Engagement session tips, timeline guidance, and more

The Wedding Guide for Clabough's Entertainment & Photography


I'm so excited for the chance to work with you and I can’t wait to get to know you and hear more about your wedding! I know photography is one of the larger investments you're making for your wedding day and I would be so honored to capture your days and all of the memories ahead!

Thank you again so much for your interest in working with me, and please don't hesitate to let me know if I can offer any additional guidance throughout the wedding planning process!

- Brittany



Contract signed, deposit paid, you are all booked in!

two months before

I'll send you a link to my ‘pre-wedding questionnaire’ form and we will book in a pre wedding catch up for the month before the date. Depending on location, this can be in person or via phone call/skype/FaceTime.

one month before

Time for our catch up to run through your wedding plans, say hi and get excited! This is a good time to add extra hours or book a second photographer.

The final balance is due.

two weeks before

I will send over a pdf with the photo timings for you to do a final check.

A FEW DAYS BEFORe the wedding

You will get a little text or email to see how things are going and start getting excited about the day!

What to expect

After you have booked your wedding, you won’t hear from me for awhile, but I am always here if you need help with anything! So please feel free to email, text, or call me at anytime!

2 months before your wedding day I will send out a questionnaire that asks you all the questions you could think of about your day. This gives me everything I could need to know from alternative conducts, family dramas, timelines.

1 week before your wedding day I will touch base again to make sure nothing has changed .

Within the next 72 hours post wedding day don’t forget to check your emails, your sneak peek will be ready for you within 72 hours and I cant wait for you to see it and share with your friends and family.

Your online gallery will be finished within 90-120 days, download instructions for your gallery.

I believe it’s my job to make sure that you feel calm, authentic, and engaged during a shoot with me and I will go above and beyond to ensure this is the case. I will always direct and pose you so you don’t feel or look awkward in any of your photographs.

I use a candid approach and rather then posing you I give you promts and let you naturally do what feels comfortable for you. We will make magic together, I promise!


Engagement sessions are a fun relaxed time to give us a chance to work together before the wedding day. I highly suggest having one! I cherish this one on one time with my couples because it gives me a chance to really get to know the two of you and your love languages. 

We normally schedule the shoot soon after you book. That way we can more easily find a date that works for you, and you'll have images to use for "Save-the-Date" cards. (I shoot engagements on weekdays. Sometimes I can do a Friday or Sunday, depending on my wedding schedule.) 

When Should You Schedule an Engagement Session?

There is no right or wrong season to hold your engagement session, as this depends on the weather and scenery you're looking for in your images. I recommend holding your session at least one month prior to getting save the dates done ( if you were wanting to use the images for that ). This will give you time to get your edited images back, finalise your Save the Date design and get them printed.

When scheduling your engagement session, you have more control over the time of day you'd like to shoot. The best time of day to be photographed is when the sun isn't so high up in the sky, just after sunrise or just before sunset. This means your session may begin around 4:30pm in the cooler months, but 7:30-8:30pm in the spring or summer, if opting for around sunset time. The light at this time will be more flattering on your skin, you won't have to worry about bright sun in your eyes, and you may even get lucky with an epic sunset!


You’ll have beautiful images to add to wedding invitations or save-the-date cards!

Incorporating Kids and Pets Into an Engagement Session

Whether it's a child or a fur baby, your loved ones are important to your relationship, so they're always welcome as part of your engagement session. If you'll be bringing them along, the biggest recommendation I can provide is to also bring along another adult to help out with them throughout the shoot, for when we do images of just the two of you!



Two months before your wedding, I’ll be sending you a wedding day timeline questionnaire. This questionnaire will help me develop a timeline that will best fit your needs, as well as time for photos!! Now the key is to always leave some extra time and don’t cram in too much in a tight schedule. Always leave some wiggle room. Make sure to plan for things that may take longer than expected, that way everyone feels relaxed and not rushed/stressed.

Whether you choose to do a first look or the traditional "no seeing each other before the ceremony" I will work closely with you on making sure you have the best timeline and plan for images. 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.

Here is a sample timeline I’ve created to help guide your day! There is one with a first-look below.

Getting Ready (Be fully dressed at least one hour before you leave for the wedding)

Bridal Portraits: 20 minutes

Groom portraits: 10 min (less if there is no travel involved)

Bridal Party: 10 minutes

~ Total 40 minutes

30-minute buffer before the ceremony for arriving guests & to freshen up CEREMONY

Family Photos and One Group Photo of everyone: 30 min RECEPTION

Bride & Groom portraits: 15-20 minutes about around sunset

Bride & Groom Portraits: 10-min Creative night portraits later in the evening

If bridal parties are getting ready near one another, we can shoot both parties. If not, one of us will go to the bride and one to the groom.


