Jennifer Weinman PHOTOGRAPHY

WEDDING GUIDE

tips, timeline guidance, vendor recommendations & more!

Welcome

A NOTE ABOUT THIS GUIDE

We’re so excited to be working with you and we can’t wait to get to know you better over the next several months! We know photography is one of the larger investments you’re making for your wedding day and we’re so honored you chose to work with us!

Even if you’re working with a wedding planner or you’re planning a simple wedding, there are likely still a lot of moving pieces left leading up to your big day.

Having photographed more than 130 weddings over the past few years, we tend to get asked the same things over and over again. So we thought it would be beneficial if we put together a guide that walks you through everything from timelines to engagement sessions and inclement weather.

Thank you again for choosing to work with us and please don’t hesitate to let us know if we can offer any additional guidance throughout the wedding planning process!

– JEN & BETH

A NOTE ABOUT

Communication

We know you’re busy!  Throughout your wedding planning time, we understand you’re going to be communicating with various vendors, but you also have a LIFE!  We promise not to inundate you with unnecessary communication and only pass along what we truly believe will be beneficial.

To make things easier for you (and us!) we ask that your primary communication with us be via email so that we can keep track of all communication regarding invoices, questionnaires, and planning.  This enables our entire team to access all the important details at any time.

EMAIL ADDRESSES:

info@jenniferweinmanphotography.com
beth@jenniferweinmanphotography.com

Social Media

We LOVE getting to know our couples, and we find that many people find it easier to text, share on social media, etc when they are on-the-go.  

If you want to share a recent inspiration photo or want a non-partisan 3rd-party opinion on bridesmaids dresses, by all means, send us a quick text or DM!  However, if you feel like you need to have a conversation about your entire wedding day timeline though, please send us an email or set up a phone call time!  

Vendors

WHO WILL MAKE YOUR DAY INCREDIBLE

Over the years, we’ve learned the important role quality vendors play in creating a stress-free wedding day. We’ve worked with many different vendors and have built a list of our recommended favorites. This is not a paid list – we chose these vendors for both the quality of their work as well as their professionalism on the actual wedding day.  

des moines engagement photo

LET’S PLAN YOUR 

Engagement Session

We’re BIG fans of engagement sessions for a few reasons. Not only do they allow you to get comfortable in front of the camera,  they also give you the opportunity to showcase your personalities in a more casual setting that is significant to the two of you. We’ve created an entire page dedicated to outfit tips, location ideas, timing considerations and more!

Bridal Portraits

ONE OF THE BIGGEST ADVANTAGES OF A BRIDAL PORTRAIT SESSION IS THAT THEY CAN SERVE AS A PRACTICE RUN FOR THE BIG DAY THAT YOU CAN SEE 

There’s a big difference between looking at yourself in the mirror at a hair and makeup trial and actually seeing how that hair holds up in the elements and how that makeup photographs. When it comes to being confident in your choices on your wedding day, photos are invaluable!

If you’re considering a Bridal Portrait Session, we recommend a full trial run of hair, nails, makeup and your bouquet. We typically spend 1-2 hours shooting a bridal session.

When it comes to choosing a location for your bridal portrait session, we recommend using locations that are well manicured, clean, and have great variety in indoor and outdoor locations.  

Your wedding venue is usually a wonderful place to start – especially historic homes and resorts that have well manicured areas. We want to keep your dress as clean as possible and still get a lot of amazing images inside and outside.

Many venues charge a fee for portrait sessions, however it’s worth asking if your venue will accommodate a complimentary short session- many will as long as it’s not on a prime Saturday! 

We typically have to work with the venues on times, but we love to shoot bridal portraits in the afternoon as late as we can to get that softer afternoon light. 

Your Wedding Day

Is a first look right for you?

if you’re wondering whether a first look is for you, stop here.

That moment the Bride and Groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day is magical. And this is true whether the couple chooses to wait until the bride walks down the aisle or chooses to do  a “first look” prior to the ceremony.

First looks—a private moment couples choose to spend together prior to the wedding ceremony—have become more popular over the last few years. About half of our couples this year have chosen to do a first look.

While we consider ourselves people who value tradition, there are definitely a few good reasons to consider  a first look. Here are 3 reasons to consider a ‘first look’:

1. A first look cuts through the chaos of the day.

Once the ceremony begins, the day takes off quickly. A ‘first look’ is an opportunity to enjoy some quiet time alone, enjoy each other’s company, and reflect on all this day means before your day takes off.

Wedding days can be a whirlwind and they tend to fly by. There’s much to do, and a lot of people to see and to catch up with. We always encourage our couples to take a few minutes every so often during their wedding to stop and soak in everything that’s happening.

2. IT MAKES MORE TIME FOR PICTURES WITHOUT SACRIFICING COCKTAIL HOUR.

When there is no first look, the majority of the pictures have to be taken after the ceremony. Family pictures are generally done as soon as the ceremony ends because it’s the easiest time to round everyone up. Next up is full bridal party, and then bride and groom portraits. This generally runs into cocktail hour. A first look opens up time prior to the ceremony for full bridal party pictures and, sometimes, for a few bride and groom portraits (although we prefer to do bride and groom portraits at sunset). This allows the couple to get the most out of cocktail hour, which makes the rest of the evening feel less rushed.

