Getting ready for a wedding is almost as fun as the wedding reception! It feels very similar to getting ready for prom with your girlfriends, and is a wonderful time of giddy anticipation.
Between the hairspray and the bobby pins, the BFFs and the mimosas, this time of the day is filled with sweet and hilarious candid moments, and I tend to photograph these getting ready moments in an almost journalistic style rather than try to orchestrate them or style them too much. (I say "almost" because I have no qualms about moving a box of tampons off the dresser or moving you to a space with beautiful light to put on your dress. This is not technically "journalistic wedding photography"... but it's way prettier. Uh, and a bit less awkward when we're putting together your wedding album.)
Still, gorgeous getting ready wedding photos don't just happen. While you don't have to stress about every single little detail, there are things you can do in advance to help make these photos just as gorgeous as the rest of your day.
- Get some space.
Shower and moisturize in your own room, then ask the front desk for an empty hotel suite to do your hair and makeup and put on your gown. A few of my couples have done this successfully, with either a security deposit that got refunded, a minimal charge, or no fee at all. It is heavenly to leave the mess of the main room behind and get ready in a calm, fresh, beautiful space.
- Make some breathing room.
If a whole other suite isn't possible, limit the number of people in your getting ready room. Have housekeeping make the bed early. It's also fantastic if you can snag a corner suite, too, for gorgeous light on two sides.
- Nix the plastic and price tags.
Take the bridesmaid dresses out of the dry cleaner plastic. Peel the sticker price tags off of everything. Snip the price tags off of your veil and accessories. This is doubly true if you're giving gifts to your bridesmaids and want photos of them opening them.
- Air your gown out the night before.
It's like a good cabernet sauvignon; you have to let it breathe. It's not going to get dusty overnight, I promise, and this will allow the wrinkles to work their way out without taking up valuable wedding day time steaming.
- Sip elegantly.
Ask your hotel for real glassware, and nix water bottles. You'll be going green, too! The absolute worst offenders in photos? Red solo cups.
- Stash the trash.
Designate one dark corner for trash, and put it all in a large, plain cardboard box. This is where the dry cleaner plastic can go, along with the aforementioned snipped off tags, tissue paper stuffing, and all of the other visual clutter garbage that won't fit into the hopelessly tiny hotel trash cans. If all else fails, you can shove everything under the bed, just this once!
- Round up your details.
Gather all of your things together that you want photographed into one place for me. Usually this list is shoes, veil, jewelry, all of the wedding bands, and any other accessories. Don't forget your invitation suite, too.
- Let's talk.
Share your vision with me beforehand. If there's a shot you really want - all your 'maids on the bed in matching robes, for example - let me know, and I'll brainstorm to make it happen.
- Dance, girl!
Turn up the music! I even made you a playlist to get you started. Add a mini speaker and aux cord to your "to bring" list. No speaker? Pop your iPhone in a drinking glass to magnify the sound.
- Give yourself time.
This is, hands down, the most important tip here. Hair and makeup are notorious for running late - add in at least 40 more minutes than you think you ought to to accommodate this. The worst case scenario is that we have extra time to take iconic bridal portraits. That's a pretty great worst case!