Fairhope Wedding Photographer & Educator | Ellison Smith Creative- Formerly Goodie & Smith Weddings

Wedding Days with Goodie and Smith Weddings | Luxury AL Wedding Photographers

While we love ALL parts of our job, there’s something really special about wedding days. Being a part of our couples’ biggest moments is seriously amazing. We feel so lucky during every wedding day that we capture that this is our job. We’ve talked about what it’s like to book our team for your wedding day…. so, today, we thought it might be fun to share a little bit about what our wedding day process looks like with Goodie and Smith Weddings!

Alabama luxury wedding photographers Goodie and Smith Weddings share their wedding day process

The Start of the Wedding Day Process

Wedding days begin well before we ever see our couple for the first time. At home, we wake up and enjoy our cups of coffee while connecting with the team via text. That team includes the second photographer and any assistants. Most of the morning is spent prepping and enjoying a delicious, big lunch so we’re ready to go all day long! We pack all of the gear into our car. And for those wondering, our gear list includes the camera bag (duh!), light stands, umbrellas, flashes, details box, emergency kit, a copy of the timeline for the day, notes and payments for our team and snacks + water! After loading up the car, it’s time to drive! During the ride we might enjoy another coffee (we can’t help it!) and we review details for the day so we’re 110% prepared for your big day!

Arriving at the Wedding Day: Bridal Prep

This might be one of our favorite parts of the day! Everyone is always so relaxed and just excited about the wedding. While it’s relaxing for our couples and their families, it’s busy for us! We arrive and jump right into work capturing ALL of the details our couples so carefully planned. We capture everything from the venue down to the littlest details, like the bride’s jewelry. After we finish up the details, it’s almost time for our bride to meet her groom (if they chose to do a first look!). During the detail work, our team is also looking for the perfect spot for our bride to get into her wedding dress for those famous “getting ready” shots and of course, we’re capturing everyone getting ready! 

Once we’ve found a window with soft light, our bride can get ready with whoever she chose to help. We usually recommend her mom, sisters, or best friends!After she’s dressed, we’ll take some beautiful classic bridal portraits of her. You just can’t ever have enough portraits of a bride in her wedding dress, if you ask us!! We finish up our time with the bride by working through portraits of her and bridesmaids. These are always a lot of fun! And, whenever possible, we do these outside because we just LOVE natural light!

blue and ivory invitation suite from Mintedbridesmaid and mom help bride into wedding dress

Groom’s Preparations

While all of this is going on with the bride, our second photographer will be with the groom! We want to maximize our couples’ times so it’s nice to be able to capture both groups getting ready simultaneously. Much of the prep is the same here! We will find a good spot with light for the groom to “get ready” for portraits. This will also include his mom or other important family member putting on his boutonnière. After he and his groomsmen are photographed, we’ll begin to prepare him for their first look (if applicable!).

groom adjusts cufflink during Fairhope AL destination wedding photos

The First Look

Okay, okay. We did say arriving to the wedding might be one of the best parts of the day… but first looks are definitely some of our favorite moments, too! A first look offers an intimate moment with no pressure to react in any certain way between the couple. Wedding days are always stressful – having a moment with NO demands is just great! This is one of the few moments that they are alone all day, and not surrounded by their friends and family. During a first look, our job is to help direct our couples to each other and then let the moments unfold naturally between our couple. We don’t direct their reactions or anything! Seriously, we just capture the moment of true love and surprise we’re witnessing. After the couple has settled from their reaction, we’ll spend another 20-30 minutes on their portraits together before capturing the full bridal party together. 

Fairhope AL destination wedding first look at St. Francis at the Pointfirst look on Orchard at Hayes Farm wedding day

Family Formals

Family formal time can be CRAZY but it’s such an important time of the day! We work with each GSW Couple well in advance of their wedding day to be sure that this part of the day is quick and efficient. During family portraits, we’ll have our assistant call out names for us so we don’t miss anyone – and we have a check list so nothing is forgotten! Our recommendation is that family portraits take place 45 minutes to 1 hour before your ceremony whenever possible. If we keep your list to about 20 combinations, we’ll be just fine on time! Planning ahead is a huge part of the wedding day process at Goodie and Smith Weddings! 

The Ceremony

Before the ceremony, we will take care of two main tasks. The first is to set up our reception lighting setup. This will ensure that we can start shooting your party as soon as you’re ready! Additionally, we’ll check out the ceremony site one more time and make sure there’s been no major changes to lighting or our views. During the ceremony, we will work discreetly to capture various angles and the most important moments. Honestly, this part of the day is the WHOLE reason we’re all there with our couples, so we know how important it is to photograph. And that is something we never take for granted. 

Just Married Portraits!

After the ceremony, we like to take time for just our bride and groom to enjoy being with each other – alone – for a few more portraits. Whenever possible, we like to give our couples at least 15 minutes together to just celebrate the fact that they’re married and enjoy the joy they’re experiencing. If the full bridal party portrait or family portraits aren’t done yet, we will do those after the ceremony too. But, we always make time for our couples to have some time together!!

newlyweds pose in gardens at Bella Sera Gardens while Goodie and Smith Weddings shares about their wedding day process

Reception: Let’s Party!

After all of that, it’s party time!!! This is the most laid back part of the day for everyone, honestly. Typically, we just go with the flow when it comes to capturing the reception. During the planning process, we’ve gathered a timeline from our couple so we have a rough idea of how things will go but we’re just really there along for the ride! It’s always so much fun to watch everyone celebrate the bride and groom! 

Sunset + Night Portraits 

Sunset portraits are SO important to us (and usually to our couples, too!). Golden hour honestly provides the best light of the day and we always want to take advantage of it. If your ceremony ends too early for your “just married” portraits to fall during Golden Hour, you better believe we’ll be sneaking you out of the reception for 10-15 minutes for portraits during that time. A variety of portraits of our bride and groom is SUPER important to us here at Goodie and Smith Weddings, so we’re always excited about the opportunity the Golden Hour presents. 

Later in the evening, if our couples want, we’ll capture night portraits. During the reception, we’ll find the PERFECT spot for their portraits and set up lighting. While things slow down in the reception, we’ll bring our couple out for a few dramatic portraits.

nighttime wedding portraits at Izenstone


The end of the day has arrived!  While the bride and groom dance with their guests one last time, we take our lights to get set up for the exit. This could be a sparkler exit, bubbles, ribbons, or just flower petals. No matter the type of exit, we love back lighting the Bride and Groom for an extra effect! We have them kiss once halfway down and again at the end of the guest line which provides a few fun images for their final gallery and albums! 

sparkler exit after Izenstone wedding

So that’s what a typical wedding day process with Goodie and Smith Weddings can look like! We love being with our couples all day long and finding the best ways to serve them day after day. After a wedding day is over, our couples will come in to look at their final gallery and order their prints, heirloom album, or other products. We’ll be sharing more on that process coming soon!

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Fairhope Alabama Wedding Photographer formerly Goodie and Smith weddings

meet Jessica


Hi! I’m Jessica, owner and lead photographer at Ellison Smith Creative- the Gulf Coast’s only full service wedding photography studio. I am so glad you’re here! Please show yourself around and you’ll soon see that I believe that my clients DESERVE IT ALL! 

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