You’re significant other popped the question, you’ve set the date, and the planning has begun! Once you’ve found and booked your DREAM photographer, it’s important to build the perfect wedding day timeline to ensure the day runs smoothly. 

Before creating a timeline you’ll need to decide if you want to have a first look! If you choose to have a first look you’ll have plenty of flexibility in your timeline. If you choose not to have a first look you’ll want to make sure your ceremony is earlier in the day. This will allow enough time before your reception, and sunset, to capture all the special moments.

In this blog post I’ll discuss how to plan the perfect wedding day timeline, with or without a first look! For the sake of this post let’s say you are planning a Summer wedding in the Midwest – that means the sun begins to set at 7 and is fully set by 8pm.

THE PERFECT WEDDING DAY TIMELINE- WITH A FIRST LOOK

When creating a timeline it is important to set your ceremony start time and then build off of it. If you choose to have a first look you’ll be able to have your ceremony later in the evening. An hour or two before sunset is a golden hour that provides golden light, and amazing photos! For this beautiful imaginary Summer wedding we are planning the ceremony will start at 5pm.

TIP: non-religious ceremonies typically last 10-30 minutes and religious ceremonies tend to last 30-60 minutes.

BEFORE THE CEREMONY

Once you’ve set the ceremony start time you’ll plan backwards and set a time for everything that needs to be captured before the ceremony begins.

To start, you’ll want to be hidden away at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. As guests begin arriving you don’t want any sneak peaks of your beautiful dress!

Wedding Party Photos

Before hiding away you’ll want to be done with all of your wedding party photos. This includes bridesmaids, bridesmen, groomsmen, groomswomen, guests of honor, flower girls, ring bearers, or anyone that is standing up with you during the ceremony. Depending on the size of your wedding party, I suggest having 30 minutes to an hour set aside for these photos. If you have a large party and you know you specifically want multiple photos with each of them individually, you might need more time. For a majority of my couples an hour is plenty of time!

Couples Portraits

You’ll need to set aside 30 minutes to 45 minutes for couples portraits! This day is all about the two of you and it is important to capture some moments together before saying “I do.” This can be before or after photos with the rest of your wedding party, but you’ll want a little extra time alone together.

The First Look

Before you can take any photos together you’ll need to have your first look! This is such an intimate moment between the two of you. I usually suggest setting aside 15-20 minutes for a first look. But if you know one or both of you will cry… you might want to allow for an extra 5-10 minutes.

Getting Ready

This part of the planning process includes the input of multiple different people: your wedding party and your hair and makeup stylist (if you’re using them). You have to decide how long it will realistically take for everyone to get ready. For some people it takes an hour and for others it takes four! It’ll really depend on the size of your wedding party and how many people will need their hair and makeup done. 

AFTER THE CEREMONY

Since you’ll be having a first look, there won’t be too much to capture after the ceremony. This will allow you to be able to make it to your cocktail hour or reception earlier and get to spend more time with your guests!

Family Formal Photos

Most likely, the only photos that will need to be captured after the ceremony will be family formal photos. I recommend setting aside an hour, this allows plenty of time to make sure every family grouping on both sides is captured. I’d rather add more time into the timeline than have to rush through these!

Sunset Couples Portraits

After family formal photos are done I recommend sending everyone into the reception for cocktail hour while you and your spouse take a few more photos, just the two of you, during sunset. This is the perfect time for you to soak in a few moments as a newly married couple and it typically only takes about 10-20 minutes!

Reception Time

Now it’s time to party!!! Enjoy your first dances, eat a delicious meal, cut the cake, and celebrate with your closest friends and family.

SAMPLE TIMELINE (WITH A FIRST LOOK)

Getting Ready!!

2:30pm- First Look

3:00pm- Couples Portraits

3:30pm- Wedding Party Photos

4:30pm- Hide Away While Guests Arrive

5:00pm- Ceremony

6:00pm- Family Formal Photos

7:00pm- Sunset Couples Portraits

7:20pm- Reception Time!


THE PERFECT WEDDING DAY TIMELINE- WITHOUT A FIRST LOOK

Whether you have a first look or not I still suggest starting with your ceremony when you plan the perfect wedding day timeline.

If you are not doing a first look I recommend having your ceremony earlier in the day to guarantee enough daylight to capture all of your photos after the ceremony. This is easier to accomplish during the Spring and Summer months because the sun sets later in the day. If you are planning a Fall or Winter wedding it becomes a little more difficult because the sun sets much earlier in the day. For the lovely imaginary Summer wedding we are planning, let’s say our ceremony is beginning at 3pm.

