wedding planning 101

Tips to make your day stress-free & your photographer a happy camper


venue choice

This is the number one priority. Obviously, you need something large (or small) enough to accommodate your guests. For example, we only have about 40 guests coming to our wedding, so a large barn would be waaayy too big for us. If it’s small and intimate, go for a smaller space. But not too small. Photographers typically like moving up and down the aisle as well as around the edges of the space. We also love to get behind the officiant to get a different angle. Keep the photographer’s ability to move around in the space in mind when choosing your venue. And most importantly, think about the natural light that is available. Even very advanced cameras see about four shades darker than what our eyes see. If you’re okay with your photographer using a flash, a space with limited light is ok. Just keep in mind that flashes are sometimes distracting and there is always a chance of technical malfunctions.

If you opt for an outdoor wedding, keep in mind the time of day. Typically, anything before 4pm is going to be super harsh lighting unless your area is heavily shaded. We also prefer to shoot into the sun, so your guests should be facing the sun for the best results!

have an envelope ready

If you want a photo of your invitations, save the dates, etc., put them in an envelope along with some small pieces of decor (some greenery, ribbon, lace, or flower petals) to give to your photographer the day of. You can also have a little bag with your perfume, earrings, and rings and their box(es) to add to that photo. Your photographer will most likely get these shots first, so he or she can give them right back to you.

Bonus: clasp the strap on your heels beforehand so your photographer doesn’t have to.

Make a timeline and a list for the big day

Planning a wedding as a photographer has been rough. On one hand, it’s been a great thing because I haven’t overlooked a single detail. But on the other hand, I haven’t overlooked a single detail so I’m exhausted! Having a list of all the photos I really want has helped me figure out the details for every photo. For example, I want a great shot of my wedding dress on the hanger. So, I made sure to get a customized wooden hanger from Etsy to complete the shot.

Here is my list of Must Have Photos for my photographer.

1.     Details:

a.     Shoes (will have the little stickers on the bottom that say “I do” and “Me too”)

b.     Invitations

c.     Rings

d.     Earrings

e.     Bouquet

f.      Table set up

g.     Cake with topper and our little Mr. and Mrs. plates

h.     Inside of dress (will have a handkerchief from my parents’ wedding on the same date sewn into it)

i.      Dress, Garrott’s suit and Truett’s suit

j.      Hangers for bride, groom, and son

k.     Vow books

2.     Getting ready

3.     Garrott solo

4.     Mom putting on my dress and hugging (I’m already crying) – I’ll be reading a letter to her at some point, seems to fit in well here

5.     First look with best friends

6.     First look with brother and stepdad – will be reading a letter to them as well

7.     Holding hands with Garrott with a door between us and looking away from each other

8.     Truett holding our rings

9.     Will have my grandma as our “Flower Granny”

10.  Sand ceremony with Truett

11.  We’ll ask the officiant to step away right before our first kiss

12.  We’ll kiss again mid to end aisle

13.  Family and groups

a.     My parents

b.     His parents

c.     Our parents all together

d.     My grandparents

e.     My aunts and uncles

f.      Siblings

g.     Best friend

h. All cheering for us while we kiss … cause we are cheesy

i.     The two of us

14.  Cake cutting

15.  Toasts (2-3)

16.  Doubting many people will get turnt for amazing dancing shots, but maybe!

17.  Staged send off

The Details

  • Get a hanger for your dress! If you want photos of the groom’s suit, get a hanger for that too. Any clothing you want to be photographed, get a hanger for it. Some photographers will bring their own, but it’s better to play it safe! Here’s a link to my favorite Etsy shops where I got mine:

Bride & Groom Hanger

Kid’s Hanger

  • Clean your rings that morning and don’t put your engagement ring on until your photographer is done with it. Put a cleaner pen in your clutch for a quick clean during your day. Here’s a link to my favorite cleaner and pen:

Amazon Jewelry Cleaner

Amazon Jewelry Cleaner Pen

  • Bring a steamer! It doesn’t matter if you’re going down the street or to another city, bring a steamer. There will be a wrinkle in something.

Travel Steamer from Target

  • Get a cute handkerchief to carry with you to the alter. You will cry and tissues don’t look amazing in your hand. Plus, you can keep it as a keepsake.


  • Get a gatefold wedding invitation to stand out and add more info without it looking crowded

Shutterfly Wedding Invitation

  • A ring box is a must! It makes for great detail photos, is practical for your ringbearer to carry, and you will use it any time you take your ring off. You can get one for both groom and bride’s rings or get separate ones. If you get the one in the link below, get two slots for the bride’s rings for engagement ring and wedding ring!

Etsy Ring Boxes

  • Get a table setting that doesn’t break the bank! These plates from Amazon do not disappoint.

Gold and White Plastic Plates

Other Details

  • Schedule time for makeup touchups and snacks throughout your day

  • Bring bandaids for blisters from your shoes

  • Fasten some extra bobby pins inside your dress for quick access

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