elizabeth gelineau



Mobile bay area wedding photographer

Wedding Day FAQ

The Organized Bride

January 17, 2022

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The Elizabeth Bride Wedding Experience

There are a lot of decisions to be made when planning a wedding! From the venues, to the dress, the food, the flowers and everything in between, you will be making a lot of choices over the next few months as you plan your special day. Being faced with all these decisions has probably filled your mind with lots of questions that you need answered as you’re making those decisions.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions I hear from brides with regards to photography coverage for their wedding day. If you have these same questions, know that you’re not alone! Also, check out the short video to find out how I found my love of wedding photography!


How far in advance of my wedding should I book?

Most brides book their wedding within 10 to 12 months of their wedding date, depending on the season in which their wedding is taking place. March – June and October – December are very busy months. Dates in those months typically book up sooner than other months. Please note that inquiring for availability does not hold the date for you. It is very common for me to get multiple inquiries for the same date (sometimes in the same day!). I typically will not book dates further than 13 months in advance.

It is best to book your photographer once you know both your wedding and reception venues, as these two things are usually the first things you book and largely determine your wedding date.


How many hours of coverage do you offer for weddings?

The amount of coverage you need for your day is dependent on a variety of factors, including how many locations will be part of your day, bridal party size, number of family portrait requests, length of the ceremony, etc. The Elizabeth Bride Wedding Experience is designed to provide comprehensive coverage of your day so that we can capture the full story of the day, beginning with you getting into your wedding dress and ending with the Grand Exit from your reception.

All of my wedding collections offer a minimum of nine hours of coverage. If you are having an elopement, or intimate wedding at one location, please contact me for a custom quote based on the unique factors of your wedding.


How does having a videographer be part of our day affect photography?

I love wedding films! It is so special to be able to preserve the story of your wedding day in both still photography and on video! If you are planning to have a videographer be part of your day, I do recommend budgeting a little bit more time in your photography timeline to ensure that you can get both the video and photography coverage that you want without the day feeling rushed.

While there are many portions of the day that the photographer and videographer can shoot in tandem (ex: the ceremony and candid reception moments), there are certain parts of the day where we may each need some time to get the shots we need, so keep this in mind when making a package selection. It is also best to choose a videographer whose style of shooting is compatible with the photographer’s style. This is something to discuss with your photographer and videographer pre-booking. There are several wonderful videographers in our area that I love working with and am always happy to provide recommendations if videography is high on your priority list.


Are the digital images included in your packages?

All of my wedding packages include high resolution digital images with a print release. The digital images are delivered via download from an online gallery, which you are free to share with family and friends. You may also share your photos via social media (I always appreciate a photo credit tag when you are sharing via social media sites!).

The best of all the images taken on your wedding day are edited and delivered via the online gallery. Because every wedding is unique, I do not promise a minimum number of final images. Most galleries include approximately 1000 images, including some images being edited in black and white in addition to the color versions.


How long after my wedding will I receive my online gallery?

Wedding galleries are scheduled to be delivered within six weeks of your wedding, however, I am frequently able to deliver galleries sooner than that timeframe. Various factors affect how quickly you may receive your photos, but keep in mind that weddings that occur during peak wedding seasons take longer to deliver due to volume.


Can I add an engagement session to my wedding package?

Engagement sessions can’t be added to the wedding package simply because they are a complimentary gift to all couples that book with me! Who doesn’t love an engagement gift, right?! I choose to gift all my couples an engagement session for this important reason…engagement sessions are a warm up for the wedding day photos.

It makes a HUGE difference in your wedding day portraits if you’ve had the experience of being photographed together by me at the the engagement session. This is also our time to get to know each others personalities a little better. The better I know you and your groom, the better I am able to serve you to the best of my ability and give you authentic and timeless portraits that you will love!

What if you’ve already had engagement pictures taken? No worries! I still recommend taking advantage of the complimentary engagement session for all the same reasons explained above. Besides, most brides are happy to have those extra portraits. The engagement session is a gift and may not be substituted for another session or extra hours of coverage on wedding day.


Do you recommend sharing a First Look on the wedding day?

I remember when I first heard of brides and grooms seeing each other before the wedding. I remember being shocked at the idea that a bride would see her groom before coming down the aisle. I had never heard of such a thing, but when I later learned that the tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other before the ceremony had its roots in the tradition of arranged marriages, I started to rethink my opinions on this new tradition. The more weddings I did that involved First Looks, the more I came to appreciate them. Here’s why you might need to consider sharing a First Look:

1. The bride and groom get a private moment together and this usually helps to diffuse any nerves. Brides and grooms are always instantly calmer after the First Look.

2. The bride and groom can get to their reception to celebrate with their guests much sooner than if they save all portraits involving the bride and groom together for after the ceremony.

