Welcome to my Wedding Guide

Lets make sure your wedding runs smoothly

I believe in doing so much more than just showing up on your Wedding day. After photographing hundreds of Weddings I've come to realise that helping couples with their Wedding prep and planning is just as important as what I do on the day itself.

I’ve put this guide together to support you with planning a stress free day. It contains my recommendations around timing, and tips so that things run smoothly, you have a great experience and you come away with memories to be cherished for a lifetime!

Now for the timeline....


Pre Ceremony prep


The Wedding morning is loads of fun and I love photographing this time of the day. My best advice is to allow loads of buffer time into all the different parts of the morning as everything takes longer than it normally does on a Wedding day. This helps with saving time for friends and family who will be coming in and asking you questions, bathroom breaks, reception delegations, makeup touch ups, and any other little things that tend to crop up!

My recommendations are:

Leave around 30 minutes to get ready (if you're getting into a dress, tape and stitching can take a lot more time than you might think!).

If you'd like them to help you into your dress communicate to family and/or wedding party to be ready 15-20 minutes earlier than you so that they are all ready to go when you are.

It's ideal for the person walking down the aisle and any attendants to be ready around an hour before they need to leave for the ceremony. This allows time for individual photos before the ceremony (it's lovely to do these while you're still fresh!) as well as any group photos required with family members. If we can get these done before the ceremony it will reduce the time required for the photoshoot after the ceremony.


Have your details ready in the morning - such as jewellery, shoes, dress, wedding invitation, perfume, rings (if they are with you). That way I don’t need to interrupt your preparations to gather these things together. For the brides dress or if you like the suit photographed consider what you use as a hanger, as this can make or break the photo!

If you know you're introverted, consider getting ready by yourself. A lot of noise and people in a room for introverted folks can really suck your energy that you want to conserve for the rest of your wedding day. If you're extroverted and love being around people, then surround yourself with people you love.



A lot of people don't want to be late for their ceremony, I was one of them! But generally at least one guest is still parking when the ceremony is due to start. Keeping this in mind I recommend accommodating for this in your timeline by planning to walk down the aisle about 10-15 minutes 'late'.


Travel and Parking: If possible please set aside a car park as I'm usually the last person to arrive at the ceremony. This may sound a bit diva-ish but the last thing I want is to hold up your walk down the aisle, while I am trying to park, grab my gear and walk to the ceremony! Also consider what events are on in your city that will impact on traffic on your wedding day and plan around this. For example sport on a Saturday, or school traffic on a Friday.

Church Weddings: If you're getting married in a church please speak with the minister or religious officiant who is conducting the ceremony about their stance on photography. They may have a policy in place that bans the photographer from entering specific areas or using a flash and I need to be aware of this to not cause embarrassment to anyone.

Unplugged wedding: You’ve probably heard this term; it’s basically when you ask your guests to turn off their devices during the ceremony or reception so that they can focus, and be present in the moment. Let your celebrant know what your preferences are and they will make this known just prior to the beginning of your ceremony.

After the Ceremony


After the ceremony your guests will want to greet and congratulate you! If your Wedding is large leave about half an hour for this. Smaller Weddings will need less time - as a rule of thumb I recommend leaving about 30 seconds per guest.

Family photos - Ten groupings of photos will take around half an hour (depending on size etc). See my group photo guide below for more detailed info on how to prepare for this part of the day.

Your Photoshoot


It's up to you how long you want to dedicate to your photoshoot. I work quickly so can get a lot done in an hour, but if you are having multiple photoshoot locations or plan to have refreshments you may need longer than this. Leave buffer time for travel, it takes time to get a group in and out of vehicles. The last few minutes before the sun sets will give you the most flattering and stunning light of the day. I highly recommend leaving 5-15 minutes for a sunset photoshoot for just the two of you as a couple.


A first look

It used to be considered taboo but seeing each other before the ceremony has a few major advantages. Having your bridal party photos before the ceremony means you can then spend more time with your guests after the ceremony. You can still have that 'wow' moment when seeing each other for the first time, and I can help coordinate this on the day.



It's up to you how you'd like your reception to run. Some people do speeches before the meal, others leave them until afterwards. If you're nervous about speaking I recommend getting this out of the way asap so you can enjoy the evening! As per above, find out what time the sun sets and leave time to sneak out for a sunset shoot!


