YOUR WEDDING GUIDE
HOW TO HAVE A PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERIENCE AS EPIC AS YOUR WEDDING
Hey there! I’m Courtney! I'm so excited to be part of your wedding day and wedding journey. I know the planning portion of having a wedding is the most stressful part, so hopefully my guide makes things even slightly easier on you.
WHAT I'M ALL ABOUT
I’m proud to be part of an amazing community of photographers who really encourage couples to make their days what they want them to be. If you want to have a huge party with your family and friends and you enjoy being the center of attention, then a big wedding is perfect for you!
If the idea of being the center of attention makes you super uncomfortable, an intimate wedding or elopement might be something to consider. Not enough couples realize that eloping doesn’t have to be a rushed decision at the Little White Chapel in Vegas (although Joe Jonas did it, so that should be validating enough). You absolutely have permission to get married in the way that is most authentic to you and your partner. For some people that means starting the day together in a hot spring and saying your vows privately on top of a mountain. The options are endless.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Expect to have pictures that look like, feel like and represent you. Accurately portraying and capturing your day is what I’m all about. I’m all about timeless, accurately colored images that you will look at in 50 years and say, “This is what our wedding day looked like, but more importantly this is what our wedding day FELT like.”
Expect to have me in your corner. Every time you have a question or doubt about how to make this day the best it can be, expect me to be in your corner pushing you toward making your day as authentic to YOU as possible.
Expect for your wedding day to be a blast!
"We are seriously so obsessed with the photos and couldn't have imagined them better. You are so talented!"
Storm & Parker
+ 10 consecutive hours of coverage
+ 900+ digital images
+ four week turnaround
+ sneak peek gallery
+ second shooter included + printing rights included
+ 8 consecutive hours of coverage
+ 700+ digital images
+ five week turnaround
+ sneak peek gallery
+ second shooter included + printing rights included
+ 6 consecutive hours of coverage
+ 600+ digital images
+ 7 week turnaround
+ second shooter included + printing rights included
*Applicable sales tax will be added to all packages.*
01 SECOND SHOOTER
A second shooter is a photographer hired by me to capture more angles and coverage of your day. A second photographer means more coverage, and more coverage means more pictures in your gallery! (One couple ended up with 300 extra photos simply because they wanted a second shooter there to help me out! More angles = more photos)
included in all packages
02 REHEARSAL DINNER
Coverage for your rehearsal dinner is awesome, especially if that’s where your closest family and friends will be making their toasts (more on that in a minute). I mean, how often do you have all your people in one place at one time?!
03 BRIDAL PORTRAITS
Bridal portraits are a wonderful add-on where there is no wedding day time crunch and we can really take our time to get those stunning bridal portraits!. Plus, you can do a test run with your hair and makeup artists!
Starting at $750
04 ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS
More on engagement sessions below!
I am available to travel just about anywhere you want to take me! By paying my all-inclusive travel fee, I will show up at your wedding and you won’t have to worry about where I stay or how I get there. It’s like magic!
Contact me for a quote
Engagement sessions are a whole lot of running/ jumping/dancing around while I yell things at you like, “Now, kiss!!” There’s a lot of laughing & much more running around barefoot than your wedding day. On your wedding day, you’ll be all dressed up with a bunch of places you need to be and there will be a bunch of people expecting things from you. Engagement sessions are much more chill, and you can get out those I’m-in-front-of-a-camera-what-do-I-do-with-my-hands jitters.
5 TIPS FOR THE BEST
ENGAGEMENT SESSION EXPERIENCE
01 GET EXCITED
Get excited! Really. There’s no pressure. You get to show up and completely act like yourself and you will end up with pictures of you and your love TRULY BEING YOURSELVES. Butt grabbing, double-chin-laughing, and all. Mindset is everything! If you’re excited about our shoot, it will translate into the pictures.
02 PICK A LOCATION
Pick a location that means something to you, even if you’ve never been there. Whether that’s the coffee shop where you met, a trail you like to walk together, a drive-in movie theater you’ve always wanted to go to, or a creek where you fish together. Even if you’ve never been somewhere (like Enchanted Rock!), just being excited about it is enough in my opinion!
Most couples like to wear one casual outfit and one dressier outfit for their session. I highly recommend this! That way you’ve got tons of variety. I’ve got lots of tips as far as outfits go, so email me and we can talk more about it!
Give yourself plenty of time to get to the location. Stressing out about traffic or arguing before the shoot will translate into the pictures. This time is a way to honor your relationship, and you can do so by not rushing yourselves, or being hangry :) Also—making out a little in your car beforehand is always a good idea! Just saying.
