Shawnee Mission Park is a wonderful choice when it comes to location for engagement sessions! I met Natalie and Collin for their dreamy session just before the sun set on a beautiful Fall evening. They brought their sweet pup with them who was sporting a cute bandana that said, “My humans are getting married!”

I always recommend using a mixture of different textiles and patterns in outfits choices to help give the photos some depth and differentiation. Natalie and Collin did a great job of this! Collin wore a jeans and a black top. This is very neutral and a great basic outfit that can easily compliment a wide variety of colors and patterns. This allowed Collin to stay in one outfit the whole time even though Natalie had multiple outfits.

Natalie did a great job of picking complimentary outfits that enhanced the colors of their surroundings and Collin’s outfit. She had one casual outfit and then two dresses that were both beautiful and very different from each other! The difference in colors and patterns allowed them to get a wide variety of photos with the easy of a couple outfit changes.

Shawnee Mission Park is stunning in the Fall when the leaves start to change colors! I was so excited to be able to capture the change of the season as Natalie and Collin embraced this new season of life together.

Shawnee Mission Park | Kansas City Engagement Photographer

Izzy and David are high school sweethearts who have been together for 7 years. They met up with me downtown at the River Market to capture their engagement session! I was so excited to meet their yorkie, Wookie, who made an appearance in some of their photographs. 

The name Wookie is fitting for these Disney fans – David popped the question while on a trip to Disney! Izzy said before the trip he took her to get her nails done and made sure she had an outfit picked out for the special day, all the while she had no idea what his plan was. While they were at the park he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him! She was equally surprised and excited. 

I really enjoyed getting to know these two as we explored the River Market on a beautiful evening. Their go-to date night is going out to eat their favorite foods, Italian or street tacos. I also learned about their love of adventure! They hope to spend time in the future traveling together, discovering new places. 

One of the things they are most excited about for the future is to find a home and start building a family. They love to entertain and look forward to hosting in their own home! Board game nights and streaming live boxing matches are regular events they enjoy. 

The love these two have for each other was very evident during our session. They are so smitten with one another and I was happy to have the opportunity to capture them in this special phase of life!

The River Market | Kansas City Engagement Photographer

Michael and Emily braved the cold with me for their engagement session at Union Station and Liberty Memorial. Thankfully, we were able to stay warm in Union Station while we waited for golden hour to begin.

Union Station offers such a classic and timeless backdrop for photographs, with its beautiful marble walls and floors, and art-deco textiles and patterns. It is a great location option for the sessions in the colder months!

After some time at inside we headed over to Liberty Memorial just as the sun was setting. The great thing about photography is you can get beautiful photos any time of the year! Just because it’s cold, doesn’t mean you can’t get those dreamy, golden photos.

I enjoyed getting to know Emily and Michael as we walked around looking for spots to take photographs. I learned they are both die-hard Fighting Irish fans! Not only did they meet at a bar while watching a game, Michael popped the question while on an annual family trip to watch the team play at Notre Dame. Cheering on the Fighting Irish has played a large role in their story so far and they are excited to continue the tradition as they grow their family in the future.

When they aren’t cheering on their team, you can find them trying out new recipes at home and watching new crime documentaries. They only leave Emily feeling a little paranoid! They are looking forward to what their future holds (hopefully, for Emily, that includes getting some dogs). I had a wonderful time capturing their engagement session and wish them a beautiful future together!

Union Station | Kansas City Engagement Photographer

As a company that’s been in the bridal beauty biz for nearly a decade, we know a thing or two about maximizing the experience for brides and their crew on wedding day. Follow along as we tell you how to keep chill and maintain your bridal glow all day long!


Typically your wedding day timeline kicks off bright and early with the arrival of your hair and makeup team. A good rule of thumb is that your beauty team will arrive about 15 minutes before the contracted start time so they can get irons hot and stations set. Have your bridal crew arrive about 30 minutes early, that way the jammies are on and the champagne is flowing by the time your beauty team is ready to begin! Your timeline can run behind very easily, and your beauty team never wants to be the reason that would occur. 

Pro tip: Help your beauty team get set up by leaving a few tables empty, clear space near the brightest windows, and search for a few convenient outlets. 


The biggest help in keeping the beauty train rolling is to make sure your bridal crew understands the flow of the day. Bridesmaids must arrive with clean faces and totally dry hair. Having a few inspiration photos of hair and makeup ready to go also helps the consultation process go faster. Keeping someone “on deck” at all times, ready to fill an empty seat makes a big difference in timing.

Pro tip: Prioritize the order of those getting services by who needs to be done first. If mom & sister are helping you in your dress, make sure they receive services before aunt and flower girl.

