Planning Resources & Vendors



Ease into your wedding day with zero (okay let's be realistic less) stress.

Let's start at the beginning. Your first step should be deciding when (what season) and where you'll be getting married. These are two important details to finalise as they will determine everything else that follows. You need to find out when the busy season is for your area as most vendors will be booked for popular dates well in advance (this is usually a year prior to your event). To avoid any disappointment, start contacting industry specialists sooner than later.

Vendors play such an intricate role on your wedding day, curating a day around you. The outcome should be unique and a true reflection of who you are and what you love most. Working with like-minded creatives is the best way to ensure that all elements and the finer details work well together to bring your vision to life. Choosing wedding vendors that are able to execute your ideas for you means that you get to relax, take in your wedding day and the overall experience as it truly flies by!


Let's chat about getting ready and what it entails.

Groom Preparation

In most cases, the groom and his groomsmen will "get ready" first. Often they will do a mock getting ready session whereby they'll get dressed as normal, have a few portraits, group and candid photographs taken and then they'll get undressed and back into their casual clothes until closer to the time of the ceremony. I set aside roughly 45 minutes to 1 hour for this portion of the day. If this is logistically not possible, we can always discuss having a second photographer who can capture this simultaneously to when I would be photographing the bride and her bridesmaids.

Bride Preparation

Brides generally take longer to get ready which is why I allocate more time ( usually around 2 hours) with them and their bridesmaids. During this time I am able to take photographs of your details, hair and make-up being done, popping a bottle of champagne, getting dressed, first looks with anyone important to you followed by individual portraits and group photographs.

Tips & Tricks

  • Get dressed close to the venue - A shorter drive will mean less travel time, traffic and less stressful should you run late.
  • Free the dressing room from clutter - Food, clothes, undies and bags can be rather distracting, try and have these hidden or moved out of sight.
  • Have all your details ready prior to your photographer's arrival - This will save time especially if you have opted for a smaller wedding package.
  • Book the same team for hair and makeup - This will be easier from a planning perspective and could save you some money too. If you're going to have a trail, try and book it for the same day as your engagement session. This way you can see beforehand how your make-up will last as well as look in photographs.

On your wedding day!

Hang up your Suit and have your Accessories ready

* Suit (An elegant hanger goes a long way in showing off your expensive suit)

* Tie/Bow Tie


* Watch, Cuff-links or Badges etc

* Cologne

* Wedding Rings

* Shoes & Socks

* Boutonnière

* Anything that ads to the wedding day or that is special

Courtney Dale Photography - Wedding Photography

Stay Hydrated

Have a good breakfast, drink plenty of water and have some snacks, it will be a long day on your feet!

Be Prepared!

Double-check the day before the wedding that you and your groomsmen have packed everything you need and are on time!

Get Sentimental

Why not send your bride a gift on your wedding day. Something small like flowers or a sweet note to read while she’s getting ready.

Go All Out!

Hit Play On Some Sweet Sounds - Prepare a playlist of your favourite songs to listen to and pack a set of portable speakers in your overnight bag if you’re not getting ready at home.

Pack Your Favourites - Have a pair of sunnies you can't leave the house without let alone get married without or have a pack of cigars you've been keeping for the special occasion? Bring these with and we can include them in a few photographs.

Get The Celebrations Started - Grab some glasses, ice and open up your favourite bottle of whiskey. Otherwise pop the top off your go to craft beer and have a toast with your best men!

Bride's Details

On your wedding day!

Hang Up your Dress and have your Accessories ready

* Jewellery & Earrings

* Perfume

* Wedding Rings

* Shoes

* Wedding Dress (An elegant hanger goes a long way in showing off your expensive dress)

* Veil

* Wedding Stationary (Invitations etc)

* Bouquet

* Anything that ads to the wedding day or that is special

Wedding Tip

* A small clutch with essentials (lipstick, mints, rescue remedy, safety pins etc) is always a good idea too.

* Some MUA's will give their client's a touch-up kit. Ask your MOH to keep this on hand so that should you want to re-apply some lipstick or powder your nose she's got all you'll need with her.

Courtney Dale Photography - Wedding Photography

Stay Hydrated

Have a good breakfast, drink plenty of water and have some snacks, it will be a long day on your feet!

Make-up & Hair

Choose your suppliers carefully, I can’t stress how important it is to use reliable professionals. Also consider having a trial run beforehand to avoid disappointment on the day.

* To ensure you are not late or rushed to be finished in time for your ceremony, request that your make-up and hair be done first or in the middle of the queue.


Ensure they are all dressed and ready to go. Having your bridal party looking their best, whilst helping you into your dream dress, always makes for beautiful photographs.

Getting into your Wedding Dress & Accessories

This process and putting your accessories on may take more time than you think, At your last fitting, time how long it takes to get into your dress. The last thing you want is the added stress of feeling uncomfortable!

Go All Out!

