Planning Tips

You know those perfect Pinterest weddings that seem to just have it all? Well, here’s the hard truth…they pretty much do! But it’s after thoughtful organizing and planning. Lots of it. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, but those magical moments and beautiful images don’t just happen organically all the time. It takes a little prep and I’m here to help you prepare and plan for your wedding day. Chances are this is your first rodeo but luckily it’s not mine! I gotchu! I want to talk with my couples about every little thing to be sure they are able to super duper relax the day of. Planning makes perfect, y’all!


First Look


I’m such a fan of my brides and grooms doing first looks but I totally understand and respect those who don’t! I just want to tell you honestly what the benefits are as your photographer (and friend).

  1. It’s the most time you’ll spend alone with your spouse-to-be on your wedding day. Couples don’t realize that the majority of their wedding day will be spent with most everyone but your honey! Especially not just the two of you.
  2. We’re able to get ahead on the day’s timeline! It’s such a relief when we can knock out family photos before the ceremony even begins so we can really focus on Bride and Groom portraits after the ceremony when the lighting is oh-so-dreamy. Or be able to do B&G portraits before it’s too dark outside. Bottom line, more photo opportunities which means capitalizing even more on your investment with me. Sounds like a win, am I right?
  3. You’re able to attend cocktail hour with your guests! Do I really need to explain this one?
  4. Helps with the jitters! Seeing your boo before the ceremony just centers you. It’s such a raw and emotional moment that makes you take a minute to step back and appreciate why you’re there. BECAUSE YOU’RE MADLY IN LOVE!

If you’re not convinced yet, keep reading! This groom saw Courtney before their ceremony during their first look. The image on the left is the happiness they felt seeing each other during their first look and the image on the right is when he saw her walking down the aisle. Doesn’t look like Joey felt like seeing Courtney before ceremony time took away from their wedding day, does it?!


Getting Ready:

For your getting ready location and photos, there are a few things that will effect the look of your images and make me the most happy photographer in all the wedding land. 1. Clean, open, and bright spaces. Think white walls, windows, and neutral color schemes. 2. Keeping the room tidy so when I arrive I won’t have to waste any time not shooting. Keep the room clean of bags, food, clothing not wedding related, etc. Basically put anything that could possibly take away from the perfect shot of your pretty faces away.

It’s also super helpful to have those detail items you definitely don’t want me to miss ready for me as soon as I arrive so I don’t waste any time getting to work. Here are some suggestions:

Rings (both of yours and his)
Accessories (necklaces, bracelets, earrings, hair pieces, etc)
Unused invitation suite and paper goods (invitation, envelope, programs, save the dates, place cards, rsvp card, menu card, etc.)
Shoes (yours and his)
His bowtie/tie
Cuff links
Wedding dress
Bridesmaids dresses (and preferably wooden or custom hangers)
Heirloom items


*Pro tip: Ask your florist for any greenery or flowers that they won’t use or will most likely toss away! I can use them for dreamy detail shots!

Another suggestion is to not limit your getting ready space to a hotel! Nowadays with awesome rental websites like Airbnb, there are so many awesome options to choose from that can add so much more character to your getting ready shots than a hotel room. And as a bonus, a lot of times if the house is big enough, bride/bridesmaids and groom/groomsmen can get ready in the same house, just in different rooms. Which saves us all time and leaves more time for those special portraits. Just don’t feel like you have to be traditional!

Since we’re on the topic of all things adorable and trendy, these are my favorite getting ready robes and rompers.


You guys. If you don’t read anything else on here or listen to any other advice, hear me now. You listening?! Here we go!! Lighting has such a huge impact on your wedding day! HUGE. Simply put, if you want me to produce photos for you like you see showcased on this website and my Instagram, there’s a recipe to it. It’s all centered around sunset time, also known as “golden hour”. Golden hour is that ooey gooey, angelic, ethereal light that makes everyone look like a rockstar. I want that light and trust me, you will too! Here’s the good news, when you book me, you get hands on help with your timeline ensuring that we plan the best we can!


I am a huge fan of encouraging my couples to work with a lighting company (if your venue doesn’t already provide them) to have Italian cafe lights at your reception. They are just oh so romantic and make everything more beautiful and dreamy….which is definitely something I know I love in a wedding. As for the purple dotted strobe thing your DJ might bring…not so much. Unless being a purple people eater is your thing. In that case, you live your life!

Preferred Vendors:

Below is a list of vendors that I’ve either worked with and adore, have yet to work with and have only heard wonderful things, or deeply admire their work! My hope is to help answer some of those “OMG, where am I supposed to find the perfect tux rental” or “How is anyone going to truly understand my vision” questions. Most anything you need for your wedding day should be listed, need some advice on something not listed? Don’t you dare hesitate to reach out to me! I want to be that person for you!


Luxe and Luna Couture Events

Shelby White Events

Sunkissed Events

Antonia Christianson Events

Lauren Emerson Events

Jamie Leigh Events

Blush Events

Waterford Event Rentals

Groom + Groomsmen Attire

The Black Tux



Combatant Gentleman


Bridesmaids Attire


Weddington Way

Shop Revelry




Show Me Your Mumu


Vow to be Chic


Fleurish and Bloom Florals

The Hanging Gardens

Roost Flowers

Aleen Floral Design

Courtney Inghram Designs

Palette of Petals

Kate Fiore Florals

Kelly Gish Florals


Incredible Edibles Bakery

Wildflour Cakes

Makeup and Hair

The Makeup School by Sarah Rillon


Lindsey Clevv

Rental Companies

Mad Hatter Vintage

Distinctive Rentals


Goldie Design Co

Hey Halle


Prairie Letter Shop

Wide Eyes Paper Co

Inkling Calligraphy

Caitlin Jane Calligraphy


Copyright © 2017 Abbey Leigh Photography