I'm honored and excited to be a part of your wedding!
I've gathered the following information to help you in planning your day (I've been in the biz for 9 years and shot over 100 weddings, so I've seen a lot of ways of doing things!) and to give you a better idea of what you can expect from me, what I'll need from you before the big day, and afterwards.
I'm happy to help in any way I can, so be sure to let me know if you have any questions or need suggestions.
To learn a bit about you two, as individuals and as a couple, I’ve
created an online questionnaire for all of my wedding clients to fill
out. It’s particularly beneficial for me to have this before we plan
your engagement session.
It's a huge help to me to learn more about you two and what’s most
important to you about the wedding you’re planning. Many couples say
that this is a fun date-night activity, complete with a bottle of
wine! It can be pretty fun and a little bit of a soul-searching experience for you two as a
couple—in a good way. I would greatly appreciate it if you’d take the
time to complete it within 4 weeks.
You can access it by clicking the link below.
I look forward to being your photographer!
Soirsce, (+Lucy & Bella - backup photographers &/or assistants)
What to Expect Before The Wedding
- Wedding Meeting/Consultation: This is often done over the phone but sometimes email works better. I'm flexible, whatever is most convenient for you. As long as we have a chance to go over any questions you have and any suggestions you may want from me in terms of vendors, timing/planning of the day, or anything else I can help with!
- 1 Year - 3 Months Before (Usually:) If possible, we'll meet up in person for some coffee and have a little wedding meeting and/or shoot your engagement portrait. Its really great to meet face-to-face before the big day!
- 1-3 Months Before: I'll email you regarding the wedding timeline, family shot list and anything else I should know before the wedding.
- 2 Weeks Before: I'll confirm the wedding timeline and family shot list if I haven't already. Final payment is due.
- 1 Week (or Less) Before: For many weddings, (especially large, multi-venue ones,) I try to meet you at the wedding venue to do a walk-through to decide on the best places to shoot and learn where things will happen in general.
The Engagement Session
Not everyone chooses to do an engagement session but I do really recommend them since it gives us a chance to work together before the big day. It just means one less thing to worry about and you'll get some cute shots of the two of you that you probably wouldn't have otherwise! These are also fun to use for save-the-dates and updates on social media.
Engagement portraits are especially helpful for the guy (or girl) that "hates having their picture taken," I promise you're not the first. Doing engagements will take the stress out of shooting the couple's portraits on the wedding day since you'll have done it before and know how I work and... you'll actually have fun!
Here are some tips for those that are doing an engagement shoot:
- Please be on time! I am a natural-light photographer, so the sun dictates how long I can photograph you. Please make proper considerations for traffic, hair delays and fashion emergencies! If the sun goes down or it gets too dark we have to stop shooting, so this is important ;)
Locations: Don’t hesitate to check out photo shoot locations beforehand. I'm happy to give suggestions but if something else pops up last minute or you have a cool idea, please don’t hesitate to share it with me!
Location Ideas: Beach, orchard, state park, coffee shop, getting ice cream, walking down-town... again the list is endless. (See the section below; "Inspiration" for places to gather more ideas regarding clothing, locations, props etc!)
Props! It’s always fun to bring along props. I view every engagement session like a mainstream shoot complete with models and props and scenery. So feel free to bring things along that really reflect your personalities. For instance, I’ve had a couple bring along a soccer ball because they met on the field. Another couple bought cotton candy and had fun eating it together. Another had matching iPods, so they brought them along because they’re both really into music. A couple even brought sports jerseys from opposing teams since their still root for their home teams! The list is endless! Other Prop Suggestions: Bikes, blanket, polaroid camera, books/magazines you like reading, a picnic with wine and cheese... Anything! Don’t hesitate to bring anything that truly reflects you individually or as a couple.
Hair/Makeup/Outfits: I also suggest doing a practice run for your hair, makeup and outfits for the engagement shoot. This helps you feel a little more ‘done-up’ for the shoot and boosts confidence. I’m not saying you have to do this AT ALL! However, what I can say is that in my experience shooting engagement sessions, girls want to feel confident and pretty... and sometimes spending a little extra time prep time achieves just that. Don't forget, your whole outfit will be in photos, so remember to think about your shoes and accessories as well.
Extra Tip: manicured nails make for great ring shots. You'd be surprised by how many times I've heard "Oh no, I forgot to do my nails!" after suggesting a ring shot! ;)
What to Expect After The Wedding
- 1 - 2 Weeks After: I'll post some sneak peaks of my favorite shots on Facebook and Instagram! I know you'll be super excited to see some photos so I try to post at least a few as soon as I can! Although during the busy season in the peak of mid-late summer it can take a little longer than I'd like sometimes. I truly appreciate your patience!
- 3 - 6 Months After: I'll have spent a LOT of time sorting and editing hundreds and hundreds of your photos and should be able to send you a link to your online gallery at this time. I'll also ask to confirm your mailing address to send out your USB.
