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Engagement session tips, timeline guidance, other detail recommendations & more!

Wedding Guide

mOUNA Photography

I am so excited to be working with you, and I can’t wait to get to know you better over the next several months! Knowing that photography is one of the significant investments you're making for your wedding day, I feel deeply honored that you chose to work with me!

Whether you're working with a wedding planner for a simple wedding or planning to elope, there are still likely a lot of moving pieces left leading up to your big day.

With over 250 weddings captured over the past few years, I've noticed that certain questions tend to come up repeatedly. So, I thought it would be incredibly beneficial to put together a comprehensive guide that walks you through everything from timelines to engagement sessions and handling inclement weather.

I'm here to ensure your journey to your wedding day is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Let's create some unforgettable memories together!



plan your session

I am a big fan of engagement sessions for a few reasons. Not only do they allow you to get comfortable in front of the camera, they also give you the opportunity to showcase your personalities in a more casual setting that is significant to the two of you. I created an entire page dedicated to outfit tips, location ideas, timing considerations and more!

The Engagement

You'll need to plan for about 30 mins of pre-ceremony bridal photos (bridesmaids and bride's family) and about 30 mins of pre-ceremony groom photos (groomsmen and groom's family) at separate times. After Ceremony, you'll also need 20 minutes of combined bridal party portraits, 25 minutes of combined family portraits and at least 45-1:15 minutes of couple's portraits after the ceremony if you're not doing any portraits together until after the ceremony.

If you're doing a first look, photos can be done all at one time, taking an average total of 1.5 to 2 hours pre-ceremony (although we also LOVE grabbing just the two of you for a few additional bride and groom photos at sunset!)

Whether you decide on a first look or prefer the traditional rout, whether your special day is set in winter or summer, I am committed to working closely with you. Together, we'll craft a timeline and photography plan that works best for your wedding day.

Here is some notes to keep in mind
If you're choosing to go traditional, you'll need two different sets of photo times: images taken before the ceremony and images taken after the ceremony.

tips for a seamless wedding day timeline


Wedding Day 

building the perfect

Sample Timelines 

  • 12:00 pm | Getting Ready
  • 1:30 pm | First-look
  • 1:45 pm | Wedding Party Photos
  • 2:15 pm | Couple's photos
  • 3:30 pm | Couple Downtime; Get Ready for Ceremony
  • 4:00 pm | Ceremony 
  • 4:30 pm | Family Photos, Cocktail hour.
  • 6:00 pm | Grand Entrance, Cutting the Cake, 
  • 6:15 pm | Dinner
  • 6:45 pm | Speeches
  • 7:15 pm | Sunset Portraits
  • 7:45 pm | First Dance
  • 7:58 pm | First Parent Dance
  • 7:52 pm | Second Parent Dance
  • 8:00 pm | Open Floor
  •  ______  | Photographer Depart
  • 1:00 pm | Getting Ready
  • 1:45 pm | Bride & Bridesmaids Photos
  • 2:15 pm | Groom & Groomsmen Photos
  • 2:45 pm | Couple Downtime; Get Ready for Ceremony
  • 3:00 pm | Ceremony 
  • 3:30 pm | Family photos ,Cocktail hour
  • 4:00 pm | Wedding Party Photos
  • 4 :30 pm | Couple Photos
  • 6:45 pm | Grand Entrance, Cutting the Cake
  • 7:00 pm | Dinner
  • 7:20 pm | Speeches
  • 7:15 pm | Sunset or Nighttime Photos of Couple
  • 8:05 pm | First Dance
  • 8:10 pm | First Parent Dance
  • 8:15 pm | Couple’s First Dance
  • 8:20 pm | Dance Floor Opens
  • 9:00 pm | Photographer Depart

Wedding Timeline with a First Look:

Wedding Timeline with out a First Look:

That moment the Bride and Groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day is magical. And this is true whether the couple chooses to wait until the bride walks down the aisle or chooses to do a “first look’ prior to the ceremony.

First looks—a private moment couples choose to spend together prior to the wedding ceremony—have become more popular over the last few years. About half of our couples this year have chosen to do a first look.

While we consider ourselves people who value tradition, there are definitely a few good reasons to consider a first look. Here are 3 reasons to consider a ‘first look’:


First Looks

If you’re expecting poor weather on your wedding day, it might be best to plan on a first look because it gives you more options for pictures. If it’s pouring rain after the ceremony, you’ll be thankful you had pictures done in advance.

And reason 3b is for all you cryers out there. If you know the tears are going to fly the first time you see your other half the day of your wedding, a first look will give you time to freshen up before the ceremony.

