Planning Tips



The following tips are suggestions which can enhance your wedding photographs and wedding experience. Keep in mind, they are merely suggestions based on our attendance at more than 100 weddings, and we will perform at full capacity in whatever situations work best for your plans.

Plan pre-preparation festivities.

Plan fun bridesmaids and groomsmen events before you have to get ready. Golfing, breakfast or brunch, and mimosa toasts can be great photo opportunities with the most special people in your wedding. After all, your wedding is so much more than the ceremony and reception; it’s all the little moments that lead up to the primetime events!

Consider the photo opportunities available at your preparation site.

Great photography can take place as you slip into your gown, put on your veil and spend those last moments with your family before leaving for the church. The more beautiful your surroundings, the more elegant your photographs. Many brides choose to get ready at a bed & breakfast or hotel with a nice interior and grounds; we can then have easy access to lovely locations for shooting portaits of the bride, her family and bridesmaids before the ceremony.

Get ready early.

Plan to be finished with hair and make-up 1.5 hours before you need to leave for the ceremony. We can then spend time completing bridal portraits (including bridesmaids and bride’s family), saving time between the ceremony and reception. If you book our assistant photographer, the assistant will do the same with the groom.

Allow enough time for portraits after the ceremony.

Assuming we complete a majority of your bridal/groom portraits prior to the ceremony, plan 1.5 hours (not including travel time) between the ceremony and reception to photograph formal family portraits and full bridal party shots. This way, all we have to photograph post-ceremony is combined family and complete bridal party shots. We can spend most of the post-ceremony time on portraits of the newly-married couple at the ceremony site and an additional location. A cocktail hour at the reception site takes care of your guests while they wait for your arrival and announcement.

Make a list of the formal family shots you want at the ceremony site.

We recommend all photographs of extended family (grandparents, uncles, cousins, etc.) be taken immediately following the ceremony. We will do this quickly and efficiently if you have a list of the various groupings you want. We will then release extended family members to the reception and photograph the immediate family, followed by the bridal party. Don’t try to gather large extended family groups at the reception - it takes a long time to gather them, and someone is always in the bathroom!

Consider a formal invitation to your family portrait session.

Quite often, asking your family members to remain at the church for pictures is not enough. Someone always forgets and heads to the reception. Consider including a small, elegant, business-card-sized notice in with invitations for your family. We can also provide this for you upon request.

Think about alternate locations for portraits.

If your ceremony and reception sites are not the most photogenic, research nearby outdoor locations for portraits. We can help with this in most popular locations.

Consider a pre-ceremony bride and groom portrait session.

We knows this goes against the old "seeing the bride before the ceremony" adage, but if you are having an evening event or are short on time between the end of your ceremony and the beginning of your reception, this suggestion is a great time-saver. We’ve done this several times at the request of the bride and groom and it has always worked extremely well. We’ve gotten some great shots of the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time in this situation. In fact, such images are usually much more heartfelt and moving than photos of the groom's first reaction in the church. Just something to consider for those late afternoon or evening ceremonies ...

Keep your receiving line simple.

A receiving line with all your family and wedding party can take an hour if you have 150 or so guests. Many couples now include just their parents in the receiving line to save time. Some couples are nixing the receiving line altogether, opting to go table to table immediately following dinner.

Plan a nice exit from the church.

Pose petals, birdseed, a release of butterflies or doves, even bubbles makes a great photo opportunity as you descend the steps of the church. Keep in mind, this mock exit is done immediately following your recessional or receiving line. Then we head back inside for your church portraits.