Pack Some Pretty Prep Attire - You’ll feel fabulous and you won't be worried about having your picture taken in your usual scruffy pyjamas!

Hit Play On Some Sweet Sounds - Prepare a playlist of your favourite songs to listen to and pack a set of portable speakers in your overnight bag if you’re not getting ready at home.

Get The Celebrations Started - Pop some bubbly and have a toast with your bridal party!

Courtney Dale Photography - Wedding Photography


I prefer to photograph these details between going from the groom to the bride. I find that this is the best time to do so especially if I am working on my own. If left till later on during the day, such as during canapes, this means that other aspects of the day may get little to no coverage as I can only be in one place at a time. Alternatively, should you want as much as possible captured then I can always arrange for a second photographer to join me to ensure that no special moments are missed. I typically allocate 45 minutes to this portion of the day.

Tips & Tricks

  • Set-up the day before - Ask your venue, florist, decor hire company and other suppliers you may be using if majority of the setting up can be done the day before your wedding. This means you'll have less to do or stress about on the actual day and the area will be ready for your photographer to photograph when they arrive.


Deciding when (time of the day) and where (indoors or outdoors) is all determined by what season you decide to get married in.

Indoor Area or Chapel

One of the benefits to having your ceremony indoors is obviously that you don't have to worry about the weather and how it could impact this portion of your day. A chapel is often seen as a more intimate setting.

Outdoor Area

If you want to get married outdoors, it would be wise to have your wedding during the dry season and not the rainy season. This is one of the reasons why fall and winter weddings lend themselves to beautiful outdoor ceremonies as the likelihood of rain is much less and the light is much softer which we as creatives love.

Open-Air Chapel

An open-air chapel is a chapel that is open on the sides. This is a great alternative if you're wanting to be closer to nature but want to be protected from the elements (come rain or glorious sunshine). It also allows for a lot of natural light and airflow which makes it so much more comfortable, especially on a hot summers day, in comparison to a chapel.

Tips & Tricks

  • Group photograph - At the end of your ceremony ask your officiant to announce that you have requested a group photograph and to gather after your confetti toss and congratulations.


These photographs are sometimes the most important to a lot of my clients. More often than not your guests travel from far and wide to attend your celebration. For many with loved ones living overseas, this is the ideal time to update these photographs of your family legacy. A family photographs list is very important, it will ensure that no one is forgotten and helps speed up the process. Ask your MOH, best man, MC or a family member from either side to assist with gathering the troops. Typically I recommend that your family portraits take place close to the canape area. I typically allocate 30 minutes to this portion of the day.

Combinations can include but are not limited to:

  • Bride & Groom with both sets of parents together & individually
  • Bride & Groom with siblings together & individually
  • Bride & Groom with both sets of grandparents
  • Bride & Groom with immediate & extended family respectively


This is the perfect time to spend some time and mingle with your guests before heading off for photographs. I typically allocate 30 minutes to 1 hour to this portion of the day. You want your guests to have a great time whilst celebrating with you, why not consider the following:

  • Lawn games
  • A custom drink bar (champagne, wine, gin, beer, whiskey etc)
  • Photobooth / 360 Video Booth

Tips & Tricks

  • Cake cutting - can also be done during this time otherwise later on during the reception formalities.


This is where we get to let loose and have some fun with those you have chosen to stand beside you on such a significant day. I typically allocate 30 - 45 minutes to bridal party photographs and 45 minutes to 1 hour to couple photographs. I always suggest that my clients arrange for drinks (be it champagne, beer or gin) and glasses to be brought with for these photographs as they can make for great props.

What if it rains?

Unfortunately the weather is one of the few things that I can't control, if I could I most definitely would! We can however be as best prepared as possible by having an open mind and being willing to get creative. Knowing what the weather will be doing a few days before your wedding day gives you time to plan which will result in you being less stressed. I can highly recommend getting some clear umbrellas if you are willing to embrace the elements.


This portion of the day is pretty straight forward with regards to what is covered during this time but that doesn't mean that it can be changed up and customised to incorporate what you want.

Coverage generally includes:

  • Speeches
  • Dinner
  • First dance
  • Father/daughter dance
  • Garter & bouquet toss
  • Dance floor open

Tips & Tricks

  • First dance when entering - If you are nervous about your first dance, this is a great way to enter your reception and by doing it this way you'll feel so much more relaxed knowing that it's done and dusted.
  • Get the formalities done - This will allow you more time to mingle with your guests or more time busting a move on the dance floor.
  • Hire a great DJ - A DJ can make or break your day. Hiring a professional with a great track record ensures you'll have fantastic music for your guests and a great vibe ensuring the party goes on till the early hours of the next morning.

I would love to help in any way I can!

I've compiled a list, showcasing a variety of KZN Service Providers who I have personally worked with or who have come highly recommended to me over the years to make your wedding planning a lot easier. It's as easy as clicking on the links below which will allow you direct access to some of the best suppliers out there.