Woohoo! If you’ve landed on this page, it most likely means I am your Wedding Photographer! Before I start getting into it, I want to encourage you to express yourselves however you both feel is most genuine to you two on your wedding day - its YOUR one day to show the people closest to you whats important & what makes your relationship special; so keep things as unique and weird as you want: Piñata during the reception? first dance during the ceremony? Everything goes! It’ll be the biggest and best party you’ll ever throw - so keep it authentic to who you are, and let me capture all of it :)
This is a wedding guide based on my experiences being present on many wedding days & I thought I’d share it in the hopes of providing any insight & help I can.
What to Expect Moving Forward
After signing the contract & sending over the deposit, here is what you can expect moving forward:
Sometime during the week in Toronto: If I haven’t met you two in person yet & you haven’t booked an engagement session, I’d love to meet you both prior to the wedding day for drinks/coffee. Let’s set up a date!
3 months before: A wedding questionnaire will be sent to you to be filled out.
1 month before: email follow up or phone conversation regarding any questions/concerns.
2 weeks prior: you will need to complete the wedding questionnaire + send over the master schedule, family photo list, & all other pertinent information. I will review the photo timeline and make sure all is well + get back to you if I have any questions regarding the day.
7 days before: remaining balance is due.
Couple days before: last minute check-in to make sure I am starting at the right place & the right time :)
1 week after the Wedding Day: expect a few sneak peak photos!
7-8 weeks after the wedding: Full online gallery will be sent to you.
Expect a little package from me a couple months after your wedding. If you’ve ordered an album, it will be shipped altogether.
This is one of the most important things I can ask from you both, as well as to educate your family on. As an artist, I would truly appreciate artistic freedom when it comes to capturing your wedding day; Having your trust allows me to feel more comfortable & honest about creating what it is you saw in my work in the first place. I want you to trust that I will capture you two, your connection with your families, and the whole vibe of your wedding with as much authenticity as I possibly can, and all you need to do is be present to it all :) One less thing to worry about, I got you!
That being said, if there are any specific photos you’ve seen on the internet/pinterest and loved, feel free to send them to me before the wedding day so I can make sure I make note of them! ***do not send photos of couples in the mountains if you are having a city wedding - it will confuse me very much and I will most likely call you asking if I should be booking a flight to BC***
Timeline for Wedding Photos
Before making the master schedule of the day, please make sure you have allocated enough time for the portrait photos. It’s super important for me to have enough time to shoot each part of the day without rushing through it. If you want to chat about this, shoot me an email or call me :) Sometimes these numbers may fluctuate slightly depending on what you have going on that day, but make sure to chat with me if these times will change by a lot.
Getting Ready (girls): 1hr+ (starting at the end of hair/makeup - time is dependant on a few things mentioned in the ‘getting ready’ section below)
Getting Ready (guys): 45min+ (see the getting ready section below)
Family Portraits: 30-45min in a designated location (make sure to tell your family where to go & at what time for family portraits)
Bridal Party: 30-45min+ (depending on how many people you have & how many photos you’d like)
Couple Portraits: 45min-1hr + 15min during sunset hour (usually done during dinner)
Dance floor: 45min
I capture the morning of your wedding day the way it’s unfolding naturally. I believe in a documentary style approach to your wedding day because the photos that you’ll love will be the ones captured more candidly. That being said, I do love creating artfully directed photographs that will elicit feeling & emotional when looking at the photo. These are more posed in nature but will not look “cheesy”.
Typically I can capture both the guys & girls getting ready given enough time, and especially if you are all getting ready in the same place. If you two are in different cities, I’d recommend adding on a second photographer (ask me about this if you’re interested).
- Be intentional on where you’re getting ready because it’ll set the mood for the entire day! Boutique hotel or cute airbnb’s with lots of natural light have a lot more character & more space than your traditional big hotel chains that include a small room, unflattering lighting, and usually one that is overtaken by a bed. You’ll get stressed out if you’re staring at all the clutter that will accumulate in a small hotel room, so make sure the space is spacious enough for you to feel at ease.
- Keep your space as clean as possible and designate the areas closest to the windows as ‘clean zones’ as those are the places I will gravitate towards. Since I have a more documentary approach, if there is a sneaky Victoria Secret bag in my view, I will not be photoshopping it out.
- make a playlist of your favorite music to play when you’re getting ready! I firmly believe you should be surrounded by everything you love on your wedding day, music included. I wont be opposed to some 90’s throwbacks :)
- make the morning a bit extra special for your person and write one another a little love note, make them a mixtape that they can listen to while getting ready, exchange a little present, serenade them with a song you’ve written, oh and of course make sure I’m there to capture it :)
Guys Getting Ready: There are so many ways to capture your ‘getting ready’ photos & it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or awkward. I want to be a fly-on-the-wall when it comes to hanging out with you guys in the morning - so just be yourselves, be all showered up & make sure that everyone has pants on before I arrive! If you want any photos of some sentimental details you have (wearing your grandfathers watch, or a tie that was hand-knit by your, put these items in one area before I arrive).
