The Complete Wedding Guide

This post is JAM packed with tons of wonderful information to get the best experience from your wedding photography! I always send out this information to each of my wedding clients but today I wanted anyone who's planning a wedding to get to know this information! So let's jump right in! 

ashely (1 of 1).jpg

First things first, I want you to know ALL the details of your wedding experience!

1. LET'S CHAT

We can grab coffee or a beer and talk about your wedding, life and all that jazz. We will make sure we mesh beautifully and are a good fit! Feel free to be honest with me about any questions you might have, I have a FAQ page and many blog posts to help plan your wedding. If you still have questions please don't hesitate to ask away!

2. FINALIZE BOOKING

So this happens when you have decided I am who you are looking for in a wedding photographer. I will send over the contract and a questionnaire that you can fill out details about your wedding day. Then I collect the 50% deposit and we are all set to rock and roll!

3. ENGAGEMENT SESSION

If you included an engagement session in your package then this is the fun part. This is like a warm up for your wedding day, you and your lover get comfortable in front and my lens and we adventure around. We will schedule the bridal or boudoir session (if you added one of those to the package) at the shoot so we can get to planning those details.

4. DELIVERY DAY

You'll receive your engagement photos within one month of the session via Pixieset from there you can download them and order prints! See an example of a Pixieset album here.

5. CHECK IN

As your wedding draws closer we will chat on the phone or over coffee about the final details of your wedding day. I want to help with the timeline so if you are hiring a planner be sure to keep me up to date! I’ve also added some tips to help with the timeline below!

6. THE BIG PARTY

It's party time! This is the day you've planned for so long! You are going to be surrounded by your friends and family who love you and having an incredible experience with your partner. I will capture those beautiful moments and feelings.

7. FINAL IMAGES

You'll receive your wedding photos within two months of your wedding day. In the meantime I will email  you a few sneak peeks within a week of your wedding. Get ready to relive those memories and emotions again. <3

8. THE FUTURE

I'm always a little sad when the final images are sent off but that doesn't mean our friendship is over! I will be there anytime you need photos! Whether you adopt a puppy or have a baby, I'll be there!

keep scrolling for more tips

katherine (1 of 1)-3.jpg

FIRST LOOK

Sooo what is a first look?  It's when you and your partner see each other before the ceremony, instead of seeing for each other for the first time walking down the aisle. I  highly recommend them.

This is all about the pros of doing a first look but if you want to pass on a first look by all means do so!  You do you on your wedding day (and heck everyday)! That said, I am all about breaking typical traditions and creating your own way of doing things!  

First of all, if you are a slightly nervous about your wedding day (which is totally normal) I would recommend seeing your partner before the ceremony.  You can have your first look completely alone, it makes those moments so intimate and real. I recommend doing a first look so you have that moment alone letting the day sink in.  You are about to marry the person you love and that feeling is something to soak in and enjoy. Don’t forget to slow down and enjoy the moments with your love. I’ll use long lens and stand back so you can truly experience a moment together.

Having a first look will give us more time to take photos before your ceremony!  We can do the family formals, entire wedding party and couple photos before the ceremony and that saves at least an hour after the ceremony.  You will add at least an hour of fun time enjoying your reception!

You don't have to follow any traditions on your wedding day!  If you want to get ready together or have a first look then go for it.  There are so many sweet moments created by getting ready together. You need to do what is right for you and your partner.  You will feel so connected to your person if you follow your own rules.

So I know a first look can be viewed as "cheesy" but you can do it however you’d like!!  I’ve had clients do their first look in many different ways. Some have their partner stand far away from them and they walk up, some walk out a door and see each other, face to face.  It is a deeply personal thing so I want you all to mull it all over!

Another pro for a first look is, you are able to have a private moment with each other before the ceremony.  Those moments are the moments that really matter on your wedding day. By having a first look you are able to walk around freely with one another before the ceremony.  If you don't have one you have to remain separate. I find that my couples spend so much time together that not spending their wedding day together is so strange to them.  You want to be with your best friend all day, right?

Lindsay Senior Session (1 of 1)-2 2.jpg

IGNORE THE CAMERA

When I’m not taking family formal photos I want you to pretend I’m not there. I’m just capturing moments as they unfold. So truly soak in everything around you, your partner, the fresh air and the feeling of the day. I don’t want to be a distraction, I just want to photograph authentic feelings and moments.

katherine (1 of 1).jpg

DETAIL PHOTOS

Have your details ready to be photographed when I arrive. First I’ll photograph your jewelry, watches, rings, ties, florals, invitations, shoes & dresses. I will take them for around fifteen minutes and come back and begin photographing you.

 

Ashley and Connor (1 of 1)-2.jpg

HAVE AN UNPLUGGED WEDDING

I can't emphasize this more. The best way for your friends and family to soak in your ceremony is to be unplugged. You can make a sign and ask your officiant at the beginning of the processional for your guests to put their phones away.

CREATING A TIMELINE 

Give me 30 minutes each for both bridal parties. Also if you’re doing a first look insure 30 minutes for that as well. We can do the first look and couple photos at the same time, then take a few sunset photos at the reception to finish up your couple photos. Please allocate 30 minutes for family formals & full bridal party portraits after the ceremony.

Submission Baltimore Bride (36 of 137).jpg

CEREMONY

Don’t be afraid to hold hands during the ceremony and get close, everyone is there celebrating your love! For the first kiss, kiss for at least 3 seconds! Once the first kiss happens and you are walking down the isle, pause at the end and give each other another kiss! This is so I can photograph a happy moment between you, your new partner and your guests! Also this is a nice way to end your photo album if you don’t do a formal send off. If you aren't doing a send off at the end of the night you can consider bubbles or ribbon wands for your guests to use as you're going down the aisle.

Katherine and Alex (1177 of 1459)_mini (1).jpg

GENERAL LIGHTING

Natural light is the best light. But don’t stress about this too much because it’s my job to find the beautiful light. For the reception talk with your dj or band about keeping colorful uplighting to a minimum. Of course this is your wedding so if you want it, go for it but it can create odd spots of color on your guests' faces as they are dancing. Choosing a ceremony time can be tricky based on what time of year you’re getting married but just make sure that there is an hour of light left in the day at the ceremony time. When choosing somewhere to get dressed and ready make sure there is lots of natural light to use. I generally turn out the lights in the room and use the window as the main source of light. At the reception use plenty of candles but make sure they are in glass vases or protected so guests won't knock them over or catch their hair on fire!

rock n roll sentimental fools (1 of 1)-5.jpg

TRUST ME

I am overjoyed to be spending the day documenting the moments and having a wonderful time alongside you two!  Relax and know I will take care of you and take the best photos of you on your wedding day. I have been doing this for five years and have see it ALL. I promise you we will make the most beautiful photos.

katherine (1 of 1).jpg

RECEPTION

I want to encourage you to let loose and have a wonderful time!! This is one giant party with those you absolutely love! I will go with the flow at this time and photograph hugs between family members, tears during the toasts and guests getting wild. Make sure your DJ or band knows to communicate with me throughout the evening. Eat, drink, and be merry and I’ll capture it all.

katherine and alex (1 of 1)_mini.jpg

BE YOURSELF

Remember this is your wedding. You have the freedom to let it reflect who you all are as a couple! Don't worry about doing the traditional wedding festivities if you don't want to. This is your wedding so fashion it however you'd like!

IN CASE OF RAIN

First off don’t panic, I hear it’s good luck to have rain on your wedding day. I’ve shot sooo many beautiful weddings in the pouring rain and they have turned out wonderfully! Just pick up a few clear plastic umbrellas and we can use those! I don’t mind getting a little wet for the perfect shot!

liz and laird (1 of 1)-2.jpg

FAMILY FORMALS

Try to keep the family photos to an 8 group maximum. Ask your officiant to announce that your family stays at the ceremony site so we are able to do an assembly line of photos. I’ll use the list you gave me on the google doc and call out the names. It also helps when a designated family member helps point out and finds specific family members that may have strayed away. When you are making your family formal list you can add the older folks and children first so we can dismiss them to the reception first and they can go relax.

 

RECOMMENDED VENDORS

Flowers: Local Color Flowers

Flowers: Butterbee Farms

DJ: The Dapper DJs

Lettering: Bare Ink Co

Wedding Planner : Wild Thyme Events

Officiant: River and Root Ceremonies

Venue: Glen Ellen Farm

Venue: Cylburn Arboretum

Venue: Rawlings Conservatory

HMU: Caitlin Meyer

HMU: Katie and Kelli A Bridal Agency

HMU: Alexis Rex

Accessories: The Dwelling Gem

Cake: Cakes to Die For

Dress: BHLDN

Dress: Vivian Elise Vintage

Videographer: A Smooth Wedding

 

Caitlin TaylorComment