Wedding Wednesday

Pre-Ceremony Planning

Wedding Wednesday

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have heard it said that a wedding day is really planned around the pictures. If you haven’t heard that before… I promise I’m not just making that up because I’m a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. It’s true! I planned my wedding around my pictures and guess what! … Because of my timeline and the fabulous Jstar, I have a 50 page wedding album!!  The thing is, we ENJOYED our picture process. It was FUN and remember those moments with Michael and our bridal party so vividly! It’s important to think of photography on your wedding day as part of your WEDDING EXPERIENCE. More on that

later…. the whole “Experience” thing will be a common theme in the near future.:) Anyway! If the whole wedding day incorporates photography, there are some things that can be done in advance to make the photography go more smoothly! This Wedding Wednesday post is going to focus on pre-ceremony planning!  So here we go!


When I arrive on a wedding day, 90% of the time I arrive at the bride’s “Getting ready” location first. This could be a hotel, a home, etc. The BEST scenario is when a bride gets ready in a room with NATURAL LIGHT. I have almost gotten to a place where if a bride doesn’t have natural light in her getting ready area, I can persuade her to move to another room or a completely different location!  I mean, if you’re paying for awesome images… you want to do what your photographer wants to do! If Jasmine had told me “Katelyn your portraits would actually be better in the garage”… I would have bolted to the garage! Last weekend, I had a bride get in her dress OUTSIDE in order to have LIGHT for those portraits! Light changes everything! It’s what makes or breaks images. If you have GREAT light, you can have GREAT images. So my first piece of advice for pre-ceremony planning is:


1. Find a room with windows! The more windows, the better and the BIGGER, the better! Here’s an example of what pre-ceremony portraits can look like in a room with natural light pouring in! Kristen has a window to her right and a window behind her which creates a “glowy” look!

2. Allow TIME for the pre-ceremony portion of your day! If you like seeing the dress shots, the shoe shots, etc…. those shots take TIME. I can’t capture ALL of the bridal details in 20 minutes.  One day I may have those super powers but as of right now, those shots take a good 35-40 minutes!  I like to begin shooting at least an hour and a 1/2 before the First Look! That gives me time to get to know the bridal party, shoot some of the getting-ready process AND shoot all of the bridal details before the dress goes on! Also, when your timeline has adequate time allotted for pictures, you will have time to do a few BRIDAL portraits.  After the dress goes on, I love spending about 5-7 minutes shooting JUST the bride in her dress! This almost serves as a “warm-up” before the first look. The bride is posing and working it and all of her girls are oohing and ahhhing! This makes any bride feel AWESOME! And here is a shot from the 5-minute bridal session at the wedding last weekend! LOVE IT!

3. Gather the goods!!! Have all of your details together! This includes:

The Dress

The Viel/Hairpiece

The Rings (All of them)

The Shoes

The Jewelry

Perfume (If you wear it, my perfume ended up making Michael SNEEZE on our wedding day!!)

The Bouquet (you’ll need your bouquet for the First Look so plan to have it delivered to your pre-ceremony location if at all possible!)

The Invitation (It’s really fun to blog a picture of the invitations!)

Any other details that are important to the bride! (Garter, grandma’s broach, etc)

 And here are some examples from recent weddings….




Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

Samantha + Evan Private Estate, Backyard Wedding

I’m so excited to share this final 2020 Wedding with you all!! It’s a special one! We photographed this beautiful wedding day on our own 10 year anniversary! Ten years ago on this day, we were celebrating in my parent’s backyard under a massive white tent too! This was my brother-in-law’s baby sister’s wedding day and celebrating with the Malizia family was such a treat! They are a family MADE for weddings!


Well, I realize this isn’t normal for KJ! I don’t shoot portraits these days but this session was my first non-wedding shoot with my new Canon R6 and I’m obsessed with how these images turned out! It was the most perfect evening for this early fall shoot and the light was incredible!


Nick + Katherine | Maternity Oatlands Historic Home and Gardens Portrait Session


KJ Student Spotlight October 2020

I’m so excited to share another addition of Student Spotlights from our KJ Education community! It’s so funny to us, but quite often, we find that our friends who know us in everyday life but aren’t in our industry really have no clue what we do! They think we shoot 10 weddings a year and that’s the extent of our work these days but oh… that couldn’t be further from the truth!


Jesse + Hope | Engaged A Fan District Engagement Shoot

When we first decide if we’re a good fit with our potential KJ Couples, we’re looking for a few things…. one of those things is that this couple keeps joyful! We’ve found over the years that couples what take themselves super seriously aren’t always the best fit for us! We love it when couples let their guard down and allow us to get to know them during their engagement session.


For some photographers, bridal details seem like a fun part of the wedding day… but for many others, it’s stressful. It’s the part of the day that throws them off, makes them wonder if they’re actually artistic and leaves them feeling flustered and panicked because they never get everything done in the time they have allotted for detail shooting. In my opinion, this is a REALLY tough way to start a wedding day.


How To Photograph Bridal Details KJ Bridal Details Mini-Course

Ask Anything

Jonathan+Melanie Grand Ivory Wedding

Oh, this wedding day!! What a beautiful Texan dream! I met Melanie when she attended one of our workshops years ago in our home. She had the sweetest spirit and such a kindness about her. I remember loving how she made personal marketing her own and did headshots in a pile of Skinny Pop!! I loved her creativity and her ability to envision what she wanted in her brand.




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