I'm Dianne, and welcome to my blog! I'm a wedding and family photographer based in Southwestern Ontario, and I just love meeting people in every stage of life, but have to admit that love stories are my favourite! I'd love it if you'd grab a coffee, snuggle up on the couch, and browse through everything that I've been up to lately, and become a part of this amazing DVI community! You can even get to know me and my family!
I'm Dianne, and welcome to my blog! I'm a wedding and family photographer based
photographer based in Southwestern Ontario, and I just love meeting people in every stage of life, but have to admit that love stories are my favourite! I'd love it if you'd grab a coffee, snuggle up on the couch, and browse through everything that I've been up to lately, and become a part of this amazing DVI community! You can even get to know me and my family!
Anna, from Spunky Sapphire Events, is as vivacious as her business name suggests, but she is definitely an introvert and prefers to recharge by herself or with her husband and toddler hooligans. She has been in the wedding industry for over ten years and has run SSE for almost six years (what!). While serving her sweet clients, she helps them focus on building a marriage more beautiful than the wedding day, focusing on their relationships rather than the logistics, and starting married life on the best foot possible. She’s a bride-whisperer, a type-a sidekick, and will quickly turn into one of your friends—and how cool is that on your wedding day?! She regularly fields the question, “But why do I need a wedding planner?” so I’m happy to have this Hamilton wedding planner share on the blog today!
Congratulations, bride-to-be! You’re getting married and Pinterest has become your new best friend. With all those ideas, you’ve started hiring a photographer, florist, caterer. You may have even hired a decorator for that gorgeous head table backdrop, beautiful tent chandeliers, and candles with the perfect lounge area. So you’ve got the necessities, you’re super organized, and your mom and sisters are thrilled to help you out anytime. What can a planner add?
First, I’ll be blunt: when I get asked this question, I probably get an “are you serious?!” exasperated look on my face, and that’s not just because I’m trying to get a new client. Haha! (Can you picture it?)
Unlike the name “wedding planner” suggests, most of my clients don’t hire me to take control of everything, plan the wedding for them, and greet them when they show up for their big day like you see in those movies (you know the ones–*wink). I haven’t thought of a replacement name for “wedding planner”, so, until I do, I think of myself as a Type-A Sidekick. That’s what my clients hire me for.
SEE THIS AMAZING HAMILTON WEDDING PLANNER AND HER FAMILY ON THE BLOG HERE!
They want to plan every detail of their own wedding; from hiring the photographer of their dreams to choosing their menu to staying on track with every free downloadable planning tool there is. However, they know they can’t clone themselves on their wedding day. They really want to enjoy every second stress-free and full of joy. To focus only on their new spouse, family, and friends.
Trust me, NO ONE wants to deal with the gross logistics on their own wedding day.
What if a vendor’s car breaks down on the way over? What if you’re super overwhelmed by the idea of putting everything you’ve ordered and hired out into a cohesive timeline? What if the rental company loses your order that you placed ten months before your wedding (and you got confirmation and paid your deposit for!) and the week before, they tell you that you haven’t rented anything? (Yes, that really happened.)
You can plan a wedding on your own. (I mean, I’m always here if you need me, have a question about anything, or change your mind!).
DOWNLOAD YOUR IDEAL TIMELINE GUIDE AND WORKBOOK HERE.
Be in two places at once on your wedding day. Know everything there is to know about weddings. Answer hundreds of emails and phone calls from vendors with questions (on the wedding day, no less!). Deal with opinions and “I just think you should do it this way” comments. Work a full-time job. Take care of yourself. All while staying joyful about the whole process while not threatening to elope.
And when those crises in the questions I asked above come up, the planner you hired is 1000% ALL IN to get them resolved, sorted out, back on track. Whatever needs to happen so your day is flawless. More times than not, you won’t even know there were issues of that magnitude because of your wedding planner. She’s on your side, working for you, every minute you’ve got her.
