Congratulations, you’ve decided to marry your person! And congratulations to me, too, because you’ve chosen me to join you for the ride. Words cannot describe how honoured I am to be a part of your love story. I can’t wait to get to know you and capture your wedding day.
There’s so much to think about between now and then, and I’m sure your heads are already spinning - making decisions about things you didn’t even realize existed. So to make it a little easier, I’ve created this to help guide you through the whole process!
This guide will be filled with all the things that I have to offer as a Photographer and recent newly-wed. I’ve made it as comprehensive as possible so that you spend less time worrying about the details and more time getting excited for your wedding!
This is no rule book, but rather some simple advice from a pal who has seen a wedding or two, aimed at preparing you as much as possible so that when The Big Day rolls around, you can kick back and enjoy the moment (and the presence of all your nearest and dearest, of course).
If the thought of making lovey eyes at your fiance in front of a camera makes you want to never be out in public again, then it’s probably a good idea to book an engagement session. Lucky for you, I've added a complimentary engagement session to each of my Elopement and Wedding Packages!
Not only is it an incredible way for us to have a bit of fun, but spending some time together calms the nerves, inspires confidence in front of the camera, and allows us to create beautiful keepsakes in a chilled atmosphere. Plus who doesn’t love a new profile pic!
We’ll get to know each other better, come away from it having a better sense of how we work together, and be ready to roll for wedding day.
Bonus: You’ll have beautiful images to add to wedding invitations or save-the-date cards!
What to Expect from me
I believe it’s my job to make sure that you feel calm, authentic, and engaged with me so I will absolutely go above and beyond to ensure this is the case. I will always provide direction so you don’t feel or look awkward in any of your photographs.
To get ready for your day I use a variety of tools to ensure I am beyond prepared and your expectations are exceeded! The biggest one being your wedding questionnaire!
This helps me gather all the details I need from you prior to your wedding. So when your big day comes all that will be expected from you for your photos, is to show up!
Throughout your day so many "moments" will fly by. You can expect that as you're doing your thing, I will right there with you to document these moments, big or small to curate an amazing, timeless gallery of images for you to cherish over your many years of marriage!
Jumping off track a little here, let's quickly talk about something I wish you could expect from me. I would love for you to expect me to ensure that your timeline will be right on schedule, that there won't be a single hiccup or hoop to jump through, and that your day will be a "textbook" version of perfect. But as much as I'd love to brag about how well I can round up a crowd, some things are beyond my control just as much as they are beyond yours.
So as you plan and strive for your "perfect" I'll share what I know for sure.
Your wedding will unfold exactly as it’s meant to and whether that is exactly as planned or not, it will be perfect. Every moment and every little thing about it will be beautiful and most importantly your love for one another will shine.
Now to bring it back. So what exactly can you expect from me, your Wedding Photographer?
You can expect my full support during your entire planning process, and yes this means as many texts, emails or phone calls as you feel necessary to help plan every detail until your hearts are content.
You can expect my full preparation, as well as undivided attention and efforts as I chase you around on your wedding day to create your dream photos. Trust me, I won't leave until the job is done.
You can expect that we're a team, so any curve ball thrown your way is also being thrown toward mine and we will tackle it together. I am your support, your assistant, and your "whatever you need" on your Wedding day because I refuse to see you let down.
Lastly, you can expect a friend. I am here for you, wedding related or not. Planning a wedding can be stressful and full of hidden challenges. So whether you need a break or an extra hand, please, please, please, reach out if you need, I mean it!
"How do I plan a Wedding that makes everyone happy?"
- Simply don't. It's YOUR day.
- Tune out the noise that says you should invite people based on social obligations! This is your day, you should stay true to how you want to do it.
- There is no shame in asking for help. If you need to practice asking for help in small incremental steps, start now so that you’re a pro at calling in some big favours in the leadup to the wedding. And, guess what? People who love you will be thrilled to help!
