Getting Ready: 6 Wedding Morning Tips
The morning before your wedding is about more than just becoming wedding ceremony ready. This time is about soaking up those final moments of anticipation, exchanging knowing glances with your wedding party, receiving an outpouring of love from friends and family, and basking in the oohs and ahhs of admiration as you transform from a fiancé into a bride.
The ‘getting ready’ moments are oh-so fun to photograph and carry the potential for pure, photo magic.
Understandably, this part of the day is often not a focal point during the wedding planning process. A bride might buy matching pajamas or robes for her wedding party, but that’s about all. So today I’m sharing a few simple wedding morning tips to help you make the most out of this time before the ceremony. If you take my advice, I assure you – your day will be easier and your wedding album will be filled with even more gorgeous memories.
But first, this…
Why I Love This Part of the Day
I love the early moments of a wedding day. The time you spend getting ready simultaneously moves so slowly and far too quickly. The anticipation of what’s to come blends with the enjoyment of the present moment. We laugh, we cry, and it’s all just so wonderful.
It tells your story from the beginning: The moments leading up to your ceremony set the stage for the rest of your day. It’s the beginning of your wedding album, and the photographic proof of one of the most meaningful (and fleeting) passages of time in your life. It captures the love of your family and friends as you embark on a new phase of your life. These photos tend to be photojournalistic, and are often some of the most raw and emotional of the day.
It acclimates everyone to being photographed: Most of us need a moment to warm up to the idea of being followed around by a camera all day, and the getting ready portion of the day is the perfect opportunity for that! It allows us to start off slow and it gives you and your wedding party a chance to get to know us before we put a camera in your faces.
If I can give you a single piece of advice about this part of the day it’s this:
Be in the moment, let your big emotions come and go, and soak it all up.
Get Your Details Ready
We’ll begin the day by photographing important details; the little bits and pieces that may fade from memory in a few years time. These shots honor the thought and care you put into every single detail and tell the story of your wedding day. Someday, when you’re flipping through your wedding album, photos of your jewelry and flowers from your bouquet will transport you right back to the day you said ‘I do’.
The getting ready time can be chaotic, so it’s super important to gather your details ahead of time and place them all together in a safe, designated, easily accessible space. The last thing your photography team wants to do is cause a stir trying to track them all down!
Here are a few lovely details I recommend collecting:
- Dress and/or suit
- Invitation suite (1-2 pristine copies please!)
- Both rings
- Flowers (+ a few loose flowers to add interest to your photos – you can ask your florist for these ahead of time!)
- Vows or vow books
As you curate details, include anything that you consider to be especially sentimental, like your grandmother’s ring or a monogrammed handkerchief. With each special item, you’ll help us tell your unique story.
Curate Your Playlist
Music is the absolute best mood booster, so jam out to your favorite songs!
Before your wedding day, hop on Spotify and create or save a few playlists to enjoy while you’re getting ready. Prepare one with calming music to soothe you when you’re feeling nervous, and another with hype music for when you want to dance it out.
Don’t forget to bring a bluetooth speaker to pump those jams!
Give Yourself Enough Time
The last thing you want to feel on your wedding day is rushed. Emotions will already be high, so feeling rushed will only lead to unnecessary anxiety and stress. And it’s no secret that the best photographs are the ones where everyone is relaxed and in-the-moment.
You want to squeeze every last drop out of your wedding day, luxuriating in the love surrounding you. You want to be fully in the present moment, taking mental pictures to cherish for a lifetime.
Make sure you plan for at least a few hours of getting ready time and give yourself plenty of buffer time. Be prepared to delegate as much as possible to other people so that you can fully relax into your wedding day. Make time for hair and makeup for you and your wedding party, steaming the dress, and a much-needed moment to yourself before you walk down the aisle (trust me on this one).
Find Your Light
Lights, camera, action!
Beautiful natural light is a photographer’s dream, and far too important to leave up to chance. Artificial light, on the other hand, is never flattering. It leaves a bright orange hue, and the directional overhead lighting casts dark shadows under your eyes. This not only creates a lot of challenges in post production photo editing, it makes your makeup artist’s job harder as well. Soft window light is where it’s at!
Find space with multiple large windows so we can shut off those artificial lights and let the sun cast her natural highlights on your beautiful glowy skin.
For the most beautiful getting ready photographs, find a space that’s large enough to comfortably fit everyone, plus a bit of extra room for friends and family to pop in and say hi. And while the size and decor of your space matters, remember that it’s equally important to choose a space with bright, natural light.
Keep it Tidy
It happens far too often; we arrive at a wedding and walk into the getting ready suite to find a room that’s filled to the brim with people, suitcases, plastic bags, curling irons, toiletry bags, a pile of half-eaten snacks, and an explosion of dirty plates and glasses.
We get it. There are a lot of people getting ready in a small space and all that stuff has to go somewhere. But there are some small things your wedding party can do to manage the chaos.
Start by asking your friends and family to clear space for us before we arrive. Let them know we’ll be there to photograph everyone getting ready and that your photos will look so much better without all the clutter.
- Ask everyone to throw away their trash.
- Consolidate the snack station and move it to an unsightly area (like near a TV) that we