If you are ordering an album from me this is when you'll start to choose the images you want included.
- Next: I'll mail out your wedding package with your USB of images.
- January - April: This is the season for album design and printing! There's too much happening the rest of the year, this is the season I can really focus and make you something gorgeous!
Wedding Day Tips
- Determine What’s Important... To You: There are SO many traditions and faux pas that were decided, by the wedding industry, at some point long ago that we "must" include or observe when planning our wedding. Everything from the cake cutting to first dances to garters and bouquets to party favors. But lets be real... none of these things are really imperative to the real purpose of your day! They can certainly add an element of fun, but only if they mean something to you. To make this process more focused and meaningful, I tell my friends and clients to list three things that are most important to them on their wedding day. The perfect venue? Photography? The dress? Partying with your friends? Whatever it may be, don’t feel bad about it! It’s your day, you and your fiancé get to choose what is a priority. Let those things get the majority of the wedding budget, time and effort. If there’s room for the other stuff, great! But focus on the stuff you’re excited about first, and then see what else you feel like fitting in :)
- Considering The First Look: If I were to give one piece of advice to a couple it would be to STRONGLY consider doing a First Look. What is a First Look? It’s when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, have a few moments alone and get some portraits done before the ceremony. There are several ways to do this, but a lot of the time, the groom will get away from the craziness and get set up in a certain location and the bride will then come to him and either tap on his shoulder or say his name for him to turn around, or they’ll close their eyes and face each other and do the big reveal together... you get the idea. Why do I recommend this? Because weddings go by SO fast, I feel like it’s the one time the couple can slow down and be alone together. As the photographer I am pretty strictly photojournalistic during this, I let you have your moment before doing any posed shots. When you've finished with the moment we'll do a few portrait style shots. It’s a very special moment and a much needed break from the chaos. I’ve seen couples pray together, say their vows or exchange gifts or letters. It’s awesome! Doing a First Look really frees you up and allows you to relax during cocktail hour or mingle with your guests. If you’re having a lot of friends and family coming in from out of state, this is definitely something you’ll want to consider. Most importantly, you want to feel like you're married. You don’t want anyone rushing you along in order to keep you on time. You want your day to be enjoyable and smooth and for that, getting as much done before-hand is ALWAYS helpful. Most importantly, this private moment alone really sets the tone for the rest of the day, calms nerves and gives the you a chance to connect before the moment you are standing at the altar together. I totally get the tradition of waiting until the bride walks down the aisle... but if you’re prone to stress or anxiety especially, the First Look can be a calming and tone-setting alternative. However I will add, you should have the wedding you’ve always envisioned and no coordinator, officiant or family member should pressure you into doing anything you don’t want. If a First Look isn’t something that interests you and your fiancé, just say no!
- Hire Vendors That You Like: If you’ve been in a bridal party, you know that a bride and groom spend a LOT of time on their wedding with the vendors they've chosen. Like choosing the friends you want by your side on your wedding day, you want to choose vendors whose company you enjoy, who you trust and who will help your day be more fun and less stressful, rather than the other way around.
Think about the Small Things: Help me to do my best by trying your best to be mindful of the setting of your photos. I can make any space look beautiful, but help me accomplish the mission by removing as many obstacles as possible! Here are three really easy ways to do that:
1) When getting ready, have your bridesmaids put all their stuff in a condensed corner of the room. This way there aren’t neon bras and Mcdonalds wrappers in the background of your beautiful photos...
2) Bring a non-plastic hanger for your dress shot. Wooden or fabric covered hangers look great in photos! Even though I can work with plastic, its not ideal...
3) When you and your bridesmaids walk down the aisle, keep the bouquet around your belly button. I know it can be nerve-wracking to have all eyes on you, but don’t block your pretty faces with your bouquets :)
Keep The Moment Sacred: As a photographer, one of the things that breaks my heart is when I am shooting the bride during her triumphant walk down the aisle with her Dad and I see a dozen bright screens of cell phones and an iPad or two leaning into the aisle to snap that personal photo for Instagram. These screens will not only be an ugly distraction in the peripheral of your professional photos (and will make the photo look dated in the coming years,) but most importantly, it takes away from the special moment of the bride walking towards her groom. If this is something that would bother you, ask the officiant to make an announcement right before the ceremony about the use of cameras and other recoding devices during the procession and recession (also mentioning that the bride and groom had hired a wedding photographer for a reason and for them to just relax, enjoy, and take the experience in with their eyes, not their iPhones.)