And, while we’re talking about “on your side” (and I’m going to get a question about this!), venue coordinators are generally lovely. But they work for the venue, not you. I’ll say it again: Venue coordinators/planners work for the venue, not for you. That means, if something happens, it’s literally their job to take the venue’s side on any issue.
I’ve worked with several amazing coordinators; they’re valuable, and I love them. But, they’ll admit they can’t do everything an independent wedding planner can do for you. Their hands are tied in some areas and if there’s an issue with a vendor that’s not related to anything at the venue, they won’t resolve it for you. And, surely, if someone’s car breaks down on the way to the venue, they’re not going to send their delivery van or call an Uber for that person. Imagine having to deal with that all on your own while you’re trying to sip a mimosa and get your hair done!
The number one response I get from past clients when I ask what they were able to do on their wedding day because they hired me: “I was able to relax and enjoy myself every minute of the day because I knew you had everything under control. Our day was beautiful just like we planned it, and we could appreciate it because of you.”
When I get sweet responses like that, I know it’s true that wedding planners make a difference. They tell all their friends that it was the best investment they made for their wedding. And while a planner is an investment, the money you spend on their expertise will definitely be saved somewhere else because we know how to work magic with a budget, avoid costly mistakes, and get you the most bang for your buck. Time is the one commodity we’ll never recoup…imagine what you could be doing with freed up time and brain space. Hire a planner. The new wives with wedding planning experience have spoken! 😊
GET TO KNOW THIS HAMILTON WEDDING PLANNER BETTER HERE!
Wedding photography is not just what I do. It’s my passion and so much more! I live for the look on a groom’s face when he first sees his bride! The emotion of a bride being walked up the aisle by her father is almost tangible to me! My job means so much to me because of those moments! And I feel honoured to be a part of your big day. Let me tell you why your photographer should be the first vendor to book!
There is a reason you are so intimidated by photography, and why it is such a big decision for most couples; it’s one of the more long-lasting relationships that you can envision. Photographers, along with wedding planners, are the people that are with you the most on your wedding day! Therefore it is super important that you get along well with your wedding photographer. And that means it’s not just important to you, it is to me as well!
He just popped the question, and you said “YES”! With a lot of excitement, of course. Whether you knew it was coming, or it was a huge surprise; it’s a moment you will remember for a very long time! I still remember mine; the one thing that really stands out is the fact that we found a super cool tree frog in the field at my parent’s farm (Did you know that they live up here in Ontario? I had no idea!). The other thing that I remember was the fact that Bert was super nervous! And I know I’m not the only one who says this, I’ve heard it from so many engaged couples!
Some boyfriends go all out and take their girlfriends to some big hockey game where the big question gets displayed on the big screen or even take her to another country to pop the question. Others, like my husband, find it more important to do something low key and get down on one knee in a field somewhere surrounded by the crickets. Either way, I’m sure yours was super special and there was a reason for him to propose to you the way he did!
Then come the big decisions; your wedding party, and the date of your big day. I know I was super excited to ask all our groomsmen and bridesmaids to be a part of their wedding day. I knew what an honour it was to be asked.
Even though I was not a photographer back then, I recognized the importance of those photographs; they would be the only reminders I’d be left with afterwards. So Bert and I decided that we were willing to spend good money on a great photographer. Someone we could see capturing the moments that mattered most to us. And we did!
For more incredible tips and resources to help plan your big day, see THESE AMAZING TOOLS from Wedding Wire Canada!
We were lucky enough to find a great photographer, whose character we could really get along with, quite quickly! Not all couples are that lucky. We reached out to several photographers shortly after we got engaged. Some of them were already booked. We were calling about 8 months ahead of our wedding, but photography was not as saturated of a market then as it is today. This is good for you, it means you have more options available. On the other hand, your choice could be more difficult. Some photographers book weddings as far as 2 years ahead! So contacting your preferred photographers shortly after you’re engaged can really help you get the photographer you most admire! This is especially important if you’ve chosen to get married at your wedding location’s busiest season!
