Thank you again for choosing to work with me and please don't hesitate to let us know if I can offer any additional guidance throughout the wedding planning process!

I'm so excited to be working with you and I can’t 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 I'm so honored you chose to work 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 more than 200+ 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 everything from timelines to engagement sessions and inclement weather.



plan your session

I'm a big fan of engagement sessions for a few reasons. Not only do they allow you to get comfortable in front of the camera, they also give you the opportunity to showcase your personalities in a more casual setting that is significant to the two of you. I've created an entire page dedicated to outfit tips, location ideas, timing considerations and more!

Engagement Session












A. Renee Weddings


Over the years, I've learned the important role quality vendors play in creating a stress-free wedding day. I've worked with many of the vendors below and I cannot recommend them enough! This is not a paid list - I chose these vendors for both the quality of their work as well as their professionalism on the actual wedding day.



EventFUL Moments

Sinclair & Moore

Goldenrod Floral

Iris & Fig

Anthera Floral

Jeffrey H Le

Good Films Co

Ridgewood Films

Ravishing Radish

Herban Feast

Cameron Catering

Bamboo Beats

Magnolia Raphsody

Integral DJs

Jen Lagers

Shalonda Peguero

Michelle Wight

Lady Grey

Honey Crumb

Sift & Gather

The Dress Theory


A & Bé Bridal

Vintage Ambiance

Grand Event Rentals

Pedersen's Rentals

Robinson Creative House

Swell Press

Plume Calligraphy

Annemarie Juhlian

Happily Wed Ceremonies

Arissa at A Wedding with Heart

A&A Limousine

British Motor Coach

Butler Seattle

That moment the wedding couple sees each other for the first time on their wedding day is magical. And this is true whether the couple chooses to wait until the they walk 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. About half of our couples this year have chosen to do a first look.

While we consider ourselves people who value tradition, there are definitely a few good reasons to consider a first look. Here are 3 reasons to consider a ‘first look’:


First Looks

If you’re expecting poor weather on your wedding day, it might be best to plan on a first look because it gives you more options for pictures. If it’s pouring rain after the ceremony, you’ll be thankful you had pictures done in advance.

And reason 3b is for all you cryers out there. If you know the tears are going to fly the first time you see your other half the day of your wedding, a first look will give you time to freshen up before the ceremony.

First look or not, the first time you see each other on your wedding day will be special.

First Look


When there is no first look, the majority of the pictures have to be taken after the ceremony. Family pictures are generally done as soon as the ceremony ends because it’s the easiest time to round everyone up. Next up is full wedding party, and then couple portraits. This generally runs into cocktail hour.

A first look opens up time prior to the ceremony for full wedding party pictures and, sometimes, for a full set of couple portraits (we prefer to do a second set of portraits at sunset). This allows the couple to get the most out of cocktail hour, which makes the rest of the evening feel less rushed.

It makes more time for pictures without sacrificing cocktail hour  


Avoid possible bad weather and/or have time to freshen-up after the first look  

Once the ceremony begins, the day takes off quickly. A ‘first look’ is an opportunity to enjoy some quiet time alone, enjoy each other’s company, and reflect on all this day means before your day takes off.

Wedding days can be a whirlwind and they tend to fly by. There’s much to do, and a lot of people to see and to catch up with. We always encourage our couples to take a few minutes every so often during their wedding to stop and soak in everything that’s happening.

A first look cuts through the chaos of the day


If you're doing a first look, photos can be done all at one time, taking an average total of 1.5 to 2 hours pre-ceremony (although we also LOVE grabbing just the two of you for a few additional bride and groom photos at sunset!)

If you choose a traditional aisle reveal, all we 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 we have enough time while the sun is up is a great way to make the traditional ceremony work.

Whether you choose to do a first look or the traditional "no see before the ceremony" we will work with you on making sure you have the best timeline and plan for images.

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.

You'll need to plan for about two hours of pre-ceremony photos for each merrier's wedding party and family photos (i.e., Bride's side, Groom's side) at separate times. You'll also need 15 minutes of combined wedding party portraits, 15 minutes of combined family portraits and at least 30 -45 minutes of couple's portraits after the ceremony if you're not doing any portraits together until after the ceremony.

tips for a seamless wedding day timeline


Wedding Day

building the perfect

1:00pm - Detail Photos
1:30pm - Getting Ready Photos
2:30pm - Bride into Dress
2:40pm - First Look
2:45pm - Couple's Photos
3:15pm - Wedding Party Photos
3:45pm - Family Photos
4:15pm - Hide the Couple
5:00pm - Ceremony
5:30pm - Cocktail Hour 
6:30pm - Guest Seated for Dinner
7:15pm - Toasts
7:45pm - Cake Cutting
7:50pm - First Dances
8:40pm - Sunset Photos
9:00pm - Coverage ends, party continues

First Look Timeline

1:30pm - Detail Photos
2:00pm - Getting Ready Photos
3:00pm - Bride into Dress
3:15pm - Groom & Groomsmen Photos
3:45pm - Bride & Bridesmaids Photos
4:15pm - Hide the Couple
5:00pm - Ceremony
5:30pm - Cocktail Hour 
5:35pm - Family Photos
6:00pm - Wedding Party Group
6:15pm - B&G Portraits
7:00pm - Guest Seated for Dinner
7:45pm - Toasts
8:15pm - Cake Cutting
8:25pm - First Dances
9:00pm - Sunset Photos
9:30pm - Coverage ends, party continues!

no First Look Timeline

If you're not working with a planner, it might also be a good idea to check in with your entire vendor team to make sure they're aware of the weather. Hair and makeup may need to be tweaked to withstand humidity and if your wedding is outdoors, DJs and bands may need to take extra precaution to protect their gear. A quality rental team can also minimize the amount of mud at outdoor events.

