The Wedding Experience
This Bridal Guide is full of information that will be useful in the planning of your wedding. You will see best times for photoshoots in the different seasons, engagement wardrobe ideas, and several tips and tricks about your planning of the big day! You'll also see a break down of example timelines for the wedding day. I hope you find this guide useful!
I love weddings and have been a wedding photographer for 7 years now! In 2019 I stepped back from Making Moments Photography, to work as an associate for another amazing photographer. We all know what happened in 2020, but to add to everything 2020 was, I had my rainbow baby right before the country shut down that March. Working as an associate made sense for me up until the end of 2021, when my amazing friend and mentor, Kristi, wanted to step back from weddings. I loved weddings too much to give them up, so here I am, back at it with Making Moments Photo, and loving every minute of it!
Some things you should probably know...I like to be fun, quirky, and professional all at the same time. I will dance in the winter during group photos to keep us all warm, stand in the water to get the perfect shot, and climb mountains to the most incredible locations for any and all shoots. I'm not just a "show up, take pictures, and leave" kind of photographer, I want to help ease the stress of wedding planning, get to know you, and become friends. I'm all about the beautiful pictures, AND the experience!
I love being able to collect all the amazing little details that are sentimental to you guys. After all, they are important to you... isn't that why you have them as part of your wedding anyway?
Before the Wedding
When the bride goes into hiding and she has 10 - 15 minutes for herself to just breathe, they turn out to be some of my favorite images! They are simple moments, but make a huge impact on the day.
Down the Aisle
I absolute love when you are called as husband and wife and get to walk down the aisle! The pure joy on your face is worth every minute of planning this big day!
my FAVORITES of the day
What you need to know to plan your ultimate wedding!
First off, this is Your wedding!
Do the things that you want to do, and not what your Aunt Sally wants you to do. Whether you want to stay fully traditional, not traditional in any way, or somewhere in between, remember that the only person you need to keep happy is yourself, and the love of your life.
You do you!
Now that you are planning YOUR wedding, here are some ideas of where to start
Start with your budget, everything will be based off of this decision, so it is important to get that out of the way. Find your overall budget, then break it down. Think of things you want to spend more on than others, and start with those numbers first.
Things to think about:
Venues can be pricy, find the look you want, and start there.
Photos and video will be the only thing to look back on years down the road, invest the money in a photographer and/or videographer you trust (I did not do this with my wedding, and it breaks my heart, because I don't have great memories to look back on. oh if I only knew what I know now!
Your dress is something that will be in all the pictures, but you'll also only wear it once or twice depending on your plans. It's a fine line...but you've got this!
After figuring out budget, the next place to start is finding your vendors. There are a lot of vendors out there, am I right? Knowing that your vendors will take care of you will ease the stress of planning! Find what you know you'll want others to do, and start there.
Vendors you may want:
DJ & Music
Staying organized might seem overwhelming, but keep a file with everything in it, both on your computer, and in an actual file (tabs do help!), have a special notebook that is only for wedding material and ideas, it makes a great memory to look back on too. When you're organized, you'll be able to see where you are with your vendors, and know where you are in your budget.
I highly recommend an engagement session as part of your experience, because I feel it is a VITAL part of the entire process. During the engagement session, you'll be able to get to know how I shoot and direct in posing during the session. This has the potential to have a large impact on how the wedding day will go. Because I have already photographed you, I'll arrive knowing the best ways to capture the most authentic you and your true relationship, and already knowing how you interact with one another. PLUS you'll already be a pro on your big day, because of the experience you had during your engagement session.
Your engagement session can be scheduled any time before your wedding day, but I suggest at least 2-3 months in advance to avoid stress. Most weekends are filled with weddings, so I typically try to shoot engagements on weekday evenings. The time of the session depends on location and time of year. When we first start planning out everything, we will establish a day and start talking through location ideas. I like being involved in helping choose a location because the lighting can completely change the look of your photos. That being said if there is a location that is special or unique to you, I love to shoot in those locations, so let me know if there is some place that is sentimental to you! I have shot in the mountains, around and in lakes, on beaches, and downtown cityscapes. Be sure to keep reading for outfit inspiration and planning tips!
It can be a little intimidating to stand in front of a camera and have your picture taken, but if you follow my 3 simple rules, you'll be surprised at what happens!