To the Aisle & Beyond

Your team will take the last 20 minutes or so to provide touch ups before they leave. Your artist will explain the best ways to keep your eye makeup intact through happy tears. They will also go over how to place and secure your veil. Assign a bridesmaid to carry items for touch ups as needed. These could include lip color, oil blotting sheets, and setting powder. 

Pro tip: Gently pat your tears with a folded tissue, never swipe. Try to catch the tear before it falls, and remember to ‘cry pretty’ like you’re giving an interview on the Real Housewives.

Aside from the group photo, the images in this blog were captured by Natalie Nichole Photography!

Wedding Day Bridal Hair and Makeup Tips | Guest Blog – Hello Lovely

I met Courtney and Bryan at Black Hoof Park in Lenexa for their dreamy, fall engagement session. We had a great time walking around the park and getting to know each other! The weather was perfect and the colors were out in full spectrum as we found some special spots for photographs. 

Courtney and Bryan went to High School together and met when Courtney was managing the football team. They started dating shortly after and have been together for 11 years! Courtney said she knew he was the one the first time they hung out and that feeling got even stronger when she saw Bryan hold their son for the first time. 

Bryan popped the question on Christmas Eve, surrounded by Courtney’s family. They had just finished opening gifts when she turned around to go upstairs and found him down on one knee. Talk about a special Christmas gift and a memory they will cherish forever!

Between going out for Mexican and catching up on their favorite TV shows, Courtney and Bryan look forward to a future of owning a house on some land and raising their son together. These two are best friends and love doing life together. They are best friends and their love for each other is so special – I feel very fortunate to have been able to capture these moments for them at Black Hoof Park! Thank you Courtney and Bryan for allowing me to be a part of your story!

Black Hoof Park | Kansas City Engagement Photographer

They popped the question and you said YES! Now what? Amongst all the planning and preparation, most people set aside some time for an engagement session with their wedding photographer. This allows them to get to know their photographer a little better and to get comfortable with having their picture taken. I’ve rounded up 5 engagement session locations in Kansas City I often recommend to clients that I’m excited to share them with you!

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Starting off strong with a very popular option when it comes to engagement sessions! The Nelson- Atkins offers a beautiful outdoor space with multiple different backdrops. It is the perfect mix of nature and art! If you are looking for a location that will give you greenery and flowers in the spring and stunning architecture in the winter, the Nelson-Atkins is the way to go.

Shawnee Mission Park

Shawnee Mission Park is a 1,600 acre multi-use park in Johnson County with a 120 acre lake. With a multitude of easy access walking trails and wide-open spaces (que Dixie Chicks), Shawnee Mission is a great choice for an engagement session.

Union Station | Liberty Memorial

A classic location for an engagement session! Union Station offers the timeless backdrop with it’s dark walnut trim, beautifully patterned floors, and elegant fixtures. It’s also just a quick walk down the hill from Liberty Memorial! This location combination gives you the best of both an indoor and outdoor session. Liberty Memorial makes an understated, yet stunning backdrop for outdoor photos.

River Market | Downtown Kansas City

The River Market and Downtown KC are a great place to go to personalize your engagement session! There are so many options when it comes to downtown. We can hit up your favorite coffee shop or brewery, browse one of the bookstores, take rooftop skyline pictures, stick to the side streets. Whatever you’re looking for, downtown is a great place to start.

Black Hoof Park

With 123 acres to explore and Lake Lenexa on the property, Black Hoof Park has a lot to offer when it comes to engagement sessions. The paved walking paths make it easy to access all the different areas the park has to offer. This location has beautiful scenery, large fields, and an idyllic body of water for photographs. No matter the season, Black Hoof Park is a great outdoor option!

These 5 engagement session locations are just a few of many in the Kansas City Area! If you still aren’t sure where you’d like to have your session, I always suggest going somewhere that has special meaning to you and your significant other. I hope this helps!

5 Engagement Session Locations | Kansas City Wedding Photographer

Makensie and Eddie’s wedding day was a true reflection of their love, inspired by the timeless and classic style of 90’s Nancy Meyer movies. Their vision came to life at Crooner’s Lounge, a contemporary bar, kitchen, and lounge in Southeast Kansas. From sweet moments shared between the couple to the romantic atmosphere of their venue, it was a truly unforgettable day.

Breakfast to Start the Day

The day truly felt real for Makensie when she and Eddie had breakfast together that morning before the festivities started. As they sat side by side, she wrapped herself around his arm, and they talked about the big day ahead of them! Wanting to be by her side a little longer, Eddie couldn’t resist following her into the bridal room. It was a sweet and heartfelt moment; one of Makensie’s favorite!

