top of page

Your Wedding Prep Guide

Hi There! <3

Congratulations your Engagement! Planning a wedding can be exciting, AND stressful - but we are so honored that you chose us for such an important role on your special day! Our clients & their experience with us are always our #1 priority.

Because we want your experience to be amazing (and go as smooth as possible) from start to finish I have created this in-depth guide that will walk you through everything you need to know to help you prep for your big day! With over 10 years experience we have you covered from Engagement to Honeymoon & everything in between.

I understand that planning a Wedding is a big deal for our couples, and I hope this guide helps ease some of those nerves and planning stresses - but know that you are free to reach out at ANY time with any questions or concerns, or if you just want to chat to help you relax. We are even happy to meet up and grab a coffee together to help you feel more comfortable or give you suggestions for amazing Wedding Planners if you feel you need some extra help with your Big Day! We are here for YOU, remember that!

z_portraits_12.jpg

Let's Start from the Beginning...

Getting Ready

This is where most weddings run behind on time - don't be afraid to over guesstimate how much time you need to get ready!  IF you end up having extra time before your Ceremony - PERFECT! That gives us time to snap some single photos of you and your bridesmaids (and the groom with his groomsmen) so we don't take any extra time away from your Reception! It also gives us extra time to do any special requested shots like first looks, private prayers, etc. (Though if you do end up running late DON'T STRESS OUT. Most all of the Weddings we work run over for tons of different reasons. I always say, if a Wedding isn't running a bit behind then it's not a real wedding! lol) 

 

The best tips we have for Getting Ready photos to make sure they go to plan:

  • Plan for Earlier rather than Later! Give plenty of extra time for Photos & other mishaps

  • Make sure to have ALL details you want photographed with you in the Bridal Suite (ie. Rings, Shoes, Boquets, Dress, Invitation, Jewlery, Special items, Etc)

  • Make sure Groom has his details as well (Ties, Bowties, Shoes, Flask, Boutineers, Clips, Etc) & if he arrives mostly ready we will do mock shots of him getting ready if needed

  • Mimosas are an excellent choice to calm nerves without being too strong 

  • Make an emergency kit to have a family member or bridesmaid keep with them! (pins, makeup, wipes, tissues, etc)

  • Bring a speaker with you to have some music playing while getting ready! (If you forget yours, we try to keep one with us so just ask if you forget!)

The Ceremony

Now for the Big Moment! The Ceremony! We have seen tons of different setups, run throughs, extras, etc when it comes to saying 'I Do' - so here's just a few things to keep in mind! First off, remember this is YOUR DAY! Not your parents, friends, in-laws, etc. It is for you and your Partner and that is who should be making all the decisions. (If at any point you have any issues with this please, let us know and we will help however we can to make sure you have the day YOU have dreamed of.)

First thing to consider on the photography side of things is the Sun - where it will be, where it will set, how bad shadows will be, etc - and base your Ceremony time off of that! (Above are examples of what sunny vs late day ceremony editing can look like.) Our advice, the closer you can get to sunset the better for photos unless the sun falls directly in front of or behind the ceremony location. Additionally - don't forget to plan for possible rain! They say it's lucky if it rains on your Wedding day, but most couples disagree the day of. So plan ahead with your venue with a rain plan in check for those unknown variables! As for photos, rain can make for some of the most beautiful photos if you're willing to take a chance and dance in the rain with us! ;)

If you're getting married inside - think about things like how the lighting will look, how many windows vs ceiling lighting, color casts (wood/irridesent lighting), what background you want, and if there are any restrictions (ie. some churchs don't allow flash or free-movement during ceremony). If you're unsure let us know! I am always happy to accompany our couples when they are picking a venue or ceremony location and give real-time samples of how they may look the day of or help give advice where needed!

Make a ceremony plan and stick with it! Feel free to make your Wedding your own and be as unique or traditional as you'd like! We've had couples whisper their Vows to each other, do their Unity Ceremony privately with the Officiant right after the Ceremony, release doves, throw petals/seeds, blow bubbles, and more! Additionally, make sure everyone knows if there's anything extra they should help with (ie. straightening dress, helping set up/move unity stand, etc) and where they should be at the reception and be sure to let the Photographers & DJ's know the full ceremony timeline and if any changes are made the day of. As for walking down the isle, that is completely up to the you & your partner as every Wedding is unique, but if you'd like suggestions we are more than happy to help lay out a plan for you!

Our Best Advice for Ceremonies:

  • Be aware of the Sun & lighting during your ceremony

  • Make sure you have your plan set in stone

  • Feel free to make it your own

  • Hold your kiss! Don't rush it and take your time - this ensure's we get the best photos for you!

  • Have a back-up plan for rain, don't worry, we can work with whatever you throw at us!

Wedding (148).jpg
Wedding (305).jpg
K&Z Wedding (170).jpg

After "I Do"

Now that you've said 'I Do', What's Next?!

Your Reception, that's What!

