions) to book your engagement session in time to get those photos back and send the Save The Date cards out to your guests. 

Also register for gifts. I recommend places like Bed Bath and Beyond or Target because they have a system where you can look up what the couple wants right there in store, so people don’t have to bring anything with them. 

Schedule any bridesmaid gown fittings if needed. 

I’d also take this time to make sure you have an officiant. Whether that’s your pastor or hiring someone from online, make sure you booked them! 

Figure out your decorations. Any tablescape ideas, centerpieces, any hanging globes, photo booth, etc. Order any rental items, linens, special chairs that fit your theme and decor, drapings, table runners, etc. 

Get your makeup and hair trial completed. 

Book your Honeymoon! 

Book any guest transportation you might need. Or newlywed transportation like a vintage fancy car or limo. 

Choose your Cake/ cake and catering testing. 

Also, make sure you buy your rings! Sometimes these take a while to order, size, anything. 

4-5 Months Before

2-3 Months Before

About 2-3 months before, be sure to get your wedding gown altered if needed. Any suites fitted, bridesmaids gowns fitted, etc. 

Wedding Invites: those are typically sent out 6-8 WEEKS before your wedding. So be sure to have all your guest accommodations figured out, all your invites printed and sent out. 

About 2 months out, I send my couples a wedding questionnaire asking all kinds of information I’ll need like where to park, who are all your vendors. 

I also work with my couples on a wedding day timeline, finalizing those details and what all you want to have documented during your reception and day. 

Also, be sure to make a Shot List for all immediate family photos only. Think of all the family combinations for photos you’d want (only immediate) and then make a list for me to bring along and I’ll get all those photos. 

2 Months Before

Send out your wedding invitations with RSVPs! 

Pick up your Marriage License

Make a wedding guest book with your engagement photos, any decorations, final details you need to get. 

Write your vows 

Create a seating chart if you’re having one. 

Any guest gift bags/ favors. 

1 Month to a few weeks Before

Final Dress fitting

Select DJ/ Band/ playlist or song lists / first dances, cake cutting song, etc. 

Pay your vendors in full 

Communicate and confirm with vendors what time they’ll arrive. 

Break in your wedding shoes. You’ll thank me later! 

Week of Your Wedding

We’re here! You’ve made it! 
Make sure you do any cosmetic things you want to get done like nails, refresh your hair color, get eyebrows down, etc. 

Pack your bags for your honeymoon! 

Clean your rings

Practice speaking your vows out loud 

And Let's get you married!!! 

Ceremony Lighting
If there are any locations you already have in mind about where you want your first look to be, family photos to be, golden hour photos, etc. 
What you all want photographed for your detailed photos (ie: dress hanging up, rings on top of your wedding invitations, etc)
An immediate family shot list (I’ll go over this later) 
Where to set up cutting your cake, your head table, and everything else within the reception space. 

How to Prepare for Your Wedding Photos

A few things off the bat to start thinking about: 

I know, I know, there are tons of things to think about, but this guide is to help walk you through step by step for everything we’ll need to make your photos look awesome. If you’re unsure where you’d want your first look or family photos on your wedding day, I actually arrive a little bit earlier JUST for that reason (and to set up my equipment) but really to scope the place out and determine where we can have it all. :) I got you! 
Okay, so we touched on a few things to start our engines, now let’s right into it. First, let’s start with your Getting Ready Photos. 

There’s so much that goes into planning your wedding and you probably already have a million things on your mind. But I’m totally here to help figure out what’ll look great for your wedding day photos and how to make everything run smoothly. 

I got you, boo! 
Shoot me an email at hello@worksbysarahjane.com and I'm more than happy to help :)

Getting Ready
& Details Photos

The first thing on your wedding day is, well, you guys all getting ready!! I start the day with shooting your details first and then get more into your getting ready photos. 

Most of the time, bridesmaids and groomsmen don’t like it when either none of their makeup is on or when the boys are just sitting around playing cards. So I like to start those getting ready photos with a more polished look when makeup is done but the hair is getting pinned, or the boutineers are going on and all the jackets are on, etc. But first, let’s talk Details. 

A few things to keep in mind for your detailed shots:

Please have everything you want photographed in one location. Keep them all in a bag or a box, all in one spot. That way I can start photographing your details right away. 