Timelines make your day flow smoothly, giving your guests, staff, and vendors a general idea of when and where everything will pan out. With timelines as with weddings, there is no one-size-fits-all approach so it’s super important to make a timeline that works for you. If you have a wedding planner, they’ll be able to help you create something that aligns with your vision of the perfect day. But one thing to remember is that things almost always take longer than you think they will. Allow some time in between events so you have a second to breathe, kiss your partner, and drink some water.
If you're able, try to structure your timeline so that we’re shooting your portraits at a time that will similarly reflect towards the time in wedding photos that inspire you. For example, if your Pinterest Inspo board is filled with portraits taken in soft evening light, don't schedule your portraits for mid-day! This will help to ensure I can create those dreamy images that you've been looking for.
Wanting evening photos but it doesn't fit with your Wedding day timeline? Or just wanting to flow with the day and not worry about portraits? No problem. Let’s talk about scheduling a Bridals Session on a day prior to or after your wedding.
Bridals sessions are perfect for getting beautiful photos of either brides or grooms in their wedding best before (or even after!) the big day. No time pressure, no waiting guests, no stress. Just you, me, my camera, and a creative adventure. Get a good trial run for your makeup or dress or tux or shoes, pick a location you love (remember it doesn’t have to be anywhere near your ceremony venue!), and I’ll meet you there!
At once calm and chaotic, the getting ready part of the day has all of the feels crammed into a couple of nervous and tender hours. With all of the action buzzing around the bride and groom, it’s easy to find yourself in a really chaotic, crowded, and cluttered space that inadvertently adds stress to the situation. Considering the right space for this part of the day is more important than most people think, which is why I recommend thinking about this early.
The factors that contribute to getting good photos are also the ones that contribute to a more relaxed day for everyone. Here’s what I’ve learned we need:
- A clutter-free space
- Good natural light and lots of it! TIP: A big window is ideal when taking portraits of people getting their makeup done. (The makeup artist will love the extra light, too!)
- A space with an interior style that suits your own. If at home, don’t forget to get rid of all of the day-to-day clutter like electric fans or socks or dog beds. Fill the space with flowers, your favourite things, and just a couple of your favourite people.
- Enough time (about one hour for each partner, but longer if you’re rolling with a big crew). I’ll be sure to show up right as the finishing touches are being placed, then I'll head on over to your fiancé to spend some time with them too. TIP: A great way to maximize my time is to put all of the things aside that I need for the detail shots. The ring, the shoes, the cuff links, the love letters - put it all aside so I can arrange them and swap through quickly.
- While each of you are getting ready, chances are you’ll be filled with nerves. As you won’t have each other for comfort in these moments, consider writing a love letter for your fiance to read before the ceremony. It’ll be a nice little keepsake, make for some incredibly emotion-filled images before the ceremony, and help build the excitement in the leadup to the ‘I-do’s’
What is a first look? For couples, this is an opportunity for you and your fiancé to share a private moment without your guests, and allowing me to capture some of the unfolding awe and excitement between you.
First look's are a really fun opportunity for all of us to put our heads together and get creative, but they’re also so time sensitive. Planning is key to make sure that the light’s right and I can be in the right spot to capture the surprise and wonder of the moment. When you’re ready, let’s talk about where you’ll each stand, where I’ll be, and how we can tee everything up so the shot is absolutely perfect.
Following your first look is a great time to get those bride and groom portraits done as well, it gives me a chance to capture you both while your hair, makeup and outfits are fresh!
Who said you couldn't bring your crew? Have the bridal party tag along for your portraits so they can hop in at the end! We'll get all of your "must have" photos before the ceremony to ease any pressure or stress you might be feeling about rushing afterwards!
With you and your fiancé knowing you've got your portraits in the bag, you can loosen the tie, kick off the heels, and get silly with your friends and family for your remaining photos.
Bride & Groom Portraits
Whether you plan to do a first look or go the traditional route, it's important we talk portraits before your big day! It’s guaranteed that you’ll walk away from your wedding day with so many incredible memories in your pockets. What’s not guaranteed is that you’ll walk away from your wedding day with a portrait of yourselves that you’re both absolutely in love with - unless we set some time aside for it. So let’s give ourselves at least an hour (preferably an hour of the blue or golden persuasion), in a beautiful pre-scoped locale to make some magic together. And, for the record, I’m not opposed to sneaking away for portrait time more than once throughout the day.
