Early planning stages

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Consider getting a trial done of both hair and make-up and, if possible, take pictures of the trial at multiple angles to see how it looks in photos. And to make your beautiful rings look their best, don’t neglect your hands and nails.

Carefully consider the pros & cons of doing a first look. Weigh the options thoroughly. Regardless of your decision, plan as many pre-ceremony photos as possible in the timeline of the day to shorten the period needed for formal photos after the ceremony (get the party started quicker!)

Consider the pros & cons of an unplugged ceremony. Click here to learn more about this new trend.

Think about the look and feel you want for your family photos, wedding party photos, and portraits of the two of you. What do you want for the backdrop? Do you want traditional, formal poses or do you want something a bit more on the lighthearted side? What will be most comfortable for those involved?

If you or your bridal party is considering tanning (real or fake), do not make this a last minute decision. Work with a professional salon and start early to ensure you get the results you want. Then, stay out of the sun in the days before the wedding (and your bridal party) to ensure you do not have odd tan lines.


Email/communicate to everyone that will be part of the formal family wedding pictures and explain when and where they should plan to be for these pictures. We will work together to develop the list and timeline through your wedding questionnaire and pre-wedding meeting.

Have a family representative on each side available and able to recognize and organize people in and out of the family photos. Have an announcement that reminds all family members that will be in the photo session to stay in their seats after the ceremony.

Communicate with your photographer before finalizing the timeline (and possibly even invitations). The best photos are created with the highest quality of light. Nothing is impossible, but the better the light, the better the pictures. Your photographer can help guide you to when the natural light is predicted to be the best on your wedding day.

Getting Ready

Consider the room that you are getting ready in. Does it provide a good backdrop? Is the quality of the light good (windows/natural light, sheer curtains are great)? Keep the room clean and tidy throughout the process of getting ready (and ask your attendants for help here). Bags, food, and clothing scattered around will be in your images if that is how the room looks. Consider what everyone will wear during the hair and make-up part of getting ready (think matching robes), if this is important to you. Be sure others are dressed before you. Mom will look better helping to put your dress on if she is dressed for the day and not still in sweats.

wedding rings on piano

Have the details that will be photographed together and ready for the start of the photography time. Have the dress ready and consider a nice hanger. Have the tags removed from shoes. Have the flowers, rings, jewelry, garter, veil, perfume, invitations, gifts, notes, hand written vows, something old/new/borrowed/blue, or other important or heirloom type items together.

Have hair and makeup come to you if possible. This limits travel, reduces the effects of wind and the elements outside, saves time, and allows for more photo opportunities.

Choose all the appropriate undergarments for your big day. From the slip, to the bustier, to shape wear…what you are wearing underneath your gorgeous dress matters. Those items play a major supporting role…literally!

Bring your favorite music to enjoy while you are getting ready. This is a time to de-stress and have fun!

Have an emergency kit handy – think baby wipes, safety pins, bobby pins, pain reliever, and more. The knot put together a great list here.

Time considerations

Plan time for pinning boutonnieres (and have the “pinner” watch this if they are not familiar with how to pin one)

Plan time for travel. If you have more than one location, allow for traffic and plan to arrive everywhere early rather than right on time. Moving around in your dress will take a bit longer than you are used to.

Work with your photographer and coordinator/planner to ensure you have the proper time allotted for the group and family photos you want, both before and after the ceremony. Also, consider the time you want/need for portraits of the two of you together.

Will you do these in the same location as the other photos? If not, how long will it take you to get to the other location?

If we are doing pictures of you and your bridal party outside at the ceremony venue before the ceremony, we need to be done (or at least out of site) 30 – 45 minutes in advance, or risk guests seeing you before the ceremony.


Drink and eat! Sounds silly, but the day moves so fast that it is easy to forget. Have snacks and water available during the pre-ceremony time. Drink plenty of water in the days preceding your wedding. Water is known to do wonders for your skin and your energy level.

Be mindful of your posture. When I’m posing you for formals, I have no problem reminding people to stand up straight, however I can’t interrupt the ceremony if I notice you slouching.

Relax…I know it’s easier said than done, but when you’re relaxed and happy, it makes for some gorgeous photographs.

Don’t be afraid to laugh or show emotion…this is your wedding day! Emotion is good!

What are the top 5 things that are most important to you about your wedding day? Wedding planning can become overwhelming. It is important to remember what is most important to you as a couple and incorporate the things that are special and define you.