Melissa Koss Photography's Wedding Planning Guide:
Preparing for Your Wedding Day



Just a reminder that every wedding is different! What works for someone else may not work for you. So in this section these are all just ideas and recommendations for you!

Starting with a first look since we just discussed how to create a timeline! Is a first look for you? You might immediately say no (or yes) but please read anyways!

Pros of having a first look:

  • It's more personal/intimate between you and your partner

  • Private moment between the two of you that you get to share with no one else (except me your professional 3rd wheel)

  • It gets all the jitters and nerves out prior to ceremony

  • We can go strait into bride and groom portraits allowing after ceremony photos to go by quickly

Cons of having a first look:

  • You lose your first look at the alter

  • Maybe need to start the day a little earlier

I really tried thinking of more cons for you but these are really it! AGAIN, it is your wedding day, do what works best for YOU! I will 100% support and love either way that you choose and will be there every step of the way to photograph it. 




Next thing to have ready for the day of your wedding - a wedding day shot list! This is most important for family formals, especially if you have a large family. It will be good to have names + groupings written down so it is easy for me to call out peoples names so they know it's their turn for photos. This is also important if we have a tight schedule/timeline to follow. It helps keep things organized and will allow family photos to run smoothly.


Along with having groupings you wish to capture, it is good to list what photos are most important to you for me to capture. Please keep in mind if certain shots are not specified, I will not know to capture them. 

(example: if you want a photo of grandma with cousin Jason and uncle Bob giving the camera thumbs up and I was never told this or it was not provided on the list - I am not responsible for not capturing this moment) I of course have my usual list of things I capture on the wedding day - but this is especially important if you have anything unique or special to you that you want captured.

SO I have a sample shot list from a previous wedding for you to see! My bride and groom got as specific as they could. The first two portions of this example were for family formals (photos with family following the ceremony).

Eriks family:

1. Bride, groom with Grandma

2. Bride, groom with mom

3. Bride, groom with mom, Bianca, nieces and nephew

4. Bride, groom with Bianca, nieces and nephew

5. Bride, groom with nieces and nephew

6. Bride, groom with mom and Tony

7. Bride, groom with tias Sophia, Eva and Luz

8. Bride, groom with Patty, Lupe and Diego

9. Bride, groom with grandma, mom, Bianca, nieces, nephew, Tony, 3 tias, Patty, Lupe, Diego

Fatima’s family:

1. Bride, groom with mom, dad, Rasid, Eriks mom, Bianca, nieces and nephew

2. Bride, groom with mom, dad, Rasid

3. Bride, groom with mom, dad, Rasid, Sadeta, Robert, Allen, Denis

4. Bride, groom with mom, dad, Rasid, Sadeta, Robert, Allen, Denis, Sabrina

5. Bride with mom and Sadeta

6. Bride with Denis

7. Bride with Rasid and Denis

8. Bride, groom with mom, dad, Rasid, Azra, Muris, Elora, Ado, Melissa, Nedzib, Paula

9. Bride, groom with Azra, Muris and Elora

10. Bride, groom with Ado and Melissa

11. Bride, groom with Nedzib and Paula

12. Bride, groom with Dino, Adisa, Edvin

13. Bride, groom with Dino

14. Bride with Dino


1. Bride and groom getting ready details 

2. Bouquets

3. Eriks patch on the inside of his jacket

4. Flowers on chair for Eriks dad

5. Signature drinks and the sign

6. Neon sign and picture wall

7. Table settings

8. Dessert table

9. All of our signs (welcome, seating chart..) 

10. Wedding party table

***It’s important for us to have pictures of all of our family members laughing and having a good time so please also focus on them. 

***we would love if you could edit some of our pictures in black and white


Let's talk details! When I arrive on the wedding day I typically like to start with photographing your details! What you want to include in your details is totally up to you. But I like including details in your wedding gallery of all the little things that are included or important to your wedding. BUT to make this go quickly and smoothly I highly recommend having all of these things together in a box for me to grab when I arrive.

Details to include and have ready:

  • all rings + ring boxes

  • dress (hanging, on wedding hanger, and out of the bag - this will make it easy for me to grab and go!)

  • invitation suite

  • shoes

  • jewelry

  • perfume/cologne

  • flowers (you can ask your florist for extra flowers for details)

  • bouquet

  • meaningful trinkets

  • tie/bowtie

See all examples below of things to have gathered for your details before I arrive!



You may already know what type of exit you wish to have but I wanted to show you a variety of ideas!

  • Sparklers (highly recommend the longest ones you can find - this allows for extra time for sparklers to get lit and for you to walk through them!)

You can find sparkler options HERE

  • Bubbles! If you go the bubbles route I highly recommend getting 2 - 4 bubble guns for your bridal party to use while the rest of your guests have the small bubble containers. This will allow for a lot of bubbles in your photos while also capturing everyone participating

You can find bubble guns HERE 

Bubbles for your guests HERE

  • Confetti or rice! Depending on your venue and rules you may need to have biodegradable options but these definitely make for some fun photos! Also bonus exit idea as shown in example below - have your live band follow you out for your grand exit while playing music! (HOW FUN!)

You can find biodegradable confetti HERE

  • Ribbon wands and streamers! Ribbon especially could be a perfect DIY option for your grand exit!

If you don't want to DIY you can find ribbon wands HERE

Streamer options HERE

  • Glow sticks! Not only is this a fun way to exit, but the glow sticks can double as a party favor and can be used on the dance floor during the reception.

You can find glow stick options HERE