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Wedding Planning Guidebook

For Tulle & Tweed Photography Couples

I want your experience of your wedding to be MEMORABLE!

This guidebook ensures we are set up for success on your big day, no matter how big or small your wedding celebration is.

You planned a damn good party, and I am determined to give you the time to actually enjoy it! 

Not all these points will apply to everyone. But if they do, I encourage you both to read through it together.

There are some priceless goodies in here that will make the difference between floating through the day, vs time to actually take mental pictures as well as actual ones. Time to actually share moments with your partner - this is after all about you both!

Engagement Sessions

Show me the Love

Engagement Sessions

So you've never been photographed before. Join all of our other couples! No experience is necessary. I've got you. 

Coming prepared and talking about your preferences and what to expect together will be the key to having a relaxed session that screams YOU. 

My sessions are relaxed. We chat, we explore, I instruct you on some posing essentials then I get you interacting. That's where the gold lies.
True interactions.
Real laughter.
Conversation.
Creating Moments.
Goofy complete weirdness that makes gorgeous and natural photos. Dad jokes are included free.

None of this matters if you aren't prepared! 

HEATHER, WHAT DO I WEAR?

  • Clean, wrinkle/cat hair free clothes

  • Avoid massive logos, crazy patterns or neon colours

  • Avoid baseball hats, they make some funky dark shadows on the face

  • Comfortable but cool footwear that's clean and matches your wardrobe. 

  • Matchy matchy is very 90's, but I recommend picking a level of fancy (casual, biz casual, date night, formal) and tying your colours together so they don't clash. When in doubt, jeans and neutrals work great. Need advice? Just ask. 

HEATHER, HOW DO I PREPARE?

The Day Before

Get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water and try to relax before your session. Don’t leave everything until right before to prepare as I find many couple’s will get anxious and stressed with each other if things are left until the last minute.

I want to ensure we capture your genuine energy and natural, relaxed moments. 

I also like to photograph your hands, so be sure to take a peek at your nails and do any grooming as necessary the day before. Makeup is encouraged if that's something you believe in, and although you may feel overdone with more makeup than normal, your eyes will pop and your images will have a more polished look.

I hear “you can photoshop that, right?” a lot. Chances are I can, but I'd rather not. I am primarily a lifestyle photographer and although I will remove distracting elements occasionally (monster zits included), I won’t do plastic surgery or edit outside of the realm of reality. Not my jam.

HEATHER, WHAT CAN I EXPECT? 

You can expect to explore (bring shoes comfortable for off-roading), belly laugh, play silly little games to bring out your true personalities, to talk to each other (sometimes serious sometimes playful), to smooch more than you have in months, to snuggle tighter than ever before, and to TRUST me. 

I encourage intimacy. Sharing feelings. Showing the love. 

Rain doesn't bother me. Wind can be fun. If it's miserable for everyone we can reschedule. 

Sessions last about 45 mins depending on your session type (minis are less, extended sessions are more). Sometimes I go over this timeframe. 

I recommend picking ONE favourite location for your session to maximize shooting time. 

I recommend scheduling your engagement session 1-2 months in advance to ensure I have availability for your chosen date. This can be done via e-mail. Weekday evenings are preferable from April-Oct.

Check out some of these previous engagement photos I've taken for inspo!   

Getting Ready

Bride & Groom Preparations

Getting Ready & Preparations

Wedding days are fun! Especially in the morning. There’s so much sweet and excited anticipation in the air.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a location and prepping for my arrival on your wedding day (for both Bride and Groom)

Cleanliness: Those beautiful & emotional moments on the morning of a wedding day can be distracted by fast food leftovers, gym bags and piles of shoes in the background. When it comes to making the most of your getting ready photos, it’s important that your getting ready location is as clean as possible when I arrive.

You will be busy as a bee the morning of your wedding, so delegating a family member or member of your bridal party to do a quick cleanup helps tremendously and saves us from wasting time doing so when we arrive. It will make your photos look a thousand times better.

Lighting: We are what people call “available light photographers”. That being said, we can work with artificial lighting like flashes, but we prefer not to whenever possible to maintain the natural feel of the day. It helps if you choose somewhere for prep with natural window lighting and open space if at all possible. 

HMUA: I generally arrive at the very end of hair and makeup for the girls. I ask that Brides get their hair and makeup done so it is completed prior to, or around the same time as my arrival. I try not to get in the way of hair and makeup artists, and I can stage a couple of images of your finishing touches if needed. This ensures you are ready and looking fab prior to my arrival and to ensure if things run late, the most important person is ready to go on time.