A change of shirt

I came across this idea when we photographed a couple doing a first look prior to their wedding on a very hot summer day in Germany! For a wedding in the peak of summer grooms are bound to work up a sweat which can make them self conscious. I've seen some grooms purchase a second shirt to change into during the reception so they feel more comfortable.

Child wrangling

I am very much partial to photographing children and love for them to participate in your day! In the past clients of mine whose children are attending the wedding have chosen to employ a babysitter or allocate somebody specific to childcare, so they don't need to worry about whether their kids are being fed etc. This ensures that couples and their families can relax on the day, knowing that their little ones are well taken care of.

It must be love, love, love

Sample Wedding timelines






















Hair and make up starts

Photographer to arrive at Brides accomodation

Bride start getting in to dress (bridesmaids to be ready)

Bride to be ready for portraits on own and with bridesmaids

Travel to first look

Start first look, have lunch

Bride and bridesmaids go to accommodation

Ceremony officially starts

Bride walks down aisle

Bride and Groom walk out + Congratulations

Family & friends photo grouping photos on the beach

Guests leave in bus, Bride and groom to start sunset photos

Guests arrive at Ataahua, greeted with bubbles

Guests to be seated

Bridal party introduced and enter

Opening by MC run through of night, toilets, guestbook

Father of Bride Speech, Father of Groom Speech

Dinner served

Bridal party and bride and groom speeches

Cut cake and desert

First dance

Make up & Hair starts

Photographers to arrive at Brides accomodation

Bride start getting in to dress (bridesmaids to be ready)

Groom & Groomsmen to leave for Beach Access 3 (ten min drive)

Groom & Groomsmen to arrive at Beach Access 3

Bride to be ready in dress for portraits on own & with bridesmaids

Bride to leave for Beach Access 3 (10 minute drive)

Ceremony officially starts, Bride arrives in vehicle

Bride walk in

Bride and Groom walk out + Congratulations

Family & friends photo grouping photos on the beach

Bridal party Photos at Location # 1 - Estuary

Bridal party Photos at Location # 2 – Wharf.

Bridal party Arrive Ocean Sports Club



Desert & Cake cutting

Sunset shots (approx 10 mins)

First dance

Bride and groom leave for Brenton Lodge





















For the purposes of these two examples I've used Bride & Groom, but if your wedding day involves two Brides or two Grooms the same principles can apply

Every Wedding day is individual so please tweak as necessary!

How to create your Wedding timeline

Setting up your timeline :

Sample timelines :

Your family & group photo guide

Your Wedding ceremony has just finished, you've chatted to your guests, now it's time to take those group snaps.

Here are a few tips so that this part of the day doesn't take forever!

+ Nominate someone to help direct and organise. They don't necessarily need to know the guests who will be in these photos they just need to be confident with coordinating people.

+Start with the side of the family that is largest.

+Start with the larger groupings first - eg extended family rather than parents. This is because it's easier to

remove people from a grouping rather than to add them in.

+When writing your list, include the name of each person in the photo. For example Ruth's immediate family: Ruth,

Dave, Ruby, Corban.

Email copies to Ruth and your nominated coordinator. For a large Wedding I also recommend printing copies to be handed around.

On average one photo will take 2-3 minutes, so allow around 30 minutes for ten photos. This leaves time for arranging guests so that each person can be seen, directing people to stand so they look good, removing hand bags and glasses etc etc!

If you're going to have a large group photo with all your guests this is done first.

Below is a sample list. The words in italics indicate the groups that a lot of people opt not to include.

Family photo guide

Extended family

Immediate family (with partners)

Immediate family (no partners)



The couple together with both sets of parents

Extended family

Immediate family (with partners)

Immediate family (no partners)





Writing your Family Shot list:

You can’t print a USB and your Wedding images deserve to be immortalised in ink.

We live in a world where images have five minutes of fame on a newsfeed, before they are put to rest on a hard drive. I believe that the digital file is not the end product, the print is. That photography achieves its highest purpose in physical form which people can encounter over and over again. The problem is that printing can be hard and confusing. That's why I offer the finest quality prints and albums from a local New Zealand owned business. With a minimum of $200 print credit in each package I'll make showing off your images easy for you. Check out some of my beautiful print options below!

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Additional resources

Get a discounted e-shoot

Why do an engagement shoot?

Wedding inspo on Pinterest

Recommended vendors


I can't wait to tell the story of your Wedding!