3. AVOID POSSIBLE BAD WEATHER AND/OR HAVE TIME TO FRESHEN-UP AFTER CRYING

If you’re expecting poor weather on your wedding day, it might be best to plan on a first look because it gives you more options for pictures. If it’s pouring rain after the ceremony, you’ll be thankful you had pictures done in advance.

And reason 3b is for all you cryers out there. If you know the tears are going to fly the first time you see your other half the day of your wedding, a first look will give you time to freshen up before the ceremony.

First look or not, the first time you see each other on your wedding day will be special.

building the perfect

Wedding Day Timeline

WHETHER YOU’RE PLANNING A FIRST LOOK OR STICKING WITH TRADITION AND NOT SEEING YOUR GROOM UNTIL YOU WALK DOWN THE AISLE, WE HAVE TIPS TO HELP MAKE PLANNING YOUR TIMELINE AS EASY AS POSSIBLE!

Whether you choose to do a first look or the traditional “not see before the ceremony” we will work with you on making sure you have the best timeline and plan for images.

If you’re choosing to go traditional, you’ll need two different sets of photo times: images taken before the ceremony and images taken after the ceremony.

You’ll need to plan for about one hour of pre-ceremony bridal photos (bridesmaids and bride’s family) and about one hour of pre-ceremony groom photos (groomsmen and groom’s family) at separate times. You’ll also need 15 minutes of combined bridal party portraits, 15 minutes of combined family portraits and at least 30 -45 minutes of couple’s portraits after the ceremony if you’re not doing any portraits together until after the ceremony.

If you’re doing a first look, photos can be done all at one time, taking an average total of 2 1/4 hours pre-ceremony (although we also LOVE grabbing just the two of you for a few additional bride and groom photos at sunset!)

If you choose a traditional aisle reveal, all we ask is that you keep your ceremony time in mind when planning your wedding.  If it’s too late, it may be too dark for outdoor portraits afterwards.

If you’re planning a sunset ceremony or an evening ceremony, it’s best to do all photos before the wedding, as daylight is crucial to getting amazing portraits for your families, bridal party and your couples portraits. Making sure we have enough time while the sun is up is a great way to make the traditional ceremony work.

View Timeline Examples

We have a LOT of brides who have questions about their wedding day timeline, and that is OKAY!  We are here to help!  We’ve photographed literally hundreds of weddings, and we want to share our wealth of knowledge with you so that you can be present and enjoy your day, and not be rushed from one thing to the next.

Our biggest tips:

  • Plan buffer time!  You want to say hi to your Aunt Sue who arrives early or be able to take a moment with your NEW SPOUSE!  Our most popular package is 10 hours for a reason – it allows you enough time to be present and ENJOY your day, not rush from photo-to-photo.  This is your wedding day, and we want you to remember it fondly and not be stressed!
  • Plan for transportation time, parking, loading/unloading.  This takes more time than most people anticipate – it’s not as easy as just leaving at the time you want to when you have a large gown, bouquets, and 10 of your best friends with you.  Give yourself 10 minutes to depart AND arrive when changing locations.
  • Start makeup and hair EARLY.  Have the bride go first so that she is finished first, not last – you can have a quick refresh of lip gloss etc before your stylist departs, but we really can’t get the day started if we are waiting on the bride to finish her makeup and hair.  
  • Don’t skimp on time for family photos.  Trust us on this one, you will be glad you had those 45 minutes we recommend and so will your family.  
  • Extras like first looks with parents, bridesmaids, reveals of your reception space – those are all favorite moments we love to include!  Make sure you add time into your timeline for those as well.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Rain Day Tips

If the forecast is calling for rain, fear not because rainy days can still be beautiful! If you don’t believe us, just take a look at Ryan & Ash’s wedding day. It rained the entire day and it was still beautiful!

If rain is in the forecast, we recommend ordering a few clear umbrellas on Amazon. It also might be good to re-evaluate portrait locations to make sure we can still shoot in natural light – even if it means heading offsite.

If you don’t own a pair of cute Wellies, now may be a great time to order a pair – even if you’re just wearing them in between shooting locations. 

If you’re not working with a planner, it might also be a good idea to check in with your entire vendor team to make sure they’re aware of the weather. Hair and makeup may need to be tweaked to withstand humidity and if your wedding is outdoors, DJs and bands may need to take extra precaution to protect their gear. 

Wedding Day Details

We love capturing all the little details you’ve carefully chosen to be a part of your wedding day! Once we arrive at your wedding, we need about 60-90 minutes to capture and style details. We recommend choosing a getting ready location filled with natural light and, if possible, please keep the space free from trash and clutter.

It would be wonderful if you could put all of your rings, jewelry, shoes, veil purse, perfume, invitations (2 copies!) and other keepsakes together in one spot for us. Please unwrap your dress but don’t worry about styling it – we’ll hang it in a beautiful spot! 