Grooms Prep: Guys can be dressed in their pants (you'd be surprised how many times this hasn't been the case), and base layer shirt. If groom prep photos are requested, the second photographer will usually photograph this and show up around 30-45 mins before departure for the venue. Hair can be done, or if it's a fast job it can be done while the photographer is present. Photos will be taken as the groom's party gets ready - putting on suits, shoes, socks, ties, etc. 

Room aesthetic:  Classic & clean décor are ideal as they are less distracting and more timeless, but as long as we have natural light to work with, almost any space will do! Room aesthetic is equally important both for the bride as well as the groom, so don’t forget about the guys when choosing a getting ready space!
 

Details: While a lot of our work emphasizes the relationships and natural moments on your wedding day, we will  make a point to photograph the small details that play a role in telling the story of your day. When we arrive for preparations, it helps save time by having your special touches and details ready for us! This can include:

Girls - Rings, florals, shoes, accessories, dress, any gifts to each other, invitation suite, etc.

Guys - Tie, shoes, cufflinks, suit, gifts, rings, etc. 

TIMELINE: 60-90 minutes for girls (45-60 minutes for guys)

Here are some of my favourite Getting Ready photos.

First Look

A break from tradition

The First Look

I recommend considering a first look if your timeline allows. All of our couples who have done so rant and rave about how this was the only time they got to really take in their wedding day and be "together" solo. The intimacy and realness in the tiniest moments together, without people pulling you in 100 directions is worth 1000 first looks as you walk down the aisle.

If you are absolutely set on seeing each other for the first time during the ceremony, we fully support you and your choice and will do our best to capture those initial reactions. 

Here are my reasons for considering a first look:

Pressure is eliminated. Nerves are firing a mile a minute in anticipation, plus  family and friends staring at you from the audience can really freak some couples out. Having the opportunity to say your own personal vows prior to the ceremony or to tell your significant other that you've both “got this” results in a much more relaxed couple come ceremony time. Nerves are replaced with excitement and a "let's do this" mentality

You will end up with more emotional/intimate photos: The reaction shot when your person walks down the aisle is fantastic. But what is more fantastic is having you both in the photo together feeling all the feels openly. A first look is more intimate, allows us to control the location and lighting for the best images possible, and you both react naturally rather than looking like deer in the headlights.

Your timeline flows better for guests. A first look frees up the need to have a period of 2-4 hours between your ceremony and reception, where (let’s be honest), people do not have a clue what to do or where to go. The day is less disjointed, and you get to enjoy all of the events as they unfold without worrying about everyone waiting around for you. Instead of running away after the ceremony avoiding your guests to ensure enough photo time, you can have a glass of bubbly and catch up with aunt Susan from two continents away.

Privacy. The moment you see your future spouse for the first time is an emotional and beautiful moment. Having it private keeps it that way. 

TIMELINE: 15-20 minutes plus photo time after

Here are some photo examples of my favourite first looks

Family

Formal Photo Groupings

Family Photos & Groupings

While the majority of the day is focused on capturing emotion and unplanned moments, I realize that family photos are just as important. How often will you have everyone from both sides of your family in one place?

I require a detailed list of family photo groupings prior to your wedding day. I HIGHLY recommend limiting family photos to 10 formal groupings or less. In my extensive experience I find that this part of the day causes the most anxiety and stress for the couple and everyone else involved. Getting people in place, telling them where to be and what to do is bad enough. Going through 25 groupings and making guests hang around for 30-45+ minutes is usually a mood killer for everyone.

I recommend allowing for more time with family during cocktail hour and reception, capturing candid moments along the way and letting people enjoy the experience as much as possible. The more simplified the list, the more time you will have to enjoy your day with family and friends rather than simply having a photo-op. 

There is an equal correlation between enjoyment & the lower number of family photo combos. True story! 

If you are opting for a first look, family photos can be done right before the ceremony. If you don’t wish for anyone else to see you prior to the ceremony, family photos canbe done immediately following the ceremony in lieu of a receiving line.

When it comes to family and group photos, a clean and simple background works best. I'll usually scout an area very close to the ceremony location (usually the same spot) to ensure nobody goes roque and to pick a spot with the best and most flattering lighting above all else. 

