Getting Ready for Your Wedding
I can't wait to create meaningful photographs of you and your wedding party getting ready on your wedding day.
In addition to being an important aspect of the wedding storytelling, getting ready photographs are the most intimate and often most celebrated photos from the day.
For scheduling purposes, I'll need 90 minutes to capture common getting ready photographs.
When I arrive, I'll introduce myself to any family members and your attendants (bridesmaids, bridesmen, groomsmen, groomsmaids). Then I'll briefly assist my second photographer as they begin photographing details.
When I photograph men getting ready, I'll photograph shirt buttoning, tie tying, shoe tying, and vest buttoning. I might also ask an attendant or family member to help with jackets or tie adjustments.
When I photograph women getting ready, I'll photograph subjects surrounded by attendants or family members. Before undressing occurs, I'll turn away. Once the attendants tell me that it's "all clear," I'll turn around and continue my photography. I can also leave the room if requested. Afterwards, I'll photograph attendants helping with shoes, earring additions, and close family members assisting with other jewelry
Some couples exchange cards, letters, or gifts. If that happens, I'll photograph that exchange along with the card, letter, or gift reveal.
Parent first looks also usually happen during this time if you want to include that on your wedding-day schedule.
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.
Additional Hints & Tips
Here's some additional useful information to consider as you plan your getting ready time.
Hair & Makeup
Hair stylists and makeup professionals often run late in their preparations to make women even more beautiful. That can negatively impact your schedule. This common problem is more likely if you have a large wedding party.
Therefore, I recommend that you plan to have your hair and makeup finished a minimum of forty-five minutes before you need to have it finished. By padding your schedule in this way, you avoid being faced with a potentially stressful and frenetic rush to get dressed and out the door.
If your hair stylist and makeup professional finishes on time, then you'll have time to relax with your attendants and not be forced to rush through your getting ready or worse yet, lose invaluable time you've set aside for portraits.
Also, you should avoid being the last person to have your hair and makeup done on your wedding day. Although some hair stylists and makeup professionals recommend that you go last, there are several benefits to being in the "middle of the pack" in terms of getting beautiful.
First, if I arrive earlier than scheduled, when I photograph you hanging out with your attendants, you'll be looking your best and you'll be more likely to appreciate your photographs. Second, if for whatever reason the hair and makeup folks are running late, with your hair and makeup done, you can start to get dressed even if your attendants aren't all yet ready.
Wedding Detail Photos
To help me make the best use of my time, please gather the wedding shoes, the rings (engagement rings, wedding bands), your wedding invitation, the local newspaper, any special jewelry, and any other details that you want photographed and set them aside in one area of the room. It's ideal if you can assemble this "stack of stuff" sometime before my scheduled arrival.
Wedding Dress Hangers
If we can find a nice location to hang and photograph your wedding dress, that's one of the first things that we'll do when we arrive. Unfortunately, the hangers that come with your dress are often made of unattractive white or clear plastic.
You might consider purchasing a nice hanger for your wedding dress. One place to get some great ideas is to start your search by looking at wedding dress hangers on Etsy.
Hanging a dress can be difficult in some locations. And some styles of dresses don't photograph well on a hanger. If a photograph of your dress hanging by itself is particularly important to you, you might want to consider having a dress-form available in your getting ready room.
Keep the "getting ready" rooms as uncluttered as is possible. If a room is cluttered when I arrive, one of the first things I'll do is move all of that clutter to an out-of-the-way area. However, since cleaning your rooms takes time, that's time that won't be spent behind the camera.
Therefore, although I'll certainly do my best to work quickly and shoot around clutter, it sure helps when I can photograph you from any angle and not worry about distracting elements in the background.
As an additional advantage to this model, a tidy room allows everyone to move around freely—and that can really help reduce stress as friends and family gather around you.
You might consider providing frosty beverages for everyone. Toasting on the wedding day makes for great photographs and more importantly relaxes the couple and wedding party. However, put a plan in place to prevent your attendants and family members from getting too tipsy.
Remove tags and stickers from all clothing, accessories, and shoes prior to the wedding day. You'd be surprised at how many times I've seen department store tags on shoe bottoms in photographs!
An amazingly awesome gift for attendants are handkerchiefs. Even on cool days in California, people will sweat and handkerchiefs can be a lifesaver! Besides keeping sweat at bay, there are a thousand different uses for a handy handkerchief.
Don't be shy asking attendants and family members to remove distracting personal jewelry or fitness devices.
Get out in front of this potential issue and mention it to your attendants and family members before the wedding day.
Bras cause indentations on shoulders that can sometimes take an hour or more to fade. If strapless dresses are the plan, this can be an issue for your photos. For anyone wearing a backless dress, I recommend foregoing a bra entirely while getting ready.
Getting Ready Outfits
Everyone should should consider wearing nice outfits while you're getting ready. If you want to a great attendants gift, you can present each person with matching "getting ready" shirts, robes, or outfits.
Food and Water
It's easy for a couple to miss meals or become dehydrated on a wedding day. It's therefore super important to eat breakfast and something around lunchtime–even if you're not hungry. You're going to need your energy.
Tailoring is Important
I've lost count of the number of times that I've seen men wearing ill-fitting suits and shirts at weddings. Men should be encouraged to have their tuxedo or suit fitted.
Even though many tuxedo rental outlets offer free shirts, those shirts seldom fit properly. The sleeve length is invariably too long or too short or the collar is too tight or too loose.
I recommend that men purchase their own brand-new off-the-rack shirts that are well-fitted and that exactly match their neck size and sleeve length.
Guys are notoriously poor shoppers so explicit directions on how to visit a department store and get fitted is a good idea. Pointing them to Nordstrom's is often a safe bet.
Getting Ready Locations
Traveling between locations to photograph you and your fiancé separately can be logistically problematic. So try to ensure that you and your fiancé get ready at the same location.
Even if my additional photographer is tasked to photograph one of you, that additional photographer is not me and thus the photography of the each one of you will not be perfectly matched.
That's why I prefer to photograph both of you myself.
Get Permission from Hotel
If you're getting ready at a hotel and hope to have some photos on hotel grounds, check with the hotel before your wedding to get your permissions squared away. Many hotels restrict photography on their premises if you're not getting married there as well.