Wedding Planning Guide
For a Photography Centric Wedding Day
By KatFour Photo
Info I'll Need
How many people have you invited?
How big is your wedding party? Please include flower girls and ring bearers.
Are there other people in your wedding (not part of the traditional wedding party) I need to know about?
What is your ceremony & reception venue/s?
Are there special rules at your venues I need to know about?
Will you have a videographer?
Will you have an event planner?
Prior to Your Wedding Day
Do you plan on having an engagement session?
Engagement sessions are a great time for us to get to know each other and make sure my photography styles meshes well with your wedding style and personality. Whether you have an engagement session or not, I will make sure to do the best I can to get to know you and to show you and your beautiful relationship in your photos.
Do you want your other special wedding events photographed?
Engagement parties, bridal showers and rehearsals can all be added to your wedding package! Make sure you book these early to have your date reserved. It can be special to look back at the moments leading up to your big day and see how you made it all happen!
Do you need help with designed materials?
I also offer custom design and print options for save the dates, invitations, programs, wedding signs, guest book items, thank you cards and other items. If you need any of these materials for the wedding, let me know and we’ll work together to design and print the perfect details for your wedding.
Should we schedule a walkthrough?
I’ve worked at many great locations around Mid-MO. Sometimes I already know the venue very well and if you don’t have particular requests a walk-though may not be necessary. If your wedding is at a unique location, a location I’ve never photographed, or you have special requests or thoughts about the set-up, let me know! We’ll schedule a time to walk around and see what it looks like. We’ll want to arrange for the time of the walk-through to have similar light to the time we’ll be doing your portraits.
The Morning of Your Wedding
Are you going to want photos of you preparing for the ceremony?
Consider chatting with me about options for photos of you getting ready, spending time with family and starting the celebration before the ceremony. It’s a special time leading up to your wedding and you should consider having it captured.
If you do plan on having getting ready photos, consider where you will be getting ready? Will the groom be in the same location? Will it be bright enough or should I bring my lights?
Also think about how early you’d like me to arrive. We can talk about all the details, but you probably want to be part of the way through your getting ready process. Decide whether or not you want photos of you getting into your dress. And if you want photos of your gorgeous dress before it’s on you, will the venue have a space to do that. We can look for that during our walkthrough!
If I’m arriving before your ceremony, please have your details (both sets of rings if you’re exchanging rings, your bouquet, invitation, save the date or program, your jewelry, shoes, something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, any other special mementos) ready for me. I will create a detail summary photo for you that will help you remember the little things from that day. We can also create one with the groom’s cuff links, shoes, tie, etc. if you’d like.
Do you plan on having a first look?
Traditionally brides and grooms didn’t see each other on their wedding day until the ceremony. I understand if that is something that’s important to you. But it’s definitely changing for a lot of couples now. Here are some reasons to consider a first look!
You want to have a private moment together when you first get to see each other so you can share the moment with just the two of you and not with a room full of people.
You want more time with your significant other on your wedding day, rather than waiting to see them at the ceremony. It can help calm nerves to feel like you’re really doing it together!
You want to have time to do some or all of your posed photos before your ceremony so you don’t have to wait as long between your ceremony and reception.
At the end of the day it’s up to you and your fiancé to decide if this is the right decision for you, but I would recommend at least considering it.
Do you plan on doing a bride and groom letter/gift exchange?
If you plan on giving each other something special in the morning to open before you see each other, please let me know! I’d love to capture the moment you open that special gift.
Moments with your friends/family?
Are there any moments with your parents before the ceremony that you absolutely must have a photo of? Mom pinning the boutonniere on the groom? Mom and bride celebrating before you walk down the aisle? A special prayer? Siblings fixing your hair or putting your necklace or tie on you? Toasting before you get dressed with your wedding party? Whatever your special moments with friends or family are let me know and I’ll make sure we take the time to fit those into your day.
What time is your ceremony? And how long will it be?
If you want the ceremony to have some specific lighting or look a certain way, let's talk about the best time of day to have it. For example an outdoor sunset ceremony would actually look best within the hour before sunset. Or if your church has great light at a particular time of day we can look for that during your walkthrough.
