we are Mike and Nat,

husband and wife wedding photographers in the SF Bay Area. We are passionate about authentic moments and developing a great connection with each couple.

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This is the 4th of our 4-part mini series: “Your Stress-Free Wedding”. We’ve put together our best planning tips from 11 years of experience.
These ideas will help you to enjoy the day and be in the moment as much as possible. Read the rest of the series here!


There are many ways to schedule your wedding day and your perfect timeline depends on your unique events. Here is a great starting point for scheduling a stress-free wedding:


1:30 – Photography Coverage starts

We recommend about 45 minutes for your prep and detail photos.

2:15 – Bride is ready

2:30 – First Look and Bride and Groom Portraits start

At least 45 minutes – the more time we’ll have the more creative we can be.

3:30 – Wedding Party photos (about 20 min)

4pm – Guests begin to arrive and the Bride hides

It’s best to be done with all of the pre-ceremony photographs about 30 minutes before the ceremony. This will let you catch your breath to prepare for walking down the aisle. We’ll have a chance to photograph the ceremony setting and prepare for the ceremony as well.

4:30 – Ceremony starts

5pm – Ceremony ends and Cocktail hour starts

5pm – Family Pictures

Family pictures take about 2-3 minutes per group. We suggest making a list and we’ll help you put it together.

5:50 – Guests sit down for dinner

6:00 – Dinner served

6:30 – Toasts

7:30 – First dance (and father/daughter – mother/son dances)

7:40 – Open dancing music starts

8:00-8:15 – Sunset portraits

We’d love to sneak you guys out for 10-15 minutes just before sunset time to get some dramatic portraits during the best light of the day.

8:30 – Dessert

10:00 – Guests depart

(click any image to expand)



This is the casual and FUN part of your wedding day photography. Our style of directing is natural and our goal is to help you be YOURSELF. We’ll suggest different setting/poses and we’ll help you to become comfortable with the cameras.

Locations for these portraits are relatively easy to find because we don’t need much space for just the two of you.

You can plan to spend about 45 minutes for your portraits as it can take time to relax in front of the cameras. The more time we’ll have the more creative we’ll have a chance to be. Ideally, we’d love to have about 1.5 hours with you throughout the day.





Depending on the size of your bridal party, it’s important that we choose a setting with enough space. Larger bridal parties will  need more space and we’ll look for backgrounds without distracting elements (bystanders, cars, poles, etc).

We usually start off with pictures of the entire bridal party and later separate the bridesmaids and groomsmen. We try to have as much fun with these photos as possible, but it’ll be  important that we have everyone’s cooperation. Our goal is to take the more classic pictures first followed by more fun and spontaneous photographs.





As mentioned, family photos can be taken prior to the ceremony or right after.  Two elements can help to make these photos easy and efficient:

  • A detailed list of all the groups. Most of our couples choose about 10-15 groups as it takes about 2-3 minutes per group.
  • Someone familiar with your family should be designated to call up each group. This person should have a loud, strong voice and they should have your list of your groups.
  • Most importantly, we ask that everyone who is in the photos is present all at once. This can help to avoid a common delay in family pictures.


0 Comments January 9, 2017

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Mike and Nat are a husband and wife photography team based in San Francisco Bay Area. Their relaxed style allows them to capture authentic moments while creating a stress-free experience. Choco Studio photographs weddings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including Napa, Sonoma, Carmel, and Monterey.