Everything you need
engagement session tips, timeline guidance, vendor recommendations & more!
Awesome! I'm an expert in dream weddings ;)
There's love, cake, family gathering, and my favorite- dancing! What's there not to love? I am T O T A L L Y S T O K E D that you are here checking this page out. Whether I become your photographer or not- I want you to be taken care of! So enjoy this free little guide I've crafted up for you and let me tell you about all the things so you can make those important decisions for all your wedding day plans!
I completely understand that photography is one of the bigger investments you're making for your wedding day and I just want you to feel valued and pampered the whole time you're around Moriah Ruth Photography. Plus I want you to see that it's more than me just showing up and taking photos for you. You'll see it's so much more than that to me! :)
My hope is that you like what you see, and I'm able to celebrate your wedding with you!
T H E R E - I said it. I put myself out there. I want YOU to be my bride.
Now that we broke the ice- let's get planning.
I am seriously a geek about wedding days. I'm genuinely excited for you, that you get to experience the joy of marriage! As soon as you invite me along- you got the newest member to your life team.
-Your wedding cheerleader
I'm a big fan 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. I've created an entire page dedicated to outfit tips, location ideas, timing considerations and more!
View the complete Engagement guide
WHO WILL MAKE YOUR DAY INCREDIBLE
Over the years, I've learned the important role that quality vendors play in creating a stress-free wedding day. We've worked with many of the vendors below and I can't recommend them enough! This is not a paid list - I chose these vendors because I love the quality of their work as well as their professionalism on the wedding day. Love love love! I have a great list that I'm happy to send you including the kinds of vendors listed below!
DJ & BANDS
HAIR & MAKEUP
That moment the Bride and Groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day is freakin' M A G I C. And this is true whether the couple chooses to wait until the bride walks down the aisle or chooses to do a "first look" before the ceremony.
Are you still asking yourself- "what the heck even is a first look?" Well, the First Look is a private moment couples choose to spend together prior to the wedding ceremony. This has become a lot more popular over the last few years. Once my couples hear A L L the pros and cons of first looks- the majority of them decide to do one!
If you have been gung ho about not doing one- please read on and see my
4 reasons to at least consider a ‘first look’:
Is a First Look Right for You?
Once the ceremony begins, the day takes off and it's pretty fast pace from then on out! A "first look" is an opportunity to enjoy some quiet time alone, enjoy each other’s company, and reflect on everything this day means before it takes off.
Wedding days can be a whirlwind and they tend to fly by. There’s SO much to do, and a lot of people you want to see & talk to! I always love to encourage my couples to take a few minutes every so often during their wedding to stop and soak in everything that’s happening. First looks are just another time to do that.
1. A first look cuts through the chaos of the day.
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.
2. IT MakeS more time for Pictures without sacrificing cocktail hour.
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.
3. Avoid possible bad weather and/or have time to freshen-up after crying
4. BONUS IMAGES!!!
If you do your first look down the isle then those are images you were going to get anyway- if you set aside time to do those earlier you have yet a n o t h e r sweet moment to share and remember from your wedding day. Some of my most treasured photos from my wedding day are my first look photos- so I may be biased on this one- but it was just such a great experience!
Plus- I'm not sure if my man is like yours at all but when 100+ eyes are on him- he tends to go stiff. When we got to have a moment alone- he was able to fully express himself to me and it was honestly really a precious moment.
Wedding Day Timeline
building the perfect
Whether you choose to do a first look or the traditional "no see before the ceremony" I want to make sure you have the best timeline and plan for the B E S T images!
If you're choosing to go traditional, it effects the whole day- which is totally fine! But we will need to plan for it. you'll still need two different sets of photo times: Photos taken before the ceremony and photos taken after the ceremony.
You'll need to plan for about one hour of pre-ceremony bridal photos & bridesmaids (30 minutes) and then groom photos & groomsmen (30 minutes). Then after the ceremony we will want at l e a s t 1 hour for family photos and a few group bridal party photos. Depending on light we will also need at least 30 minutes to do your first and only husband and wife photos together!
If you're doing a first look, way more photos can be done all at one time before the ceremony! Usually 2 hours total before the ceremony sometime for your first look & + bonus portraits, bridal & bridesmaids, and groom & groomsmen. With plenty of time to rest, retouch, and hide before the ceremony.
After the ceremony we schedule 40-60 minutes to do family photos for both sides. We knock out immediate family photos. I will send you a "must have" photo list to make sure you have time to think about who else or what else you would like during this time.
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.
If you choose a traditional aisle reveal, all I ask is that you keep your ceremony time in mind when planning your wedding. Ask me during the consultation and we can go into this a little further in detail :)
Photographer arrives at Bride’s getting ready location
1pm - Getting Ready
Note: Ideally by the time I arrive, hair and makeup is more than half way done! If something is going to delay the beginning of the day, it’s often HAMU. So we want to try to stay on top of that
Groom + groomsmen depart for ceremony site & take pre-ceremony group photos.