Ceremony timeline and any special events in your ceremony.
Let's chat about what your actual ceremony will look like. If you and your officiant have worked out the order of events it can help me know where to be at what time. Also if you're planning a unity ceremony, such as a unity candle or sand, having readings or songs, planning on giving parents flowers, doing a ring warming or any other special event in your ceremony it can help me to know when it's coming and what it'll be like to make sure I can capture every detail.
Consider having an unplugged ceremony.
Something to consider as you're planning your dream wedding is whether or not you want your guests to take photos on their phones and cameras. The up side is you will have loads of photos from friends and family right away, but there are a few down sides to consider!
Your friends and family will be busy taking photos and won't really be present for your special day. If all they are doing is waiting for the moment to take a photo, they won't be able to really appreciate and share the moments with you.
When you look at your professional photos it will be much more likely that you'll see people's phones and cameras in the photos. Does it matter to you if there are screens throughout your photos?
Guests want to capture the same moments that you'll want to see later in your professional photos. You coming down the aisle, the first kiss, the moment you're announced as married. These moments often encourage people to lean or step into the aisle where your pro is trying to memorialize your wedding. There is always a risk that there won't be a way to shoot around the tablet, phone, or camera that is in the way.
Tips and Notes!
I'll remind you of these on the day of, but here are some ideas to make sure your special moments get the photographic attention they deserve.
When you're walking in, pause at the beginning of the aisle and smile. You don't have to look at the camera, but let your guests take in you in your beautiful dress and I'll work my magic getting you several beautiful photographs.
When you have your first kiss as a married couple make sure to hold it for a while. 5 seconds (I say to count 5 Mississippis) to be exact. If you want to do something fun like a dip or a fist pump during your kiss, go ahead!
When you're announced as a married couple before your recessional take a moment celebrate! You're officially married, take a second and enjoy it before you walk back down the aisle.
To get close-ups and over the shoulder photos consider doing a ceremony fake-out right after the ceremony. This usually involves lining the wedding party and you back up as if the ceremony is happening and getting some detailed close up photos that are typically impossible to get during the ceremony itself.
Your Posed Photographs
Couples & Wedding Party Photos
You'll want to set aside at least 1-1.5 hours for your wedding party and couple's photos if possible. Make sure, whether you do your photos before or after your ceremony that you have your rings.
If you have poses you'd like to capture or ideas for inspiration, let me know! I'd love to see your Pinterest board and talk about how we can make your photos inspired by your pins but still your own! Don't have any ideas and just want me to take the lead? No problem, just let me know. Whatever your preferences let's chat about them and make sure your wedding photographs really show who you are.
I tend to work on wedding party photos and couple's portraits at around the same time so that you get breaks between different types of pictures, so make sure your wedding party is ready to go when you are. I will give them a break while we do your final couple's pictures. If you plan on having a large dress, your bouquet or any props (like a thank you sign for your thank you cards), consider having one of your bridesmaids there to help carry things and help you get places.
If you want to take a thank you photo with a "Thank You" sign or banner, go ahead and bring them. It'll make your thank you cards uniquely yours!
You'll want to set aside at least 30 minutes for a short list of family photos and as long as 1.5 hours for a very long detailed list with lots of variations.
Prior to the wedding day, take some time and chat with family members you think should be involved in making your photo list. Often times family members would like copies of some of the family photos, so consider letting them make some suggestions. At the end of the day though, remember it's your wedding day and your memories, so do what you think is right.
Please make a list of the family combinations you want to capture. Start with the bigger combinations, such as the entire family, etc. and work your way to the smallest combinations such as bride and mom. Try to let elderly people and small children finish up earlier on or don't schedule their photos until the end of the portrait time so they can arrive later. Let's talk about the best way to schedule these photos to make sure you get the best photos and the happiest family.
Also think about whether these photos will be indoors or outdoors. If they are indoors, I'll need to bring flashes or lights and set aside time to set those up. If the photos are outdoors we'll need to find a spot with even shade to avoid unattractive shadows on people's faces and keep people from squinting.