Welcome

a note about this guide

I am excited to be working with you and I cannot wait to get to know you better over the next several months! I know photography is one of the larger investments you're making for your wedding day and that is why I am so honored you are working with me! 

Even if you're working with a wedding planner or you're planning a simple wedding, there are likely still a lot of moving pieces left leading up to your big day. 

Having photographed weddings over the past few years, I tend to get asked the same things over and over again. So I thought it would be beneficial if I put together a guide that walks you through the majority of what to expect with your wedding planning process!

The Engagement Session Experience

From The Way He Holds Your Hand To How She Adores You With Her Eyes, I will Catch It All. Your Engagement Story Is Worth Telling With Luminous Photos. 
My all-inclusive couples package has everything you need to capture your beautiful story with radiant photos. We'll schedule a 2-hour session at the perfect location to fit your personality. Whether at a park, in your home, or maybe your favorite date spot, we'll have a lot of fun and make some new memories in the process. This package includes a hair and makeup artist + a style guide to ensure you feel confident and prepared for your session. 



Vendors

who will help bring your dream wedding into a reality

As a wedding photographer, I have learned the important role quality vendors play in creating a stress-free wedding day. I have worked with many of the vendors below and I cannot recommend them enough! I chose these vendors for both the quality of their work as well as their professionalism on the actual wedding day. Note: these vendors are based in Middle TN. Just click on the business and be taken straight to their website/contact profile. No google search necessary! 

Wedding planners
Florists
Desserts 
Hair and Makeup
Videography
Wedding Dresses
Calligraphy
Music/Bands
Rentals
menswear

Bridal portraits

ONE OF THE BIGGEST ADVANTAGES OF A BRIDAL PORTRAIT SESSION IS THAT THEY CAN SERVE AS A PRACTICE RUN FOR THE BIG DAy! 

There's a big difference between looking at yourself in the mirror at a hair and makeup trial and actually seeing how that hair holds up in the elements and how that makeup photographs. When it comes to being confident in your choices on your wedding day, bridal portraits before your wedding day help give you valuable time and headspace to best prepare for what the actual day will look like. 

If you're considering a Bridal Portrait Session, I recommend a full trial run of hair, nails, makeup and your bouquet. I typically spend 2-3 hours shooting at bridal sessions and it's nice to have something to hold to make your hands feel a little less awkward! 

When it comes to choosing a location for your bridal portrait session, I recommend using locations that are well manicured, clean, and have great variety in indoor and outdoor locations.

Wedding venues are usually a wonderful place to start - especially historic homes and resorts that have well manicured areas. I want to keep your dress as clean as possible and still get a lot of amazing images inside and outside.

When it comes to selecting a date for your bridal portrait session, another great thing to keep in mind is the weather. In order to avoid being too hot during the summer months or too cold during the winter months, I highly recommend Spring and Fall. However, I will shoot anytime and anywhere when great light is involved!

Many venues charge a fee for portrait sessions. Although inconvenient, the fee is often worth it in order to have use of their getting ready room and other venue services. I typically have to work with the venues on times, but I love to shoot bridal portraits in the afternoon as late as we can to get that softer afternoon light. However, if your venue has strict hours, I am happy to work with their allotted times.

Make sure to use the checklist provided to see what items you will need to pack for your bridal portrait session! 

Checklist of items to pack for your bridal portrait session

Wedding Dress

Veil

Bridal Shoes

Ring(s)

Jewelry

Bridal Bouquet

Invitation Suite (Detail Shots)

Deciding on a first look?

some helpful advice to determine if a first look is for you

That moment the Bride and Groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day is magical. And this is true whether the couple chooses to wait until the bride walks down the aisle or chooses to do a “first look’ prior to the ceremony.

First looks—a private moment couples choose to spend together prior to the wedding ceremony—have become more popular over the last few years.

While I definitely consider myself a person who values tradition, there are definitely a few good reasons to consider a first look. Here are 3 reasons to consider a ‘first look’:

 A first look enables you to take a lot of your photos before the ceremony so you can get to cocktail hour and your reception sooner.
So from a practical standpoint, a first look helps the timeline run more efficiently

If you’re having a winter ceremony, first-look wedding photos are critical if you want portraits taken with natural light. The sun will be down between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m., so this is your chance for pictures in the sun. Otherwise, your bride+groom portraits will be crammed in after the ceremony (in darker light) and feel more rushed

Reason #2 

Reason #1 

Reason #3

You’ll get some privacy. It’s a whirlwind once guests arrive, and having a first look gives you and your partner a few moments together before all of your family and friends surround you. 
It can be highly emotional because A wedding is an intimate, emotional experience, and a first look means I can capture a couple together in that moment. Yes, walking down the aisle is emotional too, but you’re not together, alone,  in those photographs.

Creating a Wedding day Timeline

WHETHER YOU'RE PLANNING A FIRST LOOK OR STICKING WITH the TRADITION of NOT SEEING YOUR GROOM UNTIL YOU WALK DOWN THE AISLE, I HAVE some helpful TIPS TO MAKE sure PLANNING out your wedding day timeline is as stress free as possible!

First Look?

If you're choosing to go traditional, you'll need two different sets of photo times: images taken before the ceremony and images taken after the ceremony.

No First Look?

If you're doing a first look, photos can be done all at one time, taking an average total of 2-3 hours pre-ceremony (although I also LOVE grabbing just the two of you for a few additional bride and groom photos at sunset after the ceremony)! 

If you choose a traditional aisle reveal, all I ask is that you keep your ceremony time in mind when planning your wedding. 

