Modern & Fun Virginia Wedding Photographer » Creative and fun Virginia Wedding Photography

Masthead header

Confessions of a former bride part 2 | timeline!

Not every bride is as anal about their wedding day as I was, but here’s why you should be…(at least when it comes to your timeline)

It helps vendors (Dj, Event  Coordinator, Florist, Photographer, etc) know when you want key things to happen. Nothing is worse to me than being outside taking pictures of details only to find that the bride’s friend is singing a special song! Let me know when things are going to happen so I can make sure that I’m there!

It gets people off your back. People will ask  you “What time are we cutting the cake?” or “What time is the makeup artist getting here?” or “When are the flowers getting delivered?”. Developing a detailed timeline will help get some of these people out of your face on your wedding day by having a nice little sheet you can pass out and everyone can reference.

It helps create a more relaxed wedding day. If you are like me, you can’t relax unless you know what you are supposed to be doing and when you are supposed to be doing it. One of the best ways to make your wedding day super stressful is to fly by the seat of your pants without a timeline in place.

 Some things to think about when creating a timeline:

The season your wedding is in. If you are getting married in December and have your ceremony scheduled at 4:00 or later, more than likely it is going to be almost pitch black after you say I do. In that case I would strongly suggest adding a first look to your schedule (I would always strongly recommend a first look, but in this case even moreso).

Hair and makeup take longer than you think. For some reason when I was writing out our wedding timeline I thought that hair and makeup would take like an hour tops. My hair took at least an hour and the makeup took around 45 minutes/hour. Unless you go to a salon where there are multiple stylists to work on you and your bridesmaids and you have multiple makeup artists, this can be PER PERSON so plan accordingly.

Traffic. If you aren’t already familiar with traffic patterns around your wedding location, you need to get familiar and pad your timeline for traffic…especially if you are getting married in NOVA or Hampton Roads.

Speaking of padding the timeline, a good habit is to always add extra time into the schedule by padding every entry with a few minutes so you have some room to breathe. Things WILL come up and you will feel a lot more zen about the little things if you know you have planned ahead!

Decide on a rain plan.  I have a lot of outdoor weddings this year (holla!) that are going to be absolutely beautiful, completely dry, sunny celebrations.  Fingers crossed. Unfortunately the reality is when you’re getting married outside you have to consider your contingency plan in advance so that if mother nature decides to go crazy you are prepared and everyone knows what the game plan is. If you are planning an outdoor wedding I would suggest creating two versions of your timeline, a regular one and an in case of rain plan. That way the only wedding day decision is whether or not to pull the trigger on your backup.

 Since I like to practice what I preach (or preach what I practice??) here’s a sample wedding day timeline so you can see what one looks like and even adapt it to fit your wedding day.

Wedding Day Timeline
May 21, 2011
Katie + John

11:30 AM                             Hair appointments at salon
12:00 PM                             Drive to getting ready location/pick up lunch
12:30 PM                             Makeup begins
1:00 PM                                Photographers arrive/begin taking detail shots
1:30 PM                                Start getting ready (Bridesmaids first)
2:15 PM                                Bride gets dressed
2:00 PM                                Coordinator arrives at reception venue for setup
2:30 PM                                Drive to first look location (Nelson House)
3:00 PM                                First Look (Nelson House) / Portraits /Bridal Party Portraits
4:20 PM                                Family Portraits
5:00 PM                                Arrive at Ceremony location
5:15 PM                                Processional starts
5:20 PM                                Ceremony begins
5:40 PM                                Recessional
5:45-6:00 PM                      Guests file out/parade to reception venue begins
6:20PM                                 Dinner is served
6:50 PM                                Dance Floor Opens
8:15PM                                 Toasts
8:30 PM                                Cake is cut
8:40 PM                                Bouquet/garter toss
8:50                                        Resume dancing
9:55                                        Bride + Groom exit

Pssst…Style Me Pretty and Google Docs have teamed up to create this sample timeline that you can edit and make your own! Such an awesome resource!

Did you miss the first installment in the series?? Check out part one here!



I think I was the opposite and gave myself way too much time for hair/makeup…but it was so nice not having to rush through it all like I usually do on a daily basis!

Girl I am so thankful you posted this- I always struggle when people ask me about timelines!

Confessions of a former bride | part one

I got married last year, so it hasn’t been too long since I was a bride myself. Since getting married I’ve also stepped into the wedding industry by starting my own photography business! Both sides of the wedding industry are pretty different but we’re all working towards a common goal…putting together a beautiful wedding! Since it’s that in between time when people are busy planning their weddings I thought it would be neat to put together a series of informative posts with wedding confessions and advice. I have a few ideas already, but please let me know if there is anything specific you would like to see!

Part One | The First Look

Photographers LOVE first looks! You want me to love you (more than I already do)? Choose to have a first look. Beyond just making time for portraits, having a first look helps to ensure that your day flows smoothly  by getting a big part of the portraits out of the way earlier on. Not only do we get to shoot you and your spouse to be in an excited/blissful/nervous state, but if we get to do a first look and you guys have seen each other already, we can knock out bridal portraits and even family portraits before the ceremony so everyone has time to breathe afterwards! If you are interested in exactly why photographers love first looks there are tons of articles and blog posts about it by photographers who are much more eloquent than I am…

I would much rather explain the concept of a first look to you from the perspective of a bride. Not just any bride, but an extremely introverted bride. I was never really very nervous about the wedding because I knew I was ready to marry John, but I did catch some anxiety over walking down the aisle. I was so worried about people looking at me and whether or not I was going to be doing the ugly cry like Farrah on Teen Mom.