Like for example, in Ontario, it would be anywhere from the middle of May till the end of October; with the busiest part being July and August. In Arizona, however, where it’s just too hot to get married in the summer, high season falls in Spring and Autumn. It is a great idea to follow your favourite photographers on Instagram or Facebook so you can have a sense of when their busiest time is. Then you can plan around that if having a certain photographer is that important to you (which we understand completely). This makes us as photographers feel valued. And is a great start to your relationship with your photographer.
The first order of business, once you book your wedding photographer, will be to schedule your engagement session. As a photographer, I cannot stress the importance of having an engagement session enough! It’s a great way to make sure that you love your wedding photographer as much as you hope to. It also helps instill the trust that you will receive wedding images that you’d expect from him or her!
When you’re just engaged, the experience is fresh in your mind. There is even a bit of a honeymoon phase after your engagement. Photographers love capturing couples within the first month or two of their engagement. You are still so focused on their connection; the reason why he asked and you said “Yes!” Some couples would like to send their guests “save the date” announcements as soon as possible so they can share in the excitement. As a photographer, I deliver my couple’s engagement images within two weeks, which is great for that exact purpose.
You have a great resource at your disposal, when you sign your contract with your wedding photographer! Most wedding photographers have a lot of contacts in the wedding world. They definitely have the biggest variety of vendors in their contact list. They can tell you which wedding planners they like working with (if you’re going that route), which venues are great to capture your portraits at, and where you can say I do in the most romantice way possible!
I love helping my couples find the right people for their wedding; it is a great way for me to serve them, and show them that I care. I’m there for my brides, if they have any questions, and I actually love it when they stump me with a question that I don’t have the answer to right away. It is a great opportunity for me to learn something new and this often provides unique photography opportunities. This definitely applies when it comes to photography locations.
Want another great resource? DownloadYOUR IDEAL TIMELINE GUIDE & WORKBOOK for free now!!!
Very rarely are engagements shorter than 6 months, and if yours is, we love the fact that we don’t have to wait long to see you in your dress and capture your special day! In my experience, most couples wait about 1 to 2 years after their engagement to get married, which means that there are quite a few months for you to enjoy your engagement images. This also means you have ample opportunity to ask advice from your wedding photographer to ensure that your wedding day is set up perfectly for the best photography results.
It is my goal to not just be a wedding photographer, but to be so much more than that. Especially at weddings without planners, you will see us helping out to make sure people are seated on time, and just maintain a good wedding timeline in general. This might be for slightly selfish reasons, (that we have plenty of time to capture your wedding portraits), but again, that is great for you! Because the better things flow on your big day, the more variety of images you will end up with, and isn’t that why you hired us in the first place?
If you’re just engaged, I hope this post will instill an urgency to find your wedding photographer soon. If you’re in a serious relationship, and you can see him proposing shortly, I can’t wait to hear your big news! And if you’re still single, kudos to you for just being interested in wedding photography before your time, I hope you remember the gist of this when your time comes.
And for those of you who are reading this, reminiscing about your big day, I’m sure it will bring back fond memories! Whatever stage of life your family is in, I’m sure you know someone who could benefit from this content. After all, it will be the most important day of their lives to that point, and that’s a pretty big deal!
He’s popped the question and you can finally start planning! Your girls and you are planning a day out in Toronto, trying to find the perfect dress, and you totally know the type of wedding you are hoping for! You’re meeting with several different wedding venues in the coming weeks, but already have a pretty good idea that you want the golf course with the amazing views of the river. You figure you have most of the answers to all the questions, but have you thought about your wedding day? Time of ceremony? Location of family photos? Probably not, and that’s why I decided that you need these 10 very important tips to have a relaxed wedding day timeline, while still staying true to yourself and making things enjoyable for all of your guests.
Yes, I said that right! Find two or three of your closest friends, whom you just could not imagine spending your big day without, and ask them to be in your wedding party! The more people in your wedding party, the more pictures have to be taken and (I’m not kidding) the more bridesmaids/groomsmen can go missing! Having a small wedding party makes things more personal as well, and a huge bonus is that there are less “Thank You” gifts you need to buy and less speeches to listen to at night during dinner! All in all, a win-win if you ask me.
