FROM. RAYNA

Wedding Welcome Guide

To the madly in love,


There is so much beauty found in a love so big between two people that they fully commit themselves to becoming one. Marriage is the largest testament to love earth has. And love in its purest form, is art. 

 

I am beyond honored to be chosen as the one you want to document your testament, your life of love, and your art. I will capture it all in a real, organic approach with a modern, yet timeless style.

This welcome guide will help you feel confident in your wedding day preparation through sharing my insider advice on all things tips, tricks, and frequently asked questions. 



From, Rayna

Contact Information


I’m here for you through the entire prep and post process of your wedding. You are more than welcome to put me in a hot seat with all your questions and needs. To do so, please reach me via email.

 

I will almost always reply to emails within 24 hours. If you don't hear a response to me within that time frame, please reach out to me again.


/ FROMRAYNAPHOTO@GMAIL.COM

my love story.


The summer of 2019, I decided to “get away” from the stresses of my current college life. I went on a search to find something I could spend my time doing that would bring me purpose and career growth. Already in love with photography, I decided to pursue that avenue and see what I could find. This led me straight into an interview for a photography specialist position at an all girls summer camp in Minnesota. 


I quickly accepted the offer as it included three of my favorite things in life: the outdoors, kids, and cameras. I flew into MSP where I was picked up by one of the camp’s vans. To my surprise.. there were boys waiting to be picked up, too. My internal dialogue was in a frenzy. “Isn’t this an all girls camp? Am I in the wrong place?” I soon found out that this camp was directly taken from your typical movie plot. Girls camp lay right across the lake from their “brother camp.” .. and thank God it did. 


I met Drew on the boy’s side of camp where I was made convinced love at first sight is a real occurrence. We spent the entire summer growing closer with each other and once summer came to a close, lucked out to be attending different schools across the map in Wyoming and Colorado that were only one hour apart. Three years later we returned to the same summer camp we met where we got engaged on a recreation of our very first date.. on our anniversary.. talk about the perfect Hallmark story. The following year on September 02, 2023, we made the trip back Up North to say our vows.



WHY I LOVE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY


When people bring up the conversation of wedding planning, it’s normally in a bad light. Everyone assumes you're stressed, running behind, and are lost in it all. And maybe you are! But that’s what makes my job so special. I get to make you smile. I get to be the one to show you the beauty of the day, the joy shared between all the guests, your partners eyes when they see you for the first time. I get to be the one to show you that no matter how you felt leading up to your wedding, that the day of conquers it all. How special is that.

 

It use to scare me carrying a responsibility that big, but now it excites me. You’re meaning to tell me that I’m the one who gets the creative license to tell your love story? That’s beyond amazing. It becomes no longer a job, but rather a gift to capture every little detail of your day so that you can relive it whenever you please.

REMEMBER-

This is your day.


Often couples have “Will my guests appreciate this?” as one of the main motivators for their decisions. If you’re including this as a part of your planning process, the stress of the outcome will never leave. To avoid the intrusive thoughts and worries of if your guests are having a good time, eliminate the question from the beginning. The most important part of the day is the consolidation of two people becoming one. If this is your focus, I promise the guests will have an unforgettable time. What makes a wedding day so beautiful, is when the power of love is undeniable. Don’t deprive yourself from feeling! Leave the stress of people pleasing at the front door. Figure out what helps you do this- hiring a coordinator, listening to your heart, or keeping certain people out of your planning process.. and stick to it! 

 

LOGISTICAL CALENDAR


I. PLANNING


Upon the booking process, I’ll reach out to find a good time for you that we can schedule a call. Here we can go over all the nitty gritty details of my services and I’ll answer any initial questions you may have. I’ve seen a few weddings in my day, so please feel free to pick my mind on anything weighing on you.



II. After Booking


A month or so before the wedding, I’ll send you a questionnaire asking about all your day of details. Please take your time in filling it out diligently as it helps give me the opportunity to prepare everything I need to capture your day in the most authentic way.



