On Zach and I’s wedding day I got ready in a small room in the basement of our venue. There were cardboard boxes lining the walls and bright green carpet. Let’s just say.. our photos from this part of the day aren’t going to be on anyone’s Pinterest board. But over the years I’ve learned some tricks to getting those beautiful getting ready images that every bride dreams. Your wedding morning prep photos can be truly beautiful. Let’s talk about it!
Why Does it Matter?
Being really selective about where you spend the morning of your wedding is important for many reasons. But the most important reason this decision matters? Your relationships. As we progress through out the wedding day you’ll be taking tons of photos with your soon to be spouse. However, the morning is all about having fun and bonding with the women or men in your life. These are moments you will want to remember and look back on. I remember giggling with my best friend, Megan, as she helped me put on my wedding shoes. My goodness, how I wish I had photos of that! Having photos with you and your mom as she buttons your dress or your best friend helping with your veil are keepsake moments. They are special and can’t be recreated. Selecting a larger space with natural light is a huge part of making sure these images will be well captured. This is paramount for timeless wedding images.
The Right Look
Many venues offer lovely bridal suites which is wonderful. However, an issue we frequently run into is that we will need to begin photos before you gain access to the venue… and the bridal suite in it. So it’s wise to make a plan now so you’re not scrambling once your timeline begins to come together. To get a loose idea of how long you’ll need for pre ceremony photos, check out this blog post. It’s full of information that will help you get an idea for how long things will take.
When I think of bridal portraits, I think of beautiful light! There is something so breathtaking about soft light pouring in on a bride in those first moments after she has put on her dress. When selecting the space where you will get ready on your wedding day, keep an eye out for windows! It’s amazing how much of a difference natural light can make!
In addition to having a window nearby when you get ready, keep an eye out for wall colors. I know this one sounds a little far fetched. But not only will certain colors be distracting – reds, yellows, browns and tans will cast onto your skin and dress. No thanks!
One of the first things I do when I arrive on the morning of the wedding is photograph your details.You can save valuable bonding time by having these items gathered together in a detail box. Typically we don’t have a lot of time for styled detail photos, so every minute counts. Carefully styling details is something that really can’t be rushed so this time is so important. Having your hand selected items gathered and ready to go allows us to capture more photos and you’ll end up with more images in your wedding gallery, which paints a clear picture of your wedding day. We will arrive, say a brief hello and be able to get right to work!
Give Yourself Some Space
Once you add up the bride, her mom, several bridesmaids, a hair and makeup crew, a photographer, a videographer AND all of their stuff – one tiny hotel room gets cramped really fast when it comes to getting ready on your wedding day. Plus there is typically only one window… which doesn’t let in much light. And the light that does get in gets blocked by all of the people. Which isn’t good for hair and makeup, photography or videography.
So if you are going to get ready in a hotel I recommend requesting a suite or at least two adjoining rooms! But my favorite recommendation? Your family home or an Airbnb. Your family home is going to be more meaningful and special. But if that is out of the question, an Airbnb is a great alternative. There are so many beautiful airbnbs out there and for a similar price that you’d pay for two hotel rooms, you can double your space! Plus you get to pick which airbnb you like aesthetically AND you get a full sized refrigerator for champagne AND more plug outlets for curling irons and phones. Double win!
Keeping it Clean
Keeping the bridal prep space clean of clutter can be a big task. But with some careful planning ahead there will be no duffle bags or spare socks in the back of your getting ready photos! Select a designated space for everyone to keep their things instead of setting their bags down anywhere. If you want to take it an extra step, you can purchase small baskets for each of your girls to keep her things organized! This will also help when everyone needs to clean up their things to leave the getting ready space quickly!
Regular hotel rooms are typically designed to hold one to two beds.. so there isn’t a lot of open floor space. And usually when there is, it is not in good light. In fact, most of the time the best light is in the narrow space next to the bed closest to the window. This can make it difficult to capture photos that show the entire length of your dress and veil. And while we can get creative with cropping you will have much better photos if you have room to move around.
If an airbnb or a family or friends home simply is not an option, upgrading to a suite can help give you the space you will need while also ensuring that all of your ladies can get ready together because like I mentioned above, these are moments you will likely want to remember, which is what we are there to help you do!
On your wedding day, we traditionally only go to one “getting ready” location. This is because groom prep takes such a short amount of time while bridal prep is much more detailed and we are also photographing all of your wedding details at this time.
We only need about 10-15 minutes to capture everything we need for the gentlemen, so this can be done at the venue before the ceremony. Plus this way we can finish with his details and deliver them to him just in time for his photos. And when he is done, his mom is usually dressed and ready to pin his boutonniere. It works out really well!