2:00pm - Guys Depart
Bride and bridesmaids depart for ceremony location and take pre-ceremony group photos.
2:15pm - Ladies Depart
The ceremony takes place.
3:30pm Family Portraits
Note: We do family portraits right after the ceremony because everyone you need will be easy to grab. If you can give your family notice that we’ll be taking pictures immediately after the ceremony, that will also ensure that no one wanders off. I make sure we create a list of "must have" family portraits list before the big day.
Bridal Party and Bride & Groom Portraits
Note: Depending on what was taken before the ceremony, this normally takes about an hour total.
Introductions followed by welcome greeting/prayer and then dinner is served!
Cake Cutting/ Ice cream scooping / whatever tickles your fancy followed by the first dances
Speeches and toasts
7:30pm Sunset Portraits
I'll make sure to grab you two about 45 minutes before the sunsets. This is the famous "golden hour" and it really lives up to it's name.
Party continues with open dance floor, bouquet and garter tosse, & maybe even a group photo!
9:00pm Grand exit
Note: Photographer leaves by 9:00 pm to conclude 8 hours of coverage.
I simply a d o r e all the little details you've carefully chosen to be a part of your wedding day! Usually while you're wrapping up hair and make up I'm setting up shots like these! If I had my say I recommend choosing a getting ready location filled with natural light and, I also try to get the bridesmaids involved in helping me get the space free from trash and clutter! *that's a given!*
I send an email reminder before the wedding to just ask that you try to put all of your rings, jewelry, shoes, veil purse, perfume, invitations and other keepsakes together in one spot for me when I get there! All you need is your bridesmaid and a shoe box- that'll get the job done!
BONUS POINTS if everything is already unwrapped and de-tagged (especially your dress)
Rings (both engagement and wedding bands)
Invitation Suite ( 2 full sets with envelopes + stamps)
Any other paper stationary you may have like program cards.
Bridal DETAILS Checklist
Socks (if they're special)
Tie or Bow Tie
Vows Book / Note to each other
Anything else he'll have that is special or sentimental.
Vow Book / Notes to each other
Any other sentimental keepsakes you would like to include
I once had a bride bring her grandmother's ring box- so if it's sentimental & you'd like styled with your details, I love including family heirlooms in detail shots.
BONUS: I 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 so I can incorporate those in your detail shots. Or something of the sorts!
GROOM DETAILS Checklist
I always try to take a photo of your rings while you're getting ready. If you have time I always remind my brides to get your engagement ring cleaned or clean it yourself. To clean at home, soak your ring in warm water with dishwashing soap for 20 to 40 minutes. Then gently brush the stone with a soft toothbrush, rinse and repeat if needed. BOOM. Gorgeous & Sparkly. Photo ready!
For family portraits, you'll be place you in the center of a large group photo with all of your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, godparents, etc. And then we’ll remove all the extended family so it’s just grandparents, parents and siblings. Then keep making it smaller and smaller groups. (unless you want to skip the first step and simply start with immediate family)
I'll just keep 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.
I keep mentioning a pre-wedding questionnaire, that's when I ask you for a list of specific groupings, special situations (such as divorces or handicapped family members & more), but if you want to start brainstorming photos in the meantime, you'll find our typical list below.
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Bride's Siblings + Bride's Grandparents
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Bride's Siblings
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents
Bride + Groom + Bride's Siblings
Bride + Mom
Bride + Dad
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents + Groom's Siblings + Groom's Grandparents
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents + Groom's Siblings
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents
Bride + Groom + Groom's Siblings
Groom + Mom
Groom + Dad
Bridal Portrait Session Checklist
Please note that this list is just my base go- to. Every family is different and I'm happy to take any requested family portraits as long as time allows!
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 darn good reason for it! You made a big investment in photography and I'm just SURE of it that one of the last things you want on your wedding day is for your 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, I totally recommend asking guests to unplug during the ceremony.
It's not a strange request...
It helps them enjoy your wedding more too!
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 the HANGRY effects on everyone and 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 if your men are wearing lots of layers! This is SUCH a good idea!
3. Make sure and 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 dry 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 I 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. (which we figure into your timeline when we meet up)
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. Giving me a list ahead of time that we can go over it and make sure I shoot things in an order that is efficient and won't leave anyone out.
8. During the cocktail hour and the reception, I'll follow you around. Anytime you'd like a photo with someone, grab my attention. I freaking love being your personal paparazzi!
9. I LOVE being involved in the timeline plans- selfish reasons but also a selfless reason to make sure you get everything you want on your wedding day! I gotchu! :)
I seriously CAN'T WAIT to start planning with you and getting to know you! If you haven't scheduled your engagement session yet, let's get that in the books. Feel free to email me any time at email@example.com
If you have any questions or would just like to chat, I'm always up for a cup of coffee or a happy hour! I really hope this guide helps make the process of planning your wedding details much easier and less stressful whether you end up booking me or not- I want you to be well served!
I am eager to hear from you! Thank you so much for taking the time to read through my little wedding guide!