I know I really enjoyed planning my own wedding and wouldn’t want to give that up to just anyone, but I do know I could definitely have benefited from a planner who made sure things got done at the right time, or to the right place on my big day. Sadly, our families ended up having to decorate the hall on the day of our wedding, because our venue misled us about the availability the night before. With a wedding planner, this likely wouldn’t have happened, or at least it wouldn’t have taken our own family members away from the celebration to get it done on time.
Knowing ahead of time exactly what hairstyle or type of look a bride is looking for on her wedding day can cut down on time spent in the chair. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with the girls before it’s time to head out, and capturing those wonderful memories, but so often something happens to change the condition of the hair compared to the trial months before, and it is super helpful for make-up artists and hairdressers to have a recent memory of what you expect from them. On our wedding day, all my bridesmaids ended up with an old-fashioned bun that the hairdresser thought was perfect, because she had forgotten what hairstyle we agreed on. She ended up charging very little, but I’m still disappointed to this day!
Padding your timeline with 15 minutes here and 20 minutes there will prevent any late starts, whether ceremony or reception, and ensure a relaxed wedding day timeline. This is easy, just make sure that the guys are ready to leave about 10 minutes before they actually need to leave (and don’t tell them)!
Times that are especially important, of course, are the ceremony and reception dinner time. Estimate your driving times about 50% longer than they normally are, in case of an accident, or in case someone accidentally forgets something. If and when you don’t need the buffer time, feel free to use it to ask your photographer to get a few more wedding party shots or bridal portraits very near where you have to be at a certain time. So it’s almost like a reward, which will help motivate you even more to stick to your timeline. Your photographer will thank you!
I realize that this isn’t always possible, but often venues have some amazing photogenic rooms that are yours for free or a small fee where you can spend the morning with your girls. Whether it’s at a golf course or a hotel, there are often options at, or near where you will be saying your vows. Technically it would be amazing if it all happens at the same venue, but when you’re getting married in a church, it is also very convenient if the reception location is nearby. This cuts down on driving time, and in case someone forgets something, it’s only a short walk or drive to get the missing item!
Experience tells me that a timeline that gets off on the wrong start, is really hard to fix when it’s on a roll. It’s like a runaway train, it’s better to nip it in the bud. After all, why would you want to add extra stress and possibly lose out on that relaxed wedding day timeline.
First looks are becoming more common and photographers all over are thanking you for it! Some couples are adamant that they want to see each other for the first time in church, so did we almost 10 years ago. But now, looking back, it would have been so nice to spend 10 to 15 minutes of time with Bertus before we met at church, I think it would have helped my nerves as well.
If you decide to do a first look, most photographers will also get wedding party portraits out of the way before the ceremony. Yes, you may be looking at adding an hour of coverage (unless your photographer offers all-day wedding coverage, like myself), but it could be well worth it! This way, after the ceremony, your wedding party is free to go as they please and enjoy themselves (and they will thank you for that!), and you have oodles of time to get an amazing array of “Husband and Wife” portraits. This might even allow for an extra location, if your timeline allows this!
Even if you have a wedding planner, it is still very helpful to have someone who is not part of your family or bridal party, but is on a first-name basis, ensure that everything is flowing smoothly. Ensuring a relaxed wedding day timeline really is a group effort! Choosing someone who is not an all-day guest (meaning part of the wedding party or a family member) ensures that they can really focus on making sure that the rings have made it to church or that no wedding party member decides to stop in at Tim Hortons at 12:30PM and has to wait for their latté for 20 minutes.
Designated coordinators are also instrumental in ensuring smooth sailing during family portraits! This is usually the most hectic part of the day, because your photographer has no idea who is part of what family. Even if there is a second-shooter, it is super helpful to have someone who is familiar with most or all of the members, and can ensure that no mistakes (such as splitting up a family) are made. Make sure this coordinator has your family portrait group list as well as any other instructions that you want them to remember.
