How To: Rock Your Wedding Day | Wisconsin Wedding Photography
TIMELINE: Your timeline is the backbone of your wedding day. I will need a copy of the timeline for your big day about 4 weeks out from your wedding. You don't need to be super elaborate — as long as you give me the start time of your ceremony and dinner, and when you're allowed to get into your venue, we can build on it from there!
My wedding collections come with either 8 or 10 hours of wedding day coverage. When structuring your timeline, some of my couples want more getting ready photos while others want more dancing photos during the reception.
Here is a sample timeline I've put together for y'all, based on a 10-hour wedding day:
DETAILS: Please have a copy of your invitation suite or wedding program, your wedding jewelry (including your engagement and wedding bands), shoes, perfume, hand written vows or love notes, handkerchiefs, watches, cufflinks, and any other mementos you want captured in your detail photos ready for me to grab when I get there. Put them in a box in the bridal suite and I’ll work my magic before I come to capture you getting ready with hair and makeup.
Clean that ring! I will definitely photograph your engagement ring while I’m photographing your details! I suggest taking it to your jeweler to be professionally cleaned no less than a week out from your wedding.
If you can, also ask your florist to bring a few loose flowers or greenery sprigs for me to photograph. It makes your detail pictures really pop with another textural element to add in there.
HAIR AND MAKEUP: This is usually when I capture great candid moments of you and your girls just hanging out, laughing, drinking out of your custom cups, and enjoying your time together before you all get dressed for the big day.
If you and your girls are getting your hair professionally done, I will try to get a finished photo of everyone's hair-do. If nothing else, you can always look back and remember how awesome your hair looked before sweat or rain or wind and dancing knock your hair out of place. (This also provides portfolio pictures for your stylist, and I love making those lasting work connections while also serving you on your wedding day!)
A note on spray tans: If you are planning to get a spray tan PLEASE exfoliate well and do a trial before your wedding. If you have streaks, white armpits, or orange hands and toes, you WILL see them in your photos. My best advice — skip the spray tan all together!
After everyone is all done up in their hair and makeup, we'll do photos of you and your bridesmaids in matching robes or t-shirts, if you have them!
GETTING READY: This is it! You finally get to put on your dress and suddenly everything becomes super real.
The tip I give out at every wedding: Make sure you put deodorant on and use the restroom before getting into your dress!
If your wedding dress has little covered buttons down the back, bring a crochet hook to make getting into (and out of) your dress a breeze.
And another little tip from my theatre days: once you're dressed, only clear liquids until after the ceremony.
Guys getting ready: If they are getting ready on site, I will bounce back and forth and get pictures of everyone. If they are not getting ready on site, I fake the groom getting ready so we at least get some photos for your album!
Wedding Day Emergency Kit: If you do not have one, I would recommend putting one together! This is my bread and butter on wedding days, and this little marble pouch has saved the day more than once!
BRING SAFETY PINS! Multiple sizes. Wardrobe emergencies happen! Assign this task to your mom or a bridesmaid — someone you know you can rely on during the stress of your big day. And if you forget, I’ve got you covered! I always bring extras just in case. This is the #1 Tip I give to every single couple that books with me.
STORY TIME — I once had a groomsman's suspenders snap right before the ceremony and my tiny safety pins weren't going to do the job! Luckily, one of the bridesmaids came extra prepared and was able to save the day. This is why I stress making sure you have big and small safety pins!
A few more things I pack in my emergency kit? A needle and thread, extra bobby pins and hair ties, bandaids, toothpicks, dental floss, deodorant, breath mints, and confetti — just in case.
WEDDING PARTY: After everyone is all ready, we'll do bride + bridesmaids portraits and groom + groomsmen. I always start with group photos, and then we'll do you + your people individually.
Always try to mix it up with some serious photos and then some funny ones. My goal is to capture your personalities and to give you photos that you love with your favorite people. My go-to pose is make everyone stand in a line, look at each other, and fake laugh. It gives you genuine smiles every time!
FIRST LOOK? First looks are a hot debate! Whether you decide to do one or not with your sweetie, I always suggest doing a first look with your parents once you are all dressed and ready. I'm a sucker for a good first look with dad!
