Wedding Day FAQ
1. We've signed our contract and paid our reservation retainer, what's next?
Thank you so much for signing the contract and sending over your reservation retainer! You are now officially booked! If your photography package includes an engagement session, please read over the Engagement Session FAQ page and contact us to schedule your session. About 6 weeks before your wedding, we will need your Event Guide and Wedding Day Questionnaire. The Event Guide and Questionnaire help us to grasp your wedding day vision, and you can begin working on them at any time.
2. What is the Event Guide, and when is it due?
About 6 weeks before your wedding, we will need an Event Guide from you, which will include your wedding day timeline, ceremony outline, list of desired family photos, location addresses, and important contact numbers. We've created a template for you, which also includes an example Event Guide.
3. When should we have photo/video coverage begin?
We understand that everyone's wedding day is scheduled differently. In most cases, we would suggest having coverage start 1 hour before you (bride and groom) get dressed. When we first arrive, we will capture all available details (invitation, dress, shoes, tux, jewelry, gifts, etc.). Then, we will capture your finishing touches and candids of you and your loved ones together. Lastly, we will photograph/film you getting dressed, and do a few portraits, if time allows, before leaving for your first look, or ceremony.
4. Can you photograph our wedding day details (dress, suit/tux, invitation, etc.)?
Of course! It is best for us to photograph the details first thing when we arrive. Please delegate someone to set your details aside for us, and to tidy your getting ready area 30 minutes before coverage begins.
5. When should we have photo/video coverage end?
If you are doing a special exit from your reception that you'd like captured (sparklers/lanterns), it is great to have us until the end of your reception. Otherwise, after 30 minutes of "free-for-all" dancing, we've taken plenty of photos/video clips of everyone and are good to go!
6. How much time should we leave for the first look?
Ideally, we like to have 30 minutes for your first look and couple portraits. If you are working with a tighter schedule, please leave no less than 15 minutes for your first look.
7. What is a first look?
On your wedding day you get to decide if you'd like to see each other before your ceremony, or if you'd like to wait until your ceremony processional. If you choose to see each other before your ceremony, we would call this a "First Look." Often, a couple will choose to do a first look as a means to 1) have space to connect and talk before the day unfolds, and 2) capture their portraits, wedding party portraits, and family portraits before their ceremony, thus freeing up the rest of the day.
8. How much time should we allot for couple portraits?
At least 20 minutes for your couple portraits is great.
9. How much time should we allot for wedding party portraits?
Depending on the size of your wedding party, we recommend leaving 30-45 minutes for wedding party photos.
10. How much time should we allot for Family Photos?
Family photos are usually done 1 hour before your ceremony, or immediately after your ceremony. Please allow 2-3 minutes per family photo variation. We suggest choosing no more than 15 variations, which would be about 35 minutes. When creating your family photo list, please list large groups and any variations with kids first.
11. Can we take sunset photos?
Absolutely! Golden hour photos are amazing and we are always up for them! We can look over the reception portion of your timeline and figure out a good time to sneak away for 10 minutes.
12. Do you have any locations you'd recommend for getting ready?
Natural light and a clean space are very important for successful photos. We highly recommend getting ready in a well lit area that has plenty of room to move around for you and your loved ones. When you choose your getting ready location, look for neutral colors, large windows, and a spacious room or suite. Below is a list of hotels that provide such a space.
13. Do you have location recommendations for the first look, wedding party portraits, and family portraits?
Natural light is most important when choosing a location, and there's a variety of great options in the Chicagoland area (some places in Chicago do require a photo permit, which would need to be obtained ahead of time). If you would like photos at a private establishment, we kindly request that you get permission from the owner. If you have a winter wedding, we recommend choosing an indoor location, unless it is warmer than 40 degrees. In most cases, family photos will be done at the ceremony site.
- Lincoln Park Zoo Area
- Lincoln Park Conservatory (permit required)
- Montrose Harbor
- North Pond
- Garfield Park Conservatory (permit required)
- Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool (permit required)
- Promontory Point
- Art Institute (entrance fee per person)
- Wrigley Building
- Chicago Riverwalk and Clark St. Bridge
- Milton Lee Olive Park
- Lurie Garden (Located off Monroe, between Michigan Ave and Columbus Dr.)
- Alder Planetarium (Museum Campus, 1300 South Lake Shore Dr.)
- South Garden (Art Institute, Michigan Avenue and Jackson Dr.)