Please take all the tags and stuffing out of your dress ahead of time so I can grab and go. This saves tons of time and stress! 

If you have a custom hanger for your gown, please have it handy! 

If you want all your bridesmaids gowns hanging up with your wedding dress, please either bring all matching hangers or have your bridesmaids bring their own wooden hanger/ matching colored hanger.
If you want wedding stationary photographed, please keep the envelopes and every piece of invitation you’d give to your guests, so I can photograph it all! 


For your detailed shots, I usually need about 30 minutes depending on what all you want photographed. But the first 30 minutes of your wedding day, are detailed photos. It also takes a little time to get creative and find a great spot to make your details stand out. 

If your wedding dress is strapless, DO NOT WEAR A BRA THE MORNING OF YOUR WEDDING. This creates lines on your back that take a while to fade away. 

Think about the lighting in your getting ready room. Usually venues have rooms with terrible yellow lighting, so I typically turn those off and use natural light in the room. Of course, I’ll check with the makeup artist with the light they need, but usually there’s a window to get the lighting we all need. Yellow lights make your skin way too orange and weird haha 

If all the bridesmaids have robes on and you want some fun photos of that- you got it!- I recommend bringing something fun to celebrate the moment like a bottle of champagne or confetti to pop to get y’all hyped up!! 

Getting Ready:

Depending on how long hair and makeup takes, usually I allow 1 hour for details and getting ready photos. I use 30 minutes for details, and the remaining 30 minutes for getting ready photos. Sometimes the groomsmen or other party is off location, so I’d travel to get the boys getting ready photos, so either 1 hour or 1.5 hours for getting ready photos :)

A few things to keep in mind for your getting ready shots:


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.




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.

What if the groomsmen are getting ready far away?!



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.

How should I prepare all our wedding details for photos?



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.

What all should I have for detailed shots?




FAQ’s for Getting Ready

First Looks

Having a first look is totally up to you! I’m all for a first look so we can get the majority of our portraits out of the way before the ceremony and then your guests aren't waiting, but if you want a first look to be down the aisle, we can totally do that! 

I coordinate your first look 100%. I make sure your lover doesn't see you before the moment, I make sure it’s private with just the two of you, and I make sure all flowers are ready to go. So in other words- you don’t have to worry about a thing!

here are some things to keep in mind

First Looks Before the Ceremony

A first look before the ceremony helps give us time to take bridal portraits, family portraits, and wedding party portraits, all before the ceremony. Then after the ceremony, we can get you legally married with signing your license, and then right to the party. Super helpful with timelines!

I’d have some touch up makeup handy in case tears come strolling out! So cute! 

First looks usually take about 10-15 min. I love not only capturing the moment when your love sees you for the first time, but also some shots afterwards because those first look feelings just glow on your faces and it’s some of my favorite moments to capture :)


here are some things to keep in mind

First Look Down the Aisle

Have a list of who you want photographed before the ceremony. Depending on the number of combinations, those usually take about 20-30 min each. 

I have plenty of timelines to look at to see what this would look like which you can find later in the guide.
With a shot list with family combos, wedding party combos, we can get those done before the ceremony, so afterwards, we can get all the combined shots + bridals. 

Highly suggest either having your guests go straight into dinner hour or cocktail hour while we’re taking those photos :)



Wedding Party Photos

Taking wedding party photos is SO much fun!! We can seriously have such a blast with these! 
Wedding party photos usually last about 20-30 minutes depending if everyone is ready, how many are in your party, etc.  

here are some things to keep in mind

For bridesmaids flowers- make sure you have paper towels!! I can’t stress this enough! Most bouquets come in water and hang out in water until it’s time to carry them, so I highly recommend bringing paper towels or extra napkins so there is no dripping of flower water on the gowns.

Groomsmen: Make sure the boutineers are on before photos. Usually, I’m the one to put them all on- so fun!- so wherever they are being stored, let me know and I’ll get those on the groomsmen and family members. 

If there are any accessories like matching leather jackets or the boys wanting to wear sunglasses, bring those along so we don’t forget those shots as well. 


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.

Do you need a shot list for the wedding party?



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!

What if the groomsmen are getting ready far away?!



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.

