I had the bestttt time photographing Courtney + Mitchell Martinez’s June wedding at Stony Point Hall!! This day was the epitome of finding the silver lining even when it rains. These two + their loved ones were great at rolling with the punches as their day went on.
Courtney wore a trash bag to get from the bridal suite to the venue, we popped champagne, and ended the night with a rainbow. It might not have been the day they imagined but it was perfect!
Their original date was pushed back because of COVID, so this wedding reception was on the one year anniversary of their small backyard wedding. They finallyyyy got to throw the big party they had always dreamt of!!
Courtney + Mitchell got married at Stony Point Hall, a gorgeous wedding venue in Baldwin City, Kansas. With 14 acres of rustic land filled with beautiful green trees, various flowers, and rolling hills, this venue is to die for. It’s the perfect romantic getaway, especially since you’ll have the whole property to yourself!
Even though the venue is basically a rustic barn, Courtney + Mitchell told me they’re not really a “country vibe” type of couple. They were drawn to the beautiful land and the great staff at Stony Point Hall. And I’ve gotta agree that it was the perfect venue for their big party!!
Since Courtney + Mitchell weren’t able to get the wedding party pictures they wanted last year at their micro wedding, we made sure to have a blast capturing them getting ready!
One of Courtney’s favorite parts of the day was getting all dressed and ready just to have it pour. Her bridesmaids had to put her in a trash bag so her dress wouldn’t get messed up! It was hilarious and definitely memorable. Courtney looked like a cute pink burrito!
We found a small overhang to grab some wedding party photos. I know Courtney + Mitchell were both sooo ready to celebrate with the people closest to them!
I can honestly say that Courtney + Mitchell’s wedding reception was soooo much fun. They had the super unique idea of playing trivia with all their family + friends!! They had a music round, a miscellaneous round, and a third round of questions about themselves!
When I asked about their fave part of the day, they both said they loved seeing their friends + family for the first time in forever. They also said that playing trivia was such a blast!
The newlyweds were so happy to be surrounded by all their favorite people. As they mingled with their guests, it was so obvious that they were just thrilled to be there.
After tacos + trivia, everyone hit the dance floor.
They also had a super cute photo area for all their guests to jump into. This is something I always recommend to my Kansas City couples – a photobooth or photo backdrop is a great way to provide entertainment for your guests AND to capture everyone who came!
During the reception, we grabbed a big group photo. I looove this idea! It helps us ensure everyone at your wedding is captured. It doesn’t need to be a big formal thing, because that could easily get crazyyyy. We can make it fun, like Courtney + Mitchell did here!!
With a cute umbrella, Mitchell helped his blushing bride across the grounds where we grabbed some pics under a gazebo. Kissing + dancing in the rain is always iconic and these two made it even more romantic!
Both of them told me that their favorite images from the whole day are the ones we captured with this surprise rainbow! It was honestly so cool to have this little reminder that despite the COVID delay and then the rain, everything turned out perfectly.
What is some advice you’d share with a future couple that is planning their wedding day?
Research every vendor. Do not be afraid to ask questions to make sure the service you want is what you are going to get. Also, book Natalie, you will not regret it.
What was your biggest concern/pain point throughout wedding planning?
Covid-19 pandemic. We couldn’t wait any longer so we had a small backyard wedding. But we were so grateful to celebrate at a later date with everyone else!
What was most important to you when looking for a Kansas City wedding photographer?
Quality of images and staying true to what the day actually looked like. Also, we wanted someone to click with, Natalie was a no-brainer for us!
Courtney + Mitchell were such a joy to work with. I was so thankful to be a part of their wedding at Stony Point Hall. I loved how their priority was getting photos that genuinely looked exactly like their day. They helped me remember that no pandemic, no weather, NOTHING can stop you from making the most out of your day. After the storm, there’s always a rainbow. 🙂 Congrats again to the Martinez’s!
If you’re still worried about rain on your wedding day check out my blog post here on how to prepare for rain! Or for another example of a beautiful rainy ceremony check out Kala + Cooper’s wedding at Bliss Plaza.
McKenna and Micah’s summer wedding at Mildale Farm was filled with personal touches, from early morning devotions to private last dances. Every last detail was planned to focus of their relationship and their soon to be marriage.
McKenna reached out to me to photograph their wedding about 12 months before their date. We had plenty of time to work together and build a photography package that truly fit their needs for their day. I knew they had many important moments through out their day and I wanted to be sure to capture them all.
The planned ahead of time to schedule in some special moments for just the two of them through out the day. They both woke up earlier than everyone else and did devotions together before the hustle and bustle of the day really got started. This gave them the chance to really let it sink in that it was their wedding day. Once their wedding party woke up they both went to their separate getting ready rooms to spend the rest of the morning with their friends and family. They didn’t see each other again until the moment Mckenna walked down the aisle and Micah got to see his soon-to-be wife in her wedding dress.
After the ceremony they dedicated time for just couples portraits. They sent all their guests, family, and wedding party to the cocktail hour. This gave them another moment to just be together – officially married!!
Then it was PARTY TIME! After a yummy BBQ dinner and delicious desserts McKenna and Micah hit the dance floor with all their guests. Nothing beats getting to celebrate with all the people in your life that love and support you.
Once the party started winding down McKenna and Micah planned to have a private last dance. Their guests headed outside to get ready for their sparkler exit while they slow danced in the now empty space. They both we’re very emotional because the day they’ve been dreaming of was over and they were so happy to finally be married to one another.
It is so important to schedule all of these intimate moments together when you’re creating your wedding day timeline. Getting to pause a little of your wedding day and truly soak it all in.
Your wedding day really does go by so quickly and it’s over and done before you know it. Hire vendor that you trust so you can leave all the details and worries to them and really soak in every moment of the day!