III. One Month Out


Another call, or if available, a coffee date will be set up to iron out the final details you answered in your questionnaire as well as create a day-of timeline for me to follow. We can then part ways in total confidence that we both know exactly what to expect from each other.



IV. Day Of


It’s happening! Time to celebrate! I’ll follow your timeline as events unfold making sure to capture every bit of it. To create a stress-free environment, I’ll only direct where needed, and let everything else come to pass naturally. 

ENGAGEMENT SESSION

Engagement sessions can be purchased as an add on to your package, or may be included as a complimentary service dependent on which package you purchased.


If you are receiving a complimentary engagement session, please keep in mind it must be scheduled prior to your wedding date and will include an additional travel fee if located outside of a 20 mile radius from Grand Haven, MI. This is an awesome opportunity to become comfortable being in front of the camera.


An engagement session is essentially signing yourself up for your most romantic date yet. Getting all done up to purely spend quality time lovin on your partner. I will more less become invisible during our time together, with the exception of a shutter click sound, while I capture candid moments shared between two very in love people. This is the perfect time to tell your story. Maybe we take the pictures at the place you met or go on an adventure you’ve always wanted to do together (I will third wheel anywhere!). 

 

These moments of your life matter, Let’s document them to turn an exciting finite time, into an unforgettable everlasting memory.

Click here to view previous engagement sessions of mine for inspiration on outfits, locations, props, and more!

What's Included


Sessions last around 1 - 1.5 hours 

Up to two different locations 

Unlimited outfit changes

50+ pictures delivered 

What to wear


Two to three outfit changes is the sweet spot. You can cover all the bases with those: casual, dressy, and maybe something in between. Light, neutral colors tend to perform best in photographs. I love when brides choose to wear all white in one outfit. Avoid any super bright or bold colors, as they take the focus away from your face and eyes. Last but not least, make sure your outfits compliment each other rather than match- make sure to not wear the same color as you S/O!

BUILDING YOUR DAY OF TIMELINE


When crafting your timeline for your day, here are good estimates for how long I’ll typically need to capture each event:

 

Groom Getting Ready (30 minutes)

Bride Getting Ready (1 hour)

Venue & Accessory details (30 minutes)

Bridal portraits (20 minutes)

Groom Portraits (10 minutes)

First look (5 minutes)

Couples’ portraits (30 minutes)

Ceremony (30 minutes-1 hour)

Family portraits (30-45 minutes)

Wedding party portraits (30 minutes)

SAMPLE TIMELINE

12:00pm - Photography coverage begins

I recommend having your photographer arrive at least two hours before the ceremony. This way there's time for you to get comfortable in front of the camera and it gives your photographer time to get comfortable with the venue and all of the wedding party.

 

12:00pm - Venue and detail shots

Don't forget to set aside your invitation suite and any "getting ready details" you have such as jewelry, perfume, shoes, veil, etc. The small moments are so importrant to give your photographer time to capture, as they're commonly the parts of the day you don't get to see yourself.

 

12:30pm - Bride into dress/getting ready photos

This one always takes more time than you think it would. To keep things running smoothly, make sure whoever's helping you get dressed is already dressed and ready themselves before this time comes.

 

1:30pm - Bridal portraits

I love taking bridal portraits as early in the day as possible. Your hair and makeup will be fresh, no stains on the dress yet, and there's always a hint of excitement you can see in the eyes!

 

1:50pm - Groom getting ready

In typical boy fashion, not much time is needed to capture the groom & groomsmen getting ready. If you have a second shooter for your day, this is a good place to have them. Many of my clients will even leave this section out and count on a few groom portraits to cover it.

 

2:20pm - Groom portraits

Here, I like to take the groom out to the first look location and snap a few of him before the bride arrives. It's usually a beautiful spot and helps keep things running in good time to have the groom there and ready to go rather than herding people to a million different locations throughout the morning. Plus, the anticipation is so real.. I always get butterflies in this moment and have a blast photographing the groom full of all of his own nerves!