First look or not, the first time you see each other on your wedding day will be special.

In fall and winter, the sunset can be as early as 4:30 pm. Opting for a first look and pre-ceremony photos ensures there's enough time for photography sessions while nature daylight is still strong.

First Look



When there is no first look, the majority of the pictures have to be taken after the ceremony. Family pictures are generally done as soon as the ceremony ends because it’s the easiest time to round everyone up. Next up is full bridal party, and then bride and groom portraits. This generally runs into cocktail hour.

A first look opens up time prior to the ceremony for full bridal party pictures and, sometimes, for a few bride and groom portraits (although we prefer to do bride and groom portraits at sunset). This allows the couple to get the most out of cocktail hour, which makes the rest of the evening feel less rushed.

It makes more time for pictures without sacrificing cocktail hour  


Avoid possible bad weather and/or have time to freshen-up after the first look  

Maximizing the available daylight in Fall and winter  

Once the ceremony begins, the day takes off quickly. A ‘first look’ is an opportunity to enjoy some quiet time alone, enjoy each other’s company, and reflect on all this day means before your day takes off.

Wedding days can be a whirlwind and they tend to fly by. There’s much to do, and a lot of people to see and to catch up with. We always encourage our couples to take a few minutes every so often during their wedding to stop and soak in everything that’s happening.

A first look cuts through the chaos of the day


I love capturing all the little details you've carefully chosen to be a part of your wedding day! Once I arrive at your wedding, we need about 30 minutes to capture and style details. I recommend choosing a getting ready location filled with natural light and, if possible, please keep the space free from trash and clutter.

It would be wonderful if you could put all of your rings, jewelry, shoes, veil purse, perfume, invitations and other keepsakes together in one spot. Please unwrap your dress but don't worry about styling it - we'll hang it in a beautiful spot! 


Wedding Day 

Dress Hanger (a pretty one!)
Rings (both engagement and wedding bands)
Hair accessories
Invitation Suite (2 full sets with envelopes + stamps)
Other program cards, such as timeline.
Vow Book
Any other sentimental keepsakes you would like to include
I once had a bride bring her grandmother's bible. This is completely optional - but if you have something sentimental you'd like styled with your details, we love including family heirlooms in our detail shots.
Bonus: We'd love to have a few cuts of the florals you'll be using throughout your wedding day. If your florist will supply us a small bucket of extra pieces we can incorporate those in your detail shots.

print this checklist


print this checklist

His shoes
Socks (if they're special)
Cuff Links
Tie or Bow Tie
Pocket Square
Vows Book
Anything else he'll have that is special or sentimental.


Please note that this list is just a starting point and that we're happy to take any requested family portraits as long as time allows!

print + adjust this checklist

Bride + Groom + Bride's Extended Family 
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents +  Siblings +  Grandparents
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Bride's Siblings 
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents
Bride + Groom + Bride's Siblings
Bride + Mom 
Bride + Dad 
Bride + Groom + Groom's Extended Family 
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents + Siblings +  Grandparents
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents + Groom's Siblings 
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents
Bride + Groom + Groom's Siblings
Groom + Mom 
Groom + Dad 

Family Formals Checklist

For family portraits, I'll place you in the center of a large group photo with all of your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, godparents, etc. And then I'll remove the extended family so it’s just grandparents, parents and siblings.

I'll keep removing family members and switch a few closer family members in and out so we get photos of you and your parents, you and your siblings, some with the groom and your family, etc. Then I'll repeat the process with your spouse's family. The whole thing will go quicker and smoother if you let family know how the portrait process will work ahead of time.

When I'll send out our pre-wedding questionnaire, I'll ask you for a list of specific groupings, special situations (such as divorces or handicapped family members & more), but if you want to start brainstorming photos in the meantime, you'll find our typical list below. 

your entire family, dressed up and together 

Family Formals

Let's discuss location options for your portraits. Why did you choose your venue? Some venues, like country clubs and parks, offer great on-site photo opportunities. Others may be near downtown areas or parks.

Here's what to consider: Keep it close to your ceremony or reception to save time on transportation. I can suggest a few options based on my experience.

Include the wedding party in the session, but limit locations to two or three to save time. Allocate at least 90 minutes for portraits to ensure we capture everything you envision. Avoid crowded locations and save family photos for another time.

Let's ensure your portrait session is stress-free and focused on you and your significant other.