#1 be yourself
#2 Focus on each other
#3 have fun
Before we start, be sure to remove everything from your pockets. You definitely don't want bulges in pockets from keys or phones. (this is a tip, mainly for the guys)
When it comes to choosing outfits, don't try to match! Choose outfits and colors that complement each other. If she's fancy, he should be too, but being in the "same" outfit, can be boring to the eye
Seven Simple Tips
Choose outfits that are YOU! If you're a jeans wearing, sneaker person, do not feel pressured into wearing a dress and heels. Be comfortable in what you're wearing. Ladies, if your shirt is low cut, it can prevent me from getting certain angles
When choosing outfits, simple patterns are okay, but try to steer clear of busy large patterns. The busier and larger the pattern, the more focus goes there than your faces. Stay away from logos and graphics!
Clean the ring! I like to get a few closeups of the ring during the engagement shoot, so the cleaner the better!
Be on time! The time we choose is based on the best lighting for the location. As much as I wish I could control the sun, I can't, showing up late prevents us from having more time to get all the beautiful shots we could get.
Relax, you don't have to be a pro at this! I am here to help you along the way. Have fun and enjoy the time together! Remember the more you are you, the more you'll love the pictures! Then Make it a date and go out to eat dinner afterwards!
Dec - March 3-5 PM
December through Mid-March, you can plan on your engagement session taking place around 3-5 PM
However, the time changes in Mid-March Which will change the start time to an hour later.
April - May Varies
The sunset time drastically changes throughout the course of these two months so Our shooting times change as well. You can plan to start approximately 5:30 in April and 6:00 in May.
June - Aug 6-8:30 PM
The Summer engagement sessions take place about an hour before sunset. this will hopefully mean that the shoot will be during the cooler part of the day. We also don't have to worry much about rain.
Sept - Nov Varies
In September, you can plan on 5:30 - 7:30 until the third week, and then you can plan on 5:00 - 7:00 until Mid-October. However, after the first week of November, plan on 3:00 - 5:00
Why it's worth having one!
The best lighting, the best poses, an ample amount of time. These are all benefits to prioritizing formal photos in your timeline, or better yet, planning it for a separate day!
A First Look
You actually get to have intimate time with your soon to be spouse in your wedding dress. It's just you and him, without family, friends, and strangers watching. The moment is even sweeter!
Enjoy the Surprise Freely
Most brides don't realize that when you come down the aisle and he sees you for the first time as his bride, He can't even tell you how amazing you look. He can't touch you, embrace you or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 30 Minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. And after 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn't the same as the initial first glance.
Extend your Day
Formal sessions allow you to extend your wedding day. Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle or exit the temple. Then you rush through portraits so that you're not late for the luncheon or dinner, and then it's reception time. With a formal session on a different day, your wedding day is extended! Instead of being rushed for your bridal party portraits...you actually get to enjoy them.
In this section you'll find a lot of useful tips for planning your big day! Sample timelines, things to look at while choosing your venue, first looks, bride in hiding, unplugged ceremonies, and so much more.
Bride in Hiding
(2-3 hours before ceremony) This is the time you'll spend doing your hair and makeup, remember, getting in your dress comes later.
(1 hour before ceremony) This is the time you'll spend doing final touches, I'll be photographing the little details. After I photograph the Dress, you can get it on!
(30 minutes before Ceremony) The first look can be with your future spouse, but also having a special first look with your dad or mom can be an unforgettable experience
(10-15 minutes before Ceremony) you've been getting ready, had a lot of people around you maybe asking questions or helping you. Now take some time for yourself before you walk down the aisle
30 minutes is an average time for the ceremony. For the best time outside, (full sun) plan on 5:30 in the summer, 3:00 in the winter. However, If you are able to filter the sun through trees, you'll be able to start earlier.
Walk Down the Aisle
(20-30 minutes after ceremony) I try to make group photos as quick and painless as possible. Filling out the questionnaire of group photos helps the flow! but that doesn't mean you can't add more at the end.
1 hour of friends and family getting together to talk before dinner. It also gives you a few minutes to yourselves to get formal photos and enjoy the company of your now forever adventure partner
1 Hour, 3 courses, toasts, a lot can happen during your dinner hour. In fact, if you have toasts during the dinner portion, it helps for your future gallery. Afterall, not many people want to have photos taken of them eating...
With an average of 2 hours, it's time to celebrate! Dance, cut the cake, throw your bouquet, do whatever you want during your party, because this is the time to celebrate your future!
(5-10 minutes) This is the time where everyone is cheering you on! All of your family, all your friends, in one place, cheering for your future adventures. Go slow, soak it in, and enjoy being surrounded by the most important people in your life!
