Keep in mind these are only a few options & opinions

Weddings are beautiful any which way, however you want them -- it's your day, after all.

Set up -

How is your ceremony set up? Can I move around you to get different angles if the lighting is harsh? Are you in the shade + the lake is in the sun right behind you? (If the background is too bright compared to where you are standing, it'll look washed out in photos).

Also -- if you have ushers, be sure they guide people to the front of the ceremony space. Often guests will leave the front open, but these are the rows that are visible in the majority of your photographs, and it's so much nicer to look at the faces of your loving guests rather than empty chairs.

Profiles -

Think about how your hair will look from the side. Sweeping bangs can look amazing but they can also hide the side of your face, which is how the majority of your ceremony photos will be shot.

Obviously the most important thing is that your outfits + hair and make up (or lack there of) reflect exactly who you are as a couple, but it is nice to think about how you'll photograph from the side (and how your guests will see you too).

Getting ready -

While I don't think the photographer has to be there right way in the morning, there are so many sweet, tender moments of excitement and emotion as you get ready for your day, and it can be really beautiful to capture a few of those moments.

First look -

Personally I love first looks as it gives the couple another moment together alone, and it's important to soak that up on your wedding day and not get lost in the hustle & bustle too much. This can be a time to get some really sweet, endearing portraits full of emotion, and I've still seen plenty of grooms get emotional during the ceremony even after a first look.

It also opens up the time before the ceremony to get most of the posed family + wedding party photos out of the way, which can really free up the schedule and allow you to relax and mingle after the ceremony.

However -- if you want to stay traditional and wait, that can be so meaningful and beautiful too! Consider doing a first touch or writing each other a note to read before the ceremony instead instead so you still have a moment to connect with your partner + a cute photo op :) I've even seen a first-tequila-shot go down!

Shots list -

Aside from a list of formal family images you'd like, I don't see a reason for a shots list as your photographer will be snapping away all day!

While it is fun to look at examples and get inspired (and share your inspiration with your photographer); your gallery is unique and will look like your gallery and your day, no matter what. What is helpful to see is some inspiration on style; do you want editorial newlywed photos, classic romantic, edgy flash, etc?

Speaking of family photos -- if you really want that part of the day to go smoothly, give the shot list to a family member or friend who knows the group -- they will be quicker to get folks organized, and your photographer wont have to set down the camera to refer to the list and can just keep clicking.

Golden hour -

If possible, carve out a moment sneak away a little before sunset with your sweetie to get some gorgeous photos. The lighting is perfect and everyone can be more relaxed as the day is winding down.

Don't stress about wind in your hair or your dress on the ground --

Smaller WEddings -

More time with those nearest and dearest to you, less stress & a more laid back day-of timeline, and more time to be in the moment and soak up time with your loved one. Also gives you the possibility to have an amazing destination wedding!

Break up traditions -

  • Have a food truck -- as dinner or a late night snack
  • Private vows before the ceremony
  • Include your pups or other pets!
  • A sparkler last dance instead of an exit
  • Surprise Mother/Daughter dance, etc
  • Work with your DJ or band or spend time on a playlist to be sure there's music you + friends and family really love
  • Write letters the day or your wedding or night before, to seal up and read on your first anniversary (over some wine or a nice dinner)
  • Have a theme -- a vintage decade, bowler hats, bow ties, etc