It was around 3pm and it was HOT. I was anxious because we were running late and just nervous in general. None of the panic really set in until I got to the site of the first look. I was supposed to wait til they had John where he couldn’t see me, but my heart was in my throat and I couldn’t wait any longer. So I just went. Walking over to my soon to be husband I felt so anxious, like I was going to throw up all the chips I ate for lunch. But in a good way. I was sweating and trying to keep it together, but the closer I got to him the more I felt my eyes well up. When I finally reached John after what felt like both a lifetime and a split second, I tapped him on the shoulder and he was already crying. What can you do when your future husband is crying happy tears but cry yourself? I flat out bawled too and told him to stop crying.

Looking back I’m so glad that our first moment on our wedding day was just the two of us. Because it was exactly that…a moment. A few precious minutes where we could privately revel in the fact that we were about to get MARRIED and breathe in and out the warm May air. Honestly I don’t think we would have had that if we had waited to see each other until the ceremony. Seeing my husband waiting for me at the altar was a pretty magical moment, but it really does not compare to the intimacy and nervous excitement of a first look in my opinion. Also, the ceremony itself begins right after you get to the altar so you don’t have a second to relax and just take in both your soon to be spouse and what the day means.

So to summarize, from former bride to future bride: you will not regret a first look. You just won’t.

Stay tuned for the next installment!! It’s about TIMELINES! Fun, fun:)

2013-02-01_0001 2013-02-01_0002


Images courtesy of Jodi Miller Photography


What a great post. I’m a photographer so I love the first look and like very much you put it.

Maddie + John | Gaithersburg, md engagement photography

I had such a great time shooting Maddie and John’s engagement session out in Gaithersburg, Maryland this past weekend. They were nice enough to meet up during the holiday weekend, since we were already in town. For the first part of the session they invited us over and cooked a delicious stir fry to share. They love cooking together and experimenting with recipes! I absolutely love it when couples incorporate things that are “them” into their session.

After we finished eating, we drove over to John’s elementary school for a few pictures on the soccer field…Maddie and John are both really into sports…they met playing kickball and actually both play soccer now! Fun fact: Maddie and John (my John) actually ran track together in high school, while Maddie’s John attended the rival high school.


These are awesome!!! Love! 🙂


Thank you for all the terrific pictures! You are fantastic–and not to mention a lot of fun to work with.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I know you are busy celebrating and being thankful with your families today, so if you have taken a second to read this post, THANK YOU. Yes, you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of my clients for your support, trust, and most importantly, your friendship. I love this job so much and wouldn’t have the opportunity to do it if it weren’t for the amazing clients who were willing to trust this photographer in her first year of business. I am beyond grateful to have gotten to know so many awesome people this year. I’ve laughed with you guys, stood in your windowsills, cried at your weddings, and very honestly had the time of my life.

Savor this day and eat lots of turkey and green bean casserole for me! I will be in Maryland enjoying my in-laws company, shopping, stuffing my face,  and shooting an engagement session for one of my 2012 couples 🙂 See you all next week!


Just be yourself

Figuring out who Katie Nesbitt is has been a huge part of this past year as well as a big part of developing my business and coming up with a vision for my brand. I’m one of those people that has always felt out of place and really struggled to find myself. I have spent most of my life wondering where I belong and what I’m supposed to be doing. Becoming a photographer has given me purpose though, and has forced me to examine exactly who I am and what makes me tick. And more importantly to accept it and get along with it. The hardest part has been not just learning to love myself, but to be at peace with who I am and to OWN it.

I got Jasmine Star’s magazine, EXPOSED in the mail this week and have been devouring it ever since. Some of it I have already read on her blog, but it was still perfect for me to read right now. Jasmine is so positive and vulnerable with her own story. Her attitude is infectious and her story is so easy to relate to. When she talks about wanting to quit, I know exactly where she’s coming from because I feel that way all the time. When she talks about passion and wanting it more than anything, I know that feeling too because that’s what keeps me going. And somehow on a day when I am feeling totally down in the dumps about myself and wondering how I will ever make it as a photographer, I can look at her blog and there is something totally positive and uplifting to inspire me. She is kind of like my Oprah. Is that weird? Yeah, it probably is. Reading Jasmine’s magazine has inspired me that much more to focus on myself, my brand, and my craft and know that there is nothing better I can provide to my clients other than myself. There are tens of  thousands of photographers all over the country, but there is only one Katie Nesbitt. There is nothing that I can do to set myself apart except to just be Katie. It sounds totally weird to say this out loud (you know what I mean) but Jasmine has almost given me the permission to accept myself and be okay with just being me. I am so grateful to Jasmine, a woman who does not even know I exist, for giving me the courage to GO THERE with myself.



Preach on, sister friend. I consumed that magazine like it was going out of style. I need to read it again, though- I think the first time through I was just so excited about what was coming next that I wasn’t able to fully process the whole thing.