Many scheduling questions come up during the wedding planning process.   I do not have any set rules like 'you have to see each other before the wedding' or 'I must have one hour of shooting time' - the schedule of the day is completely up to you/your coordinator.  That said, aspects of the schedule inevitably affect photography.  I can talk you through the pros and cons of any scheduling question that may come up but ultimately, it is your day, do what is most important to you.  I can handle any situation!

Every wedding is different but the information below takes you through the general process I go through with each client to put together the schedule for the day.

Preparation:  If you would like detail photographs of your wedding attire (suits, dresses, etc.) the best time for me to start photographing would be about one hour before you plan on getting dressed.  This is a great opportunity to photograph those details and also to capture the excitement and anticipation for the day.  I can capture the first time a Dad hugs a bride in her wedding dress or a Mom adjusting the suit coat for her son.  

If your wedding package includes a second photographer, that photographer will go to your partner's prep location and capture detail images of the wedding attire and the friends and family preparing for the day. 

First Look: I often get the question 'Should we do a first look?' and my response is always 'Do you want to?'  You need to weigh out the pros and cons:


-you are a crier and the emotional impact of seeing your partner at the end of the aisle will be too much so you want an intimate experience, just you two together (and photographer!)  

-You do not want a break between the wedding and reception to allow for the time to take photographs.  

-You want to attend your entire cocktail hour.  

-You would like photographs outdoors, during the day and your ceremony end time would be after sunset.


-You want that emotional moment to be walking down the aisle.  

-You have time set aside in your schedule to be able to photograph family and wedding party photos between the wedding and reception.  

-Lighting - Unless your wedding is super late in the day (or winter) the light is much better later in the afternoon vs noon or early afternoon.

If you decide to do a first look, right after you finish getting ready for the wedding, we would set a time for the first look.  Immediately after that, we would photograph your portraits together, wedding party and then family photos.  Many of my clients rent transportation for the wedding party to visit locations throughout the city for photographs.  I recommend allowing 30 minutes for each location.  We would wrap up the photos about 30 minutes before the ceremony.  If you have a bunch of locations but not the time to hit all of them, contact me and I can walk you through what location may have many backgrounds to limit the stops.  For example, you would like tall trees and greenery but also a skyline shot, I would recommend Olive Park because we can get both of those looks in that one location.

Ceremony: When planning the events at your ceremony, there is very little you need to keep in mind for photography - schedule-wise.  The only scheduling conflict that can come up is in regards to family photos.  For example, your wedding is on a Saturday at a Catholic Church.  The ceremony is at 3pm, mass is at 5pm.  The ceremony may run 1 hour which takes us to 4pm, then the church would like us to leave the sanctuary by 4:30pm to prepare for mass.  That would leave us 30 minutes for family photos (plenty of time) but if you would like to do a receiving line, we may not have time to do family photos at the church.  Does that mean you can not do a receiving line?  Absolutely not.  Do what ever you would like to do.  The only thing that may happen is that family photos would have to take place at the reception.  Sometimes it can be a challenge to wrangle everyone at the reception - especially if you have a large family - but it is totally doable.

Creative Shoot:  If you did not see each other before the wedding and knock out the couple portraits, family portraits and wedding party photos, after the ceremony is the time we would do that.  At a typical wedding, we would first photograph the family photos - immediately after the service.  Once those are complete, we would start with wedding party photos. 

Reception:  Once we arrive at the cocktail hour/reception, my coverage centers on the guests.  I capture candid photos of people having an amazing time at the best party ever!  I also offer to take photographs that are important to your parents (Mom has a card club; Dad's siblings are all together for the first time in 10 years, etc.)  I will coordinate with your entertainment (DJ or band MC) to time out the events for the evening to make sure toasts, cake cutting, announcements, etc do not get missed.  I typically stick around the reception for one hour after open dancing starts.  It is at that time when I feel like I have enough coverage of the party to complete the story of your day.  Of course, if you prefer to have coverage extend into the late evening, that can also be included in your wedding photography package.

EXAMPLE (with first look, 9  hours of coverage)

12pm - photograph groom prep

12:20pm photograph bride prep (same hotel)

1pm - bride gets into dress

1:30pm - first look

1:45pm-3pm - creative shoot (Lincoln Park Zoo and LaSalle St bridge)

3:15pm - arrive at ceremony location

3:30-4:30pm - ceremony

4:45pm-5pm - family photos at church

5pm-6pm - cocktail hour

6:15pm - announcements / cake cut / toasts

6:30-7:30pm - dinner

7:45pm - first dances

9pm - coverage ends

EXAMPLE (no first look, 8 hours)

1pm - wedding coverage starts with bride

1:30pm-2pm - photographer photographs groom (prep and all group photos that can be completed w/o bride)

2pm-3pm - bride gets dressed (photograph all group photos that can be completed w/o groom)

3:30pm - arrive at ceremony

4pm ceremony

4:30pm ceremony ends

4:30pm-4:45pm family photos at ceremony location

5pm-6pm - creative shoot at Lincoln Park and North Ave beach

5:30pm-6:30pm - cocktail hour

6:15pm - couple arrives at cocktail hour

6:30pm - announcements, toasts, cake cut

6:45pm-7:45pm - dinner

8pm - first dances

9pm - coverage ends

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