The moments before anyone walks down the aisle are often the ones that tell the clearest story about the couple, their families, and the wedding day. The "getting ready" photographs capture the most essential and touching behind-the-scenes moments of the day. These photographs are my favorite to capture for many reasons. The emotions of each involved family member or friend is palpable and I get to know a lot about my couples through these early moments with their loved ones.
The following are some simple tips to ensure your wedding-day preparations are truly highlighted for the special memories that they will sure to be.
1. Choose a space wisely.
It can be tricky to choose a space that is both convenient for preparations and also provides a beautiful backdrop for your photographs. Try to ensure that your spot has enough window space for natural light to enter and is free from as much clutter as possible.
2. Clean up!
Easier said that done, I know. When your friends and family are all getting ready in the same space, clutter is a natural response. Do your best to organize before-hand to ensure that at least one corner of your room is clutter-free. Use closet space as best you can. Schedule a groomsmen to come in and clean out lunch before you get your gown on.
3. Have your jewelry or special tokens available for the photographer to capture.
Consider all special little details you have chosen or have been gifted for this occasion. Make sure the rings are available and not in someone's pocket! Shoes, jewelry, headwear, all the things that you have put a lot of time and effort into choosing can often go unnoticed in the moment. Be sure to have them available to capture.
4. Wait until your photographer arrives to open special gifts
If you want your photographer to capture the natural and raw emotion of your morning, wait until they arrive to open special gifts. These are some of my favorite shots!
5. Ask your attendants to do their preparations in advance.
This is a tough one. Everyone wants to look their best on your wedding day and it can be hard to have many people getting themselves ready in a short timeframe. I enjoy photographing the final moments when the bride is getting into her dress with her friends and family helping her out. This can only happen if everyone has prepared themselves in advance.
Try out this schedule:
1 hour before your "getting ready" session ends
Have hair and makeup completed
Attendants gather all unnecessary clutter that has accumulated
Have special details out for photographing
Spend time together to get the jitters out and enjoy one another's company
45 minutes before
Attendants get dressed and prepare themselves
Half hour before
Bride gets into her dress
20 minutes before
Group and individual shots of all in their dresses.
The most important thing to remember - relax and enjoy this time with friends and family.