Don’t cringe—just hear me out. Some great props to put some ideas in your head are your pet, a motorcycle, swimsuits and towels, pizza, a guitar, water guns, or a cute blanket to sit on.
HOW TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING
Here are a few tips on how to plan a wedding to make the process a little less “pulling-the-hair-out-of-you-head” madness and more fun and enjoyable for the both of you!
01 INVITE THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU SHINE
Obligations can be tricky. In my research to give my clients the best day possible, I’ve talked to a lot of married folks about their weddings. 99% of them wish they had cut down their guest list. I’ve never talked to a couple that said, “Man, I wish more people had been there!” in fact, most of them say the opposite- they wish there had been fewer guests so they could really spend time with each person. Think about it this way: if you have 500 guests, that’s 500 people you’re splitting your time between, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for each person.
02 DON'T DO IT ALL ALONE
I cannot recommend a wedding planner or day of event planner enough. The last thing you want on your big day is for people to be coming to you asking you logistical questions. Wedding planners allow you to just sit back and enjoy the day. This is the biggest regret of my aunt—she wishes she had a wedding planner more than anything because people kept coming up to her asking questions like, “What time was the grand entrance happening?” and “Where should they put the cake?” and she was in charge of coordinating it all. If you have the ability, hire a day of planner! You will NOT regret it!
03 FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS
At the end of the day, your wedding is about the lifelong vow you’re making to your partner. For you, this is your WEDDING DAY! For everyone else, this (to be blunt) is another wedding their attending. Don’t plan around other people, their expectations, or what they think is "normal" for a wedding. Plan around what y’all really want to do.
04 DON'T TRY TO CRAM EVERYTHING TOGETHER
It’s inevitable on any wedding day—things will be running behind. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. And that’s okay. When designing your timeline, build in an extra 15 minutes here and there so you have time to freshen up and have a bite to eat or simply catch your breath!
05 MAKE SURE IT FEELS LIKE YOU
Pinterest can be such a gift and the #weddinginspo tag on Instagram can be so fun to scroll through, but make sure that you don’t lose sight of what makes you, YOU in the planning process. One of my teachers in high school had a hamburger truck cater the food at his wedding because that’s his favorite food. He and his wife (who have been married for 10+ years) say it was one of the best decisions they made about their wedding day. It’s so special to hear guests say “Wow, this whole day really feels like THEM!”
SAMPLE TIMELINE (+FIRST LOOK)
Bride/Bridesmaids’ Hair + Makeup Begin
Groom/Groomsmen Getting Ready
Detail Shots (ie: Dress, Rings, Invitations, etc.)
Final Getting Ready Photos
Bridesmaids’/Dad’s First Look
First Look with Groom
Bridal Party Photos
Toasts + Cake Cutting
12PM - 10PM (10 HOURS)
1PM - 9PM (8 HOURS)
2 PM - 8PM (6 HOURS)
Rehersal dinners can be anything from a nice resturant to a tons of blankets in a park with pizza and sand volleyball. Or it could be s’mores and barbeque at a lakefront Airbnb! There’s plenty of time for formality on your actual wedding day so make your rehearsal dinner as fun as you want! It’s also a great idea to consider doing your toasts at your rehearsal dinner—that way they can be between your family and closest friends and you can have plenty of time to dance and see your other guests at the wedding reception.
THE DAY AFTER
If your’re not immediately jetting off on your honeymoon, a great way to spend your first day married is with a big brunch with you loved ones, a hike with your dog, or a big family day at Barton Springs. Another idea: Get dressed in your wedding clothes and visit the place where you had your first date for your post-wedding day photo session.
Getting ready pictures generally start toward the end of the actual getting ready process. Most brides prefer to take pictures of themselves getting ready after their makeup and hair are almost completely done. During your getting ready process, I will spend some time taking flatlay pictures (your wedding invite, rings, boutonnière, florals, and shoes), as well as shots of your wedding dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses.
The main way the wedding day timeline gets behind schedule is brides want that pajama picture where all bridesmaids hair and makeup are done, but no one is in their dress yet. Most of the time, one bridesmaid is still getting her makeup done when we are ready to get that picture taken and the bride into her dress. Letting your HMUA artists know that that picture will be taken and at what time everyone needs to be done is the best way to ensure we don't get behind schedule.
01 BE MINDFUL OF THE LIGHTING
This is the most important part of this whole wedding guide- seriously. Odds are that most, if not all, of your wedding inspiration pictures that you’ve saved on Pinterest or Instagram have some form of amazing lighting. Whether it’s soft and even or the perfect golden sunset, lighting can make or break wedding photos.