As much as I wish we could control the weather, especially for wedding days, that just isn’t realistic. This shouldn’t mean that you don’t get beautiful wedding portraits. My first plan of action is to find a suitable indoor solution if possible and I offer bride and groom photos the day after for when the weather is more ideal. 


As soon as I arrive the first thing I do after checking in and saying hello to everyone is grab all your details to capture. Below is a list of details you may want.

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, I need about 30 minutes to capture and style details. I recommend choosing a getting ready location filled with natural light and, if possible, keep the space free from trash and clutter so there's no distractions in your photos while you're finishing hair and makeup, and putting your dress on.

It would be wonderful if you could put all of your rings, jewelry, shoes, veil, perfume, invitations and other keepsakes together in one spot for me so I can make sure to photograph all of the important little things without interrupting your hair and makeup process.

*If you have a wedding planner, you can ask them to organize this for you.

Items to have prepared and ready for me to photograph (all may not apply):

NOTE: please have these items together in one place (For example: a shoebox). Your items in one box and your groom's in another. If you are getting ready at separate locations, then please keep ALL rings with the bridal items, including the groom’s ring.


  • Dress
  • Dress Hanger
  • Rings (both engagement and wedding bands)
  • Shoes
  • Veil
  • Bouquet
  • Ring
  • Hair pieces
  • Jewelry
  • Invitation Suite ( 2 full sets with envelopes + stamps)
  • Any other paper stationary you may have like program cards.
  • Vow Book

Now this just goes without saying, because we all know it’s all about the dress. You will want to see that gorgeous gown hanging from the hanger as a reminder of pure joy, excitement, and nervousness all wrapped up in one. Not only that, but you will want to remember the exquisite details that made you fall in love with it in the first place. Whether it’s a delicate lace pattern or a sexy corset back, it makes the cut as a must have detail shot for sure.


  • His shoes
  • Socks (if they're special)
  • Cuff Links
  • Tie or Bow Tie
  • Pocket Square
  • Cologne
  • Vows
  • Rings

Anything else he'll have that is special or sentimental.

In Addition:

1) If there are any textured / sentimental details that you love that you feel like would make great accent items to your detail shots then feel free to throw those in there (lace, fur, miniature plants, pretty rocks, anything!!).

2) Please have your dress on a cute hanger. If you didn’t buy one specifically for it, that’s okay! Any nice wooden hanger will do just fine.

3) I love to incorporate floral in my detail shots. If at all possible, I will grab the brides bouquet and incorporate it, if the bouquet can be arranged to be there along with the other bridal details, then awesome!

Bonus: I'd love to have a few of the unused stems of the florals you'll be using throughout your wedding day. If your florist is able to supply us a small bucket of any extra stems, I can incorporate those into your detail shots!

T H E “ G E T T I N G R E A D Y “ S P A C E

The factors that contribute to me getting good photos are also the ones that contribute to a more relaxed day for everyone. Here’s what I’ve learned we need:

  • cutter-free space - the last thing you want is everyones bags and dirty clothes in the photos, find a "crap" corner that is out of the way to keep everything. and ask for a bridesmaid and groomsmen to be in charge of keeping the room tidy.
  • Good natural light and lots of it!
  • TIP: A big window is ideal when taking portraits of people

getting their makeup done. (The makeup artist will love

the extra light, too!)

  • A space with an interior style that suits your own. If at home, don’t forget to get rid of all of the day-to-day clutter like electric fans or socks or dog beds. Fill the space with flowers, your favorite things, and just a couple of your favorite people.
  • Enough time - I’ll be sure to show up right as the finishing touches are being placed, then head on over to your fiancé to spend some time with them too.

  • While each of you are getting ready, chances are you’ll be filled with nerves. As you won’t have each other for comfort in these moments, consider writing a love letter for your fiancé to read before the ceremony. It’ll be a nice little keepsake, make for some incredibly emotion-filled images before the ceremony, and help build the excitement in the leadup to the ‘I-do’s’.

Make sure to be intentional about your getting ready location. It literally defines the whole mood and feel of your photos, and can make or break your images. For example, if you decide to get ready in a stuffy hotel bathroom with bad lighting and no windows, you might feel stressed and claustrophobic. Instead…consider getting ready in an open, clean room with soft natural light coming through the windows, a place that will make you feel more at peace and in touch with your emotions.

