a step-by-step wedding guide built just for you

In my years of documenting weddings, I’ve witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly, which is why I’ve written this wedding guide. From what to do if it rains, to busting a move on the dance floor, this guide covers most aspects of an average wedding. It offers tips, tricks, and advice on situations that are bound to come up during the day. Following these suggestions will mean less stress for you, and more joyful moments for me to capture.

Your wedding is going to be amazing and I cannot wait to be a part of it!

one.

engagement sessions

The beginning. Love is fresh, love is new, and engagement photos are a must. Here are a few pointers for a successful session.

Where should we go?

I like choosing locations that are different, usually with unique backdrops, colors and textures. I love to be outdoors in the natural light. I also love shooting in places outside of Edmonton, like the mountains or on a beach by the lake. Don’t be surprised if I put you in a tree, or lie you on the ground in a field – just go with it! The results will be worth it.

What if it rains?

I know rain isn’t ideal, but it can make for some pretty unique and interesting photography. If it’s just the odd shower we will stick with the plan, but if it doesn’t seem to be letting up, then we will just reschedule. When the time comes, we’ll keep in close contact and decide what to do.

WHAT SHOULD WE WEAR?

This will depend on where we are going, and of course the weather. Wear something you are comfortable in and something suitable for the elements. Some clients dress in their Sunday best, while others gravitate towards bold patterns and a more casual style. Feel free to get creative! If you’re still stumped, hop online and check out Pinterest, Urban Outfitters, or J.Crew for ideas.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

Engagement sessions are typically an hour. Two at most. Bring a drink and some snacks if you wish!

two.

the morning of

Hairspray, mimosa's and nervous chatter. Your day has arrived... it's finally happening!
Here are a few tips and reminders to keep chaos to a minimum.

WHERE TO GET READY

It's all about the light. There is nothing better than an open room flooded with natural daylight. Typically makeup artists and hair stylists will have you sit in front of a window, as they too rely on natural light for their jobs. If they don’t suggest it however, it would helpful if you could set this up for me before my arrival.

housekeeping

In the chaos of the morning, sometimes the space can get a little messy. Bags, cans, breakfast leftovers and deodorant aren’t flattering in photographs, and detract from the elegance of bridal prep. It would be great if you could allocate someone to make sure the area is tidy before we begin.

less is more

Too many people can make photographing your details pretty tricky, especially tight shots like getting into your dress. Wider shots can look distracting and busy if there are too many bodies. I suggest that only a minimal amount of people be in the room when getting ready, especially when you are putting on your dress. Besides, you may be grateful for that brief period of calm!

PAJAMAS

Wear something you don’t mind being photographed in. Your bridesmaids and you want to be comfortable getting ready, but your old flannel pajamas might not be the look you’re after! If you’re having your hair and makeup done first, avoid wearing anything you have to take off over your head.

TIMEKEEPING

Getting ready will inevitably take longer than you plan for. The last thing you want is to be rushing. Aim to be ready at least 15 minutes before you plan to leave. This way you can relax, and we can take a few pretty pictures of the finished you, before you head out the door. It’s also a great idea if your bridesmaids get ready before you, so they look amazing when I get that killer shot of them helping you into your dress.

DRESS & ACCESSORIES

Rather than overwhelm you with a ton of pictures when I first arrive, I will take some time photographing details like your dress, shoes and jewelry. It would be helpful if they were all kept in a known location, so that we don’t waste time trying to find them.

GENTS

As with the girls, it helps enormously if the room you get ready in is well lit and clutter free. Try laying out your outfit and accessories ahead of time, so you can avoid the frustration of plastic dry cleaning bags, hangers etc. Guys tend to get ready in 5 minutes, but just take your time. I might get you to re-straighten your tie, or button up your jacket in order to get the final shot. Tying your tie will probably be the most frustrating part of your day. I’ve watched countless grooms try 10-15 times before getting it right. It might be a good idea to print off an instruction guide from Pinterest, or watch a few videos on YouTube. Then come wedding day you’ll be a pro, and all your groomsmen will high-five you.

three.

the ceremony

Two become one, it's time for "I Do"! Keep the following thoughts in mind, and you'll be married before you know it!

lighting

While a candle lit ceremony is really beautiful, it can be difficult shooting under these conditions. In most non-religious ceremonies, you have a choice of where to stand, so choose a well-lit area like a window. If your wedding is in the fall or winter, bear in mind that daylight hours are much shorter.

strict rules

Some churches have strict rules about where I can photograph during the ceremony. This ranges from total freedom (yippee!), to zero photographs at all during the ceremony. Unfortunately, the rules are non-negotiable. Inquire in advance to see if there are any restrictions I should be aware of. The Officiant will typically brief me before the ceremony begins as well.

first kiss

This is it! It’s exciting, amazing, nerve wracking and it’s in front of all your family and friends. It’s over in the blink of an eye. So without telling you how to kiss, (although you should probably close your eyes because otherwise you look creepy), make it last at least a few seconds. A quick peck is pretty tough to capture.

