The getting ready portion of your wedding is one of the most exciting parts of the day and absolutely critical from a photographer’s perspective!
Every couple is different; there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to get ready. One bride may choose to get ready with 12 bridesmaids, her mother and all of her female family members, whereas another may choose her sister and best friend.
How you get ready is completely up to you. All I have to say is, photographing the details – the wedding dress, rings, shoes, bouquets, invitations, etc. – is very meaningful for couples and results in pictures everyone involved cherishes for years to come. All you have to do is have fun! Take the time needed to feel confident and beautiful, interact and share special moments with your loved ones and let your anticipation and excitement for your ceremony and reception to shine through! I’ll photograph this stage in a photojournalistic way, standing on the sidelines and capturing everything as it unfolds.
Just to reiterate, getting ready varies dramatically from wedding to wedding. Here are some ideas or things to expect from a photographic point of view:
- Photographing the Details – This is the perfect time of day to photograph your engagement ring, wedding bands, wedding dress, flowers, shoes and any other small, meaningful details. It helps if you have the details organized and ready for me. Make sure the rings and flowers, for example, are delivered to the area where the bride is getting ready.
- Images with the Bridesmaids – Expect our team to photograph your bridesmaids and family putting the finishing touches on you as you get ready to walk down the aisle. These pictures take place after the hair and makeup, and may be in robes or while enjoying a glass of champagne. Wear something nice and comfortable. Some brides even choose matching robes or outfits for their bridesmaids.
- Exchange a Gift or Note with Your Fiancé – If you’re exchanging gifts with your spouse- to-be, now is the time to do it. These images are usually best taken after hair and makeup but before you’re fully dressed. If you have any ideas, please let me know! (These exchanges are especially emotional and are an excellent opportunity to capture raw emotion and authentic expressions.)
- Bride Getting Dressed – Who will help you zip your dress and put your shoes on? Consider this detail ahead of time, because whether it’s your mother, maid of honor or sister, they’ll need to be fully dressed before helping you. We want the images to be clean and focused on the experience, which is best accomplished by everyone being fully ready before you.
- First Look with Dad – This is a must!!! I’m not trying to ruin your makeup, but trust me – the look on your father’s face when he sees you for the first time before getting married is one you’ll never forget. Schedule a few minutes with your mother and father before the ceremony for these pictures.
- Individual Images – Expect individual shots of you before the ceremony!
Less goes into the groom getting ready, but it’s still an important part of the day that we want to make sure we document!
I’ll either step away from photographing the bride or my second photographer will cover the groom. We’ll take a variety of images, including the groom putting on his tie or other finishing touches. Sometimes the groom and his groomsmen will have a drink or exchange some heartfelt words. You may choose to exchange notes or gifts; we’ll want to capture both of your reactions on camera.
Grooms – Have the details on hand and ready! We’ll photograph the wedding bands during the bride’s portion. All you need are cufflinks, shoes, a tie or any other details that will go into your appearance.
1. Choose the Right Room - The best possible room has plenty of space and gorgeous natural lighting. You might not have the option to pick the room you’ll get ready in, but when you’re looking at venues or if you have a choice between different rooms, think about the space in terms of photographic quality. If you’re unsure, let me know and I can help you choose!
2. Getting Ready Locations - Ideally, the bride and groom should get ready in different rooms at the same venue. This allows me to quickly and easily go between the rooms, and allows for the easy delivery of gifts, notes and other details.
3. Keep Rooms Tidy - I know it’s hard, but your getting ready photographs will turn out best if the rooms are neat and tidy. We want the focus of the images to be on you, the details and your loved ones – not dirty coffee cups or piles of clothes.
4. Schedule Flower Delivery Early - The bouquets and boutonnières should be delivered to where you’re getting ready, not the church. We want to make sure they’re in the pictures.
5. Have a Nice Hanger - We’ll photograph your dress on the hanger before you put it on. Be sure to bring a nice one!
6. Allow Enough Time - Our General Timeline gives you a brief rundown of what to expect in terms of wedding photography. Ideally, allow about 1.5 hours of time after your hair and makeup is finished and before you leave for the ceremony for photographs.
7. Gather Loved Ones Close - After everyone is ready, you’ll find this is one of the quietest, most relaxed parts of the day. It’s a great opportunity to photograph you with your parents or siblings, and to get a “first look” between the bride and her parents.
8. Friends and Relatives Only - You’d be surprised how quickly the getting ready space fills up! Remember, in addition to your bridal party and immediate family, you may also have a makeup artist, hairdressers and photo and video team. Be honest and open with your wedding party so they understand you’ll need space for pictures.
9. Don’t Go Last - Don’t be the last one to get your hair and makeup done! Many stylists will recommend this, but if they’re running behind schedule, you’ll be the one affected the most. Expect hair and makeup to run 15 to 30 minutes behind schedule, just in case.
10. Hair and Makeup Schedule Delays - Just to reiterate, hair and makeup regularly run behind schedule and cause most wedding-day delays. It helps to allow a 30-minute cushion between when you’re scheduled to get your hair and makeup done and when you actually need it finished. If they finish early, you have more time to relax with friends and family. Failing to do so could cost you valuable portrait time.
11. Have Fun - Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed. Your wedding day should be fun! Have a drink (not three!) if you need help relaxing.