How should I prepare all our wedding details for photos?




FAQ’s for Wedding Party Photos

Family Portraits

Okay, this tends to be one of the most stressful parts of the wedding day: family portraits. But! Here is how to not make it stressful: An Immediate Family Shot List! Woohoo! 

If you have a predetermined list of all the possible combinations you can think of with family members, then we’ll get through these photos efficiently and stress-free. I go pretty quickly with these shots, so we can get everyone back to the party, so it really really really helps having a list so we can whip right through those.

here are some things to keep in mind

Have a family runner who can wrangle all the family members of both sides or just one side and have another runner for the other side of the family. This helps gather everyone quickly if they are not where they need to be.
I’d tell your family members to be at the venue ready in their outfits at least 30 minutes before the actual start time of family portraits. There’s always that one late uncle or a baby needs to be fed, so having a little extra time always helps. 


Oh and also, make a family shot list :) 

What NOT to have as your shot list:

Do not:

Those online lists you find online that have family members who don’t even exist listed on them. 

Those online lists that say, “make sure your photographer takes photos of the bride and groom”. DUH! That’s literally why we’re all here! 


1. Partner 1, Partner 2, Partner 1's Parents
2. Partner 1, Partner 1's Immediate Family 
3. Partner 2's Immediate Family
4. Partner 1 + Partner 1's Mom
5. Partner 2, Partner 2's Siblings
6. Both Partners + Grandparents
7. Both Partners + Both Immediate Families 
8. Both Partners + All Siblings 
9. Etc etc etc 

An example of an immediate family shot list:



If you ever need help putting together a shot list for your immediate family members, I’m always here to help! I can’t stress enough to always have an immediate family shot list so we can get through them all efficiently and smoothly. Typically, family photos last about 30 minutes depending on how many combinations you have.

please note the following: 

Your shot list is only for family photo combinations. Here is a list of events/ things I already plan on documenting: 

1) Getting Ready Photos of both couples (if requested) 
2) Details requested 
3) First Look + Portraits 
4) Wedding Party Portraits 
5) Family Portraits 
6) Ceremony- all the views + first looks, etc 
7) Signing Marriage License 
8) Entering Reception 
9) Cocktail Hour with candids of guests and reception details 
10) All Reception Events 
11) Golden hour Photos if requested 
12) Dancing photos, all the candids 
13) Send Off photos if requested 



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.

What if all my family members don’t show up on time for pictures?



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!

What if the groomsmen are getting ready far away?!



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.

How should I prepare all our wedding details for photos?




FAQ’s for Family Portraits

The Ceremony

The Main event! During your ceremony, I usually stand up at the front altar area between your wedding party and your first row of family seats. I stand, I squat, walk literally all around the area, everything I can do to make sure I capture it all (aka a ninja). So your ceremony is all covered. 

One of the most important parts of your ceremony is the lighting. Where are you guys going to stand? What time of day is your ceremony? Where is the sunshine during this time? Well I’m here to totally help! So get comfortable, let’s dive into your ceremony lighting.

PLEASE NOTE: Wherever your ceremony is, please please please remember to have walking space on both sides of the aisles. This allows me to capture both sides of my couple at the altar directly seeing their faces, instead of just their side. 


Inside Ceremony

lighting situation:

If you’re getting married inside, due to weather or it’s just gorgeous inside, that’s awesome. A couple things to be aware of: 

Make sure the yellow lights are turned OFF. The yellow from most venue lights brings a yellow tint to your skin tones and adds more oranges as well. If the lights are off, then we can capture a more natural light look. 

You can totally have some twinkle lights or candles, but make sure the overhead lights are totally off. 

If your ceremony area inside is totally dark and you want a twinkle light feel, then we can shoot a little darker to give you that moody look and still capture that natural look to get a feel for what the ceremony area looked and felt like. 

To light up your faces a little better, I can set up my Off Camera Flash for the area to make sure we still get your faces.


Window Ceremony

lighting situation:

If you’re planning on exchanging your vows in front of a window- Think about the lighting you’ll get in your photos. Usually if your altar for your ceremony is in front of a window, you’ll get a few silhouettes with the background, but the light that will be on you might be more hazy than you think. 

