top of page
Susie+Austin_Meagan Elizabeth Photography Somerset Wisconsin Wedding-112.jpg

2024 edition

The Wedding Experience

a guide for all meagan elizabeth photography brides


Hey there beautiful people! This is such an exciting time for you! I’m sure your mind is racing with all that needs to be planned. The purpose of this guide is to step in BEFORE you feel overwhelmed and break down the whole experience - from your engagement session to the final delivery of your wedding gallery. My goal is to empower you as you plan. I want you to know exactly what to expect to and face the next few months with excited anticipation of all the wonderful things to come. 

I am beyond excited to be able to serve you in this season of life and want nothing more than for you to have the best experience possible!

So, what do you say? Should we make some magic together?

table of contents

Karley and Calvins Cottage Farmhouse Wedding_Meagan Elizabeth Photography_MN WI Photograph


My Why.

As a Christ-follower, I deeply believe that weddings are about marriage. This may be an obvious thing to say, but in the craziness of planning, budgeting, selecting vendors and swimming through the myriad details, I pray that this is never lost on you. Your wedding day is a beginning - a celebration of two people coming together surrounded by your community to vow to choose one another every day for the rest of your lives. That is something worth celebrating. Worth capturing so you can reminisce over for decades to come. 

Its important that you know that your wedding is meaningful to me. That your photographs are not about trendy Instagram posts, but about capturing this cherished day that goes by so quickly. So when you're eight years in on a mundane Tuesday; when you're celebrating 25 years; when your own kids plan their wedding days - you can always look back to your beautiful beginning - the party that was had, the people who were there. It's never about performance.

Your wedding day is a sacred celebration, NOT a series of photo ops. I cannot wait to witness you saying 'I Do' and cheer you on with all your favorite people. 

Kaitlin and Mason_family farm engagement_meagan elizabeth photography-8.jpg


Your Engagement Session

your wedding booking includes a complimentary engagement session

I love engagement sessions! They are some of my favorite shoots because I get to hang out with you two before your wedding, get to know you a little, and capture some really great memories. I recommend reaching out to schedule your session 4-5 weeks in advance, to make sure we can find a day that works well for both of us. Sessions can either be at sunset (starting 90 minutes prior) or at sunrise (for all those early-birds out there).  When scheduling your session, keep in mind when you want to be printing save-the-dates, invites, and more as you’ll get your photos back within three weeks of your engagement session date.

Your 90 minute session has time for 2 locations within 10-15 minutes of each other. This will allow time for travel, plus an outfit change mid-session. 

Choosing where to shoot

The best locations are places where you feel the most happy and at ease. A favorite date spot? Your family cabin? A hike you love? Your parent’s farm? A field of wildflowers? If there’s a place you love to be or an activity you love doing together, that’s likely a great choice for your engagement photos. 

Grace and Hans june farm engagement session_meagan elizabeth photography -116.jpg

Selecting your outfits

We'll have time for an outfit change halfway through!


Say yes to the dress

Long, flowy dresses look great on camera because they add movement to your photos and tend to flatter all body types. Your engagement session is the perfect time to get all dressed up! Read: there is no such thing as too fancy. 

Most brides will go for 2 looks for their engagement session - one formal, and one more date-night casual. 


Aim for Dapper

No one can deny that most men look striking in a well-tailored suit. If a suit isn’t for you,  go for long pants, a nice button-down, and closed shoes; think sophisticated and masculine. Solid shades of navy, beige, black, or gray are foolproof compliments to almost any woman's outfit. Personally, I love warm tones - blue jeans look amazing with tan or cream shirts. 


Consider how your belt, watch and shoes add detail to your look. You're welcome to mix and match a layer, like a jacket or button-down without doing a full change during the session. 

Things to Avoid: Shorts and sandals tend to draw attention away from the face and down to your feet, so wear with caution. Avoid bold patterns or bright colors and opt for something more muted. Stay away from logos and graphics

TLDR - When in doubt, wear light, solid neutrals. Long, swishy dresses are DREAMY in photos. Wear pieces that make you feel GOOD


Think Details

Treat yourself to a hair appointment, a manicure, and make sure to clean your ring so it sparkles in all its glory. Remind your man to get a fresh haircut the week before your session.


Consider how your jewelry, belt, and other details add class to your look. Ever wanted to wear a flower crown? Go for it! 