Okay and then there is “Good light”. I swear you will be a master at noticing light by the end of all this haha! Try and get ready near a window with natural light coming in, it is much prettier for details and your skin will look more radiant…rather than yellow-ish overhead lighting. Like I mentioned before, keep indoor lights off during getting ready photos so you don’t get mixed colors in your photos (don’t worry, I’ll switch them off if you forget!).


A first look is a private moment between the couple that allows them to see each other before the ceremony. When we make time for a first look we have the benefit of starting on bride and groom portraits, bridal party photos, and family photos before the ceremony begins. First looks can be very beneficial if your wedding takes place in the winter where our days are not as long.  While I do enjoy the liberty of a first look many of my couples choose not to partake in them. One important question on my pre-wedding questionnaire is knowing when my couples are planning to have their ceremony. This helps me educate them on the lighting based around their event and how to proceed with scheduling. For example, if you are having a ceremony at 5pm in November, in Gatlinburg, TN I would highly recommend a first look to have proper light for all photographs.

My timelines are meant to give you the best lighting for all of your photographs whether we have a first look or we don’t!



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’:


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.


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.


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. 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.



Depending on your own family constellation, there are any number of configurations we can photograph the wedding party in. Some with everyone in them, some with each of your immediate then extended families, and some variations of smaller and larger groups. One thing that’s absolutely necessary for this part of the day is that everyone knows it’s happening, everyone’s on board, and there’s someone (Wedding planner? Sibling? Best friend?) who knows who everyone is and can herd everyone in the right direction at the right time, I am behind the camera so don't actually find people or call out for them (after years of trial and error it works best for family members to do this for you.) Before the wedding sit down and write down a list of every single person you need and where they should be at what time so we can fly through these and get everyone back to celebrating as quickly as possible! Each group takes around 3/4 minutes so try keep the photos to under 10 groups in total.

An ideal time to do this is immediately after the ceremony, but before the couple portraits. Once the reception starts, it’s hard to track everyone down (and likely we might capture hors d’orderves debris between someone’s teeth).

Family PORTRAITS Example

Whole Group ( I always like to start with this so I can let everyone know what the process is going to be )

Partner 1 - whole family

parents and siblings



Partner 2 - whole family

parents and siblings



Partner 1 - whole group friends

Partner 2 - whole group freinds

Be specific if you can and write name of everyone down for each photo group (apart from whole group ). You will be surprised how many people say am I in this family. This helps as your friends and family who are collecting people know who to call out for. I don't have a copy of this list on the day with me, this needs to be given to 2-3 responsible people ( from each side of the families ) to gather people and have them ready.

This can always be a frustrating time for you both as people don't listen and come to their photo, meaning your left standing and waiting. So it's important you don't have to big of a list.


Most often family photos are captured after the ceremony while your guest are enjoying cocktail hour. During this time my associate photographer is with your guest. 

• Cocktail hour photographs consist of group photos of your guests and candid images provided up close and from a distance. We know that you want to see every moment of your day so we ensure all the best moments captured. This is one of the biggest reasons my wedding collections are tailored with two or more wedding photographers. 

• After the ceremony your family will be instructed to stay for portraits.

Please provide a detailed family photo list 2 months before the wedding:

List the groupings of family photos you would like taken after the ceremony.

Ex: Bride & Groom with Groom's Parents (actual names).

***When I send out your pre-wedding questionnaire you will have the opportunity to list everyone here

Having a list will save so much time & make the process so simple! The reason I ask for names of family members is because it saves from any family dynamic awkwardness! So instead of saying "bride with dad & step-mom," I can just say, "Sarah with Tom & Sally." It’s much more professional & family are more likely to respond to hearing their actual name called. I always get so many compliments at the end of family photos for how easy, organized, & seamless it was!

F U L L - W E D D I N G P A R T Y P H O T O S

Once we finish up with family photos, we will bring in the whole wedding party (Bridesmaids and Groomsmen) for group photos!! If you’re having a first look, full wedding party photos might happen before the ceremony to leave more time for couple portraits.


Here’s where all the romance and feelings happen!

I’ll start by saying this: take things slow. With the kiss, with the walking, with the everything. Tell everyone else to do so, too. Resist the urge to rush through and just savor every moment! This allows me plenty of time to get the shot I need, too.

Where I’ll sneak the two of you away for sunset photos!


Sunset portraits are literally the BEST ten minutes of portraits you'll get on your wedding day. Typically we'll sneak out sometime in your reception (during open dancing) or right after family formals to grab a few of these! Trust me, they are WORTH IT.

They also give you another chance to slow down and reconnect with each other, to enjoy a few quality moments just the two of you and soak everything in.

Here are a few things to know:

- Bring your veil! This looks DREAMY with sunset lighting!

-Sunset photos only take about 10 minutes, so you can get right back to the party!