TIP: For a ceremony earlier in the day, consider choosing a location indoors or a shaded area outdoors. The closer to noon the harsher the sun. Not only will the shade or indoor setting help with lighting for photos, but your guests will appreciate not having to squint into the sun!

BEFORE THE CEREMONY

To start, you’ll want to be hidden away at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. As guests begin arriving you don’t want any sneak peaks of your beautiful dress!

An Alternative First Look

Even though you aren’t having a first look with your soon to be spouse you might be interested in having an alternative first look. You could have a special “first look” moment with a parent, grandparent, or anyone that has made a significant impact on your life (even your dog!). I’d plan about 15-30 minutes for each person you’d like to do a first look with.

Getting Ready

Without having a lot to capture before your ceremony there will be plenty of time to get ready- you might even have enough time to sleep in a little! Take this time to bond with your wedding party, relax, and get pampered!

AFTER THE CEREMONY

After you say your, “I do’s” all of the wedding party, family, and couples photos will be captured!

Family Formal Photos

I recommend starting the family formal photos right after the ceremony. This is a good way to make sure you capture everything before any relatives have the chance to wander off! I recommend setting aside an hour, this allows plenty of time to make sure every family grouping on both sides is captured. I’d rather add more time into the timeline than have to rush through these!

Wedding Party Photos

Now it’s time to gather up your wedding day crew and all the special guests that stood by your side. Depending on the size of your group I’d plan for around an hour. A smaller party can get by with less time, but the general rule of thumb is the more people the longer it can take!

Couples Portraits

FINALLY!!! It’s time for the happy couple to have a moment to yourselves. Plan to have at least a few minutes of peace and quiet together as a married couple (YAY!!). This time is so special and it is so much fun to capture the intimate and fun first moments as “Mr. and Mrs.”!

Reception Time!

After the couples portraits have wrapped up it’s time to party! Chit chat with guests, grab a bite to eat, hit the dance floor, and make it a night you’ll never forget!

SAMPLE TIMELINE (WITHOUT A FIRST LOOK)

Getting Ready!!

3:00pm- Ceremony

4:00pm- Family Formal Photos

5:00pm- Wedding Party Photos

6:00pm Couples Portraits

7:00pm Reception Time!

Now that you know how to build the perfect wedding day timeline (with or without a first look) you’re ready to take on the big day!

The wedding featured in this post is The Powers, who got married in downtown Kansas City! I captured beautiful rooftop photos with the wedding party and their couple portraits near the World War I Museum and Memorial. It was a beautiful day!

Building Your Wedding Day Timeline | Kansas City Wedding Photographer

Basic Invite wedding template

There are so many ways to bring your style into your wedding day. One of the easiest ways to make your wedding stand out is through your wedding stationary. No matter your vision; Basic invite has a wedding template for you!

There are a lot of different wedding stationary websites out there, but none compare to Basic Invite. I highly recommend checking them out when comparing all the different stationary sites. They offer tons of amazing semi-custom options for save the dates, invites, menus, and even thank you cards.

Basic Invite

Basic Invite is one of the few websites that gives you almost unlimited color options. All you have to do is select a design, and then you can change the color of each element on your card. Your wedding stationary can match any vision; you’re able to choose from over 180 colors. That’s so many more colors than other online stationary companies! If you want to add a little extra pop to your stationary; Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs. Even though you are choosing a Basic Invite wedding template, it is so easy to customize it to be fully unique to you.

As you are designing, Basic Invite offers instant previews online so you can see the final look throughout your design process. With Basic Invite you can even order a printed sample of your invitation before you place your final order. You are able to feel the paper quality and check that the the colors printed the way you wanted. Ordering a sample of your design can be such a lifesaver because you’re able to double check the print and even spell check without ordering hundreds of copies first.

Elevate Your Wedding

A great way to elevate your wedding experience for guests is by providing a printed wedding ceremony itinerary or by choosing a place cards wedding template to use. Basic Invite allows the opportunity to carry a design throughout so many little details of your day to truly tie it all together.

Usually these are items couples skip because they add an additional cost, however Basic Invite is currently offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51

Basic Invite wedding template

For more info on Basic Invite connect with them on Pinterest or Instagram.

Basic Invite Customizable Wedding Templates

The saying time is a thief can really start to resonate as families grow. Family photos are a great way to capture different phases of life and freeze those moments in time so you can revisit them later! The process can seem daunting, especially when it comes to figuring out how to plan for a family photo session. I’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help make the process as smooth as possible!

