tips for a stress free wedding having alone time

tips for a stress free wedding having alone time

Stress Free Wedding Tips

As a wedding photographer, I have seen it all.  Days and nights filled with laughter and love and  well….. the complete opposite, to put it nicely.  I have put together 3 of my favorite tips for a stress free wedding.  These all have to do with you and your spouse, and your love.


Have a time line

If there is one thing that helps a wedding day go smoothly it is a thorough and detailed timeline. Everyone knows that planning and thinking ahead are important, but this is often neglected on a wedding day. Once you make your timeline, copies can be give to wedding vendors, immediate family, the bridal party and any other people who would be helping that day so that everyone knew where they were supposed to be the day of the wedding


A lot of times I  think f brides get overwhelmed when it comes to planning a specific timeline because there are just so many things to think about. If you aren’t sure where to start with a timeline and you don’t have a wedding planner, We would be glad to help you put together a timeline to make sure that everything on your wedding day goes as smoothly as possible.


 Give Yourself Time

Things will run behind schedule.  Give yourself ample time for your hair and make up.   In my opinion, the bride should be the first to get her hair or makeup done.  If she’s getting her hair done someone else can be getting their makeup done, but the bride is the number one priority.  If you think it’ll take you 3 hours to get ready plan for 4-5 hours.  Trust me.  If you’re ahead of schedule your photographer can get more bridal shots of you or photos of you and your bridesmaid in your bridal suite.  It’s always best to be ahead of schedule rather than behind schedule.  But remember, if you are running late don’t freak out too much– they can’t start without you.

tips for a stress free wedding giving yourself time to get ready

Have Alone Time

Your wedding day will fly by, that is a guarantee.  Making sure you make time for eachother on your big day.  If you don’t, the day will be over before you hardly knew it began.  Not sure how to get alone time? I have a few ideas for you.

  1. Have your own transportation.  You might feel like you are missing out on some of the fun with your wedding party, however traveling alone will allow you to take a ‘time out’ from all of the excitement.   You will be able to re-enter your wedding reception re-energized and ready to celebrate with your friends and family.
  2. Have a ‘First Look’. Over the past few years, a ‘first look’ has become very popular option for a lot of couples. Rather than waiting until you’re walking up the aisle to see each other for the first time, a first look gives you the chance to meet up at a separate location before the ceremony.  This gives you a chance to calm your nerves, see each other, and have a few minutes to yourselves. This can be as far in advance of the ceremony as you would like – it can be just a 10 minute rendezvous.  I love first looks and I will be happy to help you through this process.  It gives me a chance to create even more magical memories for you!
  3. Plan a sunset shoot -Sneak out for a sunset photo shoot during the reception. Once your photographer has captured a few images, they can head back inside and leave you guys to enjoy some time together, away from your wedding reception. No one will notice if you are gone for 20 minutes, and that time will be invaluable for you and your new spouse

tips for a stress free wedding having alone time


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couple in sunset


“Pictures represent our memories. Pictures trigger our memories like nothing else on earth has the power to do. Our memories cannot be replaced with any amount of money or any material goods — it really is the most valuable thing we have!”- Richie Schwartz


Reasons to hire a professional photographer for wedding

There are plenty of reasons to hire a professional photographer for wedding.  However, I think this is one of the most commonly over looked parts of your wedding day.   And, I think I get it.  Here’s the scenerio:


You just want go get married to the one you love more then anything in the whole wide world – why does it have to cost so much?


The national average cost of a wedding from  in 2014 was $29,858.00.  (Yes, I am aware this is 2017), This is an awful lot of money to spend for one day.  So, you start looking for ways to cut costs.  Your main concern is that your guests have a great time.  You have a friend who has a cousin with a nice camera, so why not save the money you would spend on a photographer and just hire them?  It’s just the photography, its not that important right?  The answer truly is yours, but please ask yourself “How do you want to remember one of the best days of your life?”