If you're planning a sunset ceremony or an evening ceremony, it's best to do all photos before the wedding, as daylight is crucial to getting amazing portraits for your families, bridal party and your couples portraits. Making sure you have enough time while the sun is up is a great way to make the traditional ceremony work. I always remind couples that they are hiring me based off of my photography style: bright, joyful and radiant photos that are taken in the daylight hours. 

I always recommend a first look to couples mostly because it is the most efficient way of taking photos for the wedding. I am very conscious that the wedding day goes by super fast for the bride + groom and I do not want to take up even more time photographing family formals after the ceremony when everyone wants to go hit up the cocktail hour and see friends and family. Now, this is just personal preference and I am speaking from experience, but if I am working with a bride and groom, I would love for them to make the final decision and that way we can wisely craft a photography timeline that best suits their personalities and they are still getting images that best illustrate and capture their love story.

Wedding Day Details

I love capturing all the little details you've carefully chosen to be a part of your wedding day! Once I arrive at your wedding, I need about 60 minutes to capture and style details. I recommend choosing a getting ready location filled with natural light and, if possible, please keep the space free from trash and clutter. While I photograph the details is usually when bride is just getting started with her hair and makeup done so I am not missing out on any other portraits! 

It would be wonderful if you could put all of your rings, jewelry, shoes, veil purse, perfume, invitations and other keepsakes together in one spot for me. Please unwrap your dress but don't worry about styling it - I will hang it in a beautiful spot! The day of the wedding is a stressful time to gather all of these detail items, so please be sure to pre-collect these items at least the night before and give them to a trusted bridal party member who can hand it to me when I arrive at your getting-ready suite! That way I do not have to bother you with any questions and I can go straight into photographing those darling details!

Bridal Details Checklist

Dress
Dress Hanger
Rings (both engagement and wedding bands)
Shoes
Veil
Bouquet
Ring
Hair pieces
Jewelry
Invitation Suite ( 2 full sets with envelopes + stamps)
Any other paper stationary you may have like program cards.

(Groom's Checklist)
His shoes
Socks (if they're special)
Cuff Links
Tie or Bow Tie
Pocket Square
Boutonnière
Vows Book
Rings
Anything else he'll have that is special or sentimental.
Vow Book
Any other sentimental keepsakes you would like to include
Bonus: I would love to have a few cuts of the florals you'll be using throughout your wedding day. If your florist will supply us a small bucket of extra pieces we can incorporate those in your detail shots.

The Rings

When the bride is getting ready I normally take ring shots during the designated time for the detail photos. I highly recommend getting your rings cleaned for this specific detail shot! Trust me, the end result (photo) is worth it! 

Family formal photos

besides your bride/groom portraits These are the pictures you'll be printing off because of your loved ones so let's make this time count! 

For family portraits, I will place you in the center of a large group photo with all of your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, godparents, etc. And then I will remove the extended family so it’s just grandparents, parents and siblings. 

We’ll keep removing family members and switch a few closer family members in and out so we get photos of you and your parents, you and your siblings, some with the groom and your family, etc. Then we’ll repeat the process with your spouse's family. The whole thing will go quicker and smoother if you let family know how the portrait process will work ahead of time.

When I send out my pre-wedding questionnaire, I will ask you for a list of specific groupings, special situations (such as divorces, deaths, or handicapped family members & more), but if you want to start brainstorming photos in the meantime, you'll find my typical list below. 

Family formal checklist

Bride + Groom + Bride's extended family

Bride + Groom +Bride's Parents + Bride's siblings + Bride's grandparents

Bride + Groom + Bride's parents + Bride's Siblings

Bride + Groom + Bride's parents

Bride + Groom + Bride's siblings

Bride + Mom 

Bride + Dad

Bride + Groom + Groom's extended family

Bride + Groom + Groom's parents +Groom's siblings + groom's grandparents

bride + groom + groom's parents + groom's siblings

Bride + Groom + Groom's parents

Bride + Groom + Groom's siblings

Groom + Mom

Groom + Dad

Please note that this list is just a starting point and that I am happy to take any requested family portraits as long as time allows!

One of the best ways to make your wedding memories last is by ordering an album. These high quality professionally designed albums come in black leather or linen blue. These aren’t the same albums your parents' wedding photos came in. They’re modern, lay perfectly flat and look incredible on a coffee table. They also make great gifts for your loved ones! Message me for more details if you'd like to order one as a part of your wedding package! *Prices Start at $700*

Wedding albums

The first heirloom piece you'll add to your new family legacy

Additional tips

after shooting weddings and working with many couples for the past several years i'm very happy to share a few additional tips

1.

I strongly recommend the bride go into hiding 30 minutes before the ceremony at the absolute latest. Guests typically arrive early to weddings.

2.

Make sure and have your bouquet delivered in time to make an appearance for the detail shots and for your first look. Often they are delivered in water and need to be dried off before use. Having towels handy can help.

3.

If your reception is at a separate venue, add some "fluff time" so that I can run over to the venue to capture it while it's still "untouched" by guests.

4.

5.

Challenge yourself to drink your body weight in oz of water the day before your wedding so you are properly hydrated on the actual day.

To help make family portraits go smoother, it's best to have a breakdown of what portraits you'd like and it's really wonderful if both sides of the family have a chance to have their input on what portraits they'd like before the wedding. Supplying me with a list ahead of time, I can go over it and make sure I shoot things in an order that is efficient and won't leave anyone out.

6.

If you do decide to have a cocktail hour with alcohol, please be certain to communicate with your bridal party (both bride side and groom side) when portraits will take place. From my experience, once cocktail hour opens, no one wants to take portraits and most people want to hit the open bar early on. So please be sure to communicate expectations with your family members and with anyone you want to have a portrait with immediately following your ceremony in the event you decide to NOT do a first look and you know you have to tackle a set list of family + friends photo list. You will want everyone sober for these portraits. Trust me.