wedding day basics

The BIG Day

No doubt you have lots of questions about how your wedding day will turn out.  Tons of those questions…we can’t answer, BUT we can answer your photography questions!  So give this a read and hopefully you will have a great understanding of how we develop your timeline and how your day is going to be nothing short of PERFECTION!

All Day really means ALL DAY

If you want us there when the alarm goes off at 5 am and you are rolling out of bed with an EPIC case of bed head…we’ll be there.  (Although we can’t promise that pic won’t be put on the blog, website, facebook, etc. for the world to see!)  We also stay until the last event of the evening.  Whether that is the cake cutting, bouquet toss, first dance or whatever, we’ll be there.  Of course we like to stay and capture plenty of the party and blackmail, fun dance pictures also, so it’s not like we are running out of there as soon as that even ends.  We like to party too ya know?!?!?

The “Getting to the Gorgeous” Stage

If you need to make those salon/make-up appointments and are wandering how early you need to schedule them, here’s the short answer!

Regardless of whether or not you are doing a “first look” or not, you’ll need to start YOUR getting ready process about 6 hours before the ceremony.  (i.e. if your ceremony is at 5, you need to schedule yourself for hair and makeup around 11.).  We know, we know…that seems like a lot, but trust us….it all works out!

We usually shoot about an hour or so at the salon then take with us your dress, shoes, rings, jewelry, whatever you want detail shots of, head over to where you are getting dressed, shoot all the details, then have them back in the room and ready for you to put on as soon as you get there!  (Obviously it’s hard to get a shot of the dress by itself in all of it’s glory once you put it on!)

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

A benefit you have of hiring all angles is that you are guaranteed at least TWO photographers at every shoot.  And we always ensure that it is at least one guy and one girl.  This way while the bride and her maid’s are being made into princesses girls are there to document it and while the boys are being boys, drinking, golfing, playing basketball, football, or video games, they won’t have a girl cramping their style.  So whether you choose to take advantage of our guy photographer by sending them on beer runs or actually documenting the hilarious events that are part of a groom’s version of a wedding day is up to you, we are fine with either choice!  😉


Here is where brides and grooms need to make one major decision about their wedding day and how they want the photography timeline to flow.  Do you want a “first look?”

I assume we should probably address what exactly a “first look” is before you decide on whether you want it or not.  The first look is when you and your fiancé decide to see each other before the ceremony.  It is something we strive to keep intimate and special so as not to “ruin” the big reveal moment.  (Sorry mom’s we know you will be sad about missing this, but we trust that you will respect the bride and groom’s wishes of spending some special time just the two of them)

A first look is a chance to spend time alone on your wedding day.  Whether you are having a large wedding or the tiniest of tiny ceremonies, when you see each other, you will get the feeling that this moment was carved out specifically for you.  Away from guests, details and things that may distract your attention away from the gravity of that moment.  Just you and your fiancé, ready to spend forever together.

We know many brides worry about forsaking the moment the groom first sees his bride walk down the aisle but it really can be just as special if not more doing the first look.  Because you will have already seen each other you will be able to be so much more calm and relaxed and focus on the family and friends as well as your parents who are giving you away and be able to relax in the moment.

Of course we have to tell you about the BEST part of a couple electing a first look.  It lends to a much more relaxed photo time.  You guys won’t be stressed about hurrying to the reception, your families won’t feel like they are neglecting your out of town guests, and you can get straight to the reception and start the party as soon as the ceremony ends.  No making your guests wait forever for the star couple to arrive.

Of course as photographers, we prefer a first look.  But – honestly – it doesn’t matter to us either way.  More than anything, we want our couples to feel comfortable and at ease with whatever decision they make.  We simply want to explain the options because we know you guys will decide on whatever is best for the two of you.  So many times we think brides are over concerned with the “rules” of weddings, when in reality there is only one rule we feel you should live by:  DO WHAT MAKES YOU TWO THE HAPPIEST.  It’s your wedding day, so whatever you choose, just be happy in it.


Whether you have chosen to do a first look or not we strive to knock out as many pre-ceremony formals as possible.  So we strive to shoot the bride, brides maids, groom, groom’s men, flower girls, ring bearers’, ushers, etc. before the start of the ceremony.  This way we can cut down on the time needed after the ceremony and can get you to the reception sooner.

If you are doing a first look though, you can decide whether or not you want to do family formals before hand or not.  Some choose to do them before that way everything is completely done before and nothing is needed afterwards, but still some find it hard to coordinate getting that many people there that early especially older grandparents and such and just decide to let that be the only thing done after the ceremony as it only takes about 20-30 minutes tops.

DOWNTIME  (1 hour)

We cannot stress the value of this enough.  We purposefully build in roughly an hour of downtime into our wedding day schedule.  First and foremost this serves as a little bit of a buffer.  We have all been to weddings and nothing ever goes completely as planned!  Sometimes you are way ahead of schedule, and sometimes you are way behind.  Either way this gives us a nice cushion to work with should anything vary off course.

It also allows ample time for the bride to get tucked away long before guests start arriving and a chance for the girls to freshen up makeup and the groom and guys a chance to take off their jackets and cool off for a bit.

As photographers it also gives us the opportunity to switch out our gear and get it set up and ready for the ceremony as well as get positioned and ready for the big reveal!

CEREMONY  (30-60 min.)

Of course our goal is to get as many GREAT shots for you as we can get.  So we do whatever we have to in order to get that great shot!  But we are also incredibly respectful and realize that the day is not about us…it’s about you.  The last thing we want people to walk away with from your wedding is the thought of “did you see those photographers, they were so distracting!”  That is not at all our goal!  Granted if it is an outdoor ceremony, we will generally feel a little bit freer to move around but we have photographed many a wedding in churches where the rules are a little stricter and we are certainly happy to abide by whatever is asked of us!

POST-WEDDING (0-1.5 hours)

This time varies a little based on the timeline you chosen earlier in the day.  If you have elected to do a first look and family formals before hand, we will be straight away into the reception.  If you have elected to do a first look but family formals afterward, you can expect just about 30 minutes for that time.  If you did not do a first look, don’t worry; this is where YOUR time comes in!!!  We will generally spend about 30 minutes on the family formals immediately following the ceremony then about 15-30 minutes (depending on the size) with full bridal party pictures then about 30 minutes for the two of you and your special time together.   Here is where we create those sweet, romantic pictures that are going to be the ones that end up on your wall and in your album.  So we ALWAYS encourage couples to allot a good amount of time for this part of the day.  TRUST US, the extra 30 minutes is BEYOND worth it.  We know you won’t regret it!!!


Now it is time to P-A-R-T-Y!!!  We just want you to be in the moment and enjoy every last detail, guests, everything at your reception.  We promise we will get the shot, that’s why you hired us after all!!!  At this point we are just kind of playing it by ear.  When the DJ calls for the toasts and cake cutting, we’re there.  When the music starts for the long-awaited first dance, we’re there!  This is the best time for you to let loose and have a blast…this is your wedding day after all, CELEBRATE!  You’ve earned it.


Of course none of this is set in stone.  This is just a great jumping off point to start the discussion.  We just want to make sure that we find a timeline that both you and us can be comfortable working in.  It’s not about our happiness, but about the fact that you guys walk away with beautiful photos of a beautiful day and experience.  So let’s start the discussion!