If the more traditional photos of getting dressed just doesn’t appeal to you, how about having me document something else you and your friends like to do? I’ve taken photos of guys in the morning hanging out by the lake, playing horseshoe outside, having some beers at their favorite bar or coffee shop, hanging out at the barber shop, or just going for a walk in the city while stopping in at record stores.
*PRO TIP: if you are wearing a dress shirt, bring an extra one!! This is especially for the Groom who is having a summer wedding because you will most likely sweat through one. So it’s great to change into another one. You can tell your wedding party to bring an extra one too just in case!
Girls Getting Ready: I enjoy capturing all the little moments in the morning of you getting prepped for your wedding day with those you’re closest to. One thing I make sure to do is to take some bridal portraits of you after you’re finished getting ready - this allows me to take some photos of the little details (your hair, makeup, accessories, dress etc). This usually takes me about 10-15minutes right before we’re about to leave the airbnb/hotel.
Here are some other things you may consider:
- if you are wanting lay-flat photo of all your sentimental pieces/accessories, make sure to put those all in a corner for me before I arrive. Bring your invitations as well & anything else you want included in these detail shots.
- if you’re interested in having matching robes/t-shirts with your friends, By Catalfo & Bridal Party Tees has some great options.
- sparkling beverages are usually a good idea (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)
- How about taking an extra 15min for some cute photos of you in your under-garments in a tasteful/artistic way before putting on your dress. *** I also do boudoir shoots months prior to your wedding day if you’re wanting some artistic & beautiful photos of yourself <3 ask me about these sessions + examples of my work if you’re interested (I love doing these self-love sessions so much).
I dont want to convince you to do a first look, but I do want to educate you about the benefits of doing one.
I personally love first looks because it allows you to do all the portrait photos before the ceremony, so that once the ceremony is finished, you can enjoy the cocktail hour with your wedding guests & not have to worry about anymore scheduled photos. I love the cocktail hour because everyone is in such high spirits after witnessing a beautiful ceremony, and its a great time for me to get those candid shots of you interacting with all your favorite people; I love capturing all the hugs, kisses and love everyone will be showering you.
The first look can also be such a great moment that is just for the two of you. I personally tense up when I’m in the spotlight, and so if you’re like me, these first looks are a great way for you to let go and experience the moment without having 100 eyeballs watching you ugly cry :D
If you are having a late ceremony, first looks can be a great way to get all the portraits finished before the sun sets. Make sure to check the time of sunset on your wedding day, and allocate enough time for the bridal portraits, family portraits & couple portraits (as outlined in the timeline) while we still have natural light.
Be Present: I dont want you to worry about how the pictures are going to turn out. As long as you are yourselves and having a good time, I can assure you, they will be your favorite photos together! I will be directing you in a certain way, but I want you two to be as fluid as you want in these ‘poses’. If something doesn’t feel right, move or change into a position that is more comfortable. We are creating together & I want to document you two as naturally as possible :)
15min Shoot at Twilight: I love this time of day when the sun is just about set and you get that twilight moody light. I love having 15min with you two to do a few extra portraits outside if possible. This can be done between courses depending on when the sun sets. Incorporate this into the schedule, & if on the day you decide you are all photo-ed out, we can skip it!
Accessories: Bring some accessories with you to make things a bit more casual (leather jackets, boots if we’re going on a little adventure, jean jackets, scarves, light sabers, etc). I also love incorporating meaningful things into a photo, so bring any props or accessories that you’d like.
Unplugged Ceremony: There are so many times throughout the day that your guests can take photos of you, so why not have an unplugged ceremony so that everyone can be present to what is happening in front of their eyes versus their cellphones. It’s a beautiful & emotional time for many of your friends and family, and documenting those emotions without cellphones in everyones face will be nicer. In the end, I think everyone else will enjoy the moment more fully without having a phone in their face to be distracted by. You can have a little sign that says “unplugged ceremony” or have your officiant announce it to your guests before the ceremony starts.
