Wedding Photography

Wedding Day Photography Planning

Wedding Day Photography Planning

Congratulations, you’re engaged and have chosen your photographer! Now your wedding is quickly approaching. It is important to keep track of the photos you would like on your wedding day. We recommend making a list and photo schedule to keep you organized. We will teach you how to create your wedding day photography planning list and schedule.


It is will make your photographer’s job easier if they know who’s who in your family and bridal party. So make a list of names and titles. For example if your sister’s name is Emma you would say, “Emma, bride’s sister.” You only have to do this for your bridal party and immediate family.


This step is mainly important for the engaged/newlywed couple. Are there specific poses you want together? For example, some brides and grooms want photos of them doing a specific pose or from a certain angle. Make one list of the photos you want of just you two. Step two on this one would be if you want photos with specific groups, for example college friends, high school friends, etc.


Do you have specific locations you want specific photos? The photographer needs to know your preferences on what photos are taken where. For example, if you want just immediate family photos at the church. In that case, the bridal party gets a break until outdoor photos begin at the reception venue. Group photos by location so your photographer can easily keep track of the photos they need to at each location.


This is an important one! The day of your wedding you’re on a tight schedule, but if you plan ahead it will not seem tight. Your photographer needs the time of your wedding, but will also need the order in which you’d like photos taken. Sometime it is mart to do only immediate family at the church. The bridal party will have a break, then photos are being taken at the park. Lastly, just you and your fiancé are taking solo photos at the reception venue.


Your photographer can be your best friend on the ‘why’ front. It will be helpful the photographer knows any family or friend dynamics that may be at play at your wedding. For example, if you have divorced parents, who do not get along. Knowing that will help the photographer know to rush through the photos they take together to minimize interaction. In contrast, if grandma has a bad hip and needs to sit down. In that case, the photographer can have a chair ready as well as the ability to get grandma’s photos done first.

Finalized Schedule

Once you have your lists divided by the above categories you’ll put them together in a wedding day timeline, e-mail, and print off copies for safe keeping and for the photographer. This way, you’ll be confident you don’t forget anyone in your photos, have an organized, stress free wedding day, and have perfect wedding day photos you will cherish for years to come!

For more wedding planning tips and inspiration, check out the Chicago Wedding Blog posts below! Happy Planning!

How To Write Your wedding Vows

How To Write Your Wedding Vows

How To Write Your Wedding Vows

Your wedding vows are the goals and promises that make up the foundation of your marriage. Some couples like the officiant to do the whole ceremony. The the only thing they have to do is repeat after someone and not faint. However, if you’re among the other couples who want to write their vows, we’ve got some great tips for you! It can be daunting, in one speech, to write down your hopes, dreams and all the love you feel towards your partner. You don’t have to have a specific structure to your vows, but there are a few key things you could use. If you’re struggling to write your wedding vows, sometimes an outline will help.

First, tell your partner you’ll be there for them through thick and thin.

Everyone who’s been married knows there are highs and lows. Every married person has to choose their spouse every day, even in the hard times. One of the most beautiful aspects of marriage is you choose to love someone, unconditionally, even when life gets difficult. Don’t forget to incorporate this important aspect of marriage into your vows.

Second, make promises.

Wedding vows are promises you say out loud and will solidify what you expect in your marriage and what you will give. Examples could be “I promise…to love you through thick and thin, or I promise to let you watch football on Sundays”. You don’t have to be entirely serious – your guests will appreciate humor. We do recommend avoiding “always” and “never” because those are big words that are hardly able to be lived up to. Saying I will never fight with you is an impossible plan. Perhaps instead, you can promise to fight fair.

Third, share some personal stories.

Everyone loves to hear inside information about people. Sharing some stories is a great way to engage your wedding guests. It can also serve as a reminder of why you’re marrying your partner. The stories can be funny, sweet stories, but don’t be afraid to mention the terrible ones either. It will show that you are a strong couple.

Fourth, and finally, say I love you!

It might seem obvious, but in the chaos of wedding activities, the tiny phrase can get lost. We assume you will go through several drafts of your vows, but even starting with this simple statement is great way to begin a marriage. Writing your vows doesn’t have to overwhelm you. Start slow, you don’t have to include everything. Just include the things that really matter to both of you.