As mentioned before, a timeline that gets off track early on, can be impossible to fix. I mean, all your guests are really there to see you get married, and they might have taken the day off to attend the biggest day of your life; try not to waste their time by turning up late. At the same token, officiants sometimes have more than one ceremony to officiate, and if you arrive late, he/she may have to leave to attend the next wedding. Imagine everyone showing up for your wedding and then it becomes a search for any officiant, just as long as the papers get signed! It is better for all parties if groom and bride allow extra EXTRA time before this part of the day.
Your officiant may not have any flexibility, but your family members might. Or even you. Let’s say that you have planned to have the family pictures done right after the ceremony. As it happens, one of your nieces is exhausted and almost asleep; waking her would do more harm than good. If the family is somewhat small and all are planning to attend your reception, reschedule the family portrait time to 30 minutes before then. Hopefully by that time your niece is well rested, and your photographer is able to get those images at a much less stressful pace. Make sure to discuss these decisions with your photographer before promising your family something that isn’t possible, sometimes lighting situations do not allow for these types of modifications.
Family portrait time is usually the most dreaded time of the day. It’s something that should get done, but isn’t enjoyed by many. Getting through these as efficiently as possible benefits everyone, including you as couple, the photographer, and especially your family. Making sure that your list includes first and last names can avoid confusion, even add your parents’ first names to clarify. As photographer, I often end up calling your parents “Mom” and “Dad”, out of respect for them, but also because it makes it a little easier. Still, to ensure we know which Mom or Dad, feel free to give as much detail as you think necessary. Better too much than too little.
That being said, keep your family portrait wish list as concise as possible, spending an hour on family portraits can be a waste of your time and money, as very rarely are all images looked at, much less used. I ask my clients to keep it down to less than 10 groupings (allowing for unmarried significant others to be added to and taken away from each grouping if necessary). This is usually possible, and brides are thankful that they can just say, “Sorry, my photographer says no more!”
You only get married once. Do it right, and make sure you are able to enjoy your day by utilizing as many of these tips to have a relaxed wedding day timeline as possible. You’ll look back and see that it was likely the most important part of your planning. I’d love to hear how your day turned out, and which tips you found most helpful. Is there something missing that should be added. Happy planning, and congratulations. You deserve the best day!
Images captured while second shooting for the amazing Kayla Potter! Visit her website HERE.
It’s natural that a bride wants to find out more about me as a photographer, which is why I’ve put together these 10 most common questions you may have and my answers. You’ll be surprised at some of them! For those of you who know me, I’m sure even you will learn something new about me! I cannot wait to start serving more brides and grooms, and grow, so I can anticipate any other questions you have before you even tell me!
ABSOLUTELY! I can’t wait to meet you both at a non-pressure consultation where you can tell me all about how you met, your proposal (did he get on one knee?), and what you have planned for your big day! You can take a few days to make the decision to hire me, as it’s an important one. I will be spending more time with the bride on her wedding day than she will with the groom! That means it is very important that you have confidence in me. That you think we are a good match. When you decide that you are ready for your engagement session, we will spend another few hours together. At this time I will teach you about how I work. We will have so much fun, you won’t even believe it when the session is over (that’s what I usually get told). This is all done so that you have confidence in me when it comes to my abilities to deliver amazing images that will showcase the love between you two, even when we are pressed for time. That way, when the wedding comes, your hubby-to-be will not dread portrait time. Through the whole process we will stay in touch. So, when you have any questions, I’m only an email away!
Find out more about me here!
I captured my first wedding in the summer of 2016, and then decided to pursue some more education, so that I could really give my brides an amazing experience while delivering stunning images. I’m now actively photographing and scheduling couples as far in advance as fall of 2020! I’ve assisted many different photographers at this point, by capturing images from a different perspective as their own (btw, a second shooter is always included in your coverage with me as well, read more about that below). I have also been taking courses from the amazing Amy and Jordan as well as Katelyn James, who has a wonderful part of her course where she takes her KJ All Access members with her on a wedding, once a month, via video content; it feels just like second-shooting!
