It is important to have a strong detailed timeline of your wedding day. You will create one with your venue for your reception, but everything prior needs to have a detailed timeline as well.  Here are some example timelines to help build your own:

Without A First Look
1:30pm - Chensley Photography arrives
1:30-2:30 - Bride getting ready
2:00-3:00 - Guys getting ready
3:00-4:00 - Separate Bridal Party portraits
4:30-5:00 - Ceremony
5:00-5:30 - Family portraits during Cocktail Hour
5:30-6:00 - Full Bridal Party portraits
6:00-7:00 - Bride and Groom portraits
7:00-7:30 - Reception entrances, first dance, toasts, first course served
7:30-8:30 - Dinner
8:30-8:45 - Cake cutting, parent dances
9:00-11:00 - Dancing
10:00pm - Chensley Photography departs

With A First Look
1:30pm - Chensley Photography arrives
1:30-2:30 - Bride getting ready
2:00-3:00 - Guys getting ready
3:00-4:30 - First look, Bride/Groom portraits, Bridal Party portraits
5:00-5:30 - Ceremony
5:30-6:00 - Family portraits during Cocktail Hour
6:00-6:30 - Capture reception details
6:30-7:00 - Reception entrances, first dance, toasts, first course served
7:00-8:00 - Dinner
8:15-8:30 - Cake cutting, parent dances
8:30-11:00 - Dancing
9:30pm - Chensley Photography departs



Add Cushion Room To Your Timeline
When setting up your timeline for getting ready, always add extra time for your makeup artist/hair stylist. It always happens at every wedding that after 6 bridesmaids, the bride's time for pampering has been pushed due to falling behind. Beginning the day late throws off the entire timeline, essentially cutting into your portrait time.

Cleanup Time
Before it's time for me to arrive, please, please, please make sure that everything is cleaned up and away. When you look back at your getting ready portraits, you want to make sure that there aren't water bottles, half eaten plates of food and other random objects in the background. 

Open The Curtains and Let The Light Shine!
he definition of photography is producing images by the action of radiant energy, aka light. Without light, you're left with less than par photographs. For when it's dark during a reception, we use flash, but it's not ideal, especially if we have the luxury of opening up the curtains to let the natural light flow through. If possible, choose a location with lots of windows and natural light to ensure the best quality photos possible.

Orange Is Not The New Skin Tone
Even though you might feel more beautiful when you are made up with make up the cameras tend to always pull out more yellow and orange colors.  This will make you look orange in your pictures. Also, if you're not going with a professional makeup artist, please select makeup with out additional shimmer or SPF. Both tend to cause an unflattering glare in your wedding portraits, causing you to look greasy and shiny.

Gather Your Details
After I unload my equipment and have everything set up, the first thing I like to do is photograph all the details (dress, shoes, rings for both the bride and groom, necklace, earrings, garter, veil, hair pieces, perfume, and invitations). By having them all in one place, it makes everything easier and smoother, without having to go to multiple locations to find individual pieces.


The Haircut
A haircut should be done a day or two before the wedding day.  A best way to get the perfect cut is to find a photo of a haircut that you think might work and take it to your barber for his opinion.

Hands Of The Groom
As the groom your need to keep your hands clean. You can do this by washing them often and removing any dirt that is underneath the nails.  A hand moisturizer formulated for males should be used several weeks before the wedding occurs.

A Million Dollar Smile
A toothpaste that has a whitening agent in can be bought over the counter and will assist you in obtaining the best smile you can.  You should be careful to avoid any toothpaste that has abrasives in it.  These can wear away the structure of the teeth.

Some men may consider this as something that is done by women only.  But the good thing is that by doing something as simple as cleaning up your eyebrows it can make a large difference in your portraits. 

Bridal Portraits

Pop the Champagne!
During your bridal portraits, your face should feel relaxed. To relax your face, you should close your eyes and let your lips fall into their natural shape and place. Having a glass of champagne and asking everyone to clear the room usually helps with these portraits, so you can focus without distraction. Also, your eyes should smile. One of the more common trends among wedding parties is that of poses in which you are more serious.  These involve less smiles therefore it is important for your eyes to smile.

The Double Chin Should Be Avoided
The double chin can be avoided by stretching your neck and moving your head forward just a little bit.  Next you should lift your chin slightly.  This should help your double chin disappear.

You Can Fake Sleek Arms
If you have a sleeveless wedding dress, you will want your arms to have a sleek look.  The best way to accomplish this is to lift your arms out to the sides just a little.  This will give your biceps and triceps extra breathing room.

Stand Up Tall and Straight
The best way to improve your posture is to stand up straight with your shoulders back.  You should also put your chest out forward and pull in your belly button.

 It Is Okay To Laugh A Little
Even if a laugh does not occur naturally it can be something that will be flattering in your photos.  Not to mention that laughing makes things more fun. We can talk about something that's funny to lighten things up a bit.

Make Bumps Disappear
No one wants to have visible bumps on their big day.  To get rid of the bumps you should use lotions and wash with lactic acid to make those unsightly bumps disappear. Consider a spa day (maybe with your bridal party or even by yourself for some quality one-on-one time) to help relax you for your wedding day and to really get your skin camera ready.

Unplugged Ceremony

All the electronic devices can be avoided with an unplugged wedding.

All the electronic devices can be avoided with an unplugged wedding.

In today’s world of technology, we spend a large portion of our day glued to the computer, cell phone, television, etc.  This is why it is important that on your special day that everyone becomes unplugged so that the full attention can be on you as the bridge and groom. You want to be sure that your guests will experience the day with you.  For this reason, you should ask them to turn off all of their devices.  For your guests to be truly present with you and participate in your special day it is essential that they unplug and relate to you. You and your spouse to be have dedicated a lot of time, effort and patience into making your wedding day very special.  You do not want the pictures that your photographer takes of your guests at your wedding to be ones with their heads down and looking at their devices. 


Expect to Set Aside Two Hours
Portraits tend to take a lot of time, especially if you have a large wedding party and/or a large family. Expect to set aside two to three hours to fully complete family, bridal and couple portraits. That can be broken up either by doing some before the ceremony and some during the cocktail hour. Maybe take some at the ceremony site after the ceremony and then some at the reception site before cocktail hour. Family portraits taken 15-30 minutes depending on the size of the family, bridal party photos taken 30-60 minutes depending on size and I tend to like to take my time on couple's portraits, so those take a minimum of an hour. Please also take into consideration that travel and setup eat away at time.

Let's Make A Plan B
Let's make sure to have a plan B in the case of less than favorable weather. Some great ideas include buildings with an overhang or patio, an indoor garden, a museum, etc.

Chase the Golden Sun
When you're making your timeline for your wedding day, take into consideration the lighting situation. If you're having an outdoor ceremony, or plan on taking photos before your ceremony, try to schedule them around the sunset. Midday light is very harsh and unforgiving. We can try and work around it by finding shade, but that's not always possible and doesn't always work in our favor. The best time to take photos is the two hours before sunset, when the sun is the softest and offers those warm beautiful tones that everyone adores.