Getting Ready for Your Wedding

It's common for me to photograph couples and the wedding party in the processing of getting ready on their wedding day.

In addition to being an important aspect of the wedding storytelling, these photographs are the most intimate and often most celebrated photos from the day. For scheduling purposes, to capture the photographs typical of this part of your day, I'll need a minimum of 60 minutes although 90 minutes is preferred.

Getting Ready on Your Wedding Day

What Happens

In most cases, when I arrive at hotel or venue, I'll first go to the room where the bride is getting ready. After greeting the bride and introducing myself to any bridesmaids or family members present, I'll start photographing details. Details commonly include the bride's dress, shoes, flowers, rings, invitations, and other accessories. When I'm working with an additional photographer, that photographer is tasked with photographing details while I focus on photographs of people. Whenever possible, it would also be best if the bridesmaids and mother of the bride are fully dressed when I arrive so that everyone looks as amazing as possible.

Assuming that the groom nearby, I'll excuse myself from the bride's room and seek out the groom. When I arrive at the groom's room, I'll greet the groom and then introduce myself to the groomsmen. Then I'll photograph the groom buttoning his shirt, tying his tie, tying his shoes, and if applicable, buttoning his vest. I also ask the groom's best man or one of the groomsman to help the groom with his jacket. In some cases, I'll ask other groomsmen to make adjustments to his apparel—like straightening the groom's tie. In some cases, the bride has asked me to deliver a gift, letter, or card to the groom. When that happens, after the groom is fully dressed, I'll photograph the groom opening his card and/or gift. During this part of the getting ready process, I'll also capture candid photographs of the groomsmen. That will frequently include the groom and groomsmen having a drink together. I typically allocate at least fifteen minutes to the groom's getting ready photographs. If I'm provided with more time than fifteen minutes, I'll create additional creative and candid portraits of the groom and the groomsmen as the schedule permits.

After photographing the groom, I'll return to the bride's room. If I'm working with an additional photographer, my colleague is typically finished photographing the details. If that's the case, I'll ask the additional photographer to leave and continue photography with the groom. At this point, assuming that the bridesmaids are dressed and the bride's hair and makeup are finished, I'll ask the bridesmaids to assist the bride getting dressed. However, before the bride undresses and any girly bits are exposed, I'll turn away and cover my eyes if appropriate. Once the bridesmaids give me the "all clear," I'll turn around and continue my photography. Upon request, I can also leave the room when the bride is getting dressed.

After the bride is fully dressed, I'll photograph her putting on earrings and shoes and photograph the bride's mother assisting with jewelry. If desired, I'll also facilitate the Father's First Look. Throughout this process, I'll be keeping a careful eye on the time and doing my best to ensure that everyone gets out the door in time for the next event on schedule.

Recommended Getting Ready Schedule

This is a sample schedule of what is typical at most weddings I photograph where everything happens at the same location. I think that you'll find it helpful when you're getting started planning your day!

Noon Personal Flowers Arrive Bride’s + Groom’s Room
12:15 p.m. Groomsmen Start Getting Dressed
12:30 p.m. Bridesmaids + MOB Makeup & Hair Ready
12:30 p.m. Bridesmaids + MOB Start Getting Dressed
12:30 p.m. Photography Begins
12:30 p.m. Groom Starts Getting Dressed
12:45 p.m. Bride Makeup & Hair Ready
1:00 p.m. Bride Starts Getting Dressed
1:50 p.m. Father’s First Look (optional)
2:00 p.m. First Look
2:05 p.m. Bridesmaids + Groomsmen + Couple Portraits
3:00 p.m. (approx.) Couple Alone Portraits
4:00 p.m. Couple Alone Portraits End / Bride Hides for Ceremony
4:30 p.m. Ceremony Begins

When these events occur at multiple locations, you'll also want to add the following time to your schedule between each separate location:

Additional Hints & Tips

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