The backlighting shining through the window has a sort of haze that surrounds you two and your wedding party that might be different than what you imagine your ceremony photos to look like. Just a little warning, I’ll be doing my absolute best to get great shots of you two, just be aware that there might be more side views of you two and your party. 

Consider some drapes in front of the windows, or move your altar against a soft wall inside the venue if possible. If you have no other options, that’s totally okay, just want to let you know how my camera will pick up the light. 


Tree Ceremony

lighting situation:

I absolutely love ceremonies in front of a forest or a willow tree, basically anything outside! But keep in mind the time of day you’ll be getting married at. I recommend visiting the venue at the time you’ll be getting married to see the light if possible. 

Sometimes if the sun is beaming down on you, there could be spotted light on your faces standing at the altar. Totally okay, just keep in mind that you might see some spotted shots of you and/or your boo. 

I can fix them up the best I can in editing your photos, but there will be spots. 
Consider moving a little in front of the tree, or another location.


Direct Sunlight Ceremony

lighting situation:

Having your ceremony in direct sunlight is super common in the summertime and it’s easy to photograph. 

Keep in mind that when in direct sunlight at the altar, yes it’s a lot hotter haha, but one side of the altar will be in the sunshine, and the other against the sun.


Tent Ceremony

lighting situation:

Having your ceremony inside a tent is super gorgeous and easy to bounce light around everyone. It makes everyone’s skin tones even and milky smooth. Yay! 

However, you have to keep in mind what time you’re getting married at and if the sun is beaming down on the tent. Also, depending on your venue’s surroundings. If you all are under a white tent and it’s mega bright outside or on the water at 12pm (when the sun is most high), then it might be too blown out with light behind you. 

Side shots of the party and you two will be pretty, but behind you might be too bright. 

Consider aiming the tent toward a woodsy area, or a building, or later in the afternoon when the light is a bit softer. 
If you get married under a tent in the late afternoon, that would be best so the light is softer in your surroundings.

I also have a fun blog post about How to have the Best Lighting for your Wedding Photos and you can check it out here!

Some Notes for Your Ceremony...

Be sure to have space to walk by for your photographer on both sides of the aisle. 

I'll be starting up at the alar documenting both of you walking down the aisle with your family and wedding party, so be sure there's a little more room up there. 

I'd always hold hands with your lover at the altar. 

Brides, be sure to hand off your bouquet to your maid of honor!!! Don't hold it the whole time!! 


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.

We're getting married in a catholic church, will the restrictions for photographers be a problem?



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!

What if the groomsmen are getting ready far away?!



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.

How should I prepare all our wedding details for photos?




FAQ’s for Ceremonies

The Reception

Woohoo! We made it to the reception!! These are SO much fun to photograph and capture all the events you want throughout the night. In regards to the photography side of your reception, here are some things to keep in mind: 

Usually for your reception, I walk around and capture your guests interacting together, you guys enjoying chatting with your friends and family, and basically everything. 

here are some things to keep in mind

Your entrance: let me know where you guys will be entering into the reception from, because if you’re entering the reception with the sunshine behind you like a window or a door where the sun is shining in, you might be hella backlit and those photos will turn out funky. Not terrible, but we can make them better. See if there’s a side door or the main door that doesn't have the sun shining right into the repetition hall so your entrance can be captured beautifully. 

Cutting the Cake: again with back lighting. Be sure your cake table is facing a window or against a wall so your photos again won’t be distracted or fuzzy with any backlight. 

Same with your head table. Couples always want their back towards a big window in the reception hall, but until the sun sets, you’ll be a tad fuzzy and again, backlit. Find a nice wall or a spot facing a window so that natural light can make your skin all even and glowing. 

One thing to note: I do NOT take photos of people eating. Believe me, I’ve gotten enough dirty looks while people are taking one bite for a lifetime, so I refrain from ever taking people’s photos of them loving your dinner options. 

Golden Hour Photos 

This is one of my favorite parts of your wedding day: Golden Hour photos! If your schedule allows, we’ll sneak off for about 15-20 minutes, give you two a little break to just be together, and capture some epic golden hour photos. 

Like I mentioned earlier, I arrive at the venue a little earlier so I can scope out the venue and see what we have to work with for all portraits. I have an app that tells me where the sun will set so that’ll help with where we can go for your golden hour photos. 