Crooner’s Lounge

The wedding day was romantic, peaceful, and unhurried! They intentionally created an atmosphere where they could savor each moment. Crooner’s Lounge proved to be the ideal venue for their 90’s classic and timeless vision. The hanging lights on the patio and inside the restaurant added a special touch. Makensie said sharing an intimate dinner with their closest friends and family in the cozy dining room made them feel like they were living in a movie! After dinner, they cut the cake and broke out the board games for some friendly competition. 

Special Moments

One of the couple’s favorite details of the day was their gift exchange. They both gifted each other new Bibles. It was a meaningful gesture that emphasized their desire to grow together as a couple.

When I asked Makensie what advice she had for future couples who were in the planning process she said, “Remind them to prioritize each other and the love they share throughout the planning process. It’s crucial to focus on what truly matters and not get lost in expectations or external pressures.”

The day was filled with romance, love, and cherished moments. I feel very fortunate to have been able to capture this timeless and classic 90’s inspired wedding – thank you Makensie and Eddie!

90’s Inspired Classic Wedding | Kansas City Wedding Photographer

I met Kaela and Kyle at Deer Ridge Estate for their engagement session! They shared with me some heartfelt moments, cherished memories, and their dreams for a future filled with love and adventure. Love has a way of intertwining our lives in unexpected ways. Kaela and Kyle’s connection came in the form of Kaela’s sister marrying Kyle’s best friend!

Having been together for almost three years, Kaela and Kyle started dating in April 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kaela said one of her favorite date nights was one evening where Kyle set up a bed in the bed of his truck! They enjoyed their favorite dinner and wine, having great conversations under the stars. It was the perfect date night!

Kaela said it was the way Kyle treated her and their relationship with so much kindness and care that made her realize he was “the one.” He provides constant laughter, encouragement, and a shared journey of growth. He also showed her daughter the same kindness and care he showed her, which was incredibly important to her!

Their engagement story is so sweet. Kyle wanted to pop the question at Winter Skies. He hired a photographer to capture the moment with the intent to surprise Kaela. However, Kaela recognized the photographer from high school, inadvertently blowing her cover. Kyle decided to seize the moment and dropped to one knee right then and there, surprising Kaela in the most unexpected way. The joy and surprise on Kaela’s face were priceless!

Kaela and Kyle’s engagement session at Deer Ridge Estate was so much fun! I enjoyed talking with them about their love and shared dreams for the future while capturing some moments from this special time in their lives.

Deer Ridge Estate | Kansas City Engagement Photographer

Laurel Brooke Farms hosted the most magical celebration for Daniella and Jack’s wedding day. From the heartfelt first looks to dancing the night away, every moment was filled with joy and anticipation!

Laurel Brooke Farms provided the perfect backdrop for their special day. The venue’s indoor-outdoor flexibility, serene atmosphere away from the city, and beautiful rooms for getting ready made it a standout choice. Daniella told me she and Jack were grateful for the amazing staff who made their wedding seamless and memorable! Among the many details that made their day shine, Daniella particularly loved the vibrant flowers. From bouquets to centerpieces, the blooms added a beautiful touch.

The true realization of getting married hit Daniella and Jack during the first looks and when they were reading their vows. They were so excited to drive back to the reception venue and see their loved ones gathered to continue celebrating!

I love how they chose their first dance song! Daniella said they created a collaborative playlist, adding songs that resonated with their unique love story. Together, they listened and narrowed down their selection, ensuring their first dance was a reflection of their relationship.

Advice from the Happy Couple

I asked Daniella what advice she had for other couples who are planning their wedding day and she said, “Don’t settle on your venue or photographer, you will find a way to make it work with the budget even if it’s not until the week before. Do an engagement session with your photographer! Tour all the venue’s you want until you find one with all of your must haves. Make the planning process about the couple, not about the families!”

This day was a testament to Daniella and Jack’s love, shared experiences, and dreams for the future and I am so grateful I was able to capture every wonderful moment!

Laurel Brooke Farm | Kansas City Wedding Photographer

When you first sit down to create a basic wedding stationery timeline, it can feel daunting, tricky and a little bit confusing. Am I right? There are just so many moving parts when it comes to wedding stationery! From knowing when to inquire with a wedding stationer to knowing when to mail your invitations, it can be tough to keep track of everything.

Well, my friend, I’m here to give you an inside look at a basic wedding stationery timeline. That way, you’ll know exactly when to create all of your wedding stationery items, key places to pad your timeline, and how to create your own wedding stationery timeline based on your wedding date.

