A Photographer’s Guide to a Perfect Wedding Day

We all have high hopes for our wedding day. We want all of our best friends and family to be there, we want the laughter to be abundant and the memories vibrant. Finding and creating your vision for your wedding is where things can get more complicated. You have all these ideas, but how do you make them happen?

This year I’m coming up on hitting 200 weddings photographed over my career. I have seen quite a few weddings that were a total dream, and then some that were a bit more toward the chaotic. I’ve worked with a bunch of wonderful wedding planners and been the wedding timeline planner for smaller weddings. This post is a collection of most all of my tidbits and tips that I’ve learned through photographing weddings for my career.

I hope you find this information valuable to plan a wedding that fits your personalities and your dream for your wedding!

Planning for a stress-free day

I always encourage assessing what’s most important to you and then plan according to those goals. I’m biased most towards keeping the timeline relaxed and prioritizing photography. Other factors to consider are decor, the dance floor, drinks, venue, and the whole look of everything. I’m going to focus more on the things that I have experience working with, but in general my philosophy is to write down the things most important to you, then plan ahead to get those things figured out well ahead of time so that the things you’re looking forward to don’t become causes of stress.


Top 5+ Iceland/Reyjkavic Day Trip Destinations

This Fall I traveled to Iceland for a wedding (Ellis & Kristen) and it was one of my favorite trips ever. It’s such a beautiful country that while small enough to feel familiar after a few days, can’t be fully experienced in the short week that we were there. We were able to pack in a lot of beautiful places in the few days that we had free after the wedding, and I’m happy with our itinerary enough to highly recommend these if you’re making the trip.

In no particular order, these are my favorite Iceland destinations. Drumroll please…

  • Glymur — possibly my favorite hike of all time. We took the lower trail up the ravine, crossed the stream and then hiked back down on the other side. I’d recommend doing the same. A bunch of the pictures from the blog post were from this hike. Not the most novice level hike (crossing the stream was slightly scary) but most definitely worth it. (IG photo)
  • Gljúfrabúi — little cave waterfall by the more iconic Seljalandsfoss. Definitely check them both out. I enjoyed all the more popular touristy waterfalls, but this small waterfall in a cave was much more secluded than the rest. (IG photo and story)
  • Black Beach near Vic — this place can get rather busy, but it’s definitely worth the trip east from Reyjkavic.
  • Geothermal pools at Hverasvaedid — self expalatory. Long-ish hike, but amazing and a neat experience. (map to it)

We also did the golden circle and a bunch of smaller destinations. I found this map to be very informative for finding good destinations. Some bonus items that didn’t make the list would be one of the islands nearby (that I didn’t have time for) that you can travel to by ferry or plane. Also the fish and chips stand by Skogafoss is worth a stop. :)

All in all, wonderful place. Highly recommend going when you can! A++ Enjoy the photos. :)


Ellis + Kristen // Iceland Destination Wedding

With marriage being one of life’s greatest adventures, why not make your wedding one of your life’s greatest adventures?

I imagine this is what went through Kristen and Ellis’ head thinking ahead to this day. But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Let’s rewind to the backstory.

Ellis and Kristen had been friends for a little while through work and mutual friends. Kristen has always wanted to backpack up to Everest Base Camp in Nepal and Ellis mentioned wanting to go as well. As this dream turned into concrete plans, the plans turned into first dates of training for the climb. Nothing was official in their relationship until after their trip when Ellis asked if they should date. I’m assuming that a few other events likely happened in between, but now our story resumes here. In Iceland. With nearly 30 of Kristen and Ellis’ favorite humans.

This whole wedding trip was so personalized and unique to Ellis and Kristen and their desire to spend purposeful time with friends and family. We were able to take several day trips as a group, go hiking, swimming, having a great dip off (who could make the best dip), worshiping together at our nice cottage, exploring Reykjavik, and chasing waterfalls. This three day wedding adventure was concluded with a nice dinner at the harbor.

All this feels like a wonderful reunion. Spending so much quality time with these people made these old and new friends feel like family. So happy for these sweet newlyweds. Words and photos can’t capture all of the beauty of God’s creation and His workings in the lives of these two, but it can show a whole lot of the magic. And that’s enough for me.

Here we go.