Location options for wedding


Sunset wedding portraits add a wonderful romantic touch to your special day, requiring careful planning, timing, and selection of the perfect location. Typically lasting around 15 minutes, these portraits offer a unique and distinct style to your wedding album


If the sunset is missed due to cloudy weather, fear not! The "blue hour" and the captivating cotton candy skies that follow promise equally enchanting backdrops for timeless and breathtaking wedding photos.


Residing in Wisconsin, we're accustomed to the cold. Yet, if you're contemplating a winter wedding, the snowy scenery offers a picturesque backdrop for memorable portraits. Together, we'll select suitable locations, keeping sessions brief with breaks for warmth. Enhancing your wedding attire with a faux fur shawl or blanket scarf, paired with stylish boots beneath the dress, not only ensures comfort but also adds a charming touch to your ensemble.

If the forecast is calling for rain, fear not because rainy days can still be beautiful! 
If rain is in the forecast, I recommend ordering a few clear umbrellas. We can also re-evaluate portrait locations to make sure we can still shoot in natural light - even if it means heading offsite. 
If you don't own a pair of cute Wellies, now may be a great time to order a pair - even if you're just wearing them in between shooting locations. 
Rainy day weddings may require a little more flexibility and creativity, but there isn't any reason why they can't be as beautiful and as joyful as sunny weddings!

Rain Tips

Winter weddings

Having been photographing wedding for more than 10-years I've likely encountered similar scenarios and venues before. Given the impact of factors like time of year, weather, and season on lighting conditions, familiarity with the venue doesn't necessarily offer significant photographic advantages, as decisions are often made on the day itself. However, when faced with an unfamiliar venue, I make it a priority to arrive earlier to explore the surroundings for photography options. 

Do you have any experience working at our wedding venue?

I apply a commuting fee for distances exceeding a 45-minute drive.

Do you charge for commuting?

Typically 2-weeks after the wedding

How long will it take to receive our edited wedding photos?

Certainly. Throughout the day, I carry two cameras and lenses on me, along with a backup camera and extra lenses in my bag, 

Do you carry backup equipment?

It's worth noting that such emergencies have never occurred before. However, I'm fortunate to have an good network of friends and colleagues organized within an efficient emergency Facebook group. Should an unexpected situation arise, the group is notified, allowing us to collectively resolve any issues that may arise. 

Do you have a backup plan in case of illness or emergency?

We can narrow down your search by location, culture, or religious ceremony type to ascertain if I have photographed a wedding similar to yours in style. This will provide you with insights into my approach on the wedding day and the expected outcome of the final gallery.

Can we see a full gallery of a recent wedding you’ve photographed?

1. The wedding photographer for a set amount of hours
2. Online gallery, with high resolutions, downloadable digital files
3. Optional extras – Album, second photographer. videographer.

What is usually included in a wedding photography package?

Feel free to request a wedding portfolio featuring two photographers to help you in your decision-making process. The second photographer's role is capturing angles that the primary photographer may not cover, documenting the groom's preparations, and taking candid moments of guests.

Do you recommend hiring a second photographer?

Wedding photographers often schedule bookings up to two years in advance, yet certain dates may unexpectedly fill up on short notice. The key advice is simple: if you've discovered a photographer whose work resonates with you, make the booking promptly.

When should we book you? 
How many photos do I get in a wedding package?

While prioritizing quality over quantity is paramount, for an 8-hour wedding day, anticipate receiving around 600-700 images

Yes, please request to see the Photo & Video packages.

Do you offer videography in your packages?

frequently asked


Images should transcend the digital realm. Invest in an album to safeguard your wedding memories. Our professionally designed albums, available in various sizes and colors, become cherished heirlooms. Upon design approval, expect completion in 4 to 6 weeks. Orders can be placed anytime before or after your wedding day.
Here are the Album options available
• 10"x10" Flush Mount Album
• 10 spreads/20 sides - Up to 50 images

 10"x10" Flush Mount Album
• 15 spreads/30 sides - Up to 90 images

 12”x12” Flush Mount Album
• 20 spreads/40 sides - Up to 120 images


Handcrafted Albums

Wedding Packages: Starts at $1,500
Engagement Session starts at $375
Portrait session starts  at $375
Wedding Albums starts  at $950


We can't wait to start planning with you and getting to know you! If you haven't scheduled your engagement session yet, let's get that in the books. Feel free to email me any time at

If you have any questions or would just like to chat, I'm here for you. I hope this guide helps make the process of planning your wedding details much easier and less stressful. I can't wait to see you soon! Thank you so much for taking the time to read through our guide!

Thank you!

Thank you for visiting my page. I am very excited to provide you with a unique photography experience! 
I will promptly answer all pricing and availability questions.
I look forward to chatting with you.

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