What To Include In Your Stationery Timeline

You will need all types of wedding stationery items for your big day. Save the dates, invitations, day-of stationery and thank you cards are the key stationery items you’ll need to create. All of these stationery pieces help to communicate important details with your guests throughout the entire wedding planning process.

Save the Dates

Inquire / Get Started: 12-16 months before your wedding date
Mail: 8-12 months before your wedding date

Plan to start designing your save the dates anywhere from 12-16 months before your wedding date. This will give you plenty of time to create a design that you love, get them printed, assemble them carefully and pop them in the mail.

It’s recommended to mail your save the dates around 8-12 months before your wedding date. This is the first announcement you’ll send to your guests about your wedding. So, it’s important to clearly communicate when + where your wedding will be taking place. That way, they can quite literally save the date and begin making arrangements to celebrate with you on your big day.


Inquire / Get Started: 6-8 months before your wedding date
Mail: 10-12 weeks before your wedding date

Starting your invitations 6-8 months before your big day might sound super early. But, there is a lot to do to prepare your wedding invitations for mailing!

You’ll want to create a design you love and that feels like a reflection of you and your big day. This process can take approximately 4-8 weeks if you design custom wedding invitations.

From there, you’ll want to plan on around 2-3 weeks for your invitations to be printed and shipped to you. This timeframe may change depending on the printing method you choose (digital, foil stamping, letterpress, etc.)

Then, budget another week or so to assemble your invites with care so they are all ready to be mailed!

Mailing your invitations 10-12 weeks is ideal. The post office tends to take its sweet time delivering mail, so padding the timeline with that in mind is important. You also have RSVPs to collect, as well, so you want to give your guests plenty of time to respond.

Quick Tip: If you’re short on time, have your guests RSVP on your wedding website! QR codes are super handy for this. This will save your guests from having to mail back a response card and potentially getting caught up in the mail. This will also help your budget by saving you money on printing and postage. It’s a win-win!

Day-of Stationery

Inquire / Get Started: 6-8 weeks before your wedding date
In-Hands: 1-2 weeks before your wedding date

Once your invitations are officially in the mail, you’ll be ready to dive right into creating your day-of stationery.

Starting your day-of stationery designs about 6-8 weeks before your wedding is perfect. You may not have all of the details nailed down or finalized, but that’s okay! Start creating the designs and you can always flow in the final details right before printing.

Plan on printing to take anywhere from 1-3 weeks. Just like your other stationery, this timeline might change depending on the printing method you choose (digital, foil stamping, letterpress).

No matter what you choose, I recommend having all of your day-of stationery in-hand and ready for your big day about 1-2 weeks before your wedding, if possible. That way, you’re not worrying about your stationery right up to the day of your wedding—you’ll be all set!

Thank You Cards

Inquire / Get Started: 6-8 weeks before your wedding date
In-Hand: 1-2 weeks before your wedding date
Mail: 2-4 weeks after the wedding

As you design your day-of stationery, go ahead and create your thank you cards, too!

Having them in-hand around 1-2 weeks before the wedding day will be so nice. That way, you don’t have to worry about scrambling to create or purchase thank you cards when you return from your honeymoon. You can simply mail them to your guests once you’re home.

Plan to mail your thank you cards anywhere from 2-4 weeks after your wedding day. You can even send them sooner, if you want to! Just make sure to mail them pretty soon after your big day. Your guests will love that you thought of them and took the time to say “thank you”.

Where + Why To Pad Your Timeline

When I create wedding stationery timelines for my couples, I always add a little extra padding here and there. I highly recommend you do this for your stationery timeline, too!

Why? Because, we’re all human! Life happens, things come up and plans will shift and change along the way. You’ll be planning your wedding most likely for a whole year — if not longer. There’s a lot that can happen during that time and it can be hard to know exactly what might come up along the way.

Here are some key places I like to add a little wiggle room to the stationery timeline:

Printing + Ordering

If you plan to do digital printing for your invitations, this process can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks to complete. So, rather than planning on just 1 week for printing and ordering time, go ahead and plan on the full 2 weeks. That way, if everything is ready sooner — awesome! You’ll be ahead of schedule.

It’s easier to enjoy the extra time instead of stressing that there isn’t enough.


Let’s be honest, this is most likely your first time assembling invitations. It’s definitely not hard to do, but there are a lot of steps involved and it’s very hands-on. If you already have a busy schedule or aren’t very confident with “crafty” projects, I recommend padding this time a little!

Usually, I like to give my couples 1 week for assembly time. This is usually plenty of time to assemble invitations and get them ready for mailing. Even if you have 200 invites to assemble!