BRIDAL DETAILS CHECKLIST 

Any other sentimental keepsakes you would like to include:

We once had a bride bring her grandmother’s hand mirror. This is completely optional – but if you have something sentimental you’d like styled with your details, we love including family heirlooms in our detail shots

Bonus: We’d love to have a few cuts of the florals you’ll be using throughout your wedding day. If your florist will supply us a small bucket of extra pieces we can incorporate those in your detail shots.

GROOM DETAILS CHECKLIST

Preparing Your Details for Your Wedding Day

Choosing Your Getting Ready Space

The Rings

Make sure we have BOTH sets of rings ready to go in the bridal getting ready suite when we arrive.  We often find a well-meaning family member reminds everyone to swap rings at the rehearsal, and that’s not necessary.  We will return your rings after photographing them early in the day, and then you can make sure rings get to their rightful place pre-ceremony.

Family Formals

YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY, DRESSED UP AND TOGETHER

For family portraits, we recommend 45 minutes of time to ensure we photograph all the most important people in your life.  We’ll place you at the center, and add people in for each grouping.  About 2 months prior to your wedding, you’ll receive our family photo template list to help you get started in thinking through these photos.  

Our biggest tip when creating your family photo: Think about who would want that particular group photo on their wall or printed.  There’s endless combos we could photograph, but we want to prioritize things that are most important to you and your family.

We’ll keep add/removing family members and switch a few closer family members in and out so we get photos of you and your parents, you and your siblings, some with the groom and your family, etc. Then we’ll repeat the process with your spouse’s family. The whole thing will go quicker and smoother if you let family know how the portrait process will work ahead of time.

FAMILY PORTRAIT LIST

  • Bride + Mom
  • Bride + Dad
  • Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents
  • Bride + Groom + Bride’s Siblings
  • Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents + Bride’s Siblings
  • Bride + Groom + Bride’s Grandparents
  • Bride + Groom + Both Parent Sets
  • Groom + Mom
  • Groom + Dad
  • Groom + Bride + Groom’s Parents
  • Groom + Bride + Groom’s Siblings
  • Groom + Bride + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s Siblings
  • Groom + Bride + Groom’s Grandparents
  • Extended family groupings

Please note that this list is just a starting point and that we’re happy to take any requested family portraits as long as time allows!

Consider Unplugging

If you’ve been to a wedding recently, you may have seen a sign from the happy couple asking for their guests to remain “unplugged” during the ceremony. 

And while it might seem like a strange requests to ask guests to put down their phones, there’s a pretty good reason for it! You made a big investment in photography and we’re sure one of the last things you want on your wedding day is for our photos of your ceremony to be filled with obtrusive iPhones, iPads and relatives standing in the aisle with their own cameras. In order to help us do the best possible job capturing your wedding, we recommend asking guests to unplug during the ceremony.

Additional Tips

AFTER SHOOTING MORE THAN 300+ WEDDINGS, 

WE’RE HAPPY TO SHARE A FEW ADDITIONAL TIPS

1. If you’re getting married in the summer months, a “not-so-heavy” snack or lunch time before portraits is always a good idea for you and your bridal party to avoid passing out!

2. If it’s going to be hot, a cooler of cold waters and frozen washcloths can help keep a wedding party cool – especially for the groomsmen in tuxedos.

3. Make sure to have your bouquet delivered in time to make an appearance for the detail shots and for your first look. Often they are delivered in water and need to be dried off before use. Having towels handy can help.

4. If you’re planning on having a first look with your bridal party or a parent, they often feel more comfortable being fully dressed in their wedding attire. 

5. If your reception is at a separate venue, add some “fluff time” so that we can run over to the venue to capture it while it’s still “untouched” by guests.

6. We always recommend the bride go into hiding 30 minutes before the ceremony at the absolute latest. Guests typically arrive early to weddings.  

7. To help make family portraits go smoother, it’s best to have a breakdown of what portraits you’d like and it’s really wonderful if both sides of the family have a chance to have their input on what portraits they’d like before the wedding. Supplying us with a list ahead of time, we can go over it and make sure we shoot things in an order that is efficient and won’t leave anyone out.

8. If you want photos with any special guests or VIPs during your reception, all you need to do is ask!  We’re here to be your personal paparazzi!

9. About 4 months prior to your wedding you’ll receive an extensive wedding timeline questionnaire from us – make sure you fill out as MUCH information as possible!

the above locations are all beautiful but we also love exploring meaningful locations with our couples!

Albums

the perfect way to remember your wedding day

After all that planning, the one thing you have left to remember your day is your wedding album!  Every JWP couple receives either a memory book or album in their package. We recommend you set aside any extra wedding funds to customize and add extra pages to your album after your wedding – we promise that this is one thing you will WANT to invest in and while our base options included in packages are a good start, most couples spend quiet a bit more since it is the one thing they will enjoy for years to come.

THANK YOU!

We know that this guide is long and hopefully it helps you as you go about planning your wedding!  Please know that no two weddings are alike, but these are merely tips that we have found to be beneficial for our couples.  If you have any questions or need help, please reach out to us!
info@jenniferweinmanphotography.com

wedding timeline with no first look

wedding timeline with A first look