Emotional Wedding Moments to Capture & Plan for

You might be like me and you could binge watch rom-coms all day. Thinking about your wedding makes you feel super giddy. You’re finally getting your fairytale moment and you can’t wait to see the candid photos of emotional moments (you know the ones that give you chills and make you tear up). I myself am also a hopeless romantic, so I have an eye for catching all of those extra special moments. Over the last 3 years of shooting weddings, I’ve noted what little moments are so special to include in your wedding timeline. I’m sharing my top 5 emotional wedding moments to capture (some of these you might have not thought to plan for!)


I also include how long you should plan in your timeline for each moment!

1. Father Daughter First Look

I’ve never captured a father daughter first look without at least wiping away one tear. This one of my top favorite emotional wedding moments capture. If you’re worried about it being awkward, don’t worry- I keep my eye out for this and if I notice that nerves are high or it’s awkward I’ll step in and lighten up the moment! I might do this by asking you to twirl around and show your dress, or asking you both to pose for a smiling portrait.

Plan out 5 minutes in your timeline a father-daughter first look! (BONUS: Have your immediate family nearby, we can snag a quick photo afterward).

Below is one of my favorite father daughter first looks at The Barn at Timber Creek.

Father daughter first look at Barn at Timber Creek Wedding.

Photo taken for Stephanie Whitehill Photography.

Emotional father daughter first look at Barn at Timber Creek Wedding. An emotional wedding moment captured.

Photo taken for Stephanie Whitehill Photography.

Father daughter first look in Charlottesville. A Sweet touch on a wedding day.

2. Exchanging Letters Between Bride & Groom

Videographers and photographers both LOVE capturing this sweet moment. The day of your wedding, exchange letters written to each other. I suggest not writing it the morning of (nerves will be running and you might get writer’s block!). Maybe make it into a fun date night to connect the week before your wedding. Sit down on the couch or nuzzled up by a fire, and write a letter sharing your excitement and love!

Plan out 5 minutes for reading letters and taking in the sweet love letter!

Bride crying while reading letter. A candid emotional wedding moment captured. Groom reading letter from bride.

3. Bride & Groom Gifts

This can go along with exchanging letters! Maybe something fun to open after reading a heartfelt letter (something for the Honeymoon)?! Brides, you could surprise him with a boudoir photo album 😉

Plan out 5 minutes for sharing gifts! If the gift is something private, let me know. I’ll make sure to take the bride and groom somewhere secluded!


4. Parent Gifts

(one of my favorite emotional wedding moments to capture)

This ALWAYS grabs parents by surprise- they don’t expect to be in the spotlight. A gift doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can even be writing a letter saying thank you and sharing what family traditions you hope to carry on in your marriage. A cute idea is also to get the father/daughter or mother/son dance lyrics etched in a picture frame and then they can print out a photo from the dances. This would be super cute if both the bride and groom’s parents have matching frames- something to really unite the whole family!

Plan out 5 minutes for sharing gifts! (BONUS: Have your immediate family nearby, we can snag a quick photo afterward).

This was one of my favorite emotional wedding moments at Krystal and Jordan’s wedding in Charlottesville, VA.

Bride giving parents gift before Charlottesville Wedding. An emotional wedding moment captured.

5. Last Dance

You have the first dance of the night why not have the last?! When your guests are lining up for your grand exit, take this time to have the DJ play one last slow song (make sure you plan this in your timeline and let the DJ and wedding planner know ahead of time). During your last dance, take a deep breath and take in the day!

No need to plan extra time for the last dance. Just make sure to let all your vendors know!!!


Want to keep surfing around the blog? Here are some other posts to check out!

First Steps for Planning a Wedding

My #1 Wedding Ceremony Tip

In the mood for binge reading and wedding planning?! Just click right here and you can read ALL of my wedding resources.

Graphic for sweet moments to add in your wedding day.

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My mission is to authentically capture your day exactly as it unfolds, preserving the genuine emotions and raw beauty that makes your story uniquely yours from a storyteller lens. Honored to capture your day with depth and attention to the fine details.

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