How do you want to remember one of the best days of your lives?

Start by asking yourself and each other what is important to you and your wedding day.  When you ask yourself this question,  the cake- the decor- the wine list, all of these things start to seem a little less important.  Making memories, cherishing family and friends, and honoring the love you have for one another start inching there way to the top.


When do you ever have so many opportunities to create memories with the people you love the most.  Don’t you want to have beautiful, crisp clean professional images to remember this day by? Check out my main wedding page here.


These images only become more important when a loved one passes.  I keep my wedding clients files for years, and I can’t tell you how many times I have been approached by brides and grooms thanking me for taking pictures of ‘so and so’, because those images are some of the happiest memories they have of a loved one.


It’s All About the Little Things

Planning a wedding can be so stressful.  Spending tons of money on a wedding can be even more stressful!  If there is anything nugget of advice I can give you in this process, is to remember the little things.  Remember why you are getting married, and who will be there to celebrate with you.  Some of the best weddings I have had the pleasure to photograph are small and intimate.


Be choosy on specifics like a guest list, a photographer, a videographer, and venues that cater to your specific needs as a couple.  There is nothing more important then love – cherish the ones you love like there is no tomorrow.  No matter what.


Are You Ready to get started?

I can’t wait to hear from you!


Los Angeles Wedding Photography

Are you looking for Los Angeles Wedding Photography? You don’t need to look any further!  Recently, I moved to the Los Angeles area and currently providing affordable wedding photography!  Although my business is called Steph Shanks Photography, when it comes to weddings – we are a husband and wife team.  We work together to make sure your day is unforgettable.  How do we do this?  We know the importance of communication!

  • We work with you to make sure that you get the pictures you want by getting a detailed shot list from you prior to the wedding day.
  • We visit the venue with you the day before the wedding to go over last minute details
  • We work off a timeline custom designed by you.
  • We contact the other vendors prior to the wedding
  • We return emails, and calls and make sure you and your fiance feel comfortable and excited about your big day



Call today to book us for your Los Angeles wedding photography!  Because we just moved here, we are currently booking events and weddings through 2017 and into 2018.  We only book one year out, and we are selective with our clients .  This means that we only work with couples that we feel we can deliver 110% satisfaction too!



Coffee is on me!

Contact me today to set up your free consultation! We will go over your wedding details and get to know each other.  Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life.  Leave the photography up to the professionals!  We have shot over 20 weddings together and we can’t wait to work with you!


portage wedding blog holding hands on bridge

The Wedding Ceremony

Daniel and Marisela decided to have their wedding  in Portage, Wisconsin at St. Mary’s Church. The couple met in Portage at Cimaroli’s Supper Club where Marisela was working.  They both attended St. Mary’s church, so Portage was a natural fit for their nuptials.  St. Mary’s is one of the oldest churches of the Dioceses of Madison. It dates back to 1833, when Rev. Samuel Mazzuchelli, a Dominican, arrived to work with the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) Indians. They do some neat work, check out the stuff they are doing right now with Haiti.A


The couple was a little torn in the beginning whether to get married at St. Mary’s or Durwards Glenn.  Durwards Glenn is outside of Portage. It is also filled with tons of history, like St. Mary’s Church.  The Glenn is registered as a national historic place and is best known for its beautiful hiking trails and spiritual retreat quietness.  The Glen is named after the family of Bernard Isaac Durward who purchased the property in 1862


Daniel and Marisela’s day began and ended at Devils Head Resort in Merrimac, Wisconsin.  While we were doing formal pictures at Durwards Glenn, the party was getting started at Devils Head.  A mariachi band entertained guests as the sun set in the Baraboo Bluffs.  After dinner and the cake was cut, guests let loose. This was by far one of the best dance crowds I have seen on the dance floor.  It was so much being part of this day!

