1. It's All In The Details! 3-4 hours before ceremony; 30 minutes
Some of my favorite wedding photos are the detail shots! This is the time when all of those decisions about flowers, the right shoes, the sparkly jewelry...this is when those decisions count! I will normally arrive about 3-4 hours before the ceremony starts to begin photographing your wedding details. I can do these at the church, in a hotel room, or wherever the bride is getting ready. Some things to have handy for when I arrive: wedding dress and veil (on a nice hanger is always so much better!), shoes, jewelry, all of your wedding rings (engagement ring and both wedding bands), flowers, invitation, perfume, and any other items that are special to your day. And, it's always helpful to me to have all of the junk in the room cleared. I know everyone is usually crazy and running around, but just picking up the water bottles from the nightstands or plastic covers from the bridesmaids' dresses is extremely helpful. A good tip is to assign one of your bridesmaids to just do a quick clean-up before I'm scheduled to arrive!
2. Getting Ready! 2.5 - 3 hours before ceremony; 30 minutes
Now, it's time to show me that gorgeous hair and makeup and stunning wedding gown! Ideally, while I'm doing the detail shots, your hair should be done, and you should be in the makeup chair! That way, I can grab a few photos of you getting the finishing touches of your makeup completed. We'll then find the perfect location for you to slip into your dress. It's very important that you plan enough time for putting on your wedding gown. Some are very simple, but other dresses that have a lace-up corset or lots of pearl buttons can take 15 minutes or more to put on! Also, keep in mind, if you want your mom/sister/maid-of-honor to help you put on your dress, make sure that they've already had their hair/makeup done and they are dressed and looking their best, too! At this point, I'll usually sneak away with the bride for a few minutes to take some lovely bridal portraits.
3. Groom and Groomsmen! 2 hours before ceremony; 15 minutes
Once the bride is ready, if I don't have a second shooter and the groom is getting ready at the same location as the bride, I'll usually go check in on him and his groomsmen. All the guys should be pretty much dressed and ready to go at this point. I'll take a few photos of the groom putting on his suit, hanging out with the guys, opening a gift from his bride-to-be, and just document the fun he's having hanging out with the guys.
4. First Look! 2 hours before ceremony; 45 minutes
First looks are amazing! Besides seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day, you get a few private moments to be alone and enjoy everything that's about to happen. And then you get to have some amazing portraits taken of just the two of you! Oh, and the other bonus? Because you've already seen each other for the first time, you can also take all of your bridal party photos now, too! And wait, there's even one more bonus - you get to enjoy your cocktail hour because most of your portraits are already done!
One of the biggest misconceptions about the first look is that it won't be as special or emotional because the groom's first glimpse of his bride won't be on her way down the aisle! Honestly, I have seen plenty of emotions fly during the ceremony after first looks. It's the BIG moment! The moment that you've been waiting and planning for all of these months! That moment when you are officially getting married! You will still definitely feel it!
5. Bridal Party Portraits! About 1 hour, 15 minutes before ceremony; 30 minutes
After your first look, we will go right into your bridal party portraits. I highly suggest that you assign a bridesmaid or close friend to help gather everyone for your bridal party portraits. Since time is often limited at this point in the day, we really want everything to go smoothly and having everyone all over the place will just cut down on your portrait time. Not good, right? Once you have your final timeline, give your friend/bridesmaid a list of the people she needs to gather, and have her get them there 10 minutes before the specified time. Trust me - nobody will be mad that they have to wait, but you might be upset that you didn't get that special group shot you wanted!
6. Head on over to the ceremony location and Relax for a Few Minutes! About 45 minutes before ceremony