Summer Wedding at Mildale Farm Vendors:
Venue: Mildale Farm
Day of Coordination: Taryn Golling
Photographer: Natalie Nichole Photography
Videographer: Isabel Lauby
Florals: The Little Clover
Caterer: Katie’s Catering
DJ: DJ Connections
Bride’s Dress: Natalie M
Hair: Emily Perry – CopperCanyonCo
MakeUp: Ashley Strasser
Grooms Attire: Generation Tux
The date is set, the details are in order, now it’s time to make sure everything runs smoothly. Plan the perfect wedding day timeline to keep everything on track.
Before you create your timeline you’ll need to decide if you want to have a first look. If you chose to have a first look you’ll have plenty of flexibility in your timeline. If you chose to not have a first look, that’s ok, but you’ll want to make sure your ceremony is early enough in the day that you’ll have enough time before your reception (and sunset) to take care of all of your photos.
In this blog post I will teach you how to plan the perfect wedding day timeline (with or without a first look). For the sake of this post we will say we are planning a summer wedding in the midwest (sunset beginning at 7, fully set by 8pm)
My biggest tip for creating your timeline is to start with your ceremony time and build off of it. If you choose to have a first look you’ll be able to have your ceremony later in the evening (say around an hour or two before sunset? HELLO GOLDEN HOUR, golden light, and amazing photos!!) For our beautiful imaginary summer wedding we will have our ceremony begin at 5pm.
Once you know when your ceremony will be you’ll plan your timeline backwards for everything that needs to happen before your ceremony.
For example you’ll want to be hidden away at least 30 minutes prior to your ceremony because guests will be arriving and you won’t want to spoil the surprise of your beautiful dress.
Before you hide away you’ll want to be done with all of your wedding party photos (bridesmaids, bridesmen, groomsmen, groomswomen, guests of honor, flower girls, ring bearers, or anyone that is standing up with you during the ceremony- your wedding party/ wedding crew) Depending on the size of your wedding party I suggest having at least 30 minutes to an hour 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 up to an hour is plenty!
You’ll also need 30 minutes to 45 minutes for couples portraits, because you two are what this entire day is about. This can be before or after photos with the rest of your wedding party, but you’ll want a little extra time alone together.
Of course before you can take any photos together you’ll need to have your first look! Such an intimate moment between the two of you, I usually suggest planning for a first look to take 15-ish minutes, but if you know one or both of you will cry… you might want to allow for a little extra time.
Now it’s time for you to make a big decision and be honest with yourself, you know yourself wayyyy better than I do… how long will it realistically take you to get ready? For some it’ll be an hour for others it’s four. It all depends on how much effort and time goes into all aspects of your getting ready process. If you’ve hired a make up artist or a hair stylist I recommend reaching out to them and asking them how much time it normally takes them to complete the look you’re wanting.
Since you’ll be having a first look, you won’t have too much to do after the cermeony, you’ll be able to make it to your cocktail hour or reception earlier and get to spend more time with your guests.
Most likely the only photos you’ll have to complete after your ceremony will be your Family Formal photos, I like to plan for 45 minutes to an hour in order to make sure every grouping on all sides of the family are taken care of. I’d rather add more time into our timeline than have to rush.
After Family Formal photos are finished is a great time to send the family into the reception for cocktail hour while you and your spouse take a few more photos, just the two of you, during sunset (perfect time for you to soak in the moment as a newly married couple!) This typically takes only about 10-20 minutes.
Then it’s time to get you to your party!!! Enjoy your first dances, eat your delicious meal, cut your cake, and celebrate with your closest friends and family.
2:30pm- First Look
3:00pm Couples Portraits
3:30pm- Wedding Party Photos
4:30pm- Hide away while Guests Arrive
6:00pm- Family Formal Photos
7:00pm Sunset couples portraits
7:20pm Reception Time!
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 having a first look you will need to have your ceremony earlier in the day to guarantee you’ll have enough day light for allllllllllll of your photos after the ceremony. Depending on the time of year this is no big deal but for fall/winter weddings it becomes a little more difficult because the sunsets extremely early. For our lovely imaginary summer wedding let’s plan on our ceremony beginning at 3pm.
Without a first look there is less that can be done before the ceremony. You’ll still want to be hidden away no matter what at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony.
Even though you don’t want to have a first look with your soon to be spouse you might be interested in having a different type of first look. Have a special moment with a parent, a 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.
Without having a ton to do before your ceremony you’ll have 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.
Without a first look after the ceremony will be when all of the wedding party, family, and couples photos will be taken.
I recommend starting your family formal photos right after the ceremony, before any relatives have the chance to wander off (can’t start without dear old aunt sue). Plan for 45 minutes to an hour in order to make sure every grouping on all sides of the family are taken care of. I’d rather add more time into our timeline than have to rush.
Gather up your wedding day crew and all the special guests that stood with you on your special day. Time to take photos with your closest friends! 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!
FINALLY!!! Time for you two to have a moment for yourselves. Have a minute of peace and quite together as a married couple (OMG!!) Remind each other again just how much you love each other and spend your time sharing your love together and taking some amazing photos to relive these priceless moments.
After your couples photos have wrapped up it’s time to head to your party! Chit chat with guests, grab a bite to eat, hit the dance floor, and make it a night you’ll never forget!
4:00pm- Family Formal Photos
5:00pm- Wedding Party Photos
6:00pm Couples Portraits
7:00pm Reception Time!
Now that you know how to plan the perfect wedding day timeline (with or without a first look) check out my other blog post about the Benefits of Having a first Look -it’s not just the timeline flexibility.
Photos in this post are from Makenzie and Cole’s dreamy wedding in the rolling hills of Omaha, Arkansas. Check out their venue The Barn at Cricket Creek