Outdoor Ceremony: Afternoon bright light: If you’re having an outdoor ceremony in the afternoon and will have a choice of where the ceremony will be, it’s always best to have the sun shining behind you and off to the side a bit so that the sun is facing your guests face, but not directly. Essentially, you two will be backlit in the afternoon light if you dont have anything covering you. If you’re getting married in the summer afternoon light, think about getting married under some tree branches so that you dont have to squint the whole time & sweat all your makeup off. Sunset light: If you are having your ceremony close to sunset, then its more flexible, but preferably the sun will be on the guests backs. Because the sun will be shining differently depending on the time of year, you can check where the sun will be at any time of day/year using the “sun seeker app”. The worst type of light for photos is uneven lighting. If some of your guests are in shade and some are in the bright blistering 12 O’clock sun, there will be really blown out portions of the photo and really dark parts of the photo (both resulting in detail being lost). Try to make sure the light is even on everyone at the ceremony.
Confetti or alternatives: I love a good exit. One of the happiest times during the day is when you’re pronounced lovers for life! Sometimes couples like to have confetti thrown at them which is always super cute in photos! It’s just another way to shower you with love! If this interests you, I suggest getting biodegradable confetti from Etsy or making your own: to make your own, you just need a hole puncher, & then flowers/leaves you find outside; you can package them up in clear plastic bags and put a label on them. Put one package of confetti on the seats of the people closest to the aisles only.
To match or not to Match, that is the question
Gone are the days where the bridal party needs to look the exact same! Although I am definitely not opposed to everyone having the same dress, I do think allowing your bridal party to dress what they feel comfortable in (especially if everyone has a different body type), & colors that match their skin tone is best. Having a color palette versus one color can also add more dimension to the photos as well.
note: I really like wasting half a bottle of sparkling wine on a photo :) Bring one along if you’d like to as well!
Outdoor Tent Receptions: I love tent weddings & if you’re looking for a great company that rents white or clear tents, I’d recommend Westway Tents based in Barrie. Make sure that during the wedding, the tent is open on the sides so that natural light can come in. I would also HIGHLY recommend getting bistro lights to be hung inside the tent (the rental company does this). It really does makes the whole ambiance of a tent wedding super romantic & cosy, giving it that soft dreamy look in photos. The light coming from candles and bistro lights is a lot warmer & nicer than pot lights or studio lights, so your skin tones will look softer too. The same goes for Indoor Reception Lighting: I always recommend having some bistro lights on the head table wall, or the ceiling. The twinkly bistro lights not only make the space feel cosier, but when the dancing starts, I can get some really cool effects with the lights that make the photos look more lively (slowing the shutter down allows the light to stretch through the frame which creates a lot of movement in the photo!)
TIP* You can also get some great deals on Amazon or Costco for string lights if you wanted to do it yourself! Think restaurant patio lights versus Christmas tree lights.
Receiving Line: Your wedding day will go by super fast, and although a receiving line can be a great option to have when greeting your guests, it also takes up about 1.5 hours on your wedding day (depending on the number of people). I have had couples go around each table to greet their guests throughout dinner which seems to be a great alternative. Also, if you are able to join your guests during cocktail hour, a receiving line may not be needed.
Sparkler Outdoor First Dance: Make sure you buy the long sparklers~ There is a place in Etobicoke you can get them called Rocket Fireworks. Ideally the best time to do the sparkler dance is during twilight (just as the sun has set) so that there is a little bit of natural light for your faces. If the dance is later, make sure there is some ambiant light outside (bistro lights or another external light source).
Ask the venue for torches or fire-lanterns so that multiple people can light their sparklers at the same time.
I will help co-ordinate everyone into a semi-circle once everyone is outside.
Let the magic begin! :)
- Make sure nothing is obstructing your faces on your table during the reception. If getting those reaction shots is important for you, make sure you two are accessible for me! Kings head tables & U-shaped tables are great too.
Wedding Vendors I Recommend:
Makeup Artist (Toronto Area):
- Presley Foskett
- Windy Chiu
Hair Stylist (Toronto Area):
- Jesika Broomer from LOFT Salon (she does the best boho braids!)
- Ania Wazny
- Bridal Hair Collective
- Loversland Toronto
- Sash and Bustle
- Grace Loves Lace (Toronto shop opening in March!)
- Made with Love Bridal
Bridal Dress Coverups:
- If you’re looking for a pretty accessory for your dress, check out some of these gorgeous coverups from BHLDN.
- Patrick Hodgson
- Derek Chan Films
- Eden Films
- Rowland Films
- DJ Flohback
- Lucie Tic from Dialed in DJ’s
- Evan Gravelle
Live Cover Bands:
- The Lonely Hearts
- St. Royal
- Juliana Belinko
- Mary Beatty (Humanist Officiant)
- Lorraine Casselman
Catering/Late Night Food:
Sometimes your wedding venue might cater your food, but if you’re looking for some yummy food for your guests, you can try these favorites!
- La Carnita
- The Loaded Perogi
- The Food Dudes
- Beetle and Quill