Getting Ready Guide For Brides
This is part one of a two-part blog post all about how to maximize your time during the getting ready portion of the wedding day.
I love to photograph this part of the day because it allows me to visually tell the story of your wedding from beginning to end. Whether you’re getting ready together or separately, this is such a special time! I put this blog post together to help you get the best photos possible from your getting ready process. Organization is key here!
The best time to begin coverage is at the tail-end of your hair/makeup. About 30-45 minutes before you plan on getting into your dress is about when I show up to photograph all of your details, your hair/makeup and whoever is hanging around the room with you!
I’ve had brides get ready in their homes, in friends’ homes, in hotel rooms, in their venue’s bridal suite, in airbnbs, in RVs, in porta potties, the list goes on! If you’re having me photograph you getting ready, make sure the location makes sense in terms of where the rest of the wedding is taking place. If your house and the wedding venue are an hour away from each other, it would logistically make more sense to get ready at a location closer to the venue.
I’ve photographed in basements and I’ve photographed outdoors and everywhere in between so I can make anything happen, but a getting ready space with ample natural window light is the best. Plan around the light, if you have a big group of people that will be mingling, hanging out, etc. make them congregate around where there is the most light!
I know more than anyone that you need a lot of *stuff* to pull off a wedding day but here is my formal plea to PLEASE organize as much as possible and have one person in the room in charge of decluttering. Bags, luggage, wrapping, boxes, decorations, clothes, etc. all of these things clutter up a room and will leave your photos looking really busy and messy!
Take some time before your wedding day to think about what physical details are most important to you and put all of those items in one bag/box/area. Photographing details takes just a few minutes but it’s such an important part of telling your story. I often get the question “why do I need a photo of my shoes, or my perfume? I’d rather just have photos of people.” And while I totally agree, I believe that details play such an integral part in telling your story. Think long term, 50+ years from now when you or someone you love goes through your images, these little details will help bring your day to life. Will you remember what shoes you loved, what type of jewelry was in style, what scent you wore? These little details seem ubiquitous to us right now but just give it time and you’ll appreciate having these memories in print.
Everyone has different details that are important to them, but here’s a list of some items to get your mind going: wedding invitations, wedding rings, jewelry, handkerchief, garter, hairpiece, veil, shoes, heirloom, vows, perfume, something old/new/borrowed/blue.
This is your time to spend with yourself, or with your partner, or with your friends—you dictate who’s in and who’s out! Make sure the space is appropriate for the amount of people you’re inviting to get ready with you. If you are getting ready with your entire wedding party of 8 people in one little hotel room, this will make for a very cramped space not only for getting ready purposes but in photos.
I was at a wedding once that was running a little behind, all the bridesmaids were standing around tense and stressed while the bride finished getting ready when one bridesmaid turned to me and yelled “aren’t you supposed to be photographing us being candid?!”
You have to be doing things candidly in order for me to photograph you being candid! Outside of the popping champagne on the bed group photo scenario, my job is not to orchestrate the fun between you and your wedding party. I’ve found that music, staying fed and hydrated help those jitters and keep everyone mingling and having a good time. Make sure there’s water and food for yourself and for everyone!
Give some thought to who you want helping you zip up/button up your dress and putting your veil on if you have one. Oftentimes it’s mom, a relative, friend or member of the wedding party. Communicate this with them beforehand so they know to get dressed and ready before you!