A few things to keep in mind for your golden hour shots:

After your bridal portraits, I’ll help bustle your dress, so we can still get that long train in your photos. 

Bring some touch up lipgloss or if you need an extra hair pinned back, let’s do that before we go so we’re all set. 

If you changed your shoes out for the reception, or took off your veil, consider either bringing your fancy shoes if you want to show them off, or bring your veil to get some fun under-the-veil shots. All if you want! Totally optional. :) 

I’ll be checking in with you both throughout the reception so when I see the sunset is looking super awesome, I’ll touch base and we’ll head out! 

Grand Exit

When your wedding day is coming to a close and you’re planning an awesome send off, let’s capture it perfectly! I work with the DJ or the coordinator to make sure we’re all on the same page for when you’re leaving, I help with making sure your guests are all lined up for any type of send off, and we’re all organized! Send offs are so much fun and make for an awesome last hooray! 

here are some things to keep in mind

Check in with your venue to see what kinds of exits you can do. Some do not allow any sort of fire, like sparklers, so be prepared. 

If you have a sparkler exit, be sure to bring extra lighters so those all can get lighted quickly. I also recommend getting the sparklers that last longer, like 2 minutes, so if some are lighted before others, we still have time. 
Smoke bombs are awesome! 

Bubbles really photograph well in the daylight or night time, but make sure you get the bubble guns so more can come out instead of your guests blowing on the bubble sticks super quickly. 

Flowers/ pedals are a great bio-degradable option and look really cool :) 


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!

What do you recommend is the best send off?



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.

Do we have to have a send off?




FAQ’s for Grand Exit

After your Wedding Day

After your wedding day, you’ll either be on your way to your honeymoon or relaxing at home recovering! 

I love to deliver a sneak peek gallery of about 80-100 images to you so you can relive your wedding day even sooner. I typically send those within 48 hours of your wedding day. :) YAY! There’s so much that happens on your wedding day and I’m there to capture all the events, the emotion, feelings, and smiles for you so you can look back and feel all those feelings again. 

So be on the lookout for a sneak peek gallery really soon after your wedding day!! 

I also highly recommend printing your photos!!! YES!! Print them out, make an album, share your photos with your family, social media, anything! YOU JUST GOT MARRIED and it’s a huge deal! Let’s celebrate and remember your big life event with printing out some of your favorite shots for your gallery wall, for home decor, for your coffee table, etc. 

Time for a Timeline Meeting?
Shoot me an email at hello@worksbysarahjane.com and I'm more than happy to help :)

Timeline Building

Just to help get you started with putting together your wedding day timeline here's some sample timelines to use. (Click on the title to view more)


Portraits before ceremony 

1:30 - Photographer arrives
2:30 - Hair & makeup done. Get into dress
3:00 - First look & couples portraits
3:30-4:00 Wedding Party portraits
4:00-4:30 Family portraits
5:00 - Ceremony 
5:30 - Cocktail hour, Additional couples portraits
Reception Events
9:30/10ish - Photographer departure


Portraits After ceremony 

2:00 - Photographer arrives
3:00 - Hair & makeup done. Get into dress
3:30 - First look & couples portraits
4:00- 4:30 Wedding Party portraits
4:30 Done with portraits
5:00 - Ceremony 
5:30 - Family portraits, Additional couples portraits, Reception Events
10ish - Photographer departure


No First Look 

2:30 - Photographer arrives
3-4 - Getting ready
4:00 - Wedding party portraits - side 1
4:15-  Wedding party portraits - side 2
4:30 Done with portraits
5:00 - Ceremony 
5:30-6:30 Family portraits, Couples portraits, Reception Events
10:30 - Photographer departure

* Please note sunset time on your wedding day
-If sunset is around the time of your ceremony, I strongly recommend doing a first look so we don't run out of natural light for formal portraits (or making your ceremony earlier).


No First Look (6 hr. Coverage)

2:00 - Photographer arrives
2-3:30 - Getting ready + detail photos
3:00-3:20 - Wedding party portraits - side 1
3:20-3:40 -  Wedding party portraits - side 2
3:45 Done with portraits
4:15 - Ceremony 
4:45-5:45 Family portraits, Couples portraits
6:00- Reception Events
7 or 7:30- Golden Hour Photos
8:00 - Photographer departure

* Please note sunset time on your wedding day
-If sunset is around the time of your ceremony, I strongly recommend doing a first look so we don't run out of natural light for formal portraits (or making your ceremony earlier).