By the end of this, you will be a MASTER at recognizing good lighting. For getting ready photos, I like to stick near big windows and mirrors to get as much of that outdoor light as possible. Turning off all indoor lights to get rid of the fluorescent orangey-yellow cast will be my first order of business.
Outdoor ceremonies have the best light—there is simply no way to beat natural, outdoor light. Depending on the time of day and whether or not you will be under some form of cover will determine whether you’ll have shadows on your face. I recommend either having your ceremony under no cover if it’s an hour before sunset (perfect if you’re doing a first look before the ceremony) or under trees/shade if your outdoor ceremony is mid-day. For sunset ceremonies, I like to shoot backlit—with the sun behind the officiant and the couple—so if you’re walking down the aisle, you’re walking toward the sun.
Indoor ceremonies in spaces with massive windows are fabulous because again, bringing as much natural light indoors is our goal here.
Thankfully, most wedding venues have picked up on the fact that big windows are 1,000% the way to go. If your chosen venue doesn’t have big windows—if you’re getting married in a gorgeous church, for example—I will absolutely embrace those shadows. Just don’t expect bright light and airy ceremony pictures. Some of the most stunning wedding pictures have fabulous shadows, so don’t worry—we will get all the bright, sunlit pictures after the ceremony.
Examples of lighting are below, under the section titled "Ceremony".
The first look can be whatever you want it to be. It can be a first look with your fiancee—or if you want to for- go a first look with them and have them see you for the first time walking down the aisle, the first look can be with a parental figure or even your siblings!
PROS OF DOING A FIRST LOOK
The biggest pro of doing a first look is that some more reserved partners feel free to express their joy and delight in private rather than in front of their family and friends (as you walk down the aisle). Also that leaves so much time for pictures of the two of you, as well as the pictures of your wedding party! Also this makes things quicker after the ceremony so you can head right to cocktail hour or dinner and spend lots of time with your guests.
If your partner is more private and uncomfortable with attention, a first look might be where they feel most comfortable expressing their emotions and how beautiful you look.
If you have any questions or concerns about doing a first look (or just want to talk it out with someone who has been there for many first looks), please let me know!
I will get plenty of pictures of both sides of the bridal party getting ready. If the bride and bridesmaids have matching robes or shirts in the getting ready space, I’ll make sure they’re captured in addition to everything else. Champagne, mimosas, balloons, or sunglasses are fun props to incorporate into these pictures! Or if y’all want to eat McDonald's as you get ready, that would be fun too! We will definitely get both the “getting ready” bridal shots as well as the ones where everyone is dressed like the picture above.
I will get so many awesome pictures of you and your family! We can do a first look with your parents or siblings or whoever else you want. Whatever your family structure looks like, we can still tie in those traditional pictures as a part of your day! Also, please let me know if there’s a particular family member you want me to pay extra attention to when getting pictures!
I like to have a minimum of one hour to get pictures of you and your partner. If you choose to do a first look before the ceremony, this is the perfect time to get pictures together.
If you want your first look to be walking down the aisle, we can take couple’s portraits right after family pictures and before the dinner hour.
01 KEEP IT UNPLUGGED
Don’t worry, I will capture plenty of pictures. And even more, I promise that my pictures will be of higher quality than a zoomed-in iPhone photo. Nothing will date your timeless wedding photos faster than an iPhone sticking out into the aisle as you make your exit from your ceremony.
Also I highly recommend that no one wears Apple watches! Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate that we don't want to date your wedding photos, we want them to be timeless!
02 LIGHTING IS SO IMPORTANT
I know I touched on this earlier, but outdoor lighting and indoor lighting are very different. I've included a couple different ceremony light situations here, you decide what you like best and I can explain why it looks that way, and how to mimic that light at your ceremony!
03 OUTDOOR LIGHT
If you do end up having an outdoor ceremony, the direction of the ceremony space in relation to the sun and time of day is so important. Here on the right, you can see the difference between a ceremony spot at 4pm on a cloudy day in January and a ceremony spot in the sun at high noon in May. Note that shadows are sometimes unavoidable with direct sun!
TAKING SOME TIME FOR YOURSELVES
Let’s sneak away after dinner is announced for a few minutes! Particularly if you had your first look walking down the aisle and we didn’t take those pre-ceremony couple pictures. We can get some final pictures of just the two of you outside in the sunset. Once we do that, I will leave y’all alone to hang out together and you can re-join the party whenever you’re ready.
