wedding guidebook

insight by wright photographs


We've photographed so many weddings and couples in a variety of places so we just wanted to offer insight and tips where possible.  We do not want to be pushy about your day, because, hello! it's YOUR day. There are some aspects of the day that you might not think of though, just small things like picking out the right hanger for your dress or saving the boutonnieres until closer to the ceremony time.  We wouldn't know all of this either, except we've witnessed so many weddings that we've noticed what helps and what brings anxiety; what photographs well and what doesn't. So let's start at the beginning, shall we?


Getting Ready

We likely won't arrive until near the end of your getting ready time.  Generally, Blaine photographs guy, while Kelsey photographs the girls - not always like this but a majority of the time. We may be in for the last bit of hair and/or makeup touches which is awesome, but certainly will develop your timeline with you getting into your dress. Please do not put on your dress, shoes, any jewelry until we get there. It would also be helpful to go ahead and have any details out that we could potentially use for photographs. These items would include: dress, shoes, jewelry for sure. Extra items might include stationary/invites, letters from one another, vow books, rings, florals, perfume, sentimental objects, and so on. Don't worry about having everything set up, we will do that with the best light in consideration, but having them in one spot or one person who knows where it all resides is really helpful. Also, it would be wonderful to have a pretty hanger for dress photos, it doesn't need to be anything expensive or custom, just a simple wooden hanger is wonderful! The other big factor to consider when getting ready is the location. We highly recommend getting ready in well lit areas, specifically natural light. Think open spaces with lots of windows, white walls are helpful! Consider renting an Air B+B, it makes for a wonderful space to get ready in. A few hotels we like in the Champaign area are: Hyatt and iHotel; a few in the Chicago area are: The Robey, Chicago Athletic Club, ACE, Ambassador. Having an awesome getting ready place is always a sweet backup plan in case of bad weather.

Other thoughts:

+Who do I want to help me get in my dress?

+Does the bridal party need to be dressed before me or are they not needed until a bit later in the schedule?

+Do I want to wear my veil for the first look or should I wait until the ceremony to add a bit of surprise?

+What time are the bouquets set to arrive?


First Look

What is a first look? It's just term in the wedding industry which means the couple will see one another for the first time before the bride walks down the aisle. Totally skip over this part if you are not wanting to do a first look, it will not hurt our feelings. If you are unsure whether to do a first look or not, here's some information that may help you make that decision. Blaine and I were not interested in doing one on another wedding day either but in the end we decided there really wasn't another way, in terms of the schedule and photography. Our wedding day was rainy and totally not going as planned so the fact that I got to see him before walking down the aisle really calmed my anxious fears and nerves. It was a time for just us before the chaos and celebration of the day. I know for sure that Blaine gushed over me more in that ten minutes than he would have had I asked him what he thought about my dress as the day concluded. With that said, there is nothing that's going to replace you coming down the aisle. That moment is special, intense, and emotional. Another fear brides often communicate is their groom will lack emotion/tears at the ceremony if I do a first look. Let me be the first to say this is a MYTH, a total lie. If your groom is willing to share his emotions, it is more likely to happen during a private first look. Our most emotional grooms are emotional and sincere in both the first look and the ceremony. Another positive of a first look is getting so many photos out of the way. Your family, bridal party, and guests really just want to celebrate with you and having bridal party (and at times, family) done before the ceremony is awesome! Schedules for the day tend to flow better when couples choose a first look, not always, but quite often. Couples likely will have more photos from their day too! First looks can take anywhere from 15 minutes - 60 minutes, depending on the schedule and whether first look turns into bride + groom photo time! We will set the first look up for you so that's nothing for you to worry about, we will take care of it all. We will make the first look as private as possible to really give you the time you deserve on your wedding day.


Bridal Party

The best bridal party photos are taken outdoors or natural light at the very least. We understand that most of your weddings are in Illinois and there's really not that many weekends out of the year where the weather is ideal. It's always too hot, too cold, too humid, too windy...something, but let's just go with and make the best of what we've got, right? Warn your bridal parties that they will most likely be outside for the bridal party shots. I will be totally honest, poorly lit churches do make for not the prettiest bridal party photos. We work really fast if the weather is not perfect and we promise to make it as painless as possible. We will have you and your friends acting goofy and laughing together, so just try to encourage them to be themselves and have fun. On average, bridal party photos taken about 30 minutes. If your bridal party is larger than 12 people total, it could take longer.