There’ll be plenty of time for us to become friends before your big day, but if you’re a little unsure about spending time in front of the camera, let me know. Most people have some reservations about it and I always do my best to get to know you so that I can give you the kind of direction that feels authentic to you. I’ve got lots of prompts up my sleeve for the shy and the rambunctious alike, so you’ll never be left wondering what to do with yourselves.
Portraits like these allow you to create precious keepsakes, step back from the buzz, look into each other's eyes, and take a few grounding moments to yourselves.
The Bridal Party
If you have a fleet of bridesmaids or groomsmen (or both), it’s definitely worth setting aside some time to get some images of you and your lover with your fav people! Although time allotted will be unique for different bridal party sizes, setting aside at least 30-45 minutes for this is a perfect start! (You can always ask me for a more accurate time allotment specific to your party when planning your day)
A great time to have these photos taken is following your Bride and Groom Portraits. Bonus if they can be there during your portraits to help with a veil toss here and there. I'll never say no to an extra set of hands to fluff your dress!
TIP: If you plan to have your bridal party meet you, have a designated person in charge of rounding up the crowd and getting them to you, safe and sound! We don't want to leave anyone behind!
Depending on your own family constellation, there are any number of configurations we can photograph everyone in.
The most efficient way to ensure we don't miss anything, is for you to fill out the family shot list section of your questionnaire. I will take a printed out copy of this to your Wedding and ensure we check each shot off the list before moving onto the next group!
One thing that’s absolutely necessary for this part of the day to flow smoothly is that everyone knows it’s happening, everyone’s on board, and there’s someone designated to help herd everyone in the right direction at the right time. Each grouping will take approximately 2-3 minutes, so having an extra set of hands to help line up your fam will definitely help us stay efficient!
An ideal time to do this is immediately after the ceremony when you've got all of your family members in one place!
Just breathe, you're doing great.
As you walk down the aisle, or lean in for your first kiss, remember to take things slow. Nerves seem to make us speed up, so if you're feeling nervous just take a big breath in, then out and resist the urge to rush! Be mindful with your pace and just savour every moment!
An unplugged wedding is not only an amazing opportunity for your guests to disconnect from their devices and to connect to the present moment but they also help me get unobscured shots of you and the rest of the ceremony. There are so many pivotal moments that happen in the blink of an eye - if someone jumps out in front of me with their iPhone while you and the love of your life have your first kiss as forever partners, chances are you’ll have a big iPhone shaped blur in the foreground and I’ll miss the shot.
It’s hard to ask people to keep their devices in their pockets. And although the people you’ve invited undoubtedly love and respect you, it can sometimes be hard to disentangle ourselves from our technology. Set out little reminders for your guests to help nudge them in the right direction. Make some cute signs to put up, add a note to the programs, and let your celebrant know so they can remind them before the ceremony begins.
And tell them not to worry - I’m on the job of capturing some great images for everyone to take home.
Whether your ceremony is indoor or outdoor, there are a few simple but effective things that can be done to make sure that all of the images sparkle as bright as your memories of your wedding day.
If outdoors, let's consider:
- What time is your wedding, and what will the lighting be like at that time? Remember, the seasons change how much daylight we have to work with!
- What will your background look like? Can we make it pretty? Will there be anything that could cast shadows onto your faces?
- If I have more physical space to play around with I’ll be able to get a nice mix of different kinds of shots. Close ups, details, wide-angles, and various candid guests.
- Elevate the composition of your shots by having a symmetrical space. If you say your vows under an arch or between an arbour, your images will have that extra little aesthetic oomph.
If indoors, let's consider:
- What kinds of windows does your venue have? Do they use natural or artificial light? Sometimes artificial light can make things look really cold or clinical, but it’s possible to warm things up a bit by stringing up some warm festoon lights or candles.