Before you arrive, check your outfits for wrinkles, creases, and stray pet hair - you don’t want those showing up in your photos!


Coordinating palettes

When choosing colors, I recommend mostly light, muted shades - you don’t want an ultra-bold color competing with your beautiful faces and the way your feel about each other. Go for soft neutrals. If you do have, say, a sunny yellow dress that’s the perfect pop of color, put your man in something neutral to balance it out.

As you and your fiancé are planning your looks, think coordinating, not matching. Most brides will choose their outfit first and then select their fiancé’s to compliment it. Avoid both having the same dominant color.

When will we get our photos back?

Do we have to pay extra for more downloads? What about printing?

Can we bring our dog?

Where will we change?

Any other tips?

Engagement Session FAQ

Turnaround time for engagement sessions is 3 weeks. You'll receive your beautiful, professionally edited, high resolution photos via email in a digital gallery. From there you can download, print, and share!

Nope! Your complimentary session includes a minimum of 100 edited photos and unlimited digital downloads. You can order beautiful, studio quality prints right through your gallery, or download your files and order through the print shop of your choice. 

Yes! I'm a huge dog person and have three myself. If you decide to bring your dog (or dogs) to your session, I recommend you ask a friend to come along to hang out with them while they're not in photos. That way the pups can have a fun time too!

Ready for an adventure? Most photo locations don’t have great options for changing outfits, so you may end up shimmying into your gown in the back seat of your car while your fiance stands guard - Its all about the memories, right?

1. Eat before your session! Nobody wants to be hangry. Especially for their engagement photos. Grab a snack before your session so your energy levels are up and your stomach isn’t the first thing on your mind. Grabbing a beer beforehand or popping some champagne during your session is also totally allowed - this is going to be fun!

2. Relax! I do not expect you to be models. My job is to direct you in a way that helps you relax, feel natural, and be your true comfortable selves in front of my lens. Don’t worry if you are feeling nervous, I’ll be sure the end result is something you will love! 

Final tip!

Make it a date.

You two are already all dressed up - why not make it a date? 

Grab brunch after your sunrise session, or make a fancy dinner reservation to celebrate. After all, you deserve it after rocking your engagement photos. Relax and have fun together!

Karley+Calvin_Getting Ready-20.jpg


Planning your timeline

here's a great starting point for thinking through your wedding day photography 

Everyone’s wedding day looks a little different! Typically, if your getting ready, ceremony, and reception are all at the same venue, 8 hours of coverage is plenty. Are we splitting the day between a few different locations? Wedding days with multiple venues and drive time between each one work best with 9-10 hours of coverage. The flow will be similar, with at least 30 minutes allotted for getting people from one place to another between parts of the day.


Grace and David_Northwoods Wisconsin Wedding_MeaganElizabethPhotography-9.jpg

Detail Photos   |   30 minutes

Your dress, shoes, bouquet, perfume, jewelry - the list goes on! I'll spend the first 30 minutes or so capturing all the precious details. Photography should start at least 3 hours before your ceremony time.

Second Shooter: Venue setting shots, getting ready candids

Tip: Your shoe box is a great place to collect all your small items!


Tip: Simply having one window in your bridal prep space will allow me to create beautiful portraits with soft light. I work mainly with natural light - so the more windows, the better!

Getting Ready  |  1 hour

The mimosas, the hairspray, final touches from your beauty team. Plan on putting your dress on about halfway through this hour. Your mom or maid of honor should be completely ready and in their dress before helping you! 

Second Shooter: Groomsmen Getting Ready



Your First Look   |  30 minutes

You finally get to see each other. This is where it becomes real, the nerves settle, and you get a few minutes alone together before the day sweeps you along (it goes by so fast!). I'll capture this moment on a nice long lens so you'll have some space, and wont interrupt until you're ready.


Grace and Hans Wedding_Meagan Elizabeth Photography-75.jpg

Wedding Party Photos  |  30 minutes

Bring out the people! I'll make sure we get group photos with your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and the whole crew, as well as individual shots with you and each of your wedding party members. 

Second Shooter: candids & creative angles



Family Photos  |  30 minutes

I’m not the kind of photographer who will pressure you to skip or limit the family formals - they can be really special keepsakes, especially if the whole family doesn’t get together often. I recommend scheduling immediate family formals before the ceremony. If you want to do extended family groups, let's save those for directly after your ceremony. This works well since everyone is already in one place and we can be quite efficient.