Don’t Forget To Eat And Drink! When we’re stressed and/or busy, we forget to eat! Make sure your bridesmaids/groomsmen are bringing you both water and checking in on you to make sure you are at least snacking all day, or else it’ll catch up with you. If you’re worried about missing out on special moments or not getting the chance to see everyone, keep in mind, that you’ll be fed first, and that when you’re done eating, the guests will still be sitting at their table and you and your husband can visit each table and greet all of your guests. Don’t rush! Enjoy your meal! You certainly paid enough for it :)
Have An Emergency Kit: Make sure a bridesmaid or your coordinator has an emergency kit in case you need something. Some good things for the kit to contain are stain removal (‘Tide To-Go’ pens are awesome), tampons/pads, mini scissors, mini sewing kit, hairspray, safety pins, bobby pins, energy bars, gum, q-tips, band aids, clear-deodorant, makeup, makeup remover and Advil... to name a few. I've seen all these come in handy at more than a few weddings...
The Family Portraits
I always suggest doing the family photos right after the ceremony. This is mainly because (usually) everyone is there, no one is "missing" and the youngest and oldest haven't left early yet... and most importantly... no one has gotten to the cocktail hour yet. ;)
I also can not stress enough how important it is for you to designate the role of photo-usher to someone who can “rally the troops” when it is time to take family photos.
Ideally, not someone in your wedding party or any of your parents. (Bossy aunt Sue is actually perfect to assign this task.)
-Make sure this person is aware of their duty ahead of time.
-Email them the shot list to print on actual paper (not just on an iPhone, we want to literally cross things off.) have a pen or marker ready for this as well.
-I will also bring a copy.. and a pen.
-Send your wedding day timeline to your bridal party and immediate family. This will help to insure that your friends and family know when to be ready for family photos. Especially if they don't take place right after the ceremony.
Here is a basic list that you can add or subtract from to meet your needs:
(Wedding party can also be shot before the ceremony, but again, before the cocktail hour is better for everyone... )
-B&G with flower girl & ring bearer (begin with children first – less stress and we can keep their attention better)
-B&G with entire wedding party
-B&G with entire wedding party sans flower girl and ring bearer
-B&G with bridesmaids
-Bride with bridesmaids
-B&G with groomsmen
-Groom with groomsmen
-B&G with entire family
-B&G with groom's family
-B&G with bride’s family
-Bride with her family
-Bride with her siblings
-Bride with her parents
-Groom with his family
-Groom with his siblings
-Groom with his parents
-B&G with grandparents (2x both sides)
-Generational photos (Grandma/Mom/Bride & Grandpa/Dad/Groom)
Time Permitting For Other Formals:
-B&G with other family members and their families
-Families with children must go first (same reason as flower girl and ring bearer)
My favorite resources:
- www.pinterest.com (search "weddings")
I'll admit have a love/hate relationship things like Pinterest, wedding blogs, magazines etc. They are great resources for planning your wedding, however, they can also be overwhelming and create crazy expectations in terms of the DIY projects you plan on doing, (you never have as much time as you think you will to finish those paper cranes... trust me!!) the types of photos you'll have the time for, or even the types of photos you'll end up in general!
Something most brides don't know is that lots of the most popular images on Pinterest and wedding blogs are actually not from real weddings at all! Many of them are something called a "styled shoot" which is put together by wedding vendors to be able to really flaunt their work! I've done a few of these myself and I can tell you, they are nothing like a real wedding.
At a real wedding we might only have 30 minutes to get photos of the bride and groom and in comparison, I often have 2-3 hours to work with the models on a styled shoot, (and the models also had a makeup artist spend 2 hours on them before I even got there!)
The same goes for getting photos of an empty decorated venue. At a styled shoot the place is all perfectly set and decorated (the florist or cake isn't late, nothing is missing from tables because its in aunt Mary's car that happens to still be back at the hotel etc.)
More often at a real wedding its lucky if I even get into the reception site before the guests do (since I'm usually caught up doing the family portraits right after the ceremony!) So unless a time was specifically set aside for me to get into the reception site before the ceremony this is often missed (and that's if the reception venue is even ready to be photographed before the ceremony!) Of course I still get shots of the venue and the pretty set tables as best as I can but I often have to move people's bags, coats or drinks over first to get a clean shot!
On the other hand, there are so many amazing ideas available on Pinterest and wedding inspiration blogs, especially in terms of the DIY things you can do.
I love to see all of my client's wedding related Pinterest boards because it really helps me to understand more of what you're hoping to get out of your day! It helps me to be a better photographer for you when I have a visual idea of what you like. It doesn't mean I'll copy something exactly or change my style but it will help me to focus on whats important to you. So please feel free to send me a link! :)
Recommended Vendors List
----STYLING, DESIGN & PLANNING----
Love Bash Design
Also offers catering
Flour Girl Patissier
Chives Catering (& Food Truck:)
Paella Catering Door County
About Thyme Catering
Folklore Flowers (Locally grown!)
Blossoms Flower House
Flora Special Occasion Flowers
----HAIR / MAKEUP----
Featured Vendor: Folklore Flowers, a local organic flower farm!