July 21, 2016
I love documenting beautiful memories between a bride and her best friends as she prepares for her whirlwind of a day. Some of my favorite photos of grooms happen when the parents see their son in his tuxedo for the first time, or when his groomsmen go in for an unscripted hug while they’re getting ready together. Here’s a few tips to help organize and plan for the best getting ready photos possible:
Ideally, those being photographed should be dressed and ready prior to the bride and groom getting ready. In the timelines I help my couples create, we try to have 45-60 minutes of downtime (no formal photos) immediately prior to the ceremony. So with a 4pm ceremony, an average-sized family & wedding party, the early portion of the timeline might look something like this:
12:00-12:15 Bridesmaids, MOB getting dressed
12:15-12:45 Bride getting dressed + Bridal portraits
12:45 – 1:00 Groom getting dressed + Groom’s portraits
1:15 first look + couple’s photos
2:00 wedding party photos
2:30 family formals
I’ve found it incredibly beneficial for me to arrive a little earlier than everyone else so I can photograph the location itself, as well as the wearable details before they’re worn. If the location allows early access, consider having someone bring these items to the getting ready location earlier that morning:
Rings, jewelry, hair pieces
An invitation, save the date, and a program for the wedding
Anything with significance to your day – monogrammed flasks, gift perfumes, matching socks, etc.
Decide who needs to be there (and let them know by sending them a copy of your timeline prior to the wedding day). If you want your bridesmaids, flowers girls, or personal attendants to be in the photos, they should arrive when you do and be dressed and ready to go before you are.
Traditionally Mom might help her daughter with the dress or jewelry, but lately I’ve seen (and loved!) ‘first looks’ with either parent.
Lighting trumps location in just about every scenario. If there is at least one window that allows for some natural light, you’ll be golden! Here’s a few other things to consider when deciding on a getting ready location:
Does it fit your aesthetic? (e.g. If you hate shag carpet might opt for a room without).
Is it near the ceremony location (or on the way)?
Can it easily be de-cluttered?
Is it temperature controlled?
Is the space large enough to accommodate everyone?
Aside from capturing candid moments of you and your favorite people getting ready, you might want to set aside a few minutes for something a little extra. Maybe a gift or letter exchange between you and your fiance before you see each other. Or perhaps a group photo of you and your bridesmaids in special bridal party attire (robes, monogrammed shirts, etc.).
* This is possibly the most IMPORTANT tip to having great getting ready photos *
You could feel all the feelings on the inside, but if you aren’t actually smiling – your photos won’t magically differ from reality. I cannot Photoshop a smile onto a face that isn’t feeling it 🙂 If I notice you’re frowning a lot, I might send a gentle reminder – but there’s also no guarantee that I’ll catch it. I’m also looking at lighting, composition, making sure the angles are as flattering as possible. So, let this be your reminder to relax, breathe it all in, and enjoy your morning with your loved ones!
There’s a lot running through the heads of a bride (and a groom, too!) on the wedding day; sometimes things can be frustrating if they aren’t going as planned, but don’t forget to appreciate all the good things as they’re happening! I think I read somewhere that the simple act of smiling can actually MAKE you feel happier.
I hope you’ll find these tips for your getting ready photos helpful! For more useful information, check out these posts: