Wedding Guide

Your guide to a fantastic experience!

Over the years, after covering many weddings, I’ve learned a few things that, if kept in mind, might help logistically. This little booklet is a collection of helpful insights intended to help you in the planning process.

The suggested timing in this wedding guide are suggestions/estimates to give you a frame of reference when planning. I should note that this guide is structured primarily around what tend to be the most common types of weddings that I’ve photographed throughout the years and not intended to be a catch-all guide. If the wedding you’re planning is more personally tailored, I’m happy to consult with you on specific timing and best practices around your event. If you’re working with a wedding planner, I’m more than happy to coordinate and collaborate.

If you have any other thoughts or concerns specific to your wedding, please don’t hesitate to call or email me!

Bride Portrait at Madrona Manor Wedding

Getting Ready

Your day is going to get started before I arrive as you begin hair/makeup and any other odds and end. But here are a few things you may want to consider leading up to and after my arrival.

The Boys

The BIGGEST tip I’ve got for the guys is: practice, practice, practice tying your ties and bowties–especially if you’re completely new to it! Click here for a great youtube video on How to tie a bowtie!

I typically cover the guys getting their ties and jackets on if you’re wanting any photos for getting ready. Afterwards, my assistant will chill with you and just capture candids of you hanging out and whatnot.

Don’t feel pressured to perform for the camera or anything. Just hang out and enjoy yourselves.

First Look Photo

The First Look

The main reason couples choose to do a first look is to allow for a genuine, private moment before the ceremony and some flexibility in getting some portraits out of the way.

Block off about 15-20 minutes if you’re planning for the first look, and another 30-45 minutes for couples & wedding party portraits after.

Family Portraits at Murrieta's Well

Family Formals

This section is possibly one of the most important in the wedding guide…

When properly organized, group portraits can be done beautifully and quickly so that your family go off and have fun. I recommend having a designated family member from each side of the family help corral your family together and communicating with them ahead of time so everyone knows when and where to be. Estimating 2-3 minutes per combination is a good starting point. Groups of 8-10 or more will take around 5+ minutes to set up. A typical set of Family combinations like the list below should take about 20-30 minutes.

Both Spouses Family 

  • Couple + Both Parents, Grandparents, & Siblings

Spouse A Side: 

  • Couple + Spouse A Parents, Grandparents, & Siblings, & Close Aunts/Uncles
  • Couple + Spouse A Parents, & Siblings
  • Couple + Spouse A Parents

Spouse B Side: 

  • Couple + Spouse B Parents, Grandparents, & Siblings, & Close Aunts/Uncles
  • Couple + Spouse B Parents, & Siblings
  • Couple + Spouse B Parents

For large groups, we’ll need either steps or chairs to help stagger people like in the above photo so everyone can be seen. I also recommend creating a list with names so we can see exactly how big each group will be for planning purposes.



Odds & Ends

The ceremony is obviously going to be guided by the officiant, but there’s a couple things that are worth keeping in mind if possible…

The Recessional

As you make your way down the aisle, make sure to look at each other or your guests–just don’t look down at your feet (I know, it’s tempting when you’re trying to watch your feet!). But trust me, you want to see your eyes lighting up and meeting the gaze of your guests and each other. It’s one of my favorite moments to capture!

Couple's Portraits

Whenever possible, try setting some time for portraits about 15-20 minutes before sunset for the best light. In general I only need about 20 minutes for a small set of good portraits. However if you want a variety of spots around your venue, more time will be needed.

The Reception


For the most part, I’ll be following the timeline on this set up by your coordinator. But similar to the ceremony, there are some things that you might consider.
bride and groom first dance at piedmont community center wedding

Oh, and one last thing...

Have Fun!

The best piece of advice in this wedding guide I can give you is to forget about the camera. Take in every moment you can and remember this is your day to enjoy to the fullest. Focus on each other and your loved ones that have come to celebrate with you. I promise you’ll love the photos more if you let yourself be in the moment!