- If it ends up being overcast, don't worry! I've had SO MANY overcast and rainy weddings end up having a beautiful sunset. If the sun isn't peaking out, we might still sneak out for some extra portraits just for a little extra fun!


The more I know about the layout of the venue and the kind of lighting that will be used, the better prepared I’ll be to make sure all of the details line up in favour of amazing images.

From the details of where you’ll be sitting and what you have in the background, to where you’ll be in relation to the person giving speeches, all of this is super helpful for me to get a lay of the land and understand where to get the best shots. Will there be a sit-down dinner or will people be making their way around with snacks all night? Is it formal or more of a relaxed thing? If you’re having a DJ, will they be using their own lighting? The more fairy lights and candles and non- directional lighting the better, multi-coloured disco strobes don’t look good on guests or their food!


This is when I’ll be shooting candid photos of you and your groom walking in the reception!!

I’ll also be shooting reception details.

Please communicate with your wedding planner or DJ to turn off any colorful lighting, strobe lighting, and any other distracting lighting. And to ONLY leave on the warm, ambient lighting for the entrance, first dance, any special parent dances, and during cake cutting


I just don’t want you to look back on your photos and think “wow I wish I would have turned off the blue lighting, cause now I look like a smurf”.

Also if your uplighting is blue, then anything that is white (hence your wedding dress) will have a blue hue on it. 

*While I do edit photos, if you have blue hue lighting from the DJ and your Wedding colors are blue and green lets say, that blue color will become washout.


Since no one wants photos of open mouths full of food lol. I’ll be eating at the same time as you. Also, make sure to coordinate this with your caterer, they sometimes will put me in a back room, which is not ideal, since I won’t be able to see any important events happening.


If, you’re doing a sparkler exit! It usually takes about 15 min. So I’ll probably make you run up and down twice! Only because I want to get a variety of sparkler exit shots! Just follow my lead, and I got you!!

*Make sure to see if your venue allows this



When downloading your photos, I recommend downloading the ENTIRE gallery all at once, so you immediately have a copy of all your images! After downloading your gallery, be sure to save it to multiple places. You can also download individual images as you want them! 


The online gallery system that I use is extremely mobile friendly. To access, just go to your phone’s web browser and navigate to your gallery’s webpage link. It works seamlessly and just like it would on a computer! You can download individual photos onto your phone for crisp and clear Instagrams and having access to your memories at all times.


You are more than welcome to print images on your own. However, I would warn you to avoid Walmart, Target and Costco. I cannot promise that your colors will print true-to-life if you choose to print at those stores! 


Your gallery is guaranteed to remain open for 2 years after your wedding date. Therefore, I highly recommend backing up your images in more than one place, on multiple devices, flash drives, hard drives, and even in online cloud storage systems like Dropbox or iCloud. You can't have enough copies! I do charge a reopen archive fee of $100, if I have to re upload a gallery.


You are completely free to share your images wherever you would like! Whether it's on social media, printing them for your home, or sending to your friends, share away! I want you to treat your images like they're yours. Just keep in mind not to add filters or re-edit them in any way. Photo credit when posting is always so greatly appreciated! Please feel free to share your gallery link with your friends and family!

If vendors want to use any of my images for their business pages, refer them to me and I can provide them with the gallery and photo rights.


1. If you're getting married in the summer months, a "not-so-heavy" snack or lunch before portraits is always a good idea for you and your bridal party to avoid hungry bellies and passing out!

2. If it's going to be hot, a cooler of cold waters and frozen washcloths can help keep a wedding party cool - especially if your men are wearing lots of layers.

3. Make sure to have your bouquet delivered in time to make an appearance for the detail shots and for your first look. 

4. If you're planning on having a first look with your bridal party or a parent, they often feel more comfortable being fully dressed in their wedding attire, so it's important to plan accordingly for when they need to get dressed.

5. If your reception is at a separate venue, we can add some "buffer time" so that I have a chance to run over to the venue to capture it once it is fully decorated and while it's still "untouched" by guests.

6. I always recommend the bride go into hiding at least 30 minutes before the ceremony at the absolute latest. Guests typically arrive early to weddings and I want to ensure you have a little time to rest, refresh, and prepare before you walk down the aisle.

7. To help make family portraits go smoother, it's best to have a breakdown of what portraits you'd like. I will send out a questionnaire asking for the important list of family photos you'd like, and we can go over it together to make sure I shoot things in an order that is efficient and won't leave anyone out.

8. During the cocktail hour and the reception, I like to be near you that way anytime you'd like a photo with someone, you can get photos with your guests too. I love being your personal paparazzi!

