A scrapbook collage of various wedding images, pressed flowers and torn paper edges.

We’ve been to a few weddings over the years! Heck, we like planning weddings so much that we got married twice. This is our ever-evolving guide to planning a wedding that feels spacious, full of tender moments and steeped in your personalities.

Planning weddings is not easy, we know - we've done it (twice), watched and helped our friends do it and over the last decade witnessed clients in the thick of it. We always try to help in any way we can, so we've taken it upon ourselves to collect our insight, experiences and career wisdom to help you plan your wedding day timeline and experience, getting the most out of your hard work.

This guide includes descriptions and ideas, tips and details on timing, sample timelines for both summer and winter months, as well as tips when planning things such as hair and make up. Without a doubt each wedding is different, so this guide is here to serve as as a starting point, inspiration and resource. Save this link and refer to it, and if you have any questions about something not mentioned here don't hesitate to contact us directly - we're here to help.

xo - Samson & Kelsey Anne

Table of



▽ styles OF WEDDINGS


▽ tips when hiring a photographer





A bridesmaid smiles and flips hair joyfully away from her face.

Types of Weddings

A sun filled scene of a ceremony in a beautiful garden.

True Elopements & Elopements

A TRUE elopement is just you and your beau and a couple witnesses making it official. Where this happens is entirely up to you; a courthouse, an oceanside cliff, your favourite trail or your living room. A more common elopement is a super small gathering (we like to say about 10-15 people).

Micro Weddings

Typically no more than 50-60 of your closest friends and family. These weddings typically happen at private residences but can also happen in restaurants, at farms, on beaches and more. They're sweet, intimate and very personal.

Standard or Traditional Weddings

50-60+ people, usually at a medium or large size venue. These are the most common type of wedding and the most traditional. Your whole family, lots of friends, food and drinks!

Styles of Weddings

A mixed race couple stand in a Dartmouth Ferry Terminal in full wedding attire.


Wanna hike to your favourite look-off and swap some vows with an unbeatable vista and story? Perhaps you're lifting off in a helicopter or starting your new forever on the top deck of a ship. You can always think outside the typical venue ideas to make your magic happen.


There's no shortage of barn venues, all with their unique charm, space advantages and a plethora of beautiful photo backdrops. If you've got country roots, a love for animals, or just want a relaxed vibe for everyone to soak up the big day - a barn or farm wedding could be a good fit.


Urban, city, chic - Modern Weddings are contemporary, classic, timeless and full of edge. You can be as glam, as elegant or as rock and roll as you want, it all fits!

Types of Photography

There is so many styles of photography utilized to capture a wedding day, and just as many different ways to describe them - so we wont get into breaking them all down. We'll show you the styles we use to capture a wedding day and tell you a bit about each so you know what to expect.

Candid moment of the flower girl fixing the bride's train.


Candid photography is photography captured without creating a posed appearance. Simply put it's natural moments unfolding. The reality of candid photography is that there's often a little orchestrating that happens - we don't alter the moment but we might ask your to repeat an action or do it slightly differently.

A family pose like a magazine cover on the back patio of their Petite Chalet Cottage.


Posed photography is the most hands-on we get. We help you out with posing, and make sure everyone is comfortable. We keep you looking you most natural by not asking you to do weird stuff. This isn't a portrait studio, we don't get super fussy and our instructions are simple and clear, we promise!

Groom and Bride celebrate joyously as they head back down the aisle as a married couple.




Closely related to Candid moments, these are key elements as they happen - the cornerstones to your wedding day story and we capture it happening as it happens. These are the types of moments we don't get a re-do on. They happen once and we're right there with you, rolling with it!

Coming in hot ...

Tips when hiring a photographer ...

The reason we made this list, and included who we did in it, is because we've watched stories unfold about deposits disappearing, photographers ghosting or double booking, gross scams, and just poor business management.

As professionals in this industry we have a shared responsibility to manage the risk of errors and run our businesses with care and ample consideration - that being said mistakes do happen, hard drives fail, and well, shit does go wrong sometimes.

It's important to protect yourself from disaster just as hard as a good photographer, any one of the photographers on this list, will try to protect and preserve your images for you.

Here are some tips to consider when hiring a photographer so your story doesn't become one of those stories ...

Samson and Kelsey Anne smiling at a park in Liverpool, NS.

Is there a backup plan?

What if your photographer breaks their wrist hiking for an elopement the weekend before your wedding? Do they have a plan? What is it and do you know it too?

Read their google reviews.

What do other people say about them? This will give you insight on not just their work but HOW they show up for their clients (or not). This is important to look for.

See full galleries.

Ask to see full galleries, no photographer should hesitate to show off their work to you. Specifically ask to see a gallery that shows a similar length of coverage to what you're seeking, and if at all possible something that shows a similar environment. IE: Are you having a barn wedding in dark barn - ask for something similar. This will show you they're capable of shooting in your chosen environment.

Sign a contract.

Despite common belief, contracts are not that scary. They're just outlines of an agreement you're participating in. They're there to protect you AND your photographer, they serve to protect you both. Do not give a photographer, or any vendor, your hard earned cash without a contract in place. Read that contract, ask any questions you have and make sure you understand it before you sign it.