01 TWINKLY LIGHTS ALWAYS
From a logical standpoint, in order for a picture to be taken, you need a light source. During receptions, lights are generally low or non-existent. So when it comes to reception pictures, your light source can come from a couple of places: my flash or twinkly lights. My wedding galleries have pictures taken mostly with flash. If you prefer a softer, more ambient look for your reception or ceremony pictures, you need tons of twinkly lights or your reception would need to start before sunset At most of the weddings I have photographed, I end up using flash. If you want a different, softer look, twinkly lights from Amazon or Home Depot are the way to go.
02 KEEP SPEECHES + TOASTS SHORT
Short and sweet is the way to go! Or you can have toasts shared at your rehearsal dinner—that way it’s a moment shared between only your closest family and friends, and they can be as long as they want.
03 BE SURE TO FEED YOUR VENDORS
Feeding your vendors is important! We will eat when you do so we don't miss any important moments.
04 HAVE A GREAT PLAYLIST/DJ
Music totally sets the tone for your reception, so having a great playlist/DJ/band is important! My vendor recommendation list is toward the end of this guide.
DAY AFTER SESSION
Jenna and Noah had their first date at Hut’s Hamburgers and Amy’s Ice Cream in downtown Austin. When they got the news that Hut’s was closing, they knew they wanted a session in their wedding clothes at the place where they had their first date. Your day after session doesn’t actually have to be the day after your wedding—it can be after you get back from your honeymoon, or really whenever you want!
6 BONUS TIPS FOR A STRESS FREE DAY
Prepare your flat lay. Flay lay include your invitations, flowers, rings, ring box, guestbook, save the date, shoes, jewelry, and an extra piece of ribbon from your bouquet to use as decor in the pictures. Having all these pieces in a box gives you one less thing to track down on your wedding day when you’re trying to get ready and I’m trying to get those shots of all the details.
Keep your getting-ready space clean. Your getting-ready photos will be much prettier without a bright yellow Forever 21 bag sitting in the corner of the bridal suite.
Be sure to eat. You’ve spent time and energy picking out food for this day—be sure you get to eat some of it!
If there’s something fun or different you want to do on your wedding day, like spending the morning with your fiance, then do it! You don’t have to have catering and a cake—a P.Terry’s food truck or a s’mores making station are both great alternatives.
Make sure EVERYONE tries on their dress/suit/ pants/shirt after their final fitting. I once heard about a groom who tried on his suit before his ceremony and realized they made his pants six inches too short and they had to run out and buy new pants! Let’s avoid this by trying on your outfits one last time after your final fitting.
Overall, trust your gut. Your hopes and dreams for your wedding day are allowed to change. Make sure to include the people who mean the most to you, and you will have a great time!
STYLIST / COORDINATORS
Pearl Events Austin
Weddings by Weaver
The Farmer and I Flower Co. (@thefarmerandi) Whim Hospitality
PAPER PRODUCTS & INVITATIONS
Meyer and Market Co.
Meant To Be Films
Water and Whimsy Co.
The Brothers Marten
Reclamation Design Company
Alyssa Kristin Bridal
Daughters of Simone
HAIR & MAKEUP ARTISTS
Glam by Gabi Pray
Rayne Desserts (the BEST gluten-free & dairy-free brownies in Austin!)
The Hayley Cakes
Iced Cakes ATX
Shop Inviting (@shopinviting - local to ATX)
PAYMENT + DELIVERY
Payment is split into two parts—the retainer and the remainder. The non-refundable retainer is paid at the time of booking to secure me for your date. This portion is non-refundable.
The remainder is paid one month before your wedding date. Both of these payments can be completed through Quickbooks or via check.
You’ve invested in making your day as special as can be, so let’s get those memories printed for all to see!
Minimum of 10 pages (20 pictures) and maximum of 100 pages (200 pictures). Covers can be leather, suede, cotton, velvet, or linen, and writing can be cameo cut or embossed.
When ordering, factor in 15 business days for production, plus shipping time.
ALBUMS START AT:
8 x 8 .......$550
10 x 10 .......$600
12 x 12.......$800
*Sales tax not included.*
Your memories deserve to live more than just behind a screen. You’ve made a wonderful investment and your memories should be physically made to last.
