Brides can spend hours scouring bridal magazines and blogs perfecting their list of photos they want taken on their wedding day—it’s no wonder photographers often receive elaborate multi-page shot lists! But what are the absolute classic shots that are not to be missed? Let your story unfold with these pro picks.

Getting Ready

Some of the best moments of the wedding day are those moments when everyone is getting ready: The first time a bride puts on her wedding dress or veil is one of the most joyful moments a photographer can capture; that moment when mom gives the bride her grandmother’s handkerchief to hold; or when the groom’s brother surprises him with a supportive hug.

The Details

Nothing helps tell the story of the day better than the details. You have spent the better part of a year planning this day. What’s more fun than seeing your bridal bouquet, shoes or dress perfectly arranged. Let the photographer know if there is anything specific you would like captured that’s out of the ordinary.

The Bridal Portrait

We all like photojournalistic shots, but a beautiful portrait of yourself looking your most beautiful on the best day of your life? It’s a must have photograph. (Oh, and don’t forget the groom!)

During the Ceremony

This is the reason you are here. An overall photo of your ceremony with guests seated is such a wonderful thing to see—especially from the vantage point of the photographer who can capture the whole scene.

The Recessional

Most people would say the kiss is a must have moment and while that is true the recessional is really where the joy sets in. You will want this moment in your photo album!

Family Photos

In many cases, distant cousins and extended family don’t need to be captured in individual shots or smaller family groupings with you. One trick is to condense as much as you can and do one large family portrait. Not only will it be fun, but saves time. And your extended family will feel special to have been included.

Portraits of the Bride and Groom

After all the family portraits are done, the bride and groom portraits are usually saved until the most perfect light appears. The magic hour. Let this be the time to relax and enjoy some time alone as a new couple with the photographer capturing beautiful romantic photos.

Cocktail Hour

Chances are while you are having your family portraits taken your guests are enjoying the cocktail hour. Have your photographer’s assistant capture your guests socializing, dining on delicious hors d’œuvres and enjoying the romantic vibe in the air.

The Grand Entrance

This might be the first time you hear your names announced as Mr. and Mrs.! It’s a thrilling, sometimes overwhelming moment that is a can’t miss moment to capture.

People Giving Toasts

Guests making the toasts are usually the most important people in your lives and this is their moment to express to you and all your guests how much you mean to them. *Tip: If you didn’t hire a videographer, be sure to ask your toast makers for copies of their speeches as a memento.

The Reception Space

Many couples are opting out of bouquet and garter tosses and sometimes even cake cuttings. Be sure to get a photo of the cake and reception area before the photographer leaves.