To see more images from this wedding, check out this photo gallery!

golf course wedding venues couple kissing at sunset

A Golf Course Wedding

October is the perfect month for a golf course wedding.  The couple decided to pick the Wisconsin Dells for the wedding because they live in Minnesota and the majority of their family lives in Illinois, they decided that the Lake Delton are would be the perfect spot to host their wedding. The Wild Rock Golf Course is part of the Wilderness Resort, you can check out more information here:

wild rock golf course wedding

The Bride and Groom

Heidi and Sean had been engaged for 5 years when they decided to call me to photograph their wedding.  They have two children between them, Sharlee and Quaid.  Sharlee couldn’t wait to dress up and become a princess for the big day. Quaid, well- he was just in it for the fun!

The Ceremony

In October, the weather can be unpredictable.  However, on this day we were lucky!  The leaves had just started to change color, but the temps were in the 70’s.  The ceremony was small and intimate, which is my favorite type of wedding to photograph. Wild Rock Golf Course was super accommodating to the couple and their children.  I can’t say enough wonderful things about this couple, the venue or the weather! It was really great to be tucked in between the woods on a golf course.

To see more pictures from this wedding, check out their gallery here.

Wisconsin Wedding Venues ceremony on hill

About one of my favorite Wisconsin Wedding Venues

There are quite a few beautiful Wisconsin wedding venues, but Wild Rose Ranch is really a place you should check out. It is right outside Baraboo, Wisconsin.  Part of the beauty of this venue is that its a working horse stable.  (You can even rent miniature ponies as part of your event!) Other amenities include on site lodging, a large fire pit and a heated indoor stable with bar. You can check out more about one of my favorite wisconsin wedding venues here: Wild Rose Ranch. (The website is a little funky, but its really a wonderful place!)

About The couple

There was so much love between the couple, the weather was perfect, and this venue was stunning!

Tammy and Jesse were set up on a blind date, and sparks flew immediately! I have known Tammy for years, and my best friend actually set her up on this date.  Tammy is a hair stylist and Jesse is a nurse.   Jesse has 2 daughters from a previous relationship, and Tammy has a son as well.  Their love of their families and general quirkiness made them a natural fit right from the beginning.  As a mother of step children, I know that blending a families is difficult, but its always worth it.  The love I see with this couple and their children is very special.   You can read more about this couple and this wisconsin wedding venue here:


Do you want to see more images from this awesome wedding? Check them out here!

Vineyard Wedding: Baraboo Bluff Winery

Vineyard Wedding isn’t something you think about in Wisconsin,  but  I think change is coming! Baraboo Bluff Winery was the perfect place for this traditional, sexy, gorgeous vinedyard wedding. The Baraboo Bluff Winery is located west of Baraboo, Wisconsin.  Nicole and Willie’s wedding was set on top of the vineyard overlooking farmland with Devils Lake Bluff’s in the distance.  For guests, this was quite a walk from the parking lot, but the view was spectacular.  I would definitely recommend it for couples looking for the romantic feel of a vineyard. The winery is owned and operated by a husband and wife team that seemed really cool and really relaxed. Check it out here at:

vineyard wedding in Wisconsin


About the Bride and Groom

Nicole and Willie were high school sweet hearts.  Strictly speaking from my photographer’s view, I see them as opposites.  Nicole is very sweet and very chic.  Willie seems to be a little more rough around the edges. They have two beautiful children who seem to embody both of their personalities.  I really loved photographing this couple, their energy together is really amazing.  You can check out more of their engagement photos here.

The Ceremony

The word that comes to mind when I think about this ceremony is “Family.”  Both of their children were in the wedding, Nicole’s sisters were her part of her bridal party and Willie’s brother was also in the wedding.  I really loved how supportive both sides of the families were for this couple.  Maybe because the ceremony was so small, or maybe it was because the families are so invested in helping this couple succeed – I’m not sure, but it felt very warm and genuine.


Want to see more pictures from this wedding?
Check out their gallery here.