Did this post help you plan your wedding vows? Do you have a cute video clip of your vows? Do you have a photo of your vows? We’d love to see and share them! Credit your vendors and reference this blog post by e-mailing them to

engagmenet photographer

Vendor Spotlight: Engagement & Wedding Photographer

Vendor Spotlight: Wedding & Engagement Photographer

Elle Taylor Photography

Our Vendor Spotlight: Engagement & Wedding Photographer, is featuring Elle Taylor Photography this month. Elle Taylor is a local wedding & engagement photographer in the Chicagoland area. Elle Taylor Photography’s style is beautiful, bright natural light photography. She loves bringing couples’ love stories to life in her photos. Elle also loves light pink and her puppy. Trust us, you want to learn more about Elle Taylor Photography and her beautiful photos. Because of this, we’ve interviewed Elle so she can tell you about herself and answer your wedding planning questions!

1.What is your favorite part of  being an engagement and wedding photographer?

My favorite thing about shooting engagements and weddings is the relationships I’m able to make with my couples. They’re all SO sweet, and I am genuinely so excited to meet them/see them again when I photograph their engagement sessions and wedding days. I always leave with a full heart (and full memory cards, haha!)

2. What attire or clothing advice do you give couples when they plan their engagement photos with Elle Taylor Photography?

When planning for engagement photos, I send each one of my couples an in-detail outfit planning guide with my favorite tips and tricks for coordinating outfits, my favorite stores to purchase clothing for their “formal” looks and their more “casual” looks. I also send them tons of inspiration photos from other couples’ outfit choices to help show what outfits will look like when paired together for their photos. The most important thing I tell me couples to remember is to make sure that they’re comfortable in the outfits they choose because if their uncomfortable, it’ll show in the photos.

3. Is there an experience you’ve had while photographing an engagement or wedding that you will never forget?

This is such a hard question because I leave the majority of my engagement sessions and weddings with my face hurting from laughing so much with my couples. I could never forget any of them, but there is definitely one shoot that I will never, ever forget. After one of my shoots this past summer, I got engaged!! My fiance (boyfriend at the time) had been setting everything up while I was at the shoot, and he surprised me later that night 🙂 Best day ever!

For more wedding planning advice and vendors, checkout other Chicago Wedding Blog posts below!

feed wedding vendors

Take Care Of Your Vendors! Here’s How And Why!

Take Care Of Your Vendors! Here’s How And Why!

One of the biggest things you need for your wedding day is help from vendors.

This comes in the form of both paid and un-paid vendors (thinking of your well-meaning uncle who makes his own bourbon)! The best helpers are the vendors you’ve hired such as a photographer, videographer, wedding planner and DJ or band. To show your gratitude for their work, take care of your wedding vendors! Here’s how!

Most couples are on a wedding budget. You’ll need to factor in extra meals to take care of   your vendors.

This is a subject of much debate : do you have to give a meal to your photographers or musicians? Some wedding vendors such as  planners and photographers build in a clause in their contracts. Some couples simply offer it as a common courtesy. These vendors are, after all, holding your entire wedding day memories in their hands. 

You’ll also want to speak to your caterer and ask if those meals are included in your meal fee or are they extra.

Why is it important to feed your DJ and photographer? It is important to show your gratitude by taking care of your vendors. You also don’t want them tired from lack of food, or miss important events if they’re having to only eat a snack. 

Timing is key for giving your vendors time to eat.

For photographers and videographers it’s best to have them eat while you are eating. Then, they won’t miss the cake cutting or first dance. If they come as a pair, even better! You could have them alternate as they take breaks. For the band or DJ it’s best if they eat during cocktail hour. After that, they are ready to go and get everyone up and ready to dance after dinner. 

A happy, well taken care of  vendor is one who will most likely go the extra mile for you on your wedding day. 

Wedding Photographer

You have the venue and the dress but now it’s time to think about the wedding photographer! You didn’t spend all your time and agony on details to have them overlooked. When choosing a wedding photographer there are some key things to keep in mind.

Weddings are among the most important days of our lives so don’t leave choosing the wedding photographer to someone else. You need to personally vet out all the possibilities. It means talking to other brides and who they used or personally interviewing photographers. You want someone who understands your desires for what you want on your big day! Some wedding photographers are great at capturing natural light while others do more mixed media. Do you want more candid shots or staged photos?