Tip: Write as detailed a list as possible - with relationship to you as well as names - for quick organization on the day. 


Karley and Calvins Cottage Farmhouse Wedding_Meagan Elizabeth Photography_MN WI Photograph

Down Time  |  30 minutes

Phew! This part of the day can feel like a bit of a marathon. But guess what? We're done with most of your official photos and you can focus on the main event - getting married and celebrating with your people. 

Plan at least 30 minutes of down time - no photos, no traveling - before your ceremony begins. Drink some water, sit down, have a snack if you can, and take a few moments to center yourself before walking down the aisle. Wedding days are wonderful and filled with joy - but they’re also LONG. So make sure you’re hydrated and take breaks when you can. I'll spend this time getting set up for your ceremony and photographing your decor and guests arriving. 


Jaclyn+Roberts Somerset Wisconsin Wedding_Meagan Elizabeth Photography-82.jpg

Your Ceremony!  |  30 - 60 minutes

The moment is finally here! My goal for your ceremony photography is to capture all the goodness while hanging back and allowing your friends and family to focus on YOU, not the back of my head. 

Tip: If you are getting married in a church, make sure you check in about specific photography restrictions. I’ll be asking about this in your 1 month questionnaire to ensure I respect the space and honor your ceremony. 

Second Shooter: Second angle, family & guest reactions


Grace and David_Northwoods Wisconsin Wedding_MeaganElizabethPhotography-162.jpg

The Party 

Cocktail hour, reception details, toasts, dances - all the good things! I'll make sure I know what is happening when so I can be ready to capture all the action (and cry into the back of my camera, because that is what I do, every time


Golden Hour

You’re married! The high-pressure parts of the day are over. The party has started. What better time to sneak off and get a few more portraits of just the two of you?. Golden hour photos are one of my favorite parts of a wedding day.

We really only need about 15 minutes, and then you can run back to the dancefloor!

Madison+Connor_backyard farm wedding_western wi_meagan elizabeth photography-120.jpg


Grace and David_Northwoods Wisconsin Wedding_MeaganElizabethPhotography-194.jpg

End of the night

My rule of thumb is to have your photography coverage go about an hour after the first dance - this will give plenty of time for dancing candids and any extra group shots with friends.

Don't forget travel & transition time.

The role of a 2nd shooter

Changing your photography collection

Do you want to attend cocktail hour?

Look up you sunset time FIRST

A few extra timeline considerations

When planning your timeline, make sure you account for the time it will take to get from one place to another - even if there’s no driving involved! Getting your wedding party from the getting ready suite to the other side of a venue property might take more than 10 minutes, depending on the distance (and personalities - we’ve all got that one friend) - so create buffer time.  

Tip: As a rule of thumb I add in 1.5x the travel time into the schedule - so if its a 20 minute drive, allow for 30 minutes. 

If you booked a second shooter for your wedding day or are considering adding one to your collection, (you can at any point!) this is what you can expect: They will focus on the groom getting ready in the morning, give a second angle of your first look and ceremony, and be available to shoot cocktail hour candids while I capture your reception details. I can confidently cover your whole day as a single shooter - having a second is not a necessity. However, if extra candids and reaction shots are important to you, or if you choose to skip the first look, having a second shooter will give you more images in your final gallery and help your timeline run that much more smoothly!

If you decide in the planning process that you need to make changes to your photography collection, just shoot me an email. You can always add hours or a second shooter if you realize your day could use it!

Appetizers are good. And you probably spent time picking out the perfect ones, so decide if you’re okay missing out. I find that after the excitement and anticipation of the ceremony is over, you’ll be HUNGRY. So even if you’re taking photos during cocktail hour, make sure you plan for someone to sneak you some food!

Before setting anything about your day, look up your sunset time. For fall and winter weddings, the sun is down before dinner, so golden hour will happen during cocktail hour or possibly even BEFORE your ceremony. In the height of summer, your photography will likely end before the sun goes down, so we'll do golden hour photos last thing! 

