Eat Breakfast.

Stay strong by eating, sleeping, and staying hydrated before the wedding.  A wedding can be exhausting.  You are going to want to enjoy every second.  You will feel better, and look better if you are healthy.  Worse case scenario, you pass out before you haven’t eaten.  This has happened!

Create a board on Pinterest that reflects your favorite style!

In order to help your wedding photographer get to know you, create a board on Pinterest with collections of wedding poses, and styles that you like or you don’t like.  This will help your photographer personalize your wedding pictures.  He wants to capture your wedding story in such a way that you will reflect on it for a lifetime.  

Have Engagement Portraits Done.

Having your engagement portraits done captures the two of you in a more natural and relaxed setting without the wedding apparel.  It helps you to get to know your photographer and vice versa.  During this session with your photographer, you can share timeline ideas for your wedding day, and discuss possible photographic spots where you can pose for stunning portraits.  Chances are, if he is an experienced professional, he may have photographed a wedding at your venue and can help you with ideas.

Engagement Portrait Photography

Schedule Enough Time for Each Portion of Your Wedding Day.

It is crucial that you have timeline for your wedding day.  Your wedding planner can assist you with this as well as speaking with your photographer beforehand.  There should be a certain amount of time assigned for hair, makeup, reception set up, etc.  Most importantly, your timeline should include your portrait sessions:  you getting ready with your bride’s maids, groom’s men, parents, the first look or first touch, bridal party photography, and couple’s session.  If you’re not sure how much time you will need for each part of the wedding day, click here.

Bridal Details Photography

Plan Enough Time for Hair and Makeup.

Delays with hair and makeup can make your whole day behind schedule.  Quality vendors will assure you are on time.

Have a realistic block of time for each wedding event.  Have conversations with your hairstylist about how long your hairstyle will take.  Some hair styles take longer than others.  Take this into consideration.

Additionally speak with your cosmetologist about how long the makeup is expected to take.  For example, air brushed makeup takes a considerable amount longer. 

Bridal Preparations


If you are a DIY bride, or whether you have hired a wedding planner, delegate someone to help you stay on schedule.  Choose someone who you can familiarize with yours and your fiancé’s family members.  Your delegate can make sure your Grandma and Grandpa don’t escape to go to the reception before they have been photographed.  Sometimes the wedding pictures are forever keepsakes when the elderly family members have gone on.  You want to make sure you have portraits of them to treasure!


Have a  15 to 20 minute buffer time between each stage of the day to make sure you stay on time.

Plan to Have a First Look or First Touch Portrait.

One of the most memorable parts of your day is when the bride and groom see or touch each other for the first time.  This can take away wedding jitters and create beautiful heart felt portraits.

There are many benefits to having a first look/first touch during your wedding day.  A first look gives the photographer an opportunity to get all the portraits of the wedding party, family members and a few of the bride and groom before the wedding even starts.  During this time, the flowers look fresher.  The makeup is perfect.  After the wedding, the bride may have cried or sweated streaking the makeup.  

The creates more time after the ceremony to do more creative works of art with the bride and groom alone.  Additionally, it will alleviate a sense of rush after the ceremony and proved a nice space between the ceremony and the reception.  In addition, there will be more time for your photographer to take more candid/story telling photographs if he has already taken most of the posed pictures beforehand.

First Look Photography

Minimize your locations.

In order to made the most of time for wedding portraits, minimize the number of photo shoot locations.  You don’t want to spend more time traveling from point A to point B than actually taking pictures.  This is where meeting your photographer beforehand in an engagement session or phone call can help.  Travel around your wedding venue beforehand and see if there are any photographic locations nearby.  

If your wedding is in a metal pole “barn” surrounded by parking lot, your options for beautiful portraits will be slim.  Set aside time to travel somewhere that will provide ample space and scenery.

Fall Wedding

Have a Plan for Bad Weather.

Whether your wedding is indoors or outdoors, you want to plan for bad weather.  If the weather is bad, is there ample room at the venue to take large grouping pictures?  If your wedding is outdoors, you may want to rent a large tent in advance.  Have a back-up plan!

Have a plan for photographing if the weather is bad.  Props like umbrellas or boots tell a wedding story beautifully!   Make the most of bad weather.  Laugh in the rain!  Dance in the rain!  It’s all a part of the story of your wedding day.

If the weather is very hot and sunny and you are having an outdoor wedding, think of your elderly parents.  Provide shade umbrellas and lots of water.  You do not want anyone passing out.

Choose a Venue That Has Optimal Lighting.

If you have hired a professional experienced photographer, the lighting issue at your venue will not be as important.  An experienced photographer will understand how to adjust his camera to shoot during a dark candle lit ceremony, or a large church with high ceilings.  He will understand how to light you if you are standing in front of large windows with lots of light shining through.  He will understand how to photograph your outdoor wedding when harsh light is casting blotches.  There are many elements of a live wedding event which make beautiful photography a challenge.  Make sure you hire someone who is an experienced artist and not an amateur.  Hiring a professional is worth it in every way.  

Waterfront Place Wedding, Morgantown, WV

Don’t Have a Receiving Line.

Receiving lines often take up to an hour or more to greet everyone at the wedding.  It will lessen the amount of time you can do other things like the portraits.  Instead, greet your guests at their tables at the reception.  That way you can take your time hugging and greeting friends and family rather than a rushed exchange at a receiving line.

Incorporate a Sparker Exit.

Sparkler Exit
Bubble Exit
Sneak away to watch fireworks

Since you have made a grand entrance at your wedding, and reception, why not plan a grand exit!  Sparkler exits are exciting and make stunning pictures.  If not sparklers, use confetti, balloons, or birds!  The possibilities are endless.