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Confessions of a Wedding Photographer: Getting Ready On Your Wedding Day – Things To Consider!

Getting Ready On Your Wedding Day: Rick+Anna Photography

Preparing for your wedding day is overwhelming, and it’s hard to know exactly what you are going to want or need throughout the day!  You’ve got all of the big details planned out, down to the perfect place settings and exact shade of pink for your reception lighting, and we want to ensure that you are also remembering to take care of yourself so that your wedding day is stress-free.  And when it comes to getting ready on your wedding day we’ve seen it all!  From church basements to the most beautiful hotel suites, from stress-free and fun to stressful and rushed – and there are definitely some key things that you can do to ensure that you have a great, fun, and relaxed morning!  There are so many things to think about and keep track of on your wedding day, but by doing a little prep work in advance you can ensure that rather than wrapping up final details and feeling the weight of the day on your shoulders, you’ll be enjoying a morning of pampering and relaxation with your wedding party!  Here are some simple tips to help keep you on track for a fun morning and beautiful photos of you and your wedding party getting ready…

getting ready on your wedding day

1.  Consider getting ready in a hotel that you can come back to after the wedding.  If possible, book two nights in your honeymoon suite, so that the morning of your wedding you can wake up and get ready in the room without having to travel anywhere, and all of your stuff can be left in the room when you leave!  When you’re booking your hotel, keep in mind that the decor and background will be in your getting-ready photos.  Our favorite getting ready room decor, as photographers, is decor that is very neutral, or that compliments your wedding colors!  That will help your final album and gallery have a great flow and consistent colors throughout that match your wedding colors.  Also, if you are getting ready somewhere other than your venue, ensure that you account for any travel time between the hotel and your venue so that you stay on timeline!

2.  Pick a room with a window, and put that window to work.  If you are getting ready at your venue, most of the time they will have a great room with a window or two.  And as photographers, we love love love using beautiful window light while we take photos of you getting ready (rather than using light from overhead lights or lamps in the room)…so if possible, try to get ready in a room that has at least one window, and pick a spot near the window to have your hair and makeup done if possible.  That will ensure you get those beautiful timeless natural light images that are our signature style, and you’ll love the photos  much more than if they were taken in a cluttered bathroom with sub-par lighting.  Oh – and if it’s not possible to get ready in a room with a window – don’t stress!  This is something we’ll cover as we prep for your wedding day, and if needed we’ll bring in some lighting equipment to “create” some beautiful window light.

3.  Have your details ready to be photographed.  It’s so helpful if you can consolidate any details that you want photographed, and place them all in one spot (or one bag).  This also helps you to ensure that you have everything you need on the day of your wedding, from your garter to your jewelry to your shoes – all in one place so that nothing can be left behind or forgotten.  Things that you may want to include are:  Shoes, jewelry (bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc) including any family heirlooms, your wedding invites/stationary, rings, hair clips, perfume, veil, ties, cuff links, gifts, handwritten vows…literally anything that you are going to wear or that is important to you or part of the story of your day.  Once we’re done photographing everything, we’ll wrap it all back up together in the bag so that everything remains in one spot!

4.  Consolidate the clutter.  Ask your wedding party to place all of their bags, makeup, extra clothes, etc away in a closet or on the other side of the bed…just somewhere out of view so that the room looks clean and uncluttered in your photos.  And please know that it’s completely normal for the room to be crazy messy that morning, especially if you have a lot of people all getting ready in one place!  When we arrive we’ll work with your wedding party if needed to move a few things out of the way, but it’s always nice if you can ask them beforehand to keep all the clutter consolidated and hidden.

5.  Ensure you have a nice hanger for your dress/tux/suit.  This is a detail that is often overlooked, and if you’re staying a hotel we can normally find a nice wooden hanger in the closet, but sometimes there are no nice hangers to be found!  If your dress, suit, or tux came from the shop on a plastic or metal hanger, consider replacing the hanger with something nicer (such as a wooden or fabric hanger) so that it photographs beautifully.