Karley and Calvins Cottage Farmhouse Wedding_Meagan Elizabeth Photography_MN WI Photograph


Through the seasons

Sunset times, weather, and other considerations



Spring is my absolute favorite season! The hope of new life, the blossoms, and everything turning green again. Spring can be unpredictable in terms of weather, and quite muddy - so you may need to consider shawls for bridesmaids and shoes that can traverse soft ground without getting ruined. Also - it’s pollen season, so don’t forget to have allergy meds on hand!



Fall weddings are popular for a reason! While you’re dreaming of fall color and cool breezes, don’t forget that most years in MN and WI we get our first snow in early October. Plan for variable weather when selecting your attire and provide the ladies with shawls to keep warm during photo time. Evenings start to get shorter, so look up the sunset time on your date before finalizing your ceremony time. 



Long evenings, everything lush and green. Golden hour in the summer is like nothing else. But don’t forget the bug spray and the sunscreen (grooms, I’m looking at you - the number of times I’ve seen sunburned foreheads by speech time is more than I would like to admit). If your ceremony is outdoors, consider shade options and provide water for guests (and yourself! Don’t get dehydrated on me).



There’s something magical about winter weddings. Since the sun sets early, plan on doing a first look and getting all your portraits done before your ceremony OR make sure there is at least 2 hours of daylight remaining after your ceremony time. We can’t shoot in the dark!


Finally, I can’t stress the value of winter boots and leggings under your dress enough - no one will be able to see them!

What if it rains?

Maximize rain breaks

Even the rainiest days will have times where the rain stops or is at least very light. We will strategically use these breaks to get photos outside - and trust me, your images will still be bright and warm, even on a gray day. 

Clear umbrellas

Those cute bubble umbrellas are a godsend for taking portraits during a drizzle - they’ll protect your hair and keep water spots off bridesmaids dresses. Don’t worry, I’ve always got a few in the trunk of my car.

Strategic locations

Many venues have big porches, gazebos, and covered outdoor areas where we can take advantage of natural light while staying out of the rain - I’ll be sure to scope things out and have a plan in place in case of a downpour!

Meagan Elizabeth Photography-2021-16.jpg
Andrea + Eddies Wedding at Mystical Rose Gardens_BaldwinWI_Meagan Elizabeth Photography-13
Kaitlin+Mason_October Wedding_Meagan Elizabeth Photography-156.jpg


Your Delivered Galleries

The wedding is over. You’ve hung up your dress, gotten your 12 hours of sleep. Now what?


24 hour sneaks

The night I get home from your wedding, the first thing I do is back up your photos. This means before I go to sleep, your images each have 3 copies - we don’t mess around. While I’m backing up your photos, I’ll be gushing over your day and select a few to edit right away. Within 24 hours of your wedding day I’ll post a sneak peek and text you to make sure you don’t miss it! 



2 week highlights

The next thing you will receive is a highlight gallery. This will be 50-100 of my favorite images from your wedding day. These are the perfect thing to use to get those thank you cards ordered!

Grace and David_Northwoods Wisconsin Wedding_MeaganElizabethPhotography-26.jpg

Your Full Gallery

Within 8 weeks of your wedding day you will receive a link to your full wedding gallery. I have no photo maximum and will deliver ALL the good photos taken during your wedding day (trust me, its going to be a LOT). You can share your gallery with as many people as you like, download it an unlimited number of times, and print your photos through the company of your choice. Your gallery will remain online for at least 2 years after it is delivered. 

Printing your photos

You can order fine-art quality prints right from your gallery!

To make things super streamlined, you will have the option of ordering stunning, fine-art-quality prints, canvases, cards, and frames directly through the custom print shop in your wedding gallery. Your beautiful prints will be shipped directly to you.


Quality matters

Print quality matters. You’ve invested so much in your wedding and your photography - so don’t subject your beautiful images to the grab-bag of tradgedies that is the Walgreens print kiosk. Remember that in printing you really do get what you pay for.


You can download full res digitals

That being said, you are welcome to print your images through any print shop of your choice. You may download the high resolution digital files from your whole day and order your prints, albums, and wall art through the printer of your choice. 

I want nothing more than for you to be thrilled with your images and use them however your hearts desire. 

Sarah+David_Meagan Elizabeth Photography MN WI Wedding Photographer_Como Park Engagement -
Jamie and Chris White Eagle Hudson Wedding_June 2023 Meagan Elizabeth Photography-45.jpg


bottom of page