TIMELINE: 10-30 minutes (for 10 combos, 10 mins is fine, for 25+ 30-45 mins is needed)

Sample Family Photo List:

Wedding Couple + Both Sides' Parents

Wedding Couple + Both Sides' Parents and Siblings and Spouses/kids

Wedding Couple + Spouse 1's Parents and Siblings

Wedding Couple + Spouse 1's Parents, Siblings, Spouses/kids and Grandparents

Wedding Couple + All Grandparents

Wedding Couple + Spouse 2's Parents and Siblings

Wedding Couple + Spouse 2's Parents, Siblings, Spouses, Kids and Grandparents

Couple & Wedding Party

Creative Portraits

Wedding Party Photos

Wedding party photos are also encouraged following the first look (if you choose to do one), or following the family photos after the ceremony.

We prefer to whisk your wedding party away early on while they still have an upbeat attitude and are energetic. If at all possible, we encourage bridal party and couples photos to be done in advance of the ceremony.

I also recommend educating your wedding party of your expectations of them for the wedding day to ensure they are mentally prepared for your timeline and know that they have to remain available for certain portions of the day.

If you plan to do 1+ hours of wedding party photos, I'd suggest packing drinks and snacks for your bridal party to avoid “hangryness” and to keep the energy flowing.

I discourage drinking alcohol in excess until after wedding party photos are completed as faces will become flush and people will become less cooperative under the influence.   

Wedding Couple’s Photos

My wedding couple portraits are lightly posed with an emphasis on natural interactions and your unique connection. This may involve going off the beaten path or being somewhat active (walking, dancing, etc.). 

These are the photos you will frame, put in albums, share with family and friends, and the ones you’ll show to your kids and their kids someday (or fur kids!)

These are photos of you embraced in a moment, or goofing off in your way, or whispering sweet nothings into each others ear (by sweet nothings we really mean what you ate for breakfast in a sexy voice). 

These are the images you will cherish and hold close for a lifetime. These photos will remind you why you made this vow in the first place.

A few things to consider for couples photos:


Pre-ceremony: After the first look is usually the most common time for couples photos. You are still excited, looking fresh and neat, and your connection quite evident. The nerves have dissipated and the light is usually better earlier in the day than mid day. If we do a first look, we generally fit in couples photos and wedding party photos during this timeframe, allowing on average 1.5-3 hours for both.

Post-ceremony: While many couples do a first look, not all will be keen to break tradition. In this case, we would do prep photos prior to the ceremony, then head to the ceremony. Family photos would follow, then we would depart immediately for couple and wedding party photos (1.5-3 hours).

Just the two of you, please! While mum, dad, the kiddos and every other guest is so excited to spend time with you on your wedding day, I ask that the time during your portraits is just between us. Not only can guests’ watching be a distraction, but it often takes away from those sweet moments you’ll share. Intimacy is squashed by a peanut gallery. Your wedding party may be present but we will generally “steal you away” for those more romantic photos.

TIMELINE: 1.5-3 hours average (1-2 locations)

Your Ceremony

Location, Lighting, Tips

The Ceremony | Location & Lighting

Three important considerations for your ceremony are Lighting, Location and Placement of your decor/setup.

DECOR PLACEMENT

More often than not, placement is not symmetrical. I recommend stressing this to your decorating team and your officiant. Putting markers where you should stand is also helpful and keeps you and your wedding party/officiant where you need to be. This is especially important when you have an arch or backdrop. 

LIGHTING

When planning your outdoor ceremony location, the lighting will play the biggest role in how your photos will turn out.

Backlight: The sun should be behind you whenever possible (your guests should be facing it). Visiting your ceremony site around the same time of day (and year) as the wedding will allow you to get a feel for how the sun will light up your scene. Backlight can create a hazy feel to your images depending on the angle of the sun. It is the most preferable option. 

Side Light: Side lighting for the ceremony can be tricky, but it produces a less hazy effect. You should try to avoid having one person lit up and one person in shadow (whoever is darker/wearing darker clothes should be facing the sun). 

Indoor Lighting:

Light Source: Indoor lights give off a variety of colour tones and weird bands of light which we don't usually notice with the naked eye. It is important to consider how the indoor lights illuminate the scene, cast shadows, and whether additional ambient light might be worth investing in (twinkle lights, chandeliers, candle light, dimmable lights, etc.). Have questions? Just ask! 

Shadow and Light: If your ceremony will occur directly in front of a bright window, the window will likely end up very white in your photos so your faces are not dark shadows. We adjust for this, but sometimes it is unavoidable. If you wanted that epic view out the window to show in your photos, depending on how bright the day is it may or may not be possible without using heavy flash, etc. Same goes for sunset out a window. Chances are, to have you looking normal, the sunset will still be too bright in camera to show it's beautiful colours that our eyes naturally see. 

