This guide is here to help you. It is constantly being updated with new vendors I work with and love. If you have a vendor you love, let me know!
Photographer check list
Pay Deposit | Set up date for engagement photos (if applicable) | create pinterest board | create must have shot list | create family photos list | Set up timeline building phone call | set up one on one consultation | send final timeline | pay final invoice
The month before the wedding I will be sending out a questionnaire for you to fill out. It will include a spot for your must have shot list and family photos list.
Preparing for your engagement session
Engagements sessions are supposed to be one of the fun parts of planning a wedding and a fun way for us to connect before your wedding day. There are so many benefits to an engagement session including getting to know each other, seeing how you interact in front of the camera, finding out what makes you laugh and feel comfortable, and the poses that are best for you as a couple.
I consider engagement photos the ultimate date night. Get all dolled up, get your engagement photos done, then finish with dinner or drinks. If you are doing a trial run for your hair and make up, I also recommend you do that the day of the engagement session. This gives you the chance to see how your make up will look in photos.
Choosing your attire
Don't choose a dress that is too short, it will limit your poses.
Bring two outfits for variety
Wear solids vs patterns, patterns can be distracting
If you wear heels, bring comfy shoes when walking
Red gives a very romantic vibe
Color coordinate, but don't wear the same color
On a side note: I love seeing how my couples use their engagement photos for their save the dates/invitations. If you want to send me one, my address is 6658 Green River Drive Unit A Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80130
Must have picture list
Create a list for me of must have pictures and also things happening at your wedding that you want to make sure are captured. Here are some things to think about and things to let me know
-putting dress on, who is zipping you up?
-Any fun outfits or robes for you and your girls?
-If you are religious, I have had brides stand in the middle and all your ladies circle around you, put a hand on you, and pray over you.
-Is there anything special happening during your ceremony?
-Are the groomsmen going to hug the groom at the end of the aisle? Secret handshake?
-Anything happening during your ceremony I need to be on the lookout for
-How intrusive do you want me to be? Do you want me up closer to get the picture? Do you want pictures from behind you with your guests in the picture? Do you want me to stay far away from you and not in the aisle? Is there restrictions at your ceremony spot?
-Make a list of the different people and groups you want pictures with so I can hold that paper and call people out to make it run quickly and smoothly. Please put names and relation to you. Example: Judy (mother of the bride) and John (father of the bride) with bride and groom
-Create a Pinterest board for me of pictures and poses you like so I not only have a list but also have a vision of the style of pictures you are drawn to
First looks: Do you or don't you?
Want to do first look photos or stay more traditional? This is personal preference. I know from getting married that this is one thing I struggled to make a decision on. I ended up not doing a first look, but looking back wish I had. Don't let anyone pressure you, make the decision that is best for you as a couple. Below are some pros to a first look:
1) You get to spend some intimate time together before a crazy day
2) Allows for a more flexible timeline. You spend less time during the cocktail reception taking photos and can actually join your guests for half of the cocktail hour. I know I chose yummy apps that I didn't get to eat.
3) With more time and less pressure for your photos before hand, you often get more photos of the two of you. Often, couples can feel pressure to rush their photos after the ceremony because they feel as if everyone is waiting on them.
3) It takes some of the pressure off you at the ceremony. Most people say that they want to see his reaction when he sees you walk down the aisle. You will still get that reaction when he sees you in the first look, but it will be a more genuine reaction because you don't have a hundred people staring at you.
4) People make the first look a special moment with more than just pictures. There are a bunch of different things you can do. One of my favorites is the bride and groom sit in a chair back to back. They both read a love letter that the other one wrote for them. When they are done reading their emotional letter, they get to turn around and see each other. Are you a singer? You could write a song for him. You could exchange your vows in advance privately. You can really customize it to you!
Planning your first look
So, you have decided you want to do a first look...now plan it!
Pick a spot: when you go in for your final walk through, pick a place at the venue. I can also pick a spot for you day of. Keep in mind you want a secluded spot where people won't see you. Typically this happens around the time that guests are starting to arrive. During your walk through, ask your contact at the venue. They should be able to point you in the right direction of a good spot on the property.