You will also want to make sure your personality meshes with the wedding photographer (s). There could be more than one since sometimes with larger weddings it takes a few shooters to capture everything. Don’t underestimate the value of being comfortable and able to bond with the photographer! To get the best out of it make sure the wedding photographer is calm but assertive, has good social etiquette but is bold enough to get daring shots and cajoling enough to coax shy smiles from guests. The wedding photographer will be shadowing your entire day so you want to be able to speak with them to get the pictures you want!

It’s also a must to see a wedding photographers work/albums. Keep in mind they will show you their best work so be sure to also ask to view an entire wedding album. This way you can see if they capture moments that are important to you like ceremony shots, reception shenanigans or other fun shots! You should also ask to see an indoor wedding they’ve captured if you are having one. The lighting for indoor versus outdoor is very different. Your wedding photographer should be aware if you’re having a ceremony outside or reception inside. Picking a wedding photographer can be fun since you’ll get to see a lot of styles so don’t let it stress you out!


photo shot list

Photo Shot List

Photo Shot List


It is the job of your wedding photographer to create a photo shot list for your big day. That’s why you are hiring them! However, it’s good to understand what your photographer will want to cover and how you can help her get the best pictures on your wedding day.

It’s very important to work with your wedding photographer to make sure your wedding is captured in all its glory. Here’s a list of moments your wedding photographer will probably cover:

Bride Getting Ready
Groom Getting Ready
The First Look (if bride and groom are seeing each ot
her before the ceremony)
Posed Family Photos
Wedding Party Photos
Introductions as Mr. & Mrs.
Escort Cards and other Details
Wedding Cake
First Dance
Cake Cutting
Bouquet Toss/Garter
Guests Dancing
Check out this list of“50 Must Have Wedding Photography Shots” for further ideas. We often think of photographers as documenting a wedding, but even the purest photojournalist has a special way of seeing the world. Once you have the right photographer, let them know what you like. We always recommend spending time with your photographer so they can get a feel for what’s important to you both. For example, some couples are very much into family photos, some love detail shots, some want a picture of their high school friends who flew into town from far away. Make sure to let your photographer know what you love.
It’s also nice to give them ideas of the images you favor or want to emulate. You want to provide them with as much context of your style and give them creative freedom to bring it to life. This way you can collaborate on the part of the photo shot list that is unique to your wedding!
Ensuring Great Photos

Ensuring Great Photos

Ensuring Great Photos. The photographs from your wedding day are ones that you will cherish for life, looking over them and sharing them countless times, so don’t you want to make sure they are some of the best photos you’ve ever taken? If you follow these tips below, you’ll have photo you will love to re-visit over and over again.

Be Well Rested  The week before your wedding can be busy and full of last minute details to take care of, but sleep is a very  important factor in looking your best in wedding photographs. Lack of sleep can show up as bags under your eyes, tired posture and dull skin. While it’s true that photographers can fix some of these problems in Photoshop, it is best to come to your wedding day with your best face forward…literally! Sleep will not only help you look good, but also feel great. Setting a sleep schedule the week before your wedding and sticking to it will ensure you are well rested on your big day.


Hire a Professional Hair and Makeup Person  For some this may feel like an unnecessary splurge, but hiring professionals can make a world of difference in the final photos. Hair and makeup people know the products to use that will last all day and show up the best in all lighting situations. If you want to look and feel like a celebrity on your wedding day, this is an investment worth taking.

Tim Whaleyjpg

Tim Whaley & Associates

Hire a Photographer That Makes You Feel Comfortable  Having a professional that you are comfortable with behind the camera may be the most important factor. When booking a photographer, you should meet with them at least once and see how the chemistry is between you. Asking for a reference or two may be a good idea as well so you can speak with people that have worked with the photographer on their wedding day. The photographer will be with you the most during your day, so this is a person you want to feel good around and someone that can bring the best out of you.


Carissa Woo Photography

Think Happy Thoughts and Be Yourself  Stay focused on what the day is all about and be in the moment. If you are authentic and allow those feelings of bliss, happiness and joy to permeate your being, that will show up on your photographs. And when you look back at these images years later, you will remember exactly how you felt on your special day.