 

2:30pm - First look

Self explanatory! If you're having a first look with anyone other than your significant other, I recommend having those during the getting ready period.

 

2:35pm - Couple portraits

If you're having a first look before the ceremony, I'll always follow up with couple portraits. It's such a time saver to try to get all the posed photos you can out of the way before the ceremony starts. You want to leave the end of the day open to experience it freely, not with your photographer telling you what to do next.

 

3:00pm - Down time as guests arrive

Like I mentioned earlier, always schedule time in somewhere during the day for you and your significant other! This buffer also works great in case you're running late and need a gap to compensate for lost time.

 

3:30pm - Ceremony

This slot always varies on the type of ceremony you have. I've seen 10 minute ceremonies and I've seen an hour and a half long ceremonies. If able, reach out to your officiant and see if you can get a rough time estimate.

 

4:00pm - Family portraits

I like to do family portraits immediately following the ceremony. Everybody's already in the same spot and easy to wrangle. To make this portion of your day painless, create a family photo list for your photographer to follow. Make sure it's very detailed on which side of the family they are, their relation to you, and that their name is listed.

 

4:00pm - Cocktail hour

Cocktail hour will ideally be hapening during the family and wedding party portraits. If it's important to you that you get to attend the cocktail hour, schedule those for before the ceremony!

 

4:45pm - Wedding party portraits

Here, we'll take photos of the entire wedding party together, then each side, then each attendant with their respective bride/groom. If you're having an entrance for each member of your wedding party, this works great for the timeline to already have everyone in one place.

 

5:30pm - Grand entrance

Party time! At this point, you should be able to enjoy the night without anymore interuptions from your photographer. Everything scheduled from here on out will be captured candidly.

 

5:35pm - Dinner 

After seeing so many dinners executed, I've come to know that half an hour into dinner is the perfect time to get the ball rolling with speeches. This way people who were at the end of the food line can be eating while speeches are being given, but the speech givers should already be done eating.

 

6:00pm - Speeches

If you're having closed speeches limited to only a few people, half an hour is plenty of time. If you decide to open the floor and give all guests the allowance to say some words, I would try to keep the slot limited to 45 minutes. I personally love speeches, but too many times I've seen guests get fidgety when they have to sit and listen for too long. 

 

6:30pm - First dances

This one is controversial to myself! I'm a lover of first dances at different points of the reception for different reasons. This one will really depend on the flow of your night. For example, in my own wedding following the grand entrance we went straight into my husband and I's first dance, then speeches, then dinner, than father/daughter mother/son dances to open up the dance floor. The reason we tackled it this way was because given the layout of our venue, it made the most sense. Truly, there is no right universal way to do it, do what makes sense to you!

 

7:00pm - Reception 

You want to give your photographer time to capture all the dance floor haptics, but if I'm being honest, after about an hour all the dance floor pictures start to look the same. An hour is a good estimate to make sure any special dances or reception celebrations you have (dollar dance, decade dance, bouquet toss, cake cutting) get covered. A common back and forth with my clients is taking away reception coverage to give more time to getting ready at the beginning of the day coverage or vice versa. As always, you can add additional coverage to your day if you can't bare the thought of leaving anything undocumented!

 

8:00pm - Rayna ends coverage


GETTING READY DETAILS

Want the snapshots of you getting ready to be as beautiful as you feel? Here are some expert tips to make sure they come out timeless and priceless.

 ​KEEP YOUR ROOM CLEAN

Having a half unpacked bag with clothes spilling out in the back of an image can ruin it instantly. To keep your pictures clean, the room needs to be kept clean! I recommend having a designated area (extra points if it’s out of sight) for everyone to put their personal items.

 

LIMIT GUEST ACCESS

I understand everyone wants to be in this room getting ready with you- these are big moments. But the more traffic you have going through, the less intimate it will feel. If you have the option, try limiting access to close friends and family that are involved in your party or the ceremony. Less distractions help keep you focused!