Take a peek at the images below to get a feel for how the different lighting scenarios change the look of the images. Hazy images usually mean the sun is behind the couple, while harsh shadows usually mean it is overhead, directly on, or to the side of the scene. 

Location: Your ceremony itself should ideally be the most important choice you make for your wedding day.  Will there be noise from other patrons? Will you have exlusive use of the area? Will there be wind or elements to worry about and do you have a backup plan in case of rain? What will the temperature be at that time of year for your guests? The location should suit your individual personalities, and reflect the mood you wish to achieve with your ceremony. Some people prefer a natural environment like an old growth forest or beach, while others are more inclined to pick something architectural or indoors

TIMELINE: 30-45 minutes 

Your Reception

Timeline & Lighting

The Reception | Timeline & Lighting

I photograph using natural light as much as possible (with exception to dancing/party photos and sometimes toasts/speeches)! I do this because I strive to capture every part of your day not only by the way it looks, but also how it feels.

We are comfortable with flash when it is needed, but the most ambient light possible is ideal, while avoiding overhead lighting. 

Adequate lighting: Reception lighting is often overlooked when planning weddings. Consider whether adding candlelight to the exiting lighting would help illuminate your faces during the reception - even if just for the head table. 

Table Placement: For lots of great candid reaction shots, consider leaving space between tables for the photographer(s) to walk between tables for more variety in shots. Leaving sight lines in front of the head table also aids this. 

Dinner Time & Feeding Your Vendors: Most wedding days are at least 6-8 hours long. We often don’t get a break during that time. We usually plan to eat while you guys are both eating, that way we are not waiting for our salad to arrive when it’s time for toasts. It is customary for photographers and videographers to sit with guests in the main seating area to ensure no moments are missed, however if no space is available a nearby table in the hall/lounge area is fine. If our table doesn’t get called quickly, we will often apologize to those around us and duck in line after your family has been fed. Please also note that if the meal is plated, we may have dietary concerns. Please inquire as this can depend on who is photographing your wedding. 

Sunset Photos: I always recommend sneaking away for 10 mins at the end of dinner to photograph the fading light. These photos end up being some of my faves and my couples' faves. 

Dances: I usually request 5-10 mins to setup my first dance lighting. After the first dance and any parent dances, party time begins. If you have us along past the first dance, I will let you both know when it's time for my team to leave to ensure nothing else is needed before departure. 

TIMELINE:

Dinner is generally 1 hour in duration

Sunset Photos are 10-15 mins

Speeches are approx 45 minutes and can take place following dinner

Cake and Dances take 30+ minutes and we generally need 5 minutes PRIOR to this to set up additional lighting as needed.

Reception Photos

Sunset/Dusk Photos

Sample Wedding Day Timelines

We have been photographing weddings for over 9 years. Here's a typical timeline for the wedding day which includes how much time I’ll typically need for photos:

Getting ready: 60-90 minutes girls, 45 minutes guys

First look: 20 minutes

Family: 20-30 minutes

Wedding party & Couple photos: 1-3 hours (if doing sunset photos, initial timeframe can be less)

Ceremony: 30 mins average

Receiving lines: 30 minutes (we urge you to consider greeting guests at the reception instead)

To give you a better idea of what that looks like, I’ve put together a sample timeline for a first look and a sample timeline for a traditional wedding:

Sample Timeline – First Look

1:00 Getting Ready

2:30-4:00 First Look/Wedding Party/Couple Photos

4:00 Ceremony

4:30 Family photos

4:30-5:30 Cocktail Hour

5:45 Entrance

6:00 Dinner

7:00 Sunset Photos

7:30 Speeches

8:15 Cake

8:30 First Dances

8:45 Party

9:00 Photographer Departs

Sample Timeline – Traditional

1:00 Getting Ready

2:30 Arrive at Ceremony Venue

3:00 Ceremony

3:30 Family photos

4--5:30 Couples/Wedding Party photos

4-5:30 Cocktail Hour

5:45 Entrance

6:00 Dinner

7:00 Sunset Photos

7:30 Speeches

8:15 Cake

8:30 First Dances

8:45 Party

9:00 Photographer Departs

More Questions?

This guide has a LOT of information to digest. If you have any questions while putting together your timeline and wedding day plans, please get in touch as we are more than happy to assist in planning your day to allow for beautiful moments and images!