top of page
  • Writer's pictureKristin Bendigo

"Do's and Don'ts: The Ultimate Wedding Checklist to Ensure a Picture-Perfect Day"

Updated: May 6

Congratulations! You've spent months (maybe years!) planning the biggest day of your life and it's finally here!

The venue is bustling with vendors setting up tables for all of your guests. The bridesmaids are steaming the wrinkles out of their gowns while the groomsmen are on their 3rd shot of tequila. Your wedding planner is frantically searching for the basket of multicolored petals, unbeknownst to her that the flower girl has been clutching it in her tiny hands for the past two hours, prepared for her important duty. Your hair stylist has just unpinned your curls when look who just walked through the door ... your photographer!

As the people who will be with you and your future husband for your entire wedding day, we have some important things to cover that will help both you and your media team have a seamless and stress-free wedding day–this guide will cover the "dos" and "don'ts" to help your media team capture your day flawlessly!

I've shot hundreds of weddings, each one as unique as the next. And I've picked up a few things along the way! These are the most helpful tips that I have found will keep your day running smoothly so you can focus on what is truly important!


Do: Have all of your "details" in a box or bag upon our arrival

Your "details" are the little things that come together to create the "big picture" ... without any of these small things, this day wouldn't be what it is. For example:

  • Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands

  • Bouquet & Boutonniere

  • Wedding Invitation & Save the Dates

  • Shoes

  • Perfume & Cologne

  • Jewelry & Watch

  • Garter & Tie

  • Vow Books

  • Etc.

All of these things should be in a box or bag upon our arrival; that way we are not wasting time trying to gather all these individual items and instead, we can jump right into the photos. Let's face it, wedding days usually get off track a bit so every moment counts!

Don't: Forget to book your makeup trial

The amount of times brides have passed on or forgotten to book their makeup trials is astounding ... please don't be a statistic, ladies!

Now, you may be thinking, "this is no big deal. I know what colors I am!" or "I know exactly what I want, I don't need a trial!"

Well, here's the thing .... we ALL thought we knew our colors when we were in high school too, didn't we? And years later, we look back on those photos and think "oh dear god, why is my face white and my body is orange?" Yeah .... like 7 out of 10 of us are still walking around like that.

I PROBABLY made up that statistic but it has to be pretty close based on the number of ladies I see walking into Sephora to buy new foundation.

Book your makeup trial with your artist, even if you have to pay extra for it. The benefits are astounding! Your artist gets to meet you before the big day, he or she can suggest certain makeup that works best for your skin, they can toss around ideas you may not even have considered before your trial, and we can coordinate to do your engagement photos right after so you can see how it photographs! It's a win win!

Do: Create a list of formal family photos

Family portrait time .... the most stressful part of the day. Right after the ceremony, cocktail hour begins and everyone disperses, never to be seen again.

Create a list of formal family photos ahead of time when we make your timeline for the day; once complete, send the list and timeline to said family members! One general email should be all it takes, though if you have a few people in the family who need a little reminding, a mass text should do just as well. You can also have your DJ or officiant give a little reminder after the ceremony through his or her microphone: "The couple has asked that immediate family make their way to the front of the venue for family portraits."

Remember to keep your list short and sweet! Great Aunt Bertha twice-removed can wait until cocktail hour if she wants a photo with the newlyweds; immediate family and grandparents are a pretty good start!

And don't forget to designate a bridesmaids and/or groomsmen to help wrangle up any stragglers who decide to stop by the bar before the portraits ... there's always one ... I'm looking at you, dads.

Don't: Forget to feed us first

I know, this one seems a bit selfish right? But hear me out!

We've been working alongside you guys all day, so come dinner time, we're still working on a timeline and it's pretty strict! We only have so long before we need to pick the cameras back up and get back to work! But if we are the last ones to eat, everyone will be finished and ready to get the party started before we even take a bite ... and trust me, we don't want to hold the evening up just to stuff our faces.

If we can grab our plates right after the bridal party, that would be wonderful! Most of the time, it's a venue policy that the photographers eat last, but if the couple expresses their desire to have us get served along with the bridal party, they will honor that wish. It really does seem like a silly request, but hey, we want to get back to work on a full belly so we can give you guys our best!

Here are a few more "dos and "don'ts" to help you through the day!


  • Remember, the day is about what YOU want; don't be afraid to say NO

  • Live in the moment; the day goes by way too fast

  • Designate tasks to your bridal party; they are there to help

  • Take couples photos during golden hour, even if your reception already started

  • Practice your first kiss; make sure you aren't covering your partners face for the photos

  • Have your pet be a part of your wedding day; I insist

  • A grand exit (even if its staged); use sparklers, bubbles, streamers, whatever you want!

  • Fill out your wedding certificate before your wedding so all you need to do is sign

  • Have an unplugged ceremony; nothing is worse than Uncle Bob ruining your first kiss shot with his giant iPad. Besides, your guests should be in the moment with you ... let us handle the media


  • Panic if something goes wrong; it's not your job to worry about it

  • Book an outdoor venue without a B-plan; weather happens

  • Forget to hydrate throughout the day; and no, champagne is not hydration

  • Follow trends; create your own and make the day as unique as you

  • Allow for open speeches during the reception; either nobody speaks or too many people speak and it is a "time killer"

  • Let your family pressure you into things or people you don't want; it is YOUR day

  • Get a spray tan the day before or day of your wedding; you will sweat and it will run

  • Be afraid to say "no kids" at your wedding; if you don't want them there, don't have them

  • Ever add "September" to your music playlist or I will invoice you an additional $500

And always, always book Kristin Bendigo Photography to capture your wedding day!


bottom of page