6.  Have plenty of snacks.  Your wedding day is going to be a loooong day!  And it’s totally normal to be nervous or be having so much fun that you completely forget to eat throughout the day or to drink any water.  It’s a great idea to have food delivered while you’re getting ready so that you don’t have to worry about it, or to have someone in your wedding party bring plenty of food and drinks (mimosas of course – but don’t forget the water also!), so that you can eat a big breakfast/lunch before you get in your dress – because you’re going to need that energy and dinner is probably scheduled for later than normal!  Ask someone in your wedding party to help you ensure that you’re eating and drinking fluids throughout the morning (and the rest of the day!) so that you feel your best and can enjoy every moment.  As your photographers, we’ll also be keeping an eye on you and ensuring that you don’t need a snack or some water as the day goes on…but it’s best to start with a great foundation of a nutritious breakfast and plenty of hydration.

7.  Surround yourself with positivity.  This is one of the best days of your life, and you want to enjoy every single second, so surround yourself that morning with 100% positivity.  Don’t allow just anyone to have access to your getting ready room, be sure that you consider only allowing people who are going to add positivity to the day and be totally supportive of you!

8.  Designate someone to be your filter, to keep you on your timeline, to keep track of your emergency kit, and handle any issues.  One thing that we’ve seen that can cause a lot of stress on a wedding day, is when people keep coming in the room as your getting ready and asking you a million questions…where do you want the escort cards setup, who’s riding with who to the venue, etc, etc, etc…and you definitely don’t want to have to answer a ton of stressful questions or help with the setup at that point – so we definitely recommend hiring a wedding planner (or at least a day of coordinator) to handle all of the last minute details for you and to take on any issues so that you don’t even have to know about them!  If you don’t have a planner, designate someone in your wedding party or family who knows all of the details of the day to be your filter and take care of any last minute issues or details so that you can relax and enjoy your morning.  They should also be responsible for watching the clock and keeping everyone on the timeline throughout the day.

9.  Have your bouquets and boutonnieres delivered to your hotel room.  We love getting a chance to photograph the florals at the room with your other details, so consider asking your florist if he or she can deliver them to you before you leave.  This will also ensure that we have them available for portraits as soon as you’re ready!  This is something that the guys especially have a hard time remembering, and the boutonnieres can be tough to track down if they get dropped off at the venue and we’re doing portraits elsewhere…and most likely you’re going to want them to be on for the photos!

10.  Have your bridesmaids and important family members finish getting ready before you get dressed.  For the bride…as your girls and/or family members are helping you get into your wedding gown, it looks best if they are already all dressed with their hair and makeup done – so that everyone looks beautiful in the photos!  Consider scheduling your hair and makeup to be done last (or to at least have your last minute touchups done last) so that everyone else is completely ready when it’s time for you to get in your dress.

11.  Pad your timeline.  We always help our clients build a great and realistic timeline, but it’s important that you pad it with more time than you think you’ll need…because it’s very hard to stay on a tight timeline during the getting ready portion of the day!  Unexpected delays happen, buttons need to be sewed, makeup needs to get redone (which is why it is so important to schedule a trial with your hair/makeup artists so you feel confident with their work on the day of the wedding!), etc.  Most of our brides think that they’ll only need 5-10 minutes to get into their dress once their ready, but in reality we’ve found that it actually takes at least 30 minutes for the dress, jewelry, and everything else to go on…so be sure to create plenty of extra time in your plan for the day so that you can remain relaxed and not feel rushed.

12.  Smile and enjoy!  Don’t forget to relax, breathe, and have a wonderful time preparing to marry your soulmate with all of your closest family and friends.  You’ve spent years planning this one day and imagining everything being perfect and fun, so don’t forget to let yourself have a great time!  It’s totally normal to be nervous, but don’t forget to smile and enjoy yourself…because the happiest bride or groom is the most beautiful bride or groom!

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