First Look (6 hr. Coverage)

2:00 - Photographer arrives
2-3:00 - Getting ready + detail photos
3:00 - First look + some bridals
3:20-3:40 -  Wedding party portraits - side 2
3:20-3:45 Wedding party
3:45 - 4:15 Family portraits 
4:30 Ceremony
5:00 - Reception Events/ Cocktail Hour
7 or 7:30- Golden Hour Photos
8:00 - Photographer departure

* Please note sunset time on your wedding day
-If sunset is around the time of your ceremony, I strongly recommend doing a first look so we don't run out of natural light for formal portraits (or making your ceremony earlier).


Elopement Portraits Before Ceremony

4 Hour Coverage:
1:00 - Photographer arrives
1-1:45 - Getting ready + detail photos
2:00 - First Look
2:15 -  Family portraits 
2:45 - Prepare for Ceremony
3:00 - Ceremony
3:30 -5pm Reception, Hang out, Cake Cutting, etc.

* Please note sunset time on your wedding day
-If sunset is around the time of your ceremony, I strongly recommend doing a first look so we don't run out of natural light for formal portraits (or making your ceremony earlier).


Elopement Portraits After Ceremony

4 Hour Coverage:
1:00 - Photographer arrives
1-2:00 - Getting ready + detail photos
2:30 - Ceremony
3:00 -  Family portraits 
3:15-3:30 - Bridal Portraits
3:45 -5pm - Reception, Hang out, Cake Cutting, etc.

* Please note sunset time on your wedding day
-If sunset is around the time of your ceremony, I strongly recommend doing a first look so we don't run out of natural light for formal portraits (or making your ceremony earlier).

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!

Other Wedding Day Topics

Second Shooters!! 

Second photographers are great to have in certain situations. Here are some times when it might be a good option to hire a second photographer. Also keep in mind that I would be the one to find another photographer to help me out throughout the day, so you don’t have to worry about finding one :) 

If you’re not having a first look and all the portraits are after the ceremony. During cocktail hour, I would be capturing all family, wedding party, and bridal portraits, while the second photographer captures cocktail hour with candid shots. 

If you’re not having a first look and you want the moment down the aisle captured double. So that first reaction would be mega covered.
Most of the time, if you’re not having more than 200 people and are having a first look, you don’t really need a second shooter. They are usually $50/hr so you guys can save a little money :) 

When it’s a good idea to want a second shooter:

Emergency Kit Ideas. 

So I wrote a blog post all about what to bring in case of an emergency on your wedding day and just little things to help prepare you for anything.  You can never be too prepared! 

Read the Blog Post

Vendor List

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!

Wedding Planners

I've worked with LCM Weddings and Events in the past and Logan is my favorite wedding planner. GREAT communication, amazing attention to detail, and your new best friend. Totally recommend checking this wedding planning team out! They can handle anything! 


Greatest Adventure is known for their gorgeous planning and design specifically for amazing Elopements. If you're eloping in Mt. Rainier, over on the Olympic Peninsula, anything, these guys totally got you and will make your day PERFECTLY PNW AND GORGEOUS. Please book them! 

Added Details

Added Details is a super awesome wedding planner and day of coordinator! I've worked with them before and she's absolutely great with communication and making sure everything runs smoothly. Highly recommend! 

Bushel + Bee are the best wedding planners you'll ever meet. Devony is a dream and SO great at communication! She helps with vendor coordination and communication, making sure you're feeling super great, and goes above and beyond her duties. Love love love her and her team!!!!! 


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 you'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 talented! Knows his way around florals and is so creative. He’ll totally make your floral wedding dreams come true! Located in Yakima but totally travels. 

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!

Keira Grech Floral Design

Keira is such a wonderful lady and I've been working with her on a styled shoot- so amazing and her work is absolutely stunning! Highly recommend checking her out! Based in Ellensburg. 

My Garden Over floweth 

My Garden Over Floweth is absolutely incredible! Located in Wenatchee, they can seriously make all your flower dreams come true. Loved working with them at weddings and they make super epic florals. 