Mailing + RSVPs

Mailing is one of those things that once you drop off your invites it’s completely out of your hands! You’re sort of at the mercy of the post office to mail your beautiful invites. That can be a little bit stressful.

To help ease the stress, plan to mail your invitations as soon as possible. I love mailing invites around 10-12 weeks before your wedding date. This is a good amount of time for your invites to be delivered to your guests. It also gives you time to re-mail or hand-deliver any invitations that may not arrive at their destination.

This timeline also gives your guests time to respond with their RSVP cards. I mentioned this above, but if you’re short on time or a little concerned about receiving all of your RSVP cards, go ahead and have guests respond on your website! This is such a fast and easy way for guests to let you know if they’ll be at your big day or not.

When it comes to padding your timeline, I recommend adding a little extra time anywhere in the process that gives you stress! This will help easy some of that for you and make the process that much more enjoyable every step of the way.

How To Create Your Wedding Stationery Timeline

Now that you know how long the stationery process can take and where to add some wiggle room, let’s create your wedding stationery timeline!

The simplest way to build your timeline is to work backwards from your wedding date.

From there, you can plan when you need to have your day-of stationery in-hand, when to mail your invitations and when to also mail your save the dates. You can even look forward and plan when your thank you cards should be delivered to your guests after your big day.

The other important thing to know is what printing methods you want to do. This will help you determine how long you need to plan for printing. If you’re unsure, just pad your timeline! That way, no matter what method you choose, you know you have plenty of time already planned for in your timeline.

To help you get started, I’ve built a basic stationery timeline below as an example:

Wedding Date

— October 26, 2024

Save the Dates 

— Get Started / Inquire: June 26, 2023 (16 months before wedding)

— Printing: October 2, 2023 – October 16, 2023 (2 weeks; digital printing)

— Shipping: October 16, 2023 – October 23, 2023 (1 week; padded just to be safe!)

— In-Hands for Assembly: October 23, 2023 (1 week before mailing)

— Mail: October 27, 2023 (12 months before wedding)


— Get Started / Inquire: February 26, 2024 (8 months before wedding)

— Printing: July 1, 2024 – July 22, 2024 (3 weeks; letterpress)

— Shipping: July 22, 2024 – July 29, 2024 (1 week; padded just to be safe!)

— In-Hands for Assembly: July 29, 2024 (1 week before mailing)

— Mail: August 2, 2024 (12 weeks before wedding)

Day-of Stationery

— Get Started / Inquire: August 26, 2024 (8 weeks before wedding)

— Printing: September 23, 2024 – October 7, 2024 (2 weeks; digital printing)

— Shipping: October 7, 2024 – October 14, 2024 (1 week; padded)

— In-Hands: October 14, 2024 (2 weeks before wedding)

Thank You Cards

— Get Started / Inquire: August 26, 24 (8 weeks before wedding — with day-of)

— Printing: September 23, 2024 – October 7, 2024 (2 weeks; digital printing)

— Shipping: October 7, 2024 – October 14, 2024 (1 week; padded)

— In-Hands: October 14, 2024 (2 weeks before wedding — with day-of)

— Mail: November 8, 2024 (2 weeks after wedding)

Feel free to copy this template to create your own stationery timeline! All you have to do is fill in the blanks and you’ll be all set.

Troubleshooting Your Stationery Timeline

If you run into trouble planning your stationery timeline, or if it’s just a little too overwhelming for you — that’s okay! If that’s how you feel, I recommend working with a professional wedding stationer to help guide you through the stationery process.

Hiring a wedding stationer can be really helpful when it comes to relieving some stress and anxiety from your big day! They’ll work with you from the very beginning to plan all of your stationery needs. And guess what? They’ll even help build your stationery timeline for you!

As you think about working with a wedding stationer, don’t be shy about asking them if this is something they can do for you. Most stationers will be happy to help! If not, maybe they just aren’t the right fit for you, and that’s okay.

Let’s Create Your Wedding Stationery (and Timeline) Together!

So, take your time and feel free to reach out to wedding stationers whenever you’re ready. I know I would be more than happy to help you with your wedding stationery needs. (:

If that feels like a good fit for you, you can learn more about how we can work together on my website! I offer custom and semi-custom wedding stationery for engaged couples across the country. No matter where you are located, I’d love to create wedding stationery that is the perfect reflection of you. Plus, I’ll create your timeline for you, so you don’t have to worry about a thing!

Samantha Wise | Owner + Stationery Designer at East & West Designs

An Inside Look at a Basic Wedding Stationery Timeline | Guest Blog – East & West Designs