Category Archives: Photography tips

You’re engaged! Wedding tips for your wedding- Wilmington NC Wedding Photographer

Congrats on your recent engagement! Now what are you supposed to do?

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Most newly engaged couples aren’t experts of the wedding industry.  Unless you were that little girl that had a wedding scrapbook, your knowledge about the wedding industry is probably limited to the one’s you’ve attended and the one’s you’ve seen in a magazine. It can be a little daunting and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are a few tips that I have learned over the years with past, and present brides!

  1. Be organized. With that said, start off with a plan. Choose a time out of the year you are considering to have your big ceremony. I only say choose a “time” because your date may be filled at the venue you want, or your vendor that you may want to use already may have a date. So be open to dates in the month, or months you want to get married in.  (If your flexible, than hey go for the stars and stick to your date.)
  2. Choose a theme. This makes life so much easier once you and your groom have figured out the locations that you favor. For example when choosing a venue space, consider these details. Will you have a lot of guest or a small intimate gathering? Do you want your ceremony, and reception to be in the same spot? Where will you get ready? Are you and your groom getting ready in the same spot? Is this an option? If not, how far are the facilities from one another? Do you want to dance under the stars, or would you rather twirl around a ballroom? Do you want your guest to serve themselves, or would you rather a wait staff to hand out their food?  After you’ve considered all those aspects you may find it easier to figure out where exactly you do want all the magic to happen. You may find your an urban lover, and would rather have a venue in a rustic brick atmosphere. Or, you love flowers, and being in nature. Dancing in the stars is part of your love language which means your dream wedding is probably a garden wedding.  You may even realize, you want a destination wedding? You don’t want the hassle of a huge guest list, and want something more intimate. There are plenty of destinations that can fit anyone’s budget. And traveling with family, or a small group  may be your favorite past time. So, if you see your wedding day with 50 or less people. This  may be your best option to have a wedding & honeymoon with your closes family and friends. Ultimately, any answer you and your significant other come up with will be right.
  3. You’ve figured out a theme, and perhaps what style of wedding you want, don’t leave out the details of location. Think about how far you will be from one place to another.  Where will your groom be when your getting ready? Also, what does the place you are getting ready look like? This will be more important for a photography aspect. Light is key in taking good images with that said, a beautifully lit room versus the basement of a church, or a conference room may not lend the same type of feel that a room that is open and filled with light from huge windows. Also think space.. If you want to see shoes, dresses, makeup bags, and beds everywhere in your images, than a hotel room will be alright. But if you want things to feel more open, organized, and less clutter, think a home or a studio space that allows you to have this. Ultimately all your details will depict how your day is shown or remembered.
  4. Wedding parties? How many? Who do you choose? Do I need a wedding party? The answer is no, you don’t need a wedding party. You can have however many people you want. Yes, it can be an unbalanced amount on each side. And yes, you don’t need all your relatives to stand beside you. Don’t let the madness cloud the importance of the day. After all it’s about only two people. So, if your standing at the alter and facing the person you love, I’d say your wedding party is complete. Try not to complicate it, make it simple. You know what you want, and it’s your day. Don’t include people because you feel forced.
  5. Elect a friend to help! If you don’t have a wedding planner, elect a friend to help. This person can help with scheduling, and speaking with vendors on the day of. You may call this person, the maid of honor, or the best man. Or, perhaps it’s your mom, or dad. Don’t be afraid to delegate responsibilities on the wedding day. Your objective is to be present on your wedding day. You will need someone to communicate with guest, and vendors about placements, attendance and scheduling.  Your day will run more smoothly if you have a timeline/ and schedule. Don’t worry about creating a schedule.
  6. Create a timeline with your vendors! This is one of the most important steps in planning an effectively stress-free wedding! It may take some tweaking and some back and forth emails, but the end result will be most definitely worth it. Either your helper or your wedding coordinator will help execute this timeline. Your photographer will more than likely present a timeline for their part. This will explain how long things take, and where and what you will be doing. And it will also include participants and a wedding shot list if that’s something you’ve discussed. Other vendors such as florist, dj’s, & the venues you are using will more than likely present a timeline that will correspond to their specialties on your wedding day.
  7. Choose a dress at least 4 months before the actual wedding day. When you are shopping for a dress think about your options. You can buy brand new, or you can even open your horizons up by looking for a resale boutique (antique, consignment), or borrowing a family heirloom.
  8. You got your wedding attire, now what? How do you want the flow of your wedding day to be? If you don’t like a bouquet toss, don’t do it. If you think the garter toss is weird, don’t do it. You love the electric slide, and every other group dance they play at weddings, tell your DJ I LOVE those.. Create the day to your likings. Make traditions into new traditions, or keep the old ones for familiarity. Again, it’s your day there isn’t a wrong answer.
  9. Presents! Registry? There is tons of different registry options some are below, you can register at your local department stores. Such as Target, Bloomingdales, Macys, Belk, Dillards, Saks, Bed bath and Beyond.. or you can register with travel companies for honeymoon funds. Some companies I know of; , (a registry for first time home owners) , . There is even a registry that will give back for you! How great to have your wedding start off with such a wonderful purpose. Who doesn’t like to do nice things and while shopping!
  10. Stick to your budget. Whether it’s 50K or $500.. You don’t want to start this new life with debt. Be realistic of your goals for your future, and don’t let a huge party with strangers cloud your judgement. Yes, have a great time! Yes, create the dream to your storybook romance. But, don’t get too crazy where you can’t afford your next month’s car payment once the fantasy has worn off.  If you aren’t paying for all of it, think of who is. Don’t let your dreams cloud the consequences of their budget. You have the rest of your life with your special someone.  Money issues are the leading cause in divorce. Don’t let yourself get into a mess before your new life starts.