DIY Photo Backdrop

Setting up a mini photo shoot for your wedding guests is a great way to keep friends entertained, capture hilarious moments, and create a fun wedding memento. Many wedding photographers have begun offering photo stations as part of their packages, but in the event that they don’t or it’s simply too expensive, here are a few tips for creating your own photo op at your wedding, engagement party, or bridal shower.

First things first, you’ll need some sort of backdrop. If your wedding or shower happens to be at a fab location with interestingly textured walls or breathtaking scenery, simply rope off a section that can be designated for mini photo shoots. If not, all you need is a photo backdrop (rentable from most camera or party stores) or some funky fabric that can be draped in front of the wall.

Once you’ve got your backdrop in place, you’ll want to provide your guests with plenty of props. These can be as classy or goofy as you want. The key is to offer an abundance of choices so that each photo is unique instead of looking like carbon copies. Some elegant ideas include empty frames, mini chalkboards, masquerade masks, or homemade signs. Couples hoping for hilarity can stock prop boxes with fake mustaches, silly hats, feather boas, oversized glasses, superhero costumes, and fill-in-the-blank thought bubbles made with dry-erase material or chalkboards.

Next, you’ll need a photographer or camera in place to capture the sweet and comical moments of the night. If you’ve got a photographically-gifted friend, ask them to set up shop, or position the camera with a tripod and allow guests to snap their own pics. To ensure quality snapshots, ask your photographer about the cost for hiring an assistant or intern to man the booth all night. If your event will be lasting well into the evening, make sure the photo station has ample lighting.

Create a lasting memento by having the best photos printed and put into an album, or order a printed photo book online with all of the shots. Let guests take home their favorite prints as well by setting up a photo printer at the event, or displaying proofs on an online gallery.

Saying ‘I do’ Come Rain or Shine

The uncertainty of weather can be one of the biggest causes for anxiety when it comes to a wedding. Unless you’re getting married on the beach in a country where it never rains, then weather will be a factor whether your wedding is inside or outside, in the spring or in the fall. It’s an unavoidable inconsistency that you’ll just have to bear with. That said, here are a few tips.


Rain is probably one of the worst nightmares of anyone who’s planning a wedding. If your wedding is outside, make sure you have a solid back up plan. Does your venue have an indoor option in case of emergency? Or maybe you can hire a tent company to shelter your guests from potential rain?

Even if your event is inside, you’ll still have to get from place to place. If the forecast predicts rain for your big day, invest in some good umbrellas. Have your groomsmen do the favor of holding them to shelter guests walking into the event. If possible, plan to get dressed at your venue to reduce the amount of time you’ll spend outside all dressed up.

Talk to your hair stylist about a back up style that will be less ruined or easily fixable if it should get wet. Keep any flowers and decorations as protected as you can until the last minute. Consult with your wedding photographer, who should be able to work around the rain, whether it’s moving indoors or taking fun photos of you dancing in the rain with umbrellas!


Who doesn’t want a sunny day and blue skies for their wedding? But what if it’s unexpectedly nearly 100 degrees and unbearably humid? If you’re getting married in the middle of July or August, then that could be a real possibility, and you run the risk of ending up with overheated guests and a dress soaked with sweat! Obviously, this scenario is particularly worrying if you’re having an outdoor event.

If that’s the case, look into providing fans for your guests; they can be decorated to match your wedding theme, and your guests will definitely appreciate even the smallest opportunity to cool down. You could also look into providing plenty of water with customized water bottles, to keep everyone hydrated.

If you’ve only just started planning your outdoor wedding, look at dresses that aren’t as heavy and prone to sweating. For your man and his groomsmen, see if you can find a lighter material for their suits or tuxedos. Finally, if you’re sensitive to the sun, use make-up that has an SPF factor so that you don’t burn!


When you’re looking at the weather forecast, it’s usually the temperature, sun, and precipitation factors you look at. But it’s a good idea to check out the wind, too. Especially if you’re outdoors, a strong wind could be detrimental to you and your guests’ dresses, hair, flowers, food, and more. Keep this in mind when planning everything so that you don’t get blown away on your big day!

The bottom line is, weather is completely out of your control, and the best you can do is have a backup plan and not get too worried about it. Come rain or shine, wind or snow, put the plans in place to ensure you have a beautiful day that you will always remember.