- South Rose Garden/Buckingham Fountain (Located off E Balbo Avenue, between Lake Shore Dr. and South Columbus Drive)
- Morton Arboretum (Lisle, IL, permit required)
- Cantigny (Wheaton, IL, permit required)
14. Do you have any rain plan suggestions?
Chicago weather can often change within the hour, so we always hope for the best! If you check the weather before your wedding, and it is looking like rain, you could order umbrellas on Amazon (yay Amazon Prime!), and always return them if you don't end up needing them. If it is sprinkling, we will still photograph outside with umbrellas. If it is pouring, we love to recommend the Art Institute and the conservatories. Union station is another option (on their stairs), but if there is an event going on it will be blocked off. Additionally, the Lyric Opera has a gorgeous walkway in front of it that is covered, and the honeycomb structure at the Lincoln Park Zoo is covered (but you'd have to walk in the rain to get there). Your wedding venue can always be a great rain plan option as well.
15. How many wedding images will we receive?
You will receive about 80 images per hour of photo coverage.
16. When do we receive our wedding images?
Your wedding images will be delivered, via an online gallery, 6-8 weeks after your wedding. You are able to download your images directly from the gallery with the pin number that we will provide.
17. When do we receive our wedding film?
Your wedding film will be digitally delivered 8-10 weeks after your wedding and a USB (and raw footage if purchased) will be sent shortly after.
18. Do you offer albums?
A wedding album can be purchased at any time, even after your wedding date. We work with Red Tree Albums, which is an incredible company that creates the most beautiful leather and linen albums. They source the finest materials and do not disappoint! Here is a digital album design example for you to browse, and towards the bottom of this page you can see photos of the physical 10x10 album and 6x6 album.
19. Can we add on an hour of photo/video coverage?
Additional hours can be added on at any time. If an hour is added on the day of your wedding, we will invoice you within 24 hours and kindly request payment be made within 2 weeks.
20. We finalized our wedding budget, and would love to add wedding videography, is it too late?
We absolutely love when we are able to provide both photo and video for our couples. We have a team that works seamlessly together, and the final photos and video pair very well aesthetically. You are able to add on video at any time, provided that our associates are available. We suggest making a final decision about video at least 3 months before your wedding.
21. How do you record the audio for our wedding film?
Throughout your wedding day we will be recording audio from several sources. During your ceremony and reception, we will plug into the soundboard (if available), have microphones on our cameras, and put a lav mic on the groom and officiant. We use Zoom recording devices and Rode microphones.
22. When should we choose the song for our wedding film?
For any videos that are posted online, in a public space, we do need to have a licensed song. For instance, if you wanted a famous Beatles song for your wedding film, just know that it can't be posted in an online public space, as we can't get a song license. (Facebook and YouTube are quick to remove videos without licenses.) Here is the music site that we love to use: https://www.musicbed.com. If you make a login name (quick process), then you will be able to listen to full length tracks. Let us know if you find a song that stands out to you. If you'd prefer, we are more than happy to choose the music for you. Please let us know your music selection 1 month before your wedding.
23. Can my officiant, and those giving speeches, read off of their tablets or phones?
From a photo and video perspective, it is best to avoid reading off of any tablets or phones because they project a blue/purple light on the user's face. Let your officiant, readers, best man, and maid of honor know ahead of time that they should write in a journal, or print, what they intend to share. Maybe even have a backup copy for them ;)
24. Where do you prefer to have your vendor meal?
We do appreciate having dinner provided, and request to be in the same room as you. This allows us to always have an eye on what is going on and to not miss any photo moments. For instance, grandma might come up to you and give you a hug during dinner, or you might receive a personal gift. When vendor meals are served, we will either take turns photographing, or will sit down for 15 minutes and eat. It usually works out best to have our vendor meals served at the same time as you (bride and groom) are served so that we aren't missing anything. If possible, we kindly request gluten free/dairy free meals due to allergies.
25. Should we have an unplugged ceremony?
We've seen a huge increase in the number of phones and tablets that are out during ceremonies....even several people standing up with their own DSLR cameras. It is of course fun to allow friends and family to capture their own images, but we would highly recommend keeping the ceremony portion of the day "unplugged." We had an unplugged ceremony ourselves, and we loved knowing that our guests were truly present and with us as we made the biggest commitment of our lives. From a photo/video perspective, an unplugged ceremony will allow us to take the photos we envision without having to work around distracting cameras and tablets in the air, which are most of the time unavoidable. If you decide you're up for an unplugged ceremony, it can be helpful to have your officiant kindly ask at the outset that cameras and phones be put away for the duration of the ceremony.
26. Should we do uplighting?
We suggest keeping all lights throughout your ceremony and reception white. You've most likely spent a lot of time and money planning out decor, florals, and linens, and any colorful lighting can distract from these elements and look unnatural. During your wedding day, we always want you to be the focus of your photos. Colorful lights and uplighting can be fun, but we would recommend using them only once the "free for all" dancing begins.
27. Do you have business insurance?
Yes! We are fully covered! Your venue might request a business insurance certificate from your vendors. If so, just let us know, and we're happy to send one over!
28. I'm still looking for a few wedding day vendors, do you have any recommendations?
If you're in need of any other wedding vendors, we have a great Vendor Recommendation page to check out!
Feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other wedding day questions, we're here to help!