Making it special: This part you get to customize to you. Do you want to sit back to back and read love letters you wrote? Do you want to exchange gifts? Do you want your family to write you letters? What are you going to do to make this moment super special to you?
Off-site first looks: Did you know you can have your first look off-site. Is there a gorgeous spot near your venue? Let's go there instead! Just plan enough time for this
Don't want to do a first look? Some people do a first touch. A first touch is when you don't actually see each other but stand on either side of a door or wall and hold hands. Most people will write love letters to read while holding hands. Then, you don't turn around and see each other. This usually happens right before the ceremony.
Day of tips
- Eat a breakfast that is high in protein to keep you full while getting ready
- Make a playlist of your favorite songs to keep you in a good mood while getting ready
- Bring snacks. Don't just bring snacks, but eat! Also, don't forget to bring some beverages even if it's just bottles of water
- Don't wear a shirt that you have to pull back off over your head when getting your makeup done. Try a robe or a tank top that can pull down vs up over your head. Don't want to mess it up!
- Guys are not the best about remembering what you tell them. Print out a timeline for him and his own to-do list
- Bring back up comfy shoes for dancing
- Bring your day of emergency kit
- Bring a steamer for the dresses. Don't wait till your ready to put them on to steam, as it takes some time. Delegate this to someone in advance. Even if the venue says they provide a steamer, I would bring one. I have been to venues where it didn't work or it was dirty.
- If you drink-bring a mini shooter bottle, you may need it!
- Bring extra stationary, such as invitations if you want detail shots of them
- Give an estimated of 30-minutes for me to walk around and get your details shots
- Estimate 30-45 minutes for last minute getting ready photos
- If you are doing a first look, estimate 30-45 minutes for that
- Estimate 30 minutes for party photos
- Estimate 30 minutes to 1 hour for family photos depending on size of the family
- Don't forget to add signing your marriage license
- Add golden hour/sunset bride and groom photos to your timeline. Google the city and date sunset and it will tell you the sunset time on your specific date.
- The majority of ceremonies are around 30 minutes long
- If you plan your ceremony too late, you might not have good light left for natural light photos and flash will have to be used or you may end up doing your photos indoor or in the dark outside Always give yourself an extra 30-minutes buffer for the ceremony, as it is very common to start the ceremony a little late.
Set up a phone call with me to chat about your timeline! I am here to help
Family Photos Timeline
How long this take will depend on several factors including your timeline and size of family.
Option #1: No first look, all photos during cocktail reception
Most people only allot around an hour for their photos and cocktail reception, we can absolutely fit in all photos within the one hour. You will have less bride and groom photos if you have a larger family. I always recommend adding a short 15-20 minute bride and groom sunset session during the reception to get more bride and groom photos.
Option #2: First look followed by family and party photos
Some people who do a first look opt for all party and family photos to be taken before the ceremony. Give yourself a full two hours before the ceremony at least for detail shots, first look, and then family photos. If desired, at bride and groom sunset photos to your timeline.
Option #3: First look, ceremony, family photos during cocktail reception
Give yourself 1 hour-1.5 hour for getting ready and first look before the ceremony. Then give yourself one hour during the cocktail hour for family photos. If desired, at bride and groom sunset photos to your timeline.
Creating Your Family Photo Shot List
Here are some things to think about to help your family and party photos fun smoothly
- Create the list in the order you want to shoot in, so that I am not having to guess or all over the place
- Do you want your family photos taken first or your party photos?
- When creating the list, make sure to add people's names next to who they are identifying them. This will help me when calling people out. Example: bride and groom with nephew (John) and niece (Heather)
- Do you want an entire group photo? Meaning, both the bride and grooms' families all together?
- Think about who you want formal photos with and which family members can wait until a less formal picture at the reception
- Always let me know if there are sensitive situations I need to be aware of such as divorces, people who don't get along, deaths or situations among the family. I never want to accidently say the wrong thing and upset someone
- Do you want all family photos to include both the bride & groom or would you like some with just the bride/just the groom with people?