 

CHOOSE A BRIGHT, NATURAL LIT ROOM

For my signature bright and airy photos I love to deliver from wedding days, natural light needs to be easily accessible. If you have the option, try to pick a room with a lot of windows for getting ready in. A well lit area will also help when doing your hair and makeup.

 

HAVE A FULL LENGTH MIRROR AVAILABLE

A mirror will unlock many different creative opportunities for photography. It makes the room feel bigger, can capture what’s happening in your surroundings, helps reflect and create more light, allows for fun angles, and candid shots.

 

DETAILS AT THE READY

Make sure you have an extra invitation, save the date, and envelope on your checklist when packing up. These along with the little detail items like jewelry, shoes, perfume, hair accessories, etc. make for fabulous flat lay images and help preserve some of the memories from the “little” parts of your day.

 

HAVE AN ORDER OF EVENTS SET

If you have a wedding party, have your attendees get dressed first so that when you’re putting on your dress, the photos look uniform. Likewise, the bride should have their hair and makeup done first so they can be snagged for portraits.. you always want to stay on the time schedule or before it if possible.

 

LEAVE TIME TO ENJOY YOURSELF

In the midst of all the chaos and roller coaster of emotions you’re feeling, make sure you have time to embrace them. Don’t get so caught up in your surroundings that you forget to take them in.


GETTING READY CHECKLIST

  • vow books
  • emergency kit
  • sewing kit
  • toiletries
  • steamer
  • hair accessories
  • phone charger
  • stain remover pen
  • straws (sips save pretty lips!)
  • invitation suite
  • printed schedule
  • water bottles
  • snacks
  • veil
  • accessories
  • robe
  • shoes
  • dress
  • ring box
  • fancy hanger for dress pictures
  • perfume
  • speaker


FIRST LOOKS


WHICH "FIRST LOOK" IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

That’s the big question. The big question, with no right answer. 

The moment the Bride and Groom lock eyes for the first time on their wedding day is absolutely magical. This sense of magic doesn’t change if your first look is walking down the aisle, or prior to the ceremony. 

Let me insert a reminder here that this day is for, and about, you. There may be many vendors or family members trying to persuade you a certain way, but only you know what you truly want. And if you need help deciding what it is you want, here are some things to keep in mind.

BENEFITS TO A FIRST LOOK BEFORE THE CEREMONY:


I


ENSURES ALONE TIME

As soon as the ceremony starts, it’s full steam ahead. A pre-ceremony first look gives you a chance to have some quiet time alone, shake off some nerves, and talk to each other. 




II


MORE TIME FOR PICTURES

If you’re waiting to see each other till the ceremony, that means most of the portraits will have to be taken after it concludes. In this case, family pictures immediately follow the ceremony, then the wedding party, then couple portraits. With this timeline, it’ll typically run into cocktail hour. With a pre-ceremony first look, we’re able to schedule wedding party and couple portraits prior. This helps the evening feel less rushed, and gives more time to truly soak in the first moments of being newlyweds.




III


ENJOY COCKTAIL HOUR 

After family pictures wrap up, you can head straight into enjoying yourself and spending time with your guests at the cocktail hour/start the reception. If your wedding party isn’t part of the family, they’ll get to enjoy it, too!




IV


EVERYTHING WILL BE FRESH

As soon as your hair and makeup are finished and you get dressed, we can move straight into all kinds of portraits. This leaves no time for makeup to smudge or hair to fall out- it’ll all be freshly done!


WHY YOU MAY WANT TO SKIP A FIRST LOOK


I


LESS TIME TO GET READY

Any addition to your timeline pre-ceremony means you'll be giving that time from somewhere else. Normally, that sacrifice will be less time available to get ready.




II


FAMILY AND FRIENDS WILL MISS THE INTERACTION

If it's important those closest to you get to witness this moment, a first look down the aisle next to a crowd is the way to go.