8 x 8.........$9
8 x 10.......$10
8 x 12.......$15
10 x 10.....$20
11 x 14.......$29
16 x 20.....$40
20 x 24....$60
24 x 36....$85
30 x 40....$115
5 x 7 White Frame.............$95
5 x 7 Walnut Frame..........$55
8 x 10 White Frame...........$115
8 x 10 Walnut Frame........$60
10 x 10 White Frame.........$95
10 x 10 Walnut Frame......$50
11 x 14 White Frame...........$115
11 x 14 Walnut Frame........$75
20 x 24 White Frame.......$225 20 x 24 Walnut Frame....$115
8 x 8.........$130
10 x 10.....$150
11 x 14.......$185
20 x 24....$300
24 x 36....$450
WHAT TO DO + WHEN
6-12 MONTHS OUT
Announce your engagement
Throw an engagement party
Choose your wedding date
Set your budget
Reserve your wedding venue
Hire your wedding planner
Book your florist, videographer, and other wedding vendors
Decide who’s in your wedding party
Start shopping for your wedding dress and veil
Book an officiant
Pick out your DJ or band
Create a wedding website
Create a wedding notebook to keep yourself organized
Start working on your guest list
4-6 MONTHS OUT
Send out wedding invitations
Register for gifts
Shop for bridesmaids dresses
Determine what the groom and groomsmen will wear
Discuss ceremony ideas and wording with your officiant
Book honeymoon and make travel arrangements
Purchase wedding rings
Take engagement photos
Reserve rental equipment (tent, chairs, tables, etc.)
Schedule tastings with your caterer
Finalize floral arrangements
Create or select a playlist with your band or DJ
Arrange transportation to and from your wedding
Order personalized wedding favors
2-4 MONTHS OUT
Apply for a marriage license
Finalize guest list and follow up with those who haven’t replied
Create your seating plan
Make sure your dress fits perfectly
Check-in with your vendors
Invite friends and family to give toasts
Arrange rehearsal dinner
Confirm wedding cake and decorations
1-2 MONTHS OUT
Write out your vows
Meet with hairstylist and makeup artist for a test run
Update your registry
Practice your first dance
Find someone to watch your home or feed pets during your honeymoon
1-2 WEEKS OUT
Confirm final guest count
Confirm wedding day schedule with all vendors
Confirm all transportation arrangement
Confirm timeline with photographer
Book a spa treatment
Get a mani and pedi
Organize wedding dress, shoes, and all accessories including jewelry and emergency kit
Pack for wedding night and honeymoon
Decide who will take home your reception gifts
Assign people to do reception clean up
Attend wedding rehearsal dinner
THE DAY BEFORE
Prepare payment envelopes for vendors and determined how they will be delivered
Rehearse ceremony with officiant and wedding party
Get a good night’s sleep
ON YOUR WEDDING DAY
Give yourself plenty of time to get ready
Take a quiet moment to yourself
Eat a nutritious breakfast and drink plenty of fluids
Exchange gifts with your significant other
Have fun and enjoy the biggest celebration of your life!
☐ Wedding Dress
☐ Bridal Shoes
☐ Bridal Veil
☐ Bridesmaids’ Dresses
☐ Bridesmaids’ Accessories
☐ Bridesmaids’ Shoes
☐ Groom’s Suit
☐ Going Away Outfit
☐ Honeymoon Clothes
☐ Children’s Apparel
☐ Bride’s Bouquet
☐ Bridesmaids’ Bouquets
☐ Reception Centerpieces
☐ Altar Pieces
☐ Aisle/Chair Bows
☐ Throwaway Bouquet
☐ Flower Girl’s Flowers
☐ Direction Cards
☐ Ceremony Cards
☐ Save the Dates
☐ Thank You Notes
☐ Rehearsal Dinner Invites
☐ Address Labels
☐ Location Fee
☐ Wedding Cake/Knife
☐ Table Decorations
☐ Other Decorations
☐ Exit Supplies (ie: Sparklers)
☐ Marriage License
☐ Wedding Planner
☐ Hotel for Guests
☐ Wedding Rings
☐ Gift for Significant Other
☐ Attendant Gifts
☐ Party Favors
☐ Altar Decorations
☐ Chair Decorations
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do you give out RAW (unedited) files?
Nope, I do not. Editing is half the process, like making a cake. I wouldn’t give you a pan of cake batter. Magic happens in the oven!
Do you have a photo checklist you work off of?
Yes, I do—only for family photos! Please let me know of any people you want me to pay particularly close attention to like your grandparents, or if someone close to you is your officiant or traveled from a faraway place to be there on your big day. Providing me with a long list of photos you want “Bride in her dress!” “Floral arrrangements” hinders my ability to be creative and capture the day. I will need a list of family photos- we can talk about this more later!
Will you edit my skin/body/Photoshop me?
I’m not a personal trainer and I believe in body positivity for all, so I will not edit body parts! I will touch up skin spots that aren’t usually there.
Let’s connect and be friends! You can find me on Instagram at @covrt.ney, Facebook under Courtney Cope Media, and Pinterest at @ccopemedia. Images can be used on your social media, of course, just be sure to tag me.