If at all possible, meet them.

It's not always possible, so this one is a bonus. If you can meet them in person do it! Go grab a snack and sign the contract in person even. If you can't meet in person (for whatever reasons) try to get them on zoom, skype, or even a phone call to make sure their energy matches yours. Most photographers will want to suss you out too.

Do the Engagement Session!

We're of the opinion you need to like your photographers or you're not going to like them chasing you around all day for your wedding. One surefire way to determine if you like someone is to spend some time with them. We recommend booking an engagement session before booking them if you're unsure.

A bride's mother helping clasp her necklace on.

Getting Ready Moments

When building out your schedule, one of the first parts of coverage to get forgotten about are the Getting Ready moments. We recommend getting us to capture some getting ready moments (even just the tail end) for a handful of reasons and most of them are simply logistical.

It helps everyone get comfortable with us on the day. It's weird to have a new person in the space with cameras, but this part of the day is a safe time for folks to let their guard down and get comfortable quickly around the big lens and the two of us moving around. It's also pretty much the ONLY time we have to photograph smaller details like the rings, outfit details like shoes, invitations, any special or heirloom jewelry, etc but also the more obvious items you'll be wearing, your actual outfits.

And selfishly, as storytellers ... These photos are building moments that are important in the finished collection of images. Imagine you're looking at your wedding album, reliving the whole day, these images are key to setting the scene. They build the story of your wedding day. Getting ready photos, in our opinion, are just as important as photos of receptions, first dances or candids of people attending. 

A silhouette of a bride applying lipstick.
Two brides, having just turned to see one another, well up with tears and emotions.

First Looks & Logistics

There are a lot of polarizing opinions about First Looks - but we're onboard with whatever YOU want. If you know you don't want to do a first look - skip ahead, we're not here to convince you.

If you're curious and on the fence this might be insightful.

Aside from taking the edge off your nervous system on your wedding day, giving you some face time with your hunny, a first look can also free up time in your schedule to squeeze in some photos with one another or even with family, wedding party, etc all BEFORE your ceremony. This means after the "I Do's" you just get to party and mingle with everyone who's come to join you.

First looks can be with your beau - but also between you and your best friend, your wedding party, or with your family. Everyone's excited to see you dressed your best and ready to walk the aisle. It's an honour to be invited to see you before the ceremony and the reactions are always worth it.

A father steadies himself and holds back tears seeing his daughter in her wedding dress.

Time of Day & Lighting for Ceremony

A couple walk hand in hand, smiling, out of their ceremony.

Lighting is everything, it's our best friend and the hardest thing to control. We don't choose the weather, therefor we don't control the amount of natural ambient light. These photos show a variety of different lighting situations, including our favourite (overcast) and our least favourite (artificial). We try to avoid using flash photography during your ceremony if at all possible.

Two grooms share vows in a dimly lit bar full of twinkle lighting.

If you've decided not to do a first look, you need to pick a ceremony time with enough light left to do all of your formal pictures (wedding party, family, and photos of just the two of you being cute) before the sun sets. We typically recommend starting your ceremony no later than two hours prior to sunset.

Bride and groom walk arm in arm up their aisle.
A couple stand in dappled light during their wedding ceremony.

Timing and Schedules

A bride makes her way down the stairs.

This is a guideline of the approximate time we will need for each part of the day. We will work with you at any point to help create a schedule to ensure we're able to document everything perfectly.

Getting Ready
1 hour / each

First Look

15-20 min

Ceremony Decor

20 min


15-30 min

Ceremony Congrats

30 min

Family Portraits

30 Minutes

Wedding Party Portraits

15-30 minutes

Formal Portraits

30-1hr of just you two

Reception Decor

15 min

cocktail hour


Reception & Party


sunset photos

15-20 min

*these times are estimates and guides - if you'd like to chat with us to see what's possible we're totally open to adjusting how we work to navigate your itinerary.

Sample Schedules

Schedule 1 - 8 hours

12:00 - Getting Ready with your partner

1:00 - Getting Ready with you

2:15 First Look

2:45 Ceremony Details

3:00 Ceremony

3:45 Family Photos

4:15 Wedding Party Photos

4:30 Couple's Photos

5:00 Entrance to Cocktail Reception

5:10 Dinner & Reception Details

5:30 Dinner

Speeches throughout

7:30 Cake Cut

7:45 First Dances

8:00 Dance Floor & Party

Schedule 2 - 6 hours

2:00 - Getting Ready with your partner

2:45 - Getting Ready with you

3:45 Ceremony Details

4 Ceremony

4:30 Family Photos

5:00 Wedding Party Photos

5:15 Couple's Photos

6:00 Entrance to Reception

6:10 First Dances

6:30 Dinner & Speeches

8:00 Cake Cut

However you plan your big day we're here to support you.

There are many decisions, heaps of options, and endless ways you can make your day unique to you. Remember to do what FEELS right, what reflects your relationship and what you WANT to do.

It's your wedding day, and you deserve to love every moment of it!

xo - Samson and Kelsey Anne