9. UNPLUGGED WEDDING - An unplugged wedding is not only an amazing opportunity for your guests to disconnect from their devices and to connect to the present moment but they also help me get unobscured shots of you and the rest of the ceremony. There are so many pivotal moments that happen in the blink of an eye - if someone jumps out in front of me with their iPhone while you and the love of your life have your first kiss as forever partners, chances are you’ll have a big iPhone shaped blur in the foreground and I’ll miss the shot. It’s hard to ask people to keep their devices in their pockets. And although the people you’ve invited undoubtedly love and respect you, it can sometimes be

hard to disentangle ourselves from our technology. Set out little reminders for your guests to help nudge them in the right direction.

Make some cute signs to put up, add a note to the programs, and

let your celebrant know so they can remind them before the

ceremony begins. And tell them not to worry - I’m on the job of capturing some great images for everyone to take home.


Whether your ceremony is indoor or outdoor, there are a few simple but effective things that can be done to make sure that all of the images sparkle as bright as your memories of your wedding day.

If indoor, let’s consider the following:

  • What kinds of windows does your venue have? Do they use natural or artificial light? Sometimes artificial light can make things look really cold or clinical, but it’s possible to warm things up a bit by stringing up some warm festoon lights or candles.
  • Are there any rules surrounding your place of worship (if this is where we’re having the ceremony) that I should know about? If you’re unsure, consult with your religious leader and ask them if they have any rules they’d like me to know about
  • Would you like me to avoid using flash?
  • Do you have a preference as to how much I move around during the ceremony/reception? Would you like me to jump in the mosh or hang back? 
  • Different photographers have such different styles. Chances are, if you’ve booked me you have a feel for my vibe. I always do my best to be as emotionally aware as possible, but it never hurts to have a chat prior to the ceremony so that I’m across it all.

If outdoor, let’s consider the following:

  • What time is your wedding, and what will the lighting be like at that time? Can we ensure you’re both evenly lit? Will I be shooting into the sun? If we can make it so that I’m not, that’d be amazing.
  • What will your background look like? Can we make it pretty? Will there be anything that could cast shadows onto your faces?
  • If I have more physical space to play around with I’ll be able to get a nice mix of different kinds of shots. Close ups, details, wide-angles, and various candid guests.
  • Elevate the composition of your shots by having a symmetrical space. If you say your vows under an arch or between an arbour, your images will have that extra little aesthetic oomph.


Should I get a videographer?

Yes!!! You will not regret this at all. Photo and Video go hand in hand. Please if you can invest in a videographer. Or at the very least set up a camera to capture the ceremony and speeches.

What do you wear to our wedding?

I usually arrive in all black, from my formal or casual top to my shoes, unless stated by the bride herself. You will be able to let me know what you wish for me to arrive in on the pre-wedding questionnaire. I will never white to your wedding, however, I have had a bride ask, and this is YOUR day, where you should be the one in white.

What happens if we ask you yo stay later?

That's totally fine, I will just invoice you the next day for the extra hours worked. I charge $225/hour.

Do you use flash?

Yes I do, during receptions and dance time, please let me know if the flash will cause a guest medical problems and we will find another option.

Do we meet prior to our wedding day?

This i s totally up to you, I do a zoom meeting the week before your wedding day to just catch up and see how its all going. But we can meet at a local cafe to do this to!

Do we get all our photos?

No, you get all the photos that I have chosen to edit. Think how many photos you take on your phone with closed eyes, funny smiles etc... I delete all of these and only keep the best to edit. I don't give clients unedited images.

How many images will we get?

I do not define a number but usually I allow for 40-50 images per hour of coverage.

Do we have to feed you?

If I am staying over reception then I require a meal. Ideally at the same time as the first table so I don't miss speeches. If you wish not to provide a meal I am happy to head off site for half an hour to get some dinner.

What happens if we postpone?

Lots of things happen which require you to postpone your wedding day, this is totally fine, I ask you let me know as soon as possible, when booking a new date you need to communicate with me to see if I am available.

Why do you have a non refundable booking fee?

This keeps your date in my calendar so I do not book another event or session, It also covers all my pre-wedding admin work that I do, from emails, invoicing, contracts, phone calls etc..


Thank you so much for your interest in choosing me to photograph your big day! I don't take it lightly and am SO excited for you both. I want you to know that I am here for you throughout the wedding planning and am happy to help however I can! If you have any questions along the way, whether they are photography related or not, please feel free to reach out to me via email at any point. I hope this guide serves as a resource for you as you plan and prepare for your big day! At the end of the day, no matter what happens, you'll be married and that's what matters most. 

- Brittany