One of the classic times for photographs at any wedding is the morning as the bride and groom are getting ready. This is a special time of the day, one filled with excitement, anticipation, and even a little nervousness. The getting ready period marks the transition from the world of the everyday to the sacred space of the wedding ceremony. Whether you’re donning a bridal gown, a tux, or something less traditional, by the end of the getting ready period the atmosphere is charged with a special feeling of romance and love. Of course, it can also be a time for getting silly, goofing around, or maybe having a mimosa! Couples are increasingly interested in documenting the preparatory process, and there are a few guidelines you can follow to get the most out of your photos.
The photographer does not need to be present for the entirety of your preparations. You will probably have several factors you’ll be considering as to how to best utilize your photographer’s time and talents, and that may mean having them present for only part of the getting ready process. You might even want to get ready a little bit before the actual getting ready photos, if you know what I mean. Not too many couples start their pictures from the very moment they’ve woken up, bedhead and all!
It’s possible that you’ll have some downtime during the process as you move from steps like hair and makeup to putting the dress itself on. Schedule sensibly so that you can get the kinds of photos you want. Don’t plan to have your hair and makeup done last in your bridal party, but rather somewhere in the middle. That way you can get dressed and avoid a rush to be finished, allowing you and the photographer to capture all the moments you want.
Gather the items you might want detail shots of together ahead of time in an area where they won’t be disturbed. You might not believe how chaotic a dressing room before a wedding can become until you’re in your very own. Staging some of the objects ahead of time will save you stress and anxiety, and eliminate the danger that anything will be left out or forgotten.
Think about anything you might want detail shots of later, whether that’s a dress or tuxedo, shoes, jewelry, cufflinks, or anything else. This is the best time in the whole day to take those shots, and you won’t have to worry about remembering them after the euphoria of the ceremony. Don’t forget a copy of your invitation suite!
Keep the prep space tidy! Easier said than done in what are sometimes small and crowded spaces, but keeping water bottles, sneakers, and laundry out of the way will also keep them out of the photographs. Keep the area clean as you go by keeping all personal items in one spot.
If you can control where in the room you get your hair and makeup done, I would recommend in front of a window. If you are facing the window you will have pleasant, natural light falling on you. That makes for beautiful images and can balance starker light sources in the room (usually from fluorescent bulbs).
MOST IMPORTANTLY, relax! You want to be yourself in these pictures, so enjoy the morning, the company of your family and friends, and don’t sweat the small stuff.