Now is when our fun starts! Directly after your ceremony ends plan to hide away until all your guests (minus those that you want in your group photos) have made their way to the reception area. Before the day of make sure anyone who you want to be in your group photos knows so that way they know to stay after the Ceremony. Having the Officiant mention to the guests after you both exit to please make their way to reception area and for those who have been informed about photos to stay at the ceremony location is the perfect way to have this flow smoothly. Group photos can be of just immediate family (parents, sibilings, grandparents) or immediate + extended as well as friends if requested. Having a designated person that is familiar with both sides of the families to help gather everyone just incase they wander off is a great help as well! These can take around 15ish minutes if everything runs smoothly. If we can't get all the family together due to location or other issues we can get the rest during the reception though these shots are the resposibility of the couple to coodinate and remind us to grab them!

After the group photos plan to take about 45 minutes - 1 hour for your private photos together. These are where the magic happen! Though, if the lighting isn't the best at the time, we may snap a few quick ones and finish your session later when the lighting is best (this ties into planning your ceremony close to sunset so that way the timeline is optimal, especially if you're planning on having a cocktail hour.) We can discuss this plan once you have chosen your exact time and Ceremony location. Speaking of, to help hold your guests over a Cocktail hour is a great way to give them some entertainment during your session, this can be as simple as fruit/cheese trays or as extensive as full on appetizers.

*If you have a caterer that is time based make sure you accomodate for the hour Private Session after your Ceremony!!*

Now for your fun! It's time to party! After your introductions, there are several different ways a reception can flow, examples:

  • Introductions -> Dances -> Eating -> Toasts -> Cake Cutting -> Boquet/Garter Tosses -> Exit

  • Introductions -> Eating -> Dances -> Tosses -> Games -> Cake Cutting -> Toasts -> Exit

  • Introductions -> Eating -> Dances -> Cake Cutting -> Exit

    Your Reception is what you make of it - it can be as simple or intricate as you'd like. Tosses, Games, and Toasts are the most left out parts of a Reception, so if you don't feel like including any or all of them that's totally fine! If you would like any help deciding what is best for your day we are happy to discuss them with you. If you have a DJ it is important to also discuss this timeline with them as well! (We highly suggest investing in at least a decent DJ as we see those Weddings flow the best and are the most enjoyable for our Couples & their guests.) If you're wanting a Special Exit this also goes back into timing the Ceremony accordingly. Making sure your Reception is late enough for it to be dark for a Sparkler Exit, or light enough for bubbles/flowers/seed tosses, is an important part of the planning process!

Our Tips for the Best Reception:

  • Plan for 1.5 hours for group/private photos after Ceremony

  • Think about a cocktail hour for guests during this time

  • Invest in a DJ to ensure a smooth & fun reception

  • Make a timeline that is best for you and your partner!

  • Be aware of lighting/timing for your Special Exit if you plan to have one

 

Wedding (372).jpg
K&Z Wedding (19).jpg
z_portraits_11.jpg

Checklists for your Wedding:

As an added perk of being our clients, we have created a simple but helpful checklist for our couples to utilize during their planning process!

Please feel free to download or print these if needed!

Wedding Planning Checklists


We also have a Preferred Vendor List to share with our couples, if you're still seaching for vendors check out our list below to see who we've worked with and reccomend!

Venues:

  • Weddings at Whitegate (Giles/ Bland)

  • Belle View Estate (Roanoke)

  • Bluegrass Barn (Radford)

  • --

  • --

DJ's :

  • --

  • --

  • --

  • --

  • --

Caterers: 

  • Mission BBQ

  • Heathwood Market

  • All Caked Out (Cake/Desserts)

  • Dessert Bar (Desserts)

  • --

Services & Products

Not only do we offer Wedding Photography services, but we offer several other services that can be bundled with your services such as:


 Engagement Session - Perfect for save the dates or to announce your Wedding on Social Media
 

Empowerment Session - Makes the perfect gift for your Fiance'! Comes with a private Album to be gifted on the day of your Wedding. Or make it spicy and do a couples session together before your big day!
 

Bridal Session - These are the perfect way to really take the time to feel beautiful and soak in your upcoming Wedding before it arrives. The best time to do these are when you plan to do a trial run with your Hair and Makeup!

Each of our Collections come with our Custom USB & Print Box, but we also have canvases and an album options available as well for those who love wall-art and having prints (which we highly recommend!). We also take special requests for items such as metal wall art, wooden prints, acrylic blocks, etc)


 

You got this!

Even if you've read through everything a million times, done everything you can, and prepped to the nines - you're probably STILL going to wake up the day of your Wedding feeling nervous and like somehow, you're still not prepared. And that's completely normal! The best advice we have to calm those Wedding Day nerves - is that at the end of the day, no matter WHAT happens - you're gonna be married to your best friend and the best days are your life are right around the corner! <3

Remember - this day is for YOU BOTH. This is your day to shine, be pampered, and feel like the absolute amazing Couple that you are! You are both worth every moment of this, and MORE.

Please, don't hesitiate to reach out at any time. I am always here for you!

xoxo,  Magen

bottom of page