Welcome

A NOTE ABOUT THIS GUIDE

We’re so excited to be working with you and we can’t wait to get to know you better over the next several months! We know photography is one of the larger investments you're making for your wedding day and we're so honored you chose to work with us!

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 130 weddings over the past few years, we tend to get asked the same things over and over again. So we thought it would be beneficial if we put together a guide that walks you through everything from timelines to engagement sessions and inclement weather.

- KRISTA & DAVEY

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

We’re big fans 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. We've created an entire page dedicated to outfit tips, location ideas, timing considerations and more!

Engagement Session

plan your session

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, photos are invaluable!

If you're considering a Bridal Portrait Session, we recommend a full trial run of hair, nails, makeup and your bouquet. We typically spend 1-2 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, we recommend using locations that are well manicured, clean, and have great variety in indoor and outdoor locations.

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 that you can SEE

Wedding venues are usually a wonderful place to start - especially historic homes and resorts that have well manicured areas. We 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, we highly recommend Spring and Fall. However, we'll shoot anytime and anywhere there's great light!

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. We typically have to work with the venues on times, but we 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, we are happy to work with their allotted times.

Make sure to bring your jewelry, your veil and your shoes to your bridal portrait session! 

Dress
Undergarments
Shoes
Veil
Bouquet
Ring
Hair pieces and jewelry

Bridal Portrait Session Checklist 

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. 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’:

Is a First Look Right for You?

If you're wondering whether a first look is right for you, stop here.

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.

1. A first look cuts through the chaos of the day.

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 bridal party, and then bride and groom portraits. This generally runs into cocktail hour.

A first look opens up time prior to the ceremony for full bridal party pictures and, sometimes, for a few bride and groom portraits (although we prefer to do bride and groom 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.

2. IT MakeS more time for Pictures without sacrificing cocktail hour.

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.

3. Avoid possible bad weather and/or have time to freshen-up after crying

Wedding Day Timeline

building the perfect

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 one hour of pre-ceremony bridal photos (bridesmaids and bride's family) and about one hour of pre-ceremony groom photos (groomsmen and groom's family) at separate times. You'll also need 15 minutes of combined bridal 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.

Whether you're planning a first look or sticking with tradition and not seeing your groom until you walk down the aisle, we have tips to help make planning your timeline as easy as possible!

If you're doing a first look, photos can be done all at one time, taking an average total of 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.

12 p.m.

Krista arrives at Bride’s getting ready location and Davey arrives at Groom’s getting ready location.

12pm - Getting Ready

Note: Ideally by the time we arrive, hair and makeup is already wrapping up. If something is going to delay the beginning of the day, it’s often HAMU.

1:15 p.m.

Groom + groomsmen depart for ceremony site.

1:15pm - Guys Depart

1:30 p.m.

Bride and bridesmaids depart for ceremony location. 

1:30pm - Ladies Depart

1:45 p.m.

The first look takes place. 

1:45 First Look

Note: The First Look can take place at the getting ready location, ceremony, or reception location. It’s up to you! Although we’re happy to make recommendations.

2:00 p.m.

Bride & Groom + bridal party portraits.

2:00pm - Portraits

3:00 p.m.

The ceremony takes place.

3:00PM Ceremony

3:30 p.m.

Family portraits.

3:30pm  Family Portraits

Note: We do family portraits right after the ceremony because everyone you need will be easy to grab. If you can give your family notice that we’ll be taking pictures immediately after the ceremony, that will also ensure that no one wanders off. We’ll help you create a list of family portraits before the big day. 


4:00 P.M.

Additional Bridal Party and Bride & Groom Portraits

4:00pm Portraits

Note: Depending on what was taken before the ceremony, we might grab 1 or 2 more full bridal party shots.

4:30 p.M. 

Cocktail Hour

4:30pm Cocktail Hour 

Note: The great thing about doing a First Look is that it gives you more time at cocktail hour. We’ll grab some pictures of your guests while you enjoy the hour.

5:00 P.M.

Introductions & First Dance

5pm Introductions

5:30 P.M.

Welcome toasts & salads followed by speeches and entrees. 

5:30pm Dinner

6:00 P.M.

Sunset Portraits

6pm Sunset Portraits

We’ll make sure to grab you two about 45 minutes before the sunsets. This is usually the best light of the day!

6:30 P.M.

Dancing begins

6:30pm Dancing

7:15 P.M.

Cake cutting followed by bouquet toss.

7:15pm Traditions

8:00 P.M.

Photographers Depart

8:00pm Photographers Depart

1 p.m.

Krista arrives at Bride’s getting ready location and Davey arrives at Groom’s getting ready location.

1pm - Getting Ready

Note: Ideally by the time we arrive, hair and makeup is already wrapping up. If something is going to delay the beginning of the day, it’s often HAMU.

2:00 p.m.

Groom + groomsmen depart for ceremony site & take pre-ceremony group photos. 

2:00pm - Guys Depart

2:15 p.m.

Bride and bridesmaids depart for ceremony location and take pre-ceremony group photos. 

2:15pm - Ladies Depart

3:00 p.m.

The ceremony takes place.

3:00PM Ceremony

3:30 p.m.

Family portraits.

3:30pm  Family Portraits

Note: We do family portraits right after the ceremony because everyone you need will be easy to grab. If you can give your family notice that we’ll be taking pictures immediately after the ceremony, that will also ensure that no one wanders off. We’ll help you create a list of family portraits before the big day. 


4:00 P.M.

Bridal Party and Bride & Groom Portraits

4:00pm Portraits

Note: Depending on what was taken before the ceremony, this normally takes about an hour total. 

5:30 P.M.

Introductions & First Dance

5:30pm Introductions

6:00 P.M.

Welcome toasts & salads followed by speeches and entrees. 

6:00pm Dinner

7:30 P.M.

Sunset Portraits

7:30pm Sunset Portraits

We’ll make sure to grab you two about 45 minutes before the sunsets. This is usually the best light of the day!

8:00 P.M.

Dancing begins

8:00pm Dancing

8:30 P.M.

Cake cutting followed by bouquet toss.

8:30pm Traditions

9:00 P.M.

Photographer’s Depart

9:00pm Photographers Depart

If the forecast is calling for rain, fear not because rainy days can still be beautiful! If you don't believe us, just take a look at Ryan & Ash's wedding day. It rained the entire day and it was still 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. 

Rain Tips

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. 

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!

Wedding Day Details

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! 

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.

Bridal DETAILS 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
We once had a bride bring her grandmother's hand mirror. This is completely optional - but if you have something sentimental you'd like styled with your details, we love including family heirlooms in our detail shots.
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.

GROOM DETAILS Checklist 

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

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. 

Family Formals

your entire family, dressed up and together 

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 

Bridal Portrait Session Checklist 

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!

Consider Unplugging

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.

1. 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!

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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. 

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

Additional Tips

AFTER SHOOTING MORE THAN 130 weddings in the past few years, we're happy to share a few additional tips

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

7. 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 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.

8. 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!

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

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.

Albums

more details

the perfect way to remember your wedding day

We 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 us any time at krista@kristaajones.com.

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

THANK YOU!