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There are probably other guidelines or tips that you may even discover through your wedding planning. I am sure I only touched a small bit of all the endless opportunities you can have on your wedding day. The goal of sharing these tips was to get your wheels turning. It doesn’t have to be a stressful venture if you are organized and know what you want. When you start to let friends, or families opinions get in the way that’s when things start to get sticky. Always remember the real reason of the day. Its the union of you and you lovey. It’s the day that will solidify a new life that is being created. A partnership for eternity. So treat it to be sacred and every other detail will literally just fall into place.

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-Cheers to being engaged!  <3

Wedding Timelines- Wilmington, NC Wedding Photographer

Wedding Timeline:

How I create your timeline

Weddings are life’s little magical moments.. Finding your counter in a world that is filled with millions of people is truly an art. When you finally find that person that just gives you endless goosebumps it is extremely important to lay out the details of your day.

My job as a photographer is to help you in the process of laying out those details! Without a timeline there are to many variables that can cause stress and for a bride this should be the least of your worries.

In the beginning stages of getting to know my clients, we often share an extensive amount of email’s back and forth.  Most of all my brides have the same questions, and some are, how long will it take to photograph the detail images, and how long will you be with me while I get ready? Because you don’t have a second shooter, will I get images of my groom getting ready? Where will you be when I’m getting ready? Do you get photos of the ceremony and reception site without guest? All these questions are excellent questions to ask! And with that said a timeline is the perfect answer to all of them.

A bride who is educated about her wedding day timeline is a less stressed bride. The more info we gather about your wedding and the more we organize a game plan, the less stress and worry goes forth into the wedding day. I am your captain and all you gotta do is cruise for the ride!


Because I am the sole shooter…

I have my husband who shoots with me. He’s my assistant not a second shooter.  And because we are best friends I can look at him and communicate effectively without causing attention to what we are doing. He will shoot opposite me at the ceremony, and sometimes opposite me at the reception for the important dancing.

But, I am the main photographer and shoot everything. So with that said, the way I prep my brides is to get a schedule going. Yup, I’m talking about that timeline again!

I will always set time aside for the groomsmen in my schedule. [Ideally, the groom will be getting near by and I’m able to plan my time with him as well]

So let’s assume you and the groom are going to be in and around the same area on your wedding date, I will shoot the details, the ceremony site, and if possible the reception site before guest go there. I than check to see if my groom is getting ready and go towards him.  (If my bride is still getting her hair and makeup done). With that said I’ll get a couple of him getting ready. I’ll also do mock images later on if the bride is getting ready at the same time. I take care of the bride images first.

I get images of the bride getting her makeup and hair done. I will follow with images of the bride getting into her dress.  And never forgetting those small moments in between that will help tell the story of the day better. From there on, I’ll leave my bride for a little bit so you have time with your family, and I usually go and get a few candids of my groom and his boys, and have them re-cuff their buttons, or put on and off their jackets.. So not necessarily missing their getting ready.

The bride is what takes the longest guys are really easy. So, its been easy for me to accommodate this into my routine. Once, I figure out these scenarios, If the bride and groom are getting ready at the same location? If not, how far are away are they from one another? When the reception site will be ready? When the ceremony site will be ready? Bride start time/ Groom start time for getting ready (so your start time for hair and makeup, and start time of groom getting ready)? Than I formulate a schedule and you and I will tweak and adjust accordingly. Does that make sense? There will not be any holes in the days events, so please don’t worry about that.

This has been my approach thus far, and I feel as long as my bride and groom are educated about our wedding timeline and what takes how many minutes,etc.. we have been very successful in photographing all the important moments to tell the proper story of your wedding day. I actually had no assistant and I was the sole photographer (all alone) for everything in a destination wedding. I was only able to produce a beautifully curated album because my bride and groom worked with me and gave me all the details of their day. So if we work as a team there should be nothing to stop the day from flowing flawlessly.


Below is a wedding timeline for a bride who will have her ceremony start at 5:30pm. She had chosen an 8 hour coverage window and we formulated a plan of action below. Her wedding is a bit away but we already have a plan of action. Once certain items are confirmed we we can than tweak any changes. As you can tell below the details of the day (bouquet, rings, dress, groom attire, letters, gifts, ceremony site, reception site, getting ready area, and any details that are important to the bride are photographed first, followed by the getting ready, of both bride and groom, there after first looks, or family photos, bridal party photos. This than leads to the ceremony, followed by the family photos/couple portraits and ending with the reception festivities.


I hope this helped explained the booking process, and I can’t wait to create your timeline of your day!

wedding day timeline sample



*Below to view image larger…



Paula Andrea

Wilmington, North Carolina Portrait Photographer

Specializing in Editorial/Commercial and Portrait work

(Personal Branding Photographer)

-Available for domestic & international travel-