- Are there any rules surrounding your place of worship (if this is where we’re having the ceremony) that I should know about? If you’re unsure, consult with your religious leader and ask them if they have any rules they’d like me to know about.
- Would you like me to avoid using flash?
- Do you have a preference as to how much I move around during the ceremony/reception? Would you like me to jump in the mosh or hang back?
The Reception & Dinner
The more I know about the layout of the venue and the kind of lighting that will be used, the better prepared I’ll be to make sure all of the details line up in favour of amazing images. Bonus if I am able to sneak into the venue to photograph the set-up a few minutes before your guests arrive!
From the details of where you’ll be sitting and what you have in the background, to where you’ll be in relation to the person giving speeches, all of this is super helpful for me to get a lay of the land and understand where to get the best shots. Will there be a sit-down dinner or will people be making their way around with snacks all night? Is it formal or more of a relaxed thing? If you’re having a DJ, will they be using their own lighting? The more fairy lights and candles and non-directional lighting the better, multi-coloured disco strobes don’t look good on guests or their food!
Also, most people don’t like to be photographed while they’re eating, so this is a good time for me to grab a quick bite too and be well-prepared for the rest of the night! Don't worry though, I'll be ready with my camera in hand for the speeches to start!
First Dance & Sparkler Exit
The first dance is one of the most tear-jerking moments of the day. For the best photos, have your DJ or Master of Ceremonies remind your guests to keep their phones put away!
Feeling shy about your first dance? Ditch the overhead lights in favour of sparklers, candles, and warm atmospheric lighting. Keep it cozy and comfortable for you both without the spotlight! A warm beam of light backlighting the two of you is a great alternative as well!
If you’re planning a sparkler exit, make sure I get the memo about this! It works best if there’s a designated sparkler hander outer so that everyone’s sparklers are burning bright together! If you’ve booked a venue that doesn’t allow for a sparkler exit, you could opt for bubbles or eco confetti -- just let me know so I can ensure there’s enough light available for the shot.
This is usually where my job ends, and I’ll leave everyone to party on into the wee hours while I head home super excited about all of the incredible moments I’ve captured throughout the day.
It will take approximately six weeks to select, edit, and deliver your gallery of photos after the wedding but I’ll be sure to send you a couple of sneak peaks within 24 hours so you can share them with family and friends while everyone’s still buzzing from the big day.
When I do deliver all of the images, it’s always such a special moment for everyone! A few of my couples have invited friends and family over for a special viewing event, it’s always amazing getting to re-live that day with your nearest and dearest.
Feel free to share your images with your guests so they can share them on their own social media. But please don’t forget to tag me! Not only does it help others find their way to my page, but it’s always so fun for me to see which snaps everyone loves most.
If you had ordered a Wedding Album with your package, I will soon be sending that off for creating! Favourite your top 24 images you love most in your gallery to give me an idea of what you'd like to see in your album.
Lastly, I want to thank you in advance for refraining from adding your favourite social media filters or any other filters when posting your images (it goes against the rules laid out in my contract and is a violation of Copyright Law).
I know that this has been a lot of information to digest, but please know that not all of it applies to every wedding. Sit down and have a discussion with your partner about what feels right for both of you, and don’t hesitate to get me on the line if you feel like you just need a human being to talk you through all of the text.
I’m so grateful you chose me and I can’t wait for your big day to roll around so we can start capturing some beautiful memories together!
I will always direct and pose you so you don’t feel or look awkward in any of your photographs
Send me your "must have" shots or wedding photo inspo before your big day if you have a vision in mind! Not sure what you want? Don't worry I've got you covered!
Stay connected with myself and your other vendors
I promise there is no such thing as too much information when it comes to your big day! Knowing all the details will help ensure I arrive to your wedding prepared!
Call me if you need ANYTHING
Seriously! I am ALWAYS here to help! Call, email, or text any time! I am here to help you in any way I can!
Write love letters to each other to open on the morning of your Wedding
UHM YES, I will absolutely be photographing this moment of pure sweetness.
Slow down and breathe
Don't forget to breathe! Walk slow, kiss slower, and enjoy every moment!