Appleton Park Wedding


When it comes to scheduling, we want to point out that we don’t want you to schedule your day like it’s a photo shoot. :) We hope that you have seen from our photos that our favorite images are ones of people simply enjoying the wedding day around good food and friends, not staring at the camera in staged locations. On the day of, we don’t make things happen; instead, we will document the story that naturally unfolds. During group photos, we’ll give some guidance but otherwise, our approach is very photojournalistic. So take these tips, or leave them, as you’d like. :)

Here’s a look at how long different sections of the day typically take, in our experience. We’re happy to help assist you — as little or as much as you’d like — in planning out your day, so feel free to let us know what we can do to help you create a schedule that will help the day go smoothly. If you have already figured out the schedule of the day let us know, or if it is still changing just pass it on to us later.

We usually like to arrive 2-3 hours before the ceremony to document some set up, friends and family, hair and makeup, guys/girls getting ready, and you getting into your wedding attire. We view this part of the day as so valuable, because it’s when your wedding party and family (as well as you!) begin to feel comfortable with us as people before we even take out our cameras. We truly feel that these initial interactions in the earlier part of the day set the tone for the rest of the day and help the overall feel of your photos to be more natural, as a result.

Read this post for our thoughts on doing a first look and this post for an example of one. If you’re thinking of seeing each other before, plan around 20-30 minutes so that we can take some photos and you both can have some time alone together to talk and relax a little before the busy day really begins.

We usually try to keep this part of the day as simple and quick as possible. Wedding days that turn into long, posed photo shoots are no fun for anyone. If you’re not planning to see each other before the ceremony, we can do all of these afterwards, instead.
– If before, you can have family members ready for photos around an hour before the ceremony begins.
– If after, have the officiant make an announcement for family to stay close by and we can do them immediately afterwards.

We try to get these done as efficiently as possible, but suggest you allow 30 minutes for the following photos to be taken:
– Wedding party/Bridesmaids/Groomsmen
– Couple w/ bride’s parents
– Couple w/ bride’s immediate family
– Couple w/ bride and groom’s immediate families
– Couple w/ groom’s immediate family
– Couple w/ groom’s parents

If there are additional family photos that you would like, please write them out for us with corresponding name(s) (i.e. Bride and groom with sister, Sarah) and allow 3-5 minutes for each additional grouping. We recommend having a go-to person (a wedding coordinator or family member who knows most of your family) who can help us round everyone up. :)

Ceremonies vary in length depending on what you decide to include. Add a few extra minutes when planning your timeline to avoid running late, if this goes longer than planned. With no receiving line, you can expect it to take 10-15 minutes for people to exit the area before starting group portraits.

If you have the option to choose your ceremony start time and specific location for your wedding, we suggest considering the following for the best light:
– Outdoors (obviously) :)
– Under shade / trees
– Have your audience face where the sun will go down
– Schedule it for the mid- to late-afternoon, so the sun is not directly overhead, but also not too low

In our experience a receiving line for up to 150 will take about 30 minutes. Add 15 minutes for each additional 100 people in attendance at the wedding. Yes, it almost always takes this long. If you prefer not to do a receiving line after the ceremony, make sure to hide somewhere out of sight or you will have an impromptu receiving line. :)

COUPLE PHOTOS – round 2: 20-30 MINUTES
We like to treat this time as if it’s a date for the two of you and we schedule this around the best light of the day.

It’s one of the few times during the day that you’ll be alone and – while we will be taking photos – our relaxed approach to portraits gives you time to enjoy the fact that you are finally husband and wife. We can do these in as little as 20 minutes, but many couples schedule in additional time to travel to places other than the main venues, to get a larger variety of photos, and/or to have a little more time alone together on the day of the wedding.

ALSO (and this is very important!), we always recommend doing these during the best light of the day, which, in the photography world, is called the ‘golden hour.’ :) Please ask us what that timing will be like on your wedding day and we’ll let you know the approximate timing.

If you are having a wedding planner, we HIGHLY SUGGEST telling them that we will be taking you away from the crowd for a little bit of time when the light is best… and we would prefer that they trust our judgement! We promise, trusting us about light is so, so very worth it for the best possible photos. :)

When multiple people are traveling together, it always takes more time than you think to get everyone together and ready to go. If taking separate vehicles, add even more time for everyone to arrive and find parking. How much extra time? We don’t know. We wish we did. :) It’s better to over-plan how long it will take than not to plan enough time.

The first dances usually last 10-30 minutes. We’ve found around 60-90 minutes of dance coverage to be sufficient, before things start getting repetitive and less elegant. ;)

Whenever you’re ready, here’s a link to our Wedding Questionnaire for you to fill out. This info is so, so helpful for us to know prior to the wedding day, so that we won’t have to ask you much on the day of. Thank you! :)

We are people who spend our days creating images but we never intend for them to just stay on a hard drive, so we love researching the best ways to get them off the computer screen and onto printed paper.

We print our own personal photos in albums every single year and really see this format as one that works very well with how we tell stories — through a series of images that show the mood and feel of each event. 

Because we’ve been doing this for over a decade and can call ourselves professionals, we have gained the ability to work with reputable printers that are only accessible through a professional photographer — and we’d love to offer those options to you!

created to last

Custom Heirloom Leather Bound Albums

Each album is handmade and custom designed in a clean, modern style. These albums are printed with a matte finish and the printed and creased spreads are bound to a board-like material that gives each page a thick, sturdy, matte, board-like feel.

custom designed + hand-bound

we cannot wait to get one into your hands!

heirloom albums


Ray + Kelly Photography are a husband-wife wedding photography team based out of Southwest Wisconsin in the gorgeous Driftless Region of Viroqua.  The majority of our weddings and events take place outdoors in backyards, near a lakeside, on family farms, in modern barns and other beautiful venues all around Madison, Milwaukee, La-Crosse, Spring Green, Door County and all throughout the Midwest!

ray + kelly

Ray + Kelly Photography  // ALL RIGHTS RESERVED