3. The bride and groom end up with about 40% more bride and groom portraits than if there is no First Look.


What if we don’t want to do a First Look?

I LOVE a First Look, but deciding to share one is a personal decision that every couple has to make for themselves. If you choose to not share a First Look that doesn’t mean you can’t still get great portraits on your wedding day. It just means you need to keep a few things in mind during the planning process and set the expectations with your immediate family that you will need to have time to take portraits after the ceremony before arriving at the reception. Typically, a minimum of one hour is needed for post-ceremony family portraits, the full bridal party portrait, and bride and groom portraits. This is why it’s a good idea to plan for a cocktail hour when you’re not sharing a First Look.

1. Most Importantly: CHECK THE SUNSET of your wedding date BEFORE setting your ceremony time. You can do this by Googling “sunset on DATE in LOCATION” to get the exact sunset time. If you’re getting married in the fall or winter you’ll want to make sure your ceremony is early enough in the day to allow for natural light portraits after your ceremony. If you have already set your ceremony time and your ceremony will get over after dark, keep in mind that this will mean your portraits will have a completely different look to them than the natural light portraits you see on my website. Not having natural light for portraits means we will need to allot time to set up lighting for portraits and we’ll be restricted to more formal and traditional poses.

2. Provide something for your guests to do during portrait time. If you’re saving all portraits with the bride and groom together for after the ceremony, it’s best to have a cocktail hour for your guests. Give them something to eat and drink and they’ll be happy. This way you’re starting the party when you arrive at your reception. At a minimum, on average, I will need approximately an hour to complete family formals, full bridal party and bride and groom portraits after the ceremony if there is no First Look. Be sure to factor in drive time between ceremony and reception venues and note that will be in addition to the portrait time needed. Having your two venues in close proximity to one another is even more important for good wedding day logistics when there is no First Look.

3. Avoid having a receiving line outside the church. I rarely see receiving lines today, but some parents still ask about them because they were popular in the 1980s and 1990s. It is VERY difficult to gather the bride and groom, immediate family members, and the bridal party for formal portraits quickly and efficiently if there is a receiving line after the ceremony. This is because your family and friends will be excited to see you and congratulate you, which is totally understandable. If you’re not sharing a First Look, it’s best to save greeting your guests for when you arrive at the reception.


Who is the second photographer? What is their role?

I always say that the second photographer is usually photographing the second story or the second perspective, while I’m photographing the main story of the wedding day or the main perspective (ex: during the ceremony, they can get a different view of the bride coming down the aisle). When various locations are part of a wedding day, the second photographer helps document portions of the day that I can’t photograph due to being at the other location (ex: cocktail hour candids while I’m taking bride and groom portraits). I have a group of ladies that regularly work weddings with me, but exactly who the particular second photographer is for your day will be dependent on their availability.


Are you familiar with different religious wedding ceremonies?

I most often get asked this question by my Catholic and Episcopal brides, as they are often concerned about photographers complying with the guidelines for photography provided to them by the church where their wedding will be held. As a Catholic myself, I am very familiar with the guidelines provided by most Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Mobile for wedding ceremonies. As a photographer, I am also familiar with the guidelines of many of the Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches in the Mobile Bay area.

If I have never photographed a wedding at the church where your ceremony is being held, I will ask you about guidelines for photography in advance of the wedding. I am always respectful of any guidelines I am given. I specialize in Catholic wedding photography, but I am also very familiar with Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Middle Eastern wedding traditions. I love experiencing and documenting the wedding traditions of each faith and culture.


Where are you located?

I am based in Mobile, Ala. and I regularly shoot weddings on both sides of the Mobile Bay. Hotel and travel fees will apply for weddings that require travel over an hour away from Mobile (ex: Gulf Shores, Orange Beach locations). The travel fee for these locations is typically the cost of the hotel room for two nights. At this time, I only take bookings for weddings that will be held within the Mobile Bay Area.


How long have you been a photographer?

It shocks me to say it, but I have been a photographer for 17 years (seriously, it blows my mind!). In 2022, I am celebrating my 10th year in business and my fifth year as a full-time photographer. Although I do not have a degree in photography, I took photography classes as a student at Spring Hill College and have continued my photography education after graduation through a variety of online and in-person workshops. I continue to study new techniques for shooting and lighting because there is always more to learn in the world of photography!

I have had quite an eclectic experience when it comes to photography assignments, but weddings remain one of my favorite things to photograph, which is ironic because I used to think I would never want to photograph weddings (never say never!). It is an honor to be part of the wedding day and to preserve such special memories for my clients.

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I'm Elizabeth and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal of the latest here at Elizabeth Gelineau Photography. Stay a while and say hello!

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