COORDINATING OUTFITS

The best way to coordinate outfits is to pick a pallet with 3-4 different colors and mix up textiles and patterns that use those colors within your outfits. A good rule of thumb is to only have 1-2 people wear a pattern of some kind. This will keep the photos from looking too busy! Layers are a good way to add texture and variety to photos.

LOCATION DECISION

Pick a location that offers multiple different locations to take pictures. This will give everyone space and will offer a good variety of backdrops for photos. Being able to move around will allow the photographer to capture some good candid’s along with the portraits, if that’s something you’re interested in! Kansas City has so many great locations to choose from.

FULL BELLIES

I know rounding everyone up and getting them out the door on time isn’t a small task! But making sure everyone has a full belly will help you get the most out of your time with the photographer. You could even bring some snacks along that aren’t messy and are easy to quickly distribute between photos to keep everyone happy! 

PREPARE FOR OUTFIT CHANGES

If you are in the “babies” phase of life, it is a good idea to have an extra outfit on hand in case you experience a diaper blowout or they spit up on their original outfit. You can do a quick outfit change and keep going! You know your kiddos better than anyone else. If you have littles that are prone to spitting up in the car, I recommend putting them in their outfit after you arrive at the location.

I hope these tips on how to plan for a family photo session make the process less stressful! The point of family photos is to capture the phase of life you are currently in! If that means you are wrangling toddlers and wiping spit up off of little cheeks, that is what you should capture. You will be able to fit some good portraits in between and there will be years in the future where you will be able to get everyone to sit still. Every moment is precious and I would be so grateful to capture whatever phase of life you are currently in. 

How to Plan for a Family Photo Session | Kansas City Photographer

Picture this: you’ve found your person, the special someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. You can’t wait to ask this person to marry you! They keep dropping hints about wanting to be engaged and you’ve picked out the perfect ring. But how?! How do you plan a day that is deserving of the one you love? Don’t fret! I’ve got 5 tips for planning the perfect proposal.

ONE – FIND THE RIGHT MOMENT

First, make sure you are both ready for this next step. It’s a big one and something you should discuss in depth before getting down on one knee!  Once you’re both ready, wait and find a time that feels right – don’t rush the proposal. Whether you wait until your anniversary, a date that is special to you both, a big life event, or just an ordinary day, make sure it feels right!

TWO – PICK THE PERFECT LOCATION

Take them back to the place you first met, a childhood home, your favorite park/trail, or your go-to restaurant. Pick a place that is sentimental or meaningful to your relationship! If you don’t have a special place, don’t worry! Wherever you choose your purpose will end up being a special place in the timeline of your story. Choose somewhere pretty- a garden, a rooftop, a city landmark. Stumped for ideas? I can help with that too!

THREE – HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER TO CAPTURE THIS MOMENT

This moment is the next big step in the story of your lives together. You and your significant other will likely both be nervous and/or surprised and your adrenaline may leave you in a foggy haze. Hire a professional to capture all the details so you can look back and remember every second. Photos of this once in a lifetime event are priceless!

FOUR – SURPRISE THEM

If you’ve discussed wanting to get married chances are your significant other has given you some tips for the proposal. If not, give their friends and family a call! This will allow you to plan something that will really knock their socks off! Keep it a secret so the moment is a surprise. Even if they start picking up on what is going on, don’t spill all the details!

FIVE – HAVE FAMILY WAITING AS A SURPRISE FOR A CELEBRATORY PARTY

After you’ve popped the question and the adrenaline has settled a bit it’s time to celebrate!! Coordinate with you and your significant other’s family and friends to hide at the location you are proposing at, or to meet you at the next location for a second surprise! What better way to celebrate your engagement than with all your closest loved ones. Engagement parties are so much fun!

SAL + GABI

Sal and Gabi are high school sweethearts! They had been together for almost 10 years when Sal decided it was time to pop the question. They had talked about getting married, so Gabi knew it was coming but she had no idea when it was going to happen! Sal enlisted the help of his family in planning the perfect proposal. He got them all in on the secret and they disguised the proposal as an ordinary family dinner at The Bowery. Gabi had NO idea what was coming! The decorations were beautiful and the couple’s family and friends were there to help them celebrate! This was such a sweet and special moment to capture. Thank you so much Gabi and Sal for allowing me to be a part of your proposal!

5 Tips for Planning the Perfect Proposal 

If you want to know the secret to an organized wedding day; I’ll tell you! It’s Veil Events!