I love lighter, yet vibrant colours; from when I was young already I was not a fan of “all black” and I really find that I try to capture that with my photography as well. There is so much beauty and light in this world, why not use it to the fullest and capture your big day you want to remember it; full of life and love! I especially love soft light, and I try to capture that in my photography by guiding you into the right location and pose to create the light but still vibrant images that I am known for.
I’m very social, and I treat all of my clients like friends. I really want to form a lasting relationships with my couples. I especially focus on being efficient when necessary. This includes first looks (my fave!!!), the first 15 minutes of a family session (when the kids are still within shouting distance), and when the weather is just sooooo cold, that you need to stop every ten minutes just to make sure your toes are still attached! I love creating poses that look and feel natural, and am a huge fan of close-ups, especially when I turn them into soft black & whites.
Great question! I shoot digital (I’m a Nikon girl!), it’s all I’ve ever shot! It’s my dream to buy an old film camera and really find out how it works and create some absolute magic (someday)!
Let me tell you a story: On my own wedding day, when my photographer had finished the coverage that we agreed on months before, all of a sudden we realized that we could have had another hour of coverage to capture so many more amazing memories. “That’s it for me!” he said. And I was just flabbergasted. I had totally forgotten about our agreement, to be honest. But the biggest issue was, that at the time of booking him for our wedding, we had no idea about our timeline. And that is what really spoke to me one day when I encountered a similar problem with my own business.
So now, my wedding package includes ALL DAY COVERAGE! I usually arrive about 30 minutes after the first bridesmaid arrives, and I don’t leave until all the important events are done. A second shooter will meet your groom and his friends, and will be there to assist all day, capturing your first look, and helping me speed through family portrait time. (I also have a huge gift that I’d love to tell you about at your initial consultation.) You will receive all the high resolution images on a secure link to an online gallery, I average about 150 to 175 images for each hour that we are with you. Things are always changing, but what I most want to deliver is an amazing experience for your wedding photography, that is not focused on time limits. This will be THE ONE THING you will not stress about!
I actually have more CREATIVE and UNIQUE work when I’m not working off of a shot list! The shots that you will likely be looking for are like second nature to me, and often I find that there are certain poses that really work well for both of you. Therefore I’ll have no problem capturing them for you!! However, I have a wonderful Bride and Groom Questionnaire that I send a month before your wedding day via your client portal. Here I ask for very specific and unique shots that deviate from the normal shots on a wedding day! For example, if you’re holding your grandma’s handkerchief with your bouquet or you have a surprise dance happening during the reception, those are shots that I would absolutely love to have listed in advance so that I’m well prepared!!
Yes. Within one week, actually! I want to deliver you the most gorgeous images of your big day as soon as possible. You will be able to enjoy them on your honeymoon already. And share them with family and friends, of course! That first week after the wedding, you will be on a high, and before you get back into a normal routine, I want you to really be able to enjoy the best of the BEST of your wedding images. Your honeymoon won’t be the same without it!
Within a month, usually 2-3 weeks! I make it my goal to deliver your images within timely fashion. This way you can use your images for your thank you cards. Even your wedding album and parent albums. Things like that usually matter so much more shortly after your big day; it will allow you to remember the little details and not forget how amazing your big day was!
My favorite question! 🙂 Your images will be accessible via a secure link to an online PASS PLUS gallery. This gallery is super mobile friendly, it’s even got an app! You will be emailed detailed instructions on how to get the most out of your gallery. It’s actually very self-explanatory, but you can always ask me for help! The gallery will be live for 10 years. If you decide you want me to reactivate it, just let me know. It’s no issue, a mere click of a button for me. This way when it’s one of your girlfriends’ birthdays, you can click to download and post her a congratulatory post on Instagram without ever leaving your bed (if that’s what you want).
I know these are not all the questions that come to mind when you are looking for YOUR wedding photographer, but it’s a start! And I’m so willing to answer any other questions you may have, just send me a message here, and we will go from there!