Hey, I'm Chelsea.

I'm a Chicago wedding photographer and videographer who's on a mission to take the stress out of wedding planning, one anecdote, gif, and movie
quote at a time.

Like most wedding photographers, I love kicking off a wedding day by taking photos of wedding details. It’s a great way to get my creative juices flowing + set the scene for your wedding day.

The only problem? Wedding mornings can get a little, well, chaotic.

To combat stress, I tell all my couples to load up their wedding details into a tote bag or box. That way, when I show up in the morning, they can just point to the tote bag from the comfort of their makeup chair. There’s zero need to get up (unless it’s to give me a hug and re-fill your mimosa).

And, because I’m on a mission to make wedding days as stress-free as possible, I’m handing over my go-to checklist to you. The best part? It doubles as a shopping checklist.

Bonus: if you stick it through ’til the end, you’ll also find a few pro tips I’ve collected over the years.

Bride putting on personalized bridal sneakers

What are wedding detail photos?

They’re photos of your wedding accessories, taken during the ‘getting ready’ portion of the day. They can be candid photos, ⬆️ like that photo of Steph putting on her bridal sneakers, or they can be stylized photos.

A popular type of stylized photo is a flat lay—overhead photos, kind of like this photo of the ceremony program below ⬇️, accented with the flower petals guests tossed as the couple exited.

It’s a photo that shows off:

  • The details of their ceremony (like the order of events and the loved ones involved).
  • The program design they worked hard to choose.
  • The petals thrown in the candid photos.

Photos like this can be the perfect complement to candid photos to tell the full story of your day.

Wedding ceremony program arranged with flower petals
Taken by Chelsea for Maria Harte Photography

Wedding Detail Photos Checklist

Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve seen couples gather together for detail photos on the morning of their wedding.

Pro tip: you don’t need to have everything on this list. Only gather the items you know you’ll want photos of (and don’t feel the need to go out and buy something just because it’s on this list*).

*Unless you want to be enabled. In that case, go ahead—go buy that monogrammed ring box!

The details that set the scene:

These are wedding accessories I like to take photos of at every wedding.

Invitations + Paper Goods

Pack 2 clean, unbent copies of your invitations and any other stationery you want to be photographed, like save the dates, change the dates, programs, menus, etc.

Wedding rings

Your engagement ring(s) and both wedding bands. I’ll make sure they wind up with the right person once I’m done with them.

Ring storage

You can stick with traditional ring boxes, like Mrs. Boxes, or you can opt for unique ring boxes like this or this.


Bouquets and boutonnieres can help incorporate the colors + vibe of your wedding.


If you write (or late-minute print and tape 🤣) your vows inside custom vow books or stationary.

Perfume or Cologne

If you’re a sensory person, it’s a nice reminder of what you smelled like on your wedding day.

If you’re rocking a dress, gather:

Your Dress

Try to make sure it’s steamed and all of the cardboard + padding is removed before I arrive.

Custom hanger

If you got (or were gifted) a personalized hanger, now is its time to shine.


Think earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, etc.

Hair Accessories

If I arrive before hair and makeup is finished, I’ll sometimes include hair accessories like pins, bows, hair combs, or headpieces.


Even if your veil is simple, they make a great backdrop for your wedding details.


Both the shoes you’ll be wearing during the day and anything you’ll slip into later (what can I say, I love photographing fun reception shoes).

Personalized touches

If it’s monogrammed, sentimental, engraved or embossed, I’ll want to take a photo of it. Think things like:

  • Spare wax seals used for your invites
  • A custom clutch
  • A personal touch sewn into your dress
  • Embroidered handkerchiefs (whether you’re giving or getting them as a gift)
  • Heirlooms, like a grandmother’s stole or family jewelry.

If you’re rocking a suit, gather:

Tie or Bowtie

If there are multiple patterns or colors throughout your wedding party, set aside one of each.

Bonus points if they’re sentimental, monogrammed, or a gift.


Specifically, if you bought new shoes for your wedding day (please break them in first—your feet will thank you later).


Especially if it’s special to you (whether it’s a gift or your favorite watch).

Personalized touches

If it’s monogrammed, sentimental, engraved, or embossed, I’ll want to take a photo of it. Think of things like:

  • A custom jacket lining.
  • Your initials on your shirt cuff.
  • Socks that have the face(s) of your pets or any other inside joke.
  • Embroidery on your jacket or tie (like your name and wedding date).
  • Heirlooms, like an old family pocket watch or family ring.
  • Any special gifts you’ve gotten, like a bottle of bourbon with your name on it (literally and figuratively).
Wedding rings on a bridal bouquet

Tips to make the most of your wedding detail photos

Tip #1: Ask your florist for loose florals

Loose flowers and greenery can add a great pop of color to detail photos and tie everything together. Ask your florist if they can include some loose florals when they drop off your bouquets and boutonnieres. If your florist is using a special ribbon that ties in with your colors, consider asking if they also have a few strands that they’re willing to part with to tie everything together (figuratively).

Note 1: Sometimes florists will charge extra for loose florals—if that’s the case, don’t worry about adding it on. I can make do with your bouquet!

Note 2: If you want florals in your flat lay photos, make sure your personal flowers are scheduled to arrive when (or before) your photographer arrives.

Tip #2: Keep your accessories organized

Instead of running around the morning of your wedding trying to find your shoes, jewelry, and other little details, put together a wedding accessories list and pack everything into a box or tote. That way you’ll know all your accessories are accounted for and you can simply hand off the tote to your photographer when they arrive.

Tip #3: Prioritize things with meaning

The most important tip—channel your inner Marie Kondo when deciding which items you want to be photographed. Which items spark joy? Which ones make you sentimental?

Let your photographer know which items are special to you and which ones you’re ‘meh’ about. There’s no right or wrong answer (and I promise I won’t judge you if you don’t want photos of your Minted invites or your rented cufflinks).

Tip #4: Set aside 30 minutes (or more)

Stylized detail photos take time—they involve a lot of ring balancing, experimenting, and finessing. If these photos are important to you, budget at least 30 minutes for details photos in your timeline.

Hopefully this checklist makes your wedding day prep a little easier. Still overwhelmed? Stay tuned for a free, customizable wedding day prep list!

Until then—happy planning!