III


GOING AGAINST "TRADITION"

If you've spent your whole life imagining seeing you significant other at the end of the aisle for the first time, a first look may not be right for you! I will say that a first look does not take away from the magical feeling you get walking down the aisle. Whatever is best for you, will still feel like part of your fairytale.


If you're still not sure, consider a nontraditional approach to your first look such as:


FAMILY AND FRIENDS FIRST LOOK

If you want the magic and intimacy of a first look without letting your significant other see you, consider doing a first look with somebody else! Popular alternatives are a mother/father, your wedding party, or close friends.


FIRST "TOUCH/INTERACTION"

You can still have an intimate moment with your partner pre-ceremony without having to see each other. Consider having a "first touch" holding hands around a corner or exchanging something sweet to create a connection such as a hand written letter.


FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS


As soon as the ceremony has wrapped up and you’ve sent your guests off to their next destination, we’ll corral up all the family for portraits. Unless the lighting isn’t cutting it, we’ll take them where the ceremony took place. Typically in front of an altar, arch, centerpiece, etc. Keep in mind when scheduling that each photo combination will last up to five minutes.

 

On the questionnaire you’re sent, you’ll be asked to list every family combination you want photographed. This must be extremely detailed as it’s what I’ll follow to a tee, straight down the list.


Family Shot List Sample

Client #1

Couple with parents

Couple with immediate family

Couple with siblings

Client #1 with mother

Client #1 with father

Client #1 with siblings

Couple with immediate family + grandparents 

Couple with grandparents

Couple with all present families


Repeat for Client #2’s family.

 

Couple with all parents

Couple with all immediate families 

CHOOSING LOCATIONS


The first consideration in choosing locations is to determine the lighting situation. If it’s the middle of the afternoon and we’re outdoors, look for some shade. Outdoors in the evening, we’ll want the sun to be setting behind you. If we’re inside, look for anywhere with windows or a place that allows natural light to stream in.

 

Then we can get a little more picky. You can choose if you prefer a more natural backdrop of trees, tall grass, water, etc. or maybe are leaning towards urban/architecture with some brick or a city skyline. I always encourage using places that have special meaning to you as a couple. Even if it’s not the exact spot- for example, maybe your first date was at a lake so we go to the waterside.

 

If we’re driving from the ceremony to the reception, it’s great if the locations can happen at on of the venues or between them to help save traveling time.

WHAT IF WE GET BAD WEATHER?


A wedding day can’t be rescheduled due to some rain, but slight alterations may be made. If you have an outdoor ceremony or portraits scheduled, you can try to wait the weather out. However, weather can be very stubborn. I am here for each of your decisions, whether it be to wait or embrace what God has given.

 

As for myself, I love rainy wedding days. Anything that switches things up from the ordinary brings a new element of fun to the day. It forces people to let a little loose and not focus so much on how every detail is supposed to look and go.


In the end, whatever you feel is right, I am there to support you on.

PRINTING PHOTOGRAPHS


In my first photography class I took during college, my professor stated there’s no photo more permanent than one that’s printed. I thought they were crazy! A fire can’t burn down a digital file. But when you consider the control you have over physical objects vs. intangible files that only exist in a “cloud.” They were so right. I’m not saying digital copies aren't valuable, rather stressing the importance of owning both.

 

Aside from logistics, there’s something so special about being able to hold a memory in your hands. It’s almost like time travel, where you can tangibly connect yourself to a certain feeling, person, or place. Printed photos can come in many forms- albums, frames, something to keep in your wallet. All with the ability to become heirlooms and passed down beyond generations. Printed photos are something that never changes. I’ve seen pictures of my grandparents wedding day, as I’m sure my own kids will see someday too, and that just feels right.

 

You can print directly from your From, Rayna digital gallery, or download them to be printed at a preferred print store.

 

DO NOT use Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, or any other drugstore to print your photos. These stores manipulate colors and diminish the high quality of the photos.