I worked with Veil Events on Jordan and Payton’s wedding and it was the best day! It required meticulous organization and coordination due to the use of multiple locations. Lindsay and her team were on top of it and everything flowed so smoothly. Many brides want help in the area of organization. I thought it would be a great idea to ask the Veil Events team to share their secret to an organized wedding day! I contacted the owner of Veil Events, Lindsay Kooser. She had Kaylie, the office manager, sit down and compile some advice for bride’s-to-be.

The Secret to Success

“A wedding planner’s secret to an organized wedding day is simple…Plan, Plan, Plan!! If you’re a Taylor Swift fan you have likely heard what I’m about to say. If you’re not, maybe this will change your mind! Taylor Swift has a lyric, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The strategy sets the scene for the tale.” As cliche as I sound quoting Taylor Swift, she is 100% right, especially when it comes to wedding day! 

Importance of Planning

When wedding day finally comes, brides often feel tired of planning and are ready for the day to happen so that the planning is over. They sometimes fail to realize all that planning needs to be done to ensure a seamless and smooth wedding day! If they hadn’t put all that hard work in, they might’ve received endless questions from vendors and the bridal party, missed items, or had things go wrong. As a coordinator, we are not only the fairy godmother of the wedding day to make the bride’s vision come to life. We also help guide the bride in everything needing to be done and give our expertise on decisions to be made.

Creating a Timeline

The most important thing we do is create a timeline to plan out every minute! That may sound scary, but timelines don’t have to be scary and controlling. Making a timeline is actually our best tool for an organized wedding day! We plan out the day from start to finish so that everything has a time and place and nothing gets missed. They make the day go flawlessly, alleviate so much stress, and not only benefit you but benefit your whole bridal party and vendors. We even schedule things you might not think of, like time for the family to arrive so they aren’t late for pictures, bridal party breaks so they can get off their feet, and time for the vendors to eat dinner. The coordinator relies heavily on the timeline to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes. 

Take it from Taylor

You may be thinking that all I’ve been doing is telling you to get to work…but, what I’m really telling you is it will all be worth it in the end!! Just like Taylor said, you are setting the scene for the tale and this is your best tale yet to come!”

Kaylie Roger, Veil Events Office Manager

These tips to success can lead to wedding day bliss, which was definitely the case with Payton and Jordan. Their wedding was such a pleasure to capture. I’m so glad I had to opportunity to work with the Veil Events team! Congratulations to the happy couple! Thank you for allowing me to be apart of your BIG day.


The Secret to an Organized Wedding Day | Guest Blog – Veil Events

We are back on the “What to Wear” topic and today’s focus is winter engagement sessions! I think people tend to stray away from scheduling sessions in the colder months because they don’t know how cold it will be outside and they think it may be dark and gloomy. I can’t control the weather and there will be some days that are cloudy and overcast, just as any other season of the year. But there are plenty of bright and beautiful days during the winter months that are great for capturing special moments! 

My suggestion to couples is to always do what feels like “them” and some people love the cold weather, bundling up, or have an indoor location in mind. I always recommend a neutral color pallet in the winter months – it lends itself well to the bare trees, light blue skies and any indoor location!

I can also get a variety of photos easily if the couple layers up! Layers help highlight the movement in photos and we can mix up the look by adding scarves and a hat halfway through the session.

If we happen to be blessed with snow, it keeps things bright and fun! I recommend wearing shoes that will keep your feet warm in the wet snow or doubling up on socks. 

Whatever season of the year, regardless of the weather, I will capture moments that feel like “you” so you can cherish the memories! If you ever have any questions about what to wear we can discuss different options. I’m an open book and want to help my clients get the most out of their sessions!

What to Wear: Winter Engagement Session | Kansas City Engagement Photographer

For some, deciding what to wear for a session with me is fun and easy and for others it is a painstaking process. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be! One of the benefits of an engagement session is that there are only two people to dress, so you can mix it up.

Once we’ve decided where our session is going to take place, choose your outfits based on the backdrop we will be working with. Neutrals photography well in almost any setting! If we are going to be surrounded by foliage, I highly recommend earth tones. These colors will compliment your surroundings and enhance your photos. If we are doing a rooftop or downtown location you can venture out with pops of color!

A pro tip I offer my clients is to layer up! Wearing layers is a great way to easily switch up a look without completely having to change outfits. You can also bring accessories along like hats, scarves, gloves, glasses, and jackets to add variety to your photos.

If you have questions about what to wear, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I’m always happy to chat about what would look best and how you can incorporate your own personal style into our session. These are memories you will keep forever, I want you to look and feel your best!

What to Wear: Fall Engagement Session | Kansas City Engagement Photographer