- Make sure to note if you want some non-traditional fun or funny pictures and also Pinterest or send me an example of those. Every couple and their friends/families have different senses of humor and things they find funny, so please help guide me on this one!
Don't forget to create an emergency kit and bring it they day of the wedding. Things happen! I have indeed had a bride rip her dress right before the ceremony and no one had anything! So, let's be prepared. Here are some ideas for what to include
Fashion tape | sewing kit | tweezers | extra earring backs | baby wipes | bobby pins | breath mints | tampons | advil | tums | bandaids | super glue | clear nail polish | lotion | hairspray | chapstick | q tips | deodorant | extra contacts | pen | snacks
** bonus: I totally put shooters in my kit and was glad I did. I was in serious need of a drink 15 minutes before walking down the aisle.
There are lots of good websites to give your guests all the information they need including Zola and The Knot. I personally used Zola for my own wedding and was happy. It made everything very easy. I even had people go to the website to RSVP. Here are some ideas of things to include on your wedding website:
- Day of information
- Are you hosting any other events? Information about those
- Directions to your venue
- Do you have a hotel block? Information about how to book
- Some of your favorite activities for guests out of town to go enjoy
- Your registry: they let you pull items from other stores and registries
Doing a boudoir session then creating a book for your significant other can be a great gift for the first night of your honeymoon! I do boudoir, check out more info about sessions here
Since I don't offer this service, here are some recommendations for vendors to check out
DJs & Music
Booking your honeymoon
Hallie with White Glove Destinations
Hallie is a travel planner who can help you find and book the right destination for your honeymoon. She can help you book anywhere you want to go. The best part, her services are complimentary to you! Reach out to her and let her know that I am your photographer and she will help you out.
Name Change Check List
When getting your marriage license, go ahead and buy certified copies because you will need them to change your name
Change your social security card
Change your license at the DMV
Change your passport
Change your bank accounts
Change name through employer/payroll
Change name through landlord/mortgage company
Change name on health insurance/doctor's office
Change your airline accounts
Cell phone company
Home services: tv/internet/utilities
There are companies out there like hitchswitch that help you change your name
Don't be afraid to text me to ask me questions, even if they aren't photography related. I may not always have the answers, but I am happy to help in any way I can. I am always here to chat for anything you need! I mean this. If you are reading this, shoot me a text!
Printing your photos
I do offer printing through my website in your gallery. You are also more than welcome to print on your own. I do not offer photo books through my site, so below are some recommendations of places to do this
- Milk Photo Albums
- Artifact Uprising
- Amore Albums
What is the turn around time for my photos to be delivered?
Confirm with your contract, but the normal contracted terms is one month. I always try my best to get them delivered quicker than that if I can.
Will I get a sneak peak of my photos?
I don't contract that you are guaranteed a sneak peak, but I love doing this for my couples and try to get you a couple pictures to have to post within a few days of the wedding. Please note, that I am still editing your gallery and these sneak peaks may look slightly different than the final finished product.
What formats will my pictures be delivered?
Every package includes an online gallery and a flash drive of your photos. This are in JPEG format in high resolution.
Can I order my prints through you?
Yes! I do offer printing through my website. It is not required that you print through me. You have the option to pick your photos and print from your online gallery. There are prints, canvas prints, metal prints, framed prints, and card options.
How long will my online gallery be available?
Your online gallery will only be available for 30-days. Please make sure to download your photos!
What if I lose my pictures in the future? Will you always have a back up?
No. In your contract it does state that it is the client's responsibility to save and keep their photos. Future requests for copies of these photos will not be available to the client.
Always check with me, as I may have them. But it is not guaranteed.
Will I get black and white photos in my gallery?
Yes, I pick out my favorites and put them into black and white. If there are photos that are not in black and white and you want them to be converted to black and white, you have 14-days to let me know and I can add those to your gallery.
Can I have the RAW/unedited versions of my photos?
No. I do send unedited photos and you are not able to pay more to get them.
Can you re-edit a photo?
Yes, I will re-edit or make adjustments up to 5 photos per hour booked. If you want a different style and would like a re-edit of the entire gallery it is $50 per hour booked.