New Leaf Floral Design 

I just met Camille at a wedding and she's the sweetest soul ever and makes incredible floral arrangements!! She knows exactly what her clients dream of and she brings it all to life. Super talented and such an amazing person. Highly highly recommend! Also located in the Seattle area! 


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.

Layered Cake Artistry

Layered Cake Artistry is incredible. Super styled and trendy cakes and their design work is just amazing!! They do all kinds of desserts and look oh so delicious! 


I worked with David at a huge wedding last summer and he was AMAZING! He keeps the crowd 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.


Frank Giovetti 

Frank is so unique and amazing! He does it all from a simple and gorgeous guitar playing for your ceremony and cocktail hour with his smooth vocals, and then an absolute energy generator for your DJ party reception time. He keeps the party going and is really awesome! Highly recommend! 

Otto-Matic Mobile Music

Otto-Matic comes highly recommended as well. They have 4 different DJs on their team  ( I love Justin the best!) and all their available dates are listed on their website. Super great! 

Jay the DJ is so amazing and an awesome DJ! His transitions into songs are some of my favorites and he's super easy to work with, your hype man, and is super flexible. Also an awesome dancer haha Highly recommend! 

Photo booths

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 to work with and so friendly. They have tons of hilarious props and dancing lights too! Based out of Spokane.


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! Based out of Seattle. 

Super awesome people at Drunken Pixel and they have TONS of fun props to have fun with! Great backdrops and really cool people. Based out of Seattle. 


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!

Such amazing macrame wedding arch designs and fun things you can implement into your boho-style wedding. Super great and fun! I had the pleasure of shooting their new spring 2020 line and the arches are SO gorgeous, unique, and easy to put up. So cool! 

Royal Flush Portable Luxury Restrooms

If you need to rent luxury restrooms for your wedding day, look no further than Royal Flush. Their bathrooms are air-conditioned, clean, and provide everything (also smell great). Easy delivery and pick up as well. 


This husband and wife team (formally known as RoamArrow Wedding Films) 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!


The Reeds Film

The Reeds Film make absolutely stunning wedding videos that capture the overall vibe of your wedding day. They are based in Seattle and I seriously hope to work with them one day! Totally take a look at their gorgeous work on their website. 

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.

Aziz Studios

Aziz Studios is a husband and wife team as well, and they are so professional, capture super gorgeous videos, and are so wonderful to work with. We shot a wedding together last year and they are very flexible, communicate well, and only capture the best! 

Hair & Makeup

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!


If you're eloping and want someone to help make your hair and makeup look amazing while on top of a mountain- Anne is your girl! Her team makes you look adventure ready and oh so great! I can't wait to work with her for our vow renewal next year! 


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!

Sophia and her team are incredible and oh so sweet! They'll even bring some touch up makeup for grooms if they need it. Sophia is amazing, awesome to work with, and is so talented with hair and makeup. 


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 watercolor 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!

Pet Care: Dogs 

Okay, if you want to include your furbabies in your wedding, Wags and Garland are PERFECT. Their team helps put your pets into your wedding (like during the ceremony) and then watch them for you so you don't have to worry about them! SO much fun and highly recommend. They totally rock! 



Emerald City Cocktails 

Emerald City Cocktails are absolutely amazing and can make any drinks you want! They have such great communication, style, and always take care of you. I can't recommend them enough! 


Brian from Dare to Dream Events is awesome and super nice. I've worked with him at an intimate wedding and he does everything from signature cocktails to serving up all the spirits all night long. Super nice guy! 

Dare to Dream Events 

Strings / Orchestra  

Puget Sound Strings 

Puget Sound Strings are absolutely wonderful and can play any song in a quartet or trio. All their songs you can hear on their website and I always highly recommend these guys for an elegant cocktail hour and ceremony ambiance. 


Grand Exits 

Superior Celebrations

For all your Sparkler and confetti needs for your grand exit, I highly recommend Superior Celebrations. They have a wide selection for your send off and are great quality without spending a ton of money. 

NOTE: For Sparkler send offs- GET THE 36" LONG SPARKLERS. The 20" is not long enough. :)  



Sarah Jane

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!