Walking up the aisle

While a candle lit ceremony is really beautiful, it can be difficult shooting under these conditions. In most non-religious ceremonies, you have a choice of where to stand, so choose a well-lit area like a window. If your wedding is in the fall or winter, bear in mind that daylight hours are much shorter.

RECEIVING line

Your guests will be so excited to congratulate and kiss your newly wedded faces right after the ceremony. If you opt out of a receiving line, it would be great to tell your Officiant. This way he or she can make an announcement, and you won’t have to worry about getting bombarded by guests. Plus it notifies everyone that you’ll be headed out for pictures as soon as the ceremony is over.

four.

family portraits

You've done it - you're married! Time for family pictures.
These few tips will save us time and keep your family members from standing around for too long.

prepare a list

Take some time to think about the combinations you want, and make a list. It is helpful to have the names and a description eg. Bride, Groom, Jack and Diane (Grooms Mom & Dad). You can email me the list a week before the wedding.

how long will they take?

It really depends on how many combinations you want. Typically each shot will take a few minutes to set up and shoot, especially if we can’t seem to find Great Aunt Hilda. Schedule about 20-30 minutes from start to finish.

when & where

I typically shoot the family portraits directly after the ceremony & choose a spot outdoors, preferably on the ceremony’s property, or close by. This way everyone is already in the vicinity and easy to organize. I like to find a shady spot out of the wind if at all possible, with a simple backdrop. If you have a particular spot in mind, please let me know in advance.

five.

wedding portraits

Time for some fun! You can relax because the hard part is over. Leave this part to me - I promise you'll enjoy it!

bridal party

Typically, as soon as we finish the family portraits, we will head to the first location and start the portrait session. This is when you and your wedding party get to have some fun. The size of the wedding party, and the distance to the first location will determine how long we will shoot.

just the three of us

Let’s face it, your bridal party will be bored & ready for a drink in no time! Once I’m finished with the bridal party portraits, they can head to the reception on their own, and the pair of you can stay with me. This is when we will start your intimate portrait session. Likely, this will be your first time alone! You will finally have the chance to relax, hold each other, and speak to one another one-on-one.

location

I will scout for a location a day or two before the wedding. I always choose a spot away from guests & prying eyes. I love nature, woodlands, fields, greenery, textures, and bright colors (think painted doors, brick walls etc.) all of which make your shots a little more interesting. I will probably take you somewhere a bit unexpected to get something original, but I promise it will be worth it!

timing

Your day will fly by like a whirlwind. Inevitably things take a bit longer than you expect, and timings get delayed. Try to schedule 2 hours between events for both the bridal party session, and your intimate couples session. If time isn’t on our side, then I will steal time away from the group shots so that I can have a guaranteed hour with the two of you. Any less and we’ll be rushing, which makes it difficult to relax.

what if it rains?

I love natural light, so I’ll do everything in my power to shoot outdoors. If the heavens decide to open up, we can either shoot indoors, or take on the rain with umbrellas. Either way, we will make the best out of the situation.

interaction

I promise – no cheesy posed couples shots! I will direct you a little bit to get the ball rolling, but then I will let you interact normally, and move around capturing little moments. It’s the natural and spontaneous shots that I’m after, and they will come naturally as you relax & enjoy quiet time together.

six.

the reception

Pop, clink, fizz... and food! All your planning and attention to detail has come to this, the last event of the day. Enjoy it!

cocktail hour

This is the time when I prance around like a ninja taking photographs of all those beautiful details you’ve spent so much time & planning to prepare. I will also capture your guests mingling, laughing, relaxing & chatting. I will try to blend in as much as possible so that no one really notices I am there.

dining

We all know photos of people eating aren’t flattering, so this is a great opportunity to put my camera down. It’s also my chance to refresh and recharge for the evening. I love a good wedding feast, so it would be great to be included in the dinner count. Typically the vendors sit together at a table, and most of us shovel down our food in minutes so we can be ready for the next event. I promise, I’ll save some chocolate cake for the other guests.

speeches

Think about where you would like the speeches to be made. Try to avoid dark corners, or in front of fire escapes and exit signs. If there are any surprises in the speeches, flash mobs or slideshows, let me know in advance so that I can be prepared with any lighting equipment etc. I promise to keep it a secret.

lighting

If your venue is dimly lit, I will have to use flash equipment throughout the evening. I will try to be as discreet as possible, and try not to get in anyone’s way.

first dance

Now that the formal events are finished, it’s time to dance! While some people look forward to this moment, others dread the thought of so many gazing eyes. Think of this as your chance to spend a few moments together supported by the love of your friends and family. No one cares if you can’t dance, or if you just stand there and sway. I will give you the space you need, as I photograph your first dance.

bust a move

Once the first dance is over and your guests take to the floor, I will hang around for another 15 minutes or so photographing your guests as they bust a move. I find that there are only so many dancing pictures clients want to look at, so this is usually my time to pack up. If there is anything else you want me to stay for, then we can discuss this in advance. Oh, and now is a great time for the three of us to do a tequila shot at the bar before I say good night.

“If I know what love is,
it is because of you.”