 

RECOMMENDED PRINT VENDORS

Pixieset (directly from your gallery)

MPix

Saal Photo

Printiques


PRINTING PHOTOS DIRECTLY FROM YOUR GALLERY

From the main viewing screen in your gallery, hover your cursor over the image you wish to print. Here you will see four white icons appear in the bottom right hand corner of the image. To purchase a print, click the first icon furthest to the left, a shopping bag.

PRINTING PHOTOS DIRECTLY FROM YOUR GALLERY


After clicking the shopping bag, you'll be navigated to this screen. Here you can choose what size or why type of prints you'd like to order for your image.

PRINTING PHOTOS DIRECTLY FROM YOUR GALLERY

After selecting the size/type of your print, you'll be able to crop it to your liking. Once satisfied with your product, click the "add to cart" button in the top right hand corner of your screen.

PRINTING PHOTOS DIRECTLY FROM YOUR GALLERY

After adding all of your desired prints to your shopping cart, click the "proceed to checkout" button. You'll be asked to fill in your billing and shipping information, then the prints will be sent directly to you door!


FROM, RAYNA


Signature Wedding Albums


An optional wedding service available for add on to your wedding package includes a Signature Wedding Album. This service is fully curated and designed from front to back page using all of your favorite wedding photos and memories. I am one of the world's biggest advocates of wedding albums. I am not exaggerating when I say I look through my own weekly. This is a beautiful and timeless way to preserve and share your photos for generations to come.


All Signature Wedding Albums include:

  • 12x8" book size
  • Handcrafted & leather bound
  • Front cover debossing
  • 35 archival & lay flat pages
  • Full design and delivery process curated by Rayna
  • Handmade in the U.S.A.
  • Your choice of leather color cover, debossing color, and paper type


Signature Wedding Album Options

I. Cover Color

Hand-wrapped covers made with supple, genuine full-grain Italian & Vegan leathers.


ITALIAN LEATHER:

metallic black, polar, blush, nightfall, mist, smokey mauve, redwood, deep marine, spruce, clay


VEGAN LEATHER:

Shadow, wave, coyote, spritz

II. DEBOSSING

Personalize your album cover with up to three lines of custom text in your choice of Black, White, Gold, or Silver foil (character limits apply).

III. PAPER TYPE

A. Semi Gloss

Semi-Gloss paper produces lifelike color and realistic saturation with the finish of a traditional photo print.




B. Glossy

Glossy paper produces a high-gloss finish featuring rich colors with the look and texture of a traditional photo print.




C. Deep Matte

Deep Matte paper is lustreless, featuring a buttery-soft surface with fine art appeal.

VIDEOGRAPHERS


If a videographer is in your budget, I highly recommend hiring one. When choosing a videographer, it’s super important to make sure their work/style of shooting matches with mine. If our visions are different, our approach will be, too. It’s hard to cater to two different creatives that shoot different styles. BUT, when the styles match, it’s ART! We’re able to feed off of each other’s creative energy and even help each other capture unbelievable shots throughout the day.

My favorite style of videography is somebody there to document your moments, not hand craft them. A relaxed approach to videography results in capturing authentic memories.





MICHIGAN LOCAL VIDEOGRAPHER RECOMMENDATIONS


Water & Whimsy

waterandwhimsy.co


Katie Jo Films

@kyliegracefilms


West Lake Natives

westlakenatves.com



DAY OF ADVICE


- Pack some snacks! Fruit, nuts, and granola bars come in handy every time. Too often couples forget to eat or don’t find the time. Having something light and easy will keep your energy and health up throughout the day.

- If the florals are being delivered the morning of the wedding, schedule to have them get there ASAP. Having them available for detail shots and ready for early scheduled portraits is so important.

- If you choose to have a “first look” with anyone other than your partner. Make sure they know when to be ready by. If you want your dad’s reaction to you in your gown, we want him to be dressed up and looking the part, too!

 

SPECIAL TOUCHES I LOVE

- Phone free ceremony

- Interactions if no pre-ceremony first look (ex: holding hands around a corner)

- Getting ready gifts for each other