I always like to start these posts with a disclaimer. All of this advice is through the lens of a wedding photographer and my experience working weddings. You should ALWAYS do exactly what you want to do on your wedding day. Listening to your own heart is truly the only way to really have the best wedding ever!
1. Keep your getting ready area tidy
Usually by the time I arrive, your bridal party has been there a while getting ready. At that point, your beautiful bridal suite begins to look “lived in.” Overnight bags, Chick-fil-a breakfast, Starbucks cups, and other stray items tend to litter the room after a while. My suggestion: choose one or two bridesmaids to be responsible for making sure the room is clear and tidy and remind others to do the same. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for random little eye sores, but it is really helpful when everyone involved is aware that the space is being used for photos.
2. Share your timeline with your bridal party and family
There are so many moving parts (and people) on a wedding day. Inevitably, someone will be late or not know where to be. It happens! Don’t stress when it does. We can combat this, though, by making sure everyone has a copy of the timeline and knows exactly when and where to be. Spell it out for them so there is no confusion and it isn’t your concern on the wedding day. You can even tell them to be there ten minutes earlier than they really need to be. This helps those people who are chronically late!
3. Bridesmaids + mother of the bride should be dressed and ready by the time the bride gets dressed
We’ll definitely include some of your girls in the photos when you are getting ready. You’ll need someone to zip you up and possibly even help you get your shoes and accessories on. Your getting ready photos go from good to great when everyone else is all dressed up instead of in their comfy clothes!
4. The window effect
In my world, natural light is king. So when a room has multiple windows or even one large window with ample natural light, this allows me to create the super soft lighting that you see a lot throughout my portfolio. Your makeup artist may even put you right in front of a window when applying your makeup. I might ask you to stand here at some point too! So when you are choosing your getting ready location, keep this in mind. A lot of venues have gorgeously lit bridal suites, but if not, hotel rooms always work really well too since they usually have large windows!
5. Have your dress steamed the night before
One less thing to worry about on the wedding day, so it is ready for me to grab when I get there and wrinkle free for your portraits.
6. Have a “detail” box ready for me when I arrive
This will be the first thing I photograph when I arrive on wedding day! It is helpful for it to all be in one place so I can grab them and get to shooting. This can include any of the items listed below. By no means do you need to buy any of this just for the photos, but if it is included in your wedding day, and it is important to you, definitely put it in there.
In the bridal suite: Engagement ring, both wedding bands, dress, veil, hair pieces, shoes, invitation suite, perfume
In the groom suite: shoes, tie, suit, watch, cologne
And any other small “detail” like items or accessories
7. Give yourself extra time for hair and makeup
Alright, here is where everything gets behind, right at the beginning of the day! Don’t start the day off rushing. Make sure you give yourself more than enough time for this. Inevitably, someone is always late arriving, whether it is a bridesmaid or the makeup artist themself (yes, it happens) or someone wants to change their hair or makeup or it just takes longer than expected. I just have to ask you to TRUST ME on this one. Add extra time in your timeline here, and give yourself a buffer.