It takes roughly 2-3 hours to get ready. Hair, makeup, getting dressed, etc. I love getting to capture these moments, it allows for beautiful moments to be captured.
Be sure to plan an hour before your sealing for travel and wait time.
(20-30 minutes) Enjoy your time in the temple, and don't stress about time. Enjoy being with family and friends and the peace within the walls. I will be there 15 minutes after your sealing starts. Be sure to not come out before then.
When you exit the temple doors, remember to hold your bouquet so it doesn't cover your face. Come out the doors and enjoy greeting everyone with a hug. Then get ready to lead the way to the group photos
(20-30 minutes) I try to make group photos as quick and painless as possible. Filling out the questionnaire of group photos helps the flow! but that doesn't mean you can't add more at the end. We will also do about 15 minutes of formals around the temple.
(1-2 hours) The luncheon is a great time for toasts, and eating great food, but be sure to add in a few minutes of down time so that you can have fun at the reception later!
(2-3 hours) The reception is the best time to see all your friends and family and have time to talk with them. It is popular to have a line during the reception, but remember, if you don't want one, you don't have to have one just because that's what is popular. Do what works for you!
1 hour + before your grand exit, start your reception activities. If you are serving your cake to your guests, be sure to leave plenty of time before the end of your reception so more people can enjoy seeing you cut the cake and enjoy it.
Your grand exit is a time for your friends and family to gather together, one last time, to cheer you on! I have seen many different grand exits: bubbles, sparklers, confetti, phone lights, ribbons, etc. Be sure to clear it with your venue before you settle on one.
let the adventure begin
The pre ceremony is one of my favorite parts of the bid day. The emotions, details, first looks, your beautiful dress hanging and ready to be worn, vow re-readings, etc. They are all part of the morning before you walk down the aisle. You are surrounded by some of the most important people in your life, all of which are there to support you and cheer you on in the next chapter of life!
These next few pages will give you important insights on the moments leading up to your 'I Do'
We'll look into the bridal rooms, and what to look for as you're choosing your venue. Plus a few other options that can happen during the pre ceremony hours.
Keep these together
Rings (all 3)
Bouquet and Bout
Borrowed and Blue
Old and New
Be sure to keep your bridal room clean from clutter. These pictures would be very different if there were clothes on the ground, makeup on the table, curling irons plugged in the walls etc. Let your party know we’ll want to keep things mostly clean and tidy!
Still looking for a venue? Check out the bridal room. Nice big windows create a naturally lighter space. I love the soft light natural light gives,
To ensure we get all the pictures of details in a timely manner, be sure to keep them all together. Shoes, jewelry, rings, flowers, dress, perfume, vows, guarder, + anything to do with something old, new, borrowed, and blue. If they are all in the same area, I am able to flow through the same area. I am able to flow through the pictures faster. Be sure to keep all 3 rings. Some of your people might try to convince you to give them to the best man but keep them until I've had the chance to take the details pictures.
Have someone from your bridal party on groom duty. Their main job pre ceremony will be to keep an eye out for the groom so that he doesn't see the dress or any other details before you do your first look or walk down the aisle. There will be times that I may have to take the dress to a different part of the venue to get pictures, so having him in hiding is very helpful.
While searching for you venue, spend some time in the
Is it big enough to fit you and all your girls comfortably? Look at the furniture, and layout of the room. If the furniture is close to walls, is there enough room for all to sit on, or around, the couch? Ask the venue coordinator if it would be okay to move the furniture if it is too close to walls.
Because this chair was smaller, we were able to move it closer to the sliding glass door and take advantage of the natural light. It was stylish, and one of the pieces the bride loved when she first saw the venue
This isn’t for everyone, but it is for some, and that’s why it’s here. I have had many dad’s want to see their daughters in their dress and dolled up for the first time that day, and several of my brides have scheduled this into their timeframe for a reason
Why? It’s similar to why you might do a first look with your soon to be spouse. Often times your dad is the one walking you down the aisle and if he is, often times he wont get to give you more than a 2 second hug as he hands his little girl off one last time. A first look also gives him the opportunity to talk with you, share a drink with you, etc. After he hands you off, the next time he’ll really get to talk with you will be during your first dance, or maybe the dinner, which will be several hours into the night.
I wish I was able to do a first look with my dad on my wedding day. The look on his face when he saw me the first time was so precious and emotional, the only thing that could have ever made it better, was to have pictures of his reaction and not just a memory in my head