Here is our standard list of bridal party groupings:

+bride with ea. bridesmaid

+bride with bridesmaids

+groom with ea. groomsmen

+groom with groomsmen

+bride and groom with bridesmaids and groomsmen

+whole bridal party (bride, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, flower girls, ring bearers)

+bride with flower girl

+groom with ring bearer

+bride and groom with flower girl and ring bearer

To consider:

+How will my bridal party get to the photo location/ceremony/reception? Car pooling? Limo?

+Where does bridal party keep their personal items during the ceremony? For example, do they need to check out of their hotel before leaving for photos?

+Which bridesmaid will be sure to have my extra stuff?



Family photos tips are very similar to the suggestions for bridal party photos. We again recommend natural light if possible, so maybe in front of the church or a good shaded area at your ceremony venue. We recommend doing family photos at the ceremony location to ensure everyone makes it to the specific location. We can do family photos before the ceremony if possible and if not, immediately following the ceremony. Family photos generally take about 20 minutes, even though the list below may look long, it's quick. To ensure good flow and not wasting time, encourage your family to be in the right place at the right time so we are looking for family members. 

Here is our standard list of family photos:

+bride with mom

+bride with dad

+bride with mom and dad

+bride and groom with mom and dad

+bride with siblings

+bride and groom with bride's immediate family (this includes in laws, nieces, nephews)

+bride and groom with ea. grandparent/grandparent set

+groom with mom

+groom with dad

+groom with mom and dad

+groom and bride with mom and dad

+groom with siblings

+groom and bride with groom's immediate family

+groom and bride with ea. grandparent/grandparent set

Things to think about when planning family photos:

+We will tailor the above list to your specific family dynamics.

+If you want groups added/subtracted just let us know. We suggest keeping the additions to the list to about 5 additional groups. 


Bride + Groom

Eeek! My favorite part in the day, spending time with you two, celebrating your marriage! We need about 60 minutes total with the two of you. The time can be all together or split throughout the day and no worries, I will help you plan the schedule to make it flow best for you. If you have specific locations in mind please let us know during the planning and we will do our best to accommodate. We are happy to pick the locations for your portraits as well. Just be prepared to snuggle, laugh, kiss a lot, and savor the moments you have with one another. We will lightly direct you and encourage the interactions. You'll be beautiful and glowing and it will be wonderful.



If you're having your ceremony outside, we would love to help you plan it for the right time of day according to the light available as well as your schedule. We can also help you decide which direction the set up would look best for photos too! We love outdoor ceremonies. For indoor ceremonies, we will not use flash unless it's necessary as it can be distracting from the ceremony. Also, we would love to help you before you make your ceremony timeline based on your decision with first look, photos, and the time of sunset. We just want to ensure you're able to get all the photos you've paid for before the light fades out (this is no big deal most seasons, but late fall and winter certainly need to think about the early sunset time).



Again, we love natural light, catching our drift? :) But natural light at receptions is not usually an option, candles and Edison bulb string lights add really pretty light to your reception. We will use flash when  necessary. We will coordinate with your DJ/live band regarding the itinerary for the evening's event. We will photograph all the important events like cake cutting, first dances, and toasts. We eat dinner while you and your guests eat dinner - no one likes photos while they are eating anyway! Generally we stay at receptions for 2 hours - this is allows to capture the main events and a little bit of dancing. If you plan to do any grand exits, like sparklers, we recommend making sure you do this early enough in the night to have plenty of people still there to hold the sparklers. You can always move it up into the evening and then head back in and party! My favorite reception was when the couple did a sparkler entrance onto the dance floor for their first song! 


midwest vendor love:



Central Illinois:

The Cannery

Pear Tree Estate

Bluestem Hall

Allerton Park



The Robey

The ACE Hotel

Warehouse 109

Garfield Park Conservatory

Loft on Lake

Ashley Farm


Central Illinois:

Flowers by Kristine

Fancy Florals by Nancy

Olive Branch

J. Blu Design

Delight Flower Farm

Old Town Flowers



Asrai Garden

Plant Foyer

Flowers for Dreams

+Wedding Coordinators|Planners

Hillary Rae Events

He + She



Hopscotch Bakery

Pandamonium Doughnuts

Cream + Flutter

Sugar by Sarah

Cake Artist’s Studio

Pollen + Pastry


LA Gourmet

Black Dog


+Hand Lettering + Stationery

Letters by Lindsey

Cloud Nine Bridal + Fine Paper

+Dress Shops

Alice in Ivory


Bridal Parlour


Michelle’s Bridal

Lovely Bride


Central Illinois:

Party On Productions

Crash Events DJ


Endless Summer Band


Toast + Jam