While we can't guarantee that rain on your wedding day is good luck, we can put a plan in place to ensure a beautiful day and beautiful images.

Rainy day weddings may require a little more flexibility and creativity, but there isn't any reason why they can't be as beautiful and as joyful as sunny weddings!

If the forecast is calling for rain, fear not because rainy days can still be beautiful! 

If rain is in the forecast, we recommend ordering a few clear umbrellas on Amazon. It also might be good to re-evaluate portrait locations to make sure we can still shoot in natural light - even if it means heading offsite. 

If you don't own a pair of cute Wellies, now may be a great time to order a pair - even if you're just wearing them in between shooting locations. 

Rain Tips

We love capturing all the little details you've carefully chosen to be a part of your wedding day! Once we arrive at your wedding, we need about 30 minutes to capture and style details. We recommend choosing a getting ready location filled with natural light and, if possible, please keep the space free from trash and clutter.

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 us. Please unwrap your dress but don't worry about styling it - we'll hang it in a beautiful spot! 


Wedding Day 

Dress Hanger (a pretty one!)
Rings (both engagement and wedding bands)
Hair pieces
Invitation Suite (2 full sets with envelopes + stamps)
Any other paper stationary you may have like program cards.
Vow Book
Any other sentimental keepsakes you would like to include

Bonus: We'd 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.

print this checklist


print this checklist

His shoes
Socks (if they're special)
Cuff Links
Tie or Bow Tie
Pocket Square
Vows Book
Anything else he'll have that is special or sentimental.


When we can, we always try to take a photo of your rings while you're getting ready. If possible, try to have your engagement ring cleaned or clean it yourself.

To clean at home, soak your ring in warm water with dishwashing soap for 20 to 40 minutes. Then gently brush the stone with a soft toothbrush, rinse and repeat if needed.

The Rings

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

print + adjust this checklist

Bride + Groom + Bride's Extended Family 
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents +  Siblings +  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 + Siblings +  Grandparents
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents + Groom's Siblings 
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents
Bride + Groom + Groom's Siblings
Groom + Mom 
Groom + Dad 

Family Formals Checklist

For family portraits, we’ll place you in the center of a large group photo with all of your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, godparents, etc. And then we’ll 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 we send out our pre-wedding questionnaire, we'll ask you for a list of specific groupings, special situations (such as divorces or handicapped family members & more), but if you want to start brainstorming photos in the meantime, you'll find our typical list below. 

your entire family, dressed up and together 

Family Formals

If you've been to a wedding recently, you may have seen a sign from the happy couple asking for their guests to remain "unplugged" during the ceremony. 

And while it might seem like a strange requests to ask guests to put down their phones, there's a pretty good reason for it! You made a big investment in photography and we're sure one of the last things you want on your wedding day is for our photos of your ceremony to be filled with obtrusive iPhones, iPads and relatives standing in the aisle with their own cameras. In order to help us do the best possible job capturing your wedding, we recommend asking guests to unplug during the ceremony.


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

buffer Time


If you're planning on having a first look with your bridal party or a parent, they often feel more comfortable being fully dressed in their wedding attire. 

First looks for parents


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.

Extra Florals


If it's going to be hot, a cooler of cold waters and frozen washcloths can help keep a wedding party cool - especially if your men are wearing lots of layers.

Prep for the heat


If you're getting married in the summer months, a "not-so-heavy" snack or lunch time before portraits is always a good idea for you and your bridal party to avoid hungry bellies and passing out!

Don't forget the snacks




We'd love to help you plan your timeline. If you'd like our input, don't hesitate to email or call!

We're here to help


During the cocktail hour and the reception, we'll follow you around. Anytime you'd like a photo with someone, grab our attention. We love being your personal paparazzi!

Photo anyone?


Family portraits go smoother when both sides of the family have a chance to have their input on what portraits they'd like before the wedding. If you supply us with a list ahead of time, we can go over it and make sure we shoot things in an order that is efficient and won't leave anyone out.

Make a list


We always recommend the bride go into hiding 45 minutes before the ceremony at the absolute latest. Guests typically arrive early to weddings.

Hide the bride


We’re big believers that images aren’t meant to solely exist in a digital space. One day, most likely, Instagram will be gone, your phone will be replaced and images that you can physically hold in your hand will be the best way to remember those precious moments we captured.

Think about this fact: twenty years ago, if we had delivered you digital images, they would have been on a floppy disk. With the fast updates to technology, you would have no way to access those images today. Even the online galleries we deliver will eventually fade away.

One of the best ways to make your wedding memories last is by ordering an album. These high quality professionally designed albums come in a variety of linen & leather colors. 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.


Handcrafted Albums

After we deliver your gallery, we'll work with you to order prints and design an album that will become an heirloom for your family. 

Albums must be prepaid before design begins and typically take between 4 to 6 weeks to complete (including revisions). 

With the exception of printing errors, all albums are non-returnable. Albums may be ordered anytime before or after the wedding day. The holiday deadline for beginning an order is November 1st.

(8x8, 20 pages) 

Linen: $650 each for Linen
Leather: $900 each
Additional 2-page Spread: $45 each


Linen: $1250 for Linen
Leather: $1650
Additional 2-page Spread: $65

20 page 10x10 album


Wedding albums are available a la carte or as part of your wedding collection. 

I can't wait to start planning with you and getting to know you! If you haven't scheduled your engagement session yet, let's get that in the books. Feel free to email me any time at

If you have any questions or would just like to chat, I'm here for you. I hope this guide helps make the process of planning your wedding details much easier and less stressful. I can't wait to see you soon! Thank you so much for taking the time to read through my guide!

Thank you!