If you decide not to opt for a first look but still want to have a private moment with just you and your sweetie, here are some alternatives that some of my past couples have done...
First touch - There is something so sweet about taking a moment, finding a quiet place where you and your partner can be together without seeing each other to calm each other's nerves before your ceremony. Doorways and private corners are so good for this!
Love letters/Private vow reading - Along with the a first touch, some of my couples have opted to either exchange love letters or privately read their vows to one other before their ceremony. There is always so much emotion — you can literally feel the love and excitement and your deep commitment to each other. Someone will probably cry (and — there's a pretty good chance it'll be me!).
It's such a beautiful moment to take together on your wedding day, just the two of you, before the excitement of your ceremony and then getting to party with all of your guests, and I will always recommend doing some sort of first look or first touch!
CEREMONY: About half an hour before your ceremony, I go to the ceremony site and get detail photos as well as guests arriving and being seated. I always depart with, "I'll see you down the aisle!"
This is your time to really soak in everything that is happening. That chill time with your girls and your parents before the ceremony. Feeling the butterflies in your stomach as the minutes tick closer. Lining up for the processional and hearing the music start. Walking down that aisle to the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with and seeing their face light up with joy.
Listen to your ceremony and feel the weight of your words as you're committing to forever.
I'll be there to capture everything.
Oh, and try not to miss for your first kiss! ;)
AFTER THE CEREMONY: Here comes the fun part! Family photos, wedding party and bride and groom portraits! And, even better — I promise to get you to your cocktail hour with plenty of time to spare.
Rounding up extended family can be difficult. If you can, ask your officiant to make an announcement for family members to stick around for pictures after the ceremony. Or, you can make a list for family formals and bring 3 copies! Assign two people to round up both sides of your families, and I’ll work from the third list. (Efficiency is key.)
Family portraits are some of the most treasured photos from your wedding day. We'll start with the big groups, then grandparents, and break everything down individually from there.
Wedding party portraits will mostly consist of group pictures of everyone together because we got a lot of them out of the way earlier in the day! Just be ready to get a little goofy with your friends, haha. I will never say no to a jumping picture, or a good game of tug of war.
Bride and groom pictures are really the bread and butter of your wedding day. I personally believe that you can never have too many bride and groom photos! More on that a little later. ;)
DINNER AND TOASTS: I love hearing the maid of honor and best man speeches, plus all the funny family stories that come out at weddings. Capturing all of your smiles, tears and even the eye rolls at the really embarrassing stuff is one of my favorite things about the reception!
FIRST DANCE + PARENT DANCES: Your first dance might feel a little bit awkward to you. Everyone is staring at with you with their phones out, and if you're lucky, you have my flashbulb going off in your face while you twirl around the dance floor with your sweetie.
Don't hype it up in your head to be this big scary thing. Instead, remember that nervous means do it and do the dang thing. And, if it makes you feel any better, your parents are hiding in the corner probably hoping you'll forget about the parent dances, haha.
TRUST ME when I email you about it and then come up to you during your reception and say, “Hey guys, let’s sneak away for ten minutes and get some photos of just the two of you during sunset.” You’ll love the outcome, I pinky promise! And you can never have too many pictures of just the two of you from your wedding day.
Golden hour photos are usually my couples favorite photos of them on their wedding day!
Reception: Kick off your shoes, grab a drink, and have fun! Mingle with your guests, and don't be afraid to get out on the dance floor. I'll be there, camera in tow, to make sure all of the funny and/or embarrassing stuff your friends do gets documented, haha!
Most importantly: remember this is your day and try to relax!
My hope is always that my couples can take a step back after their wedding day and say that they enjoyed their big day instead of being a giant ball of tulle and stress. Every one of my wedding collections also features a finished album of your favorite wedding photos so that you can pull it out for years to come and relive these memories — and tell your love story.
For you 2021 couples that are still looking for a photographer, and 2022 couples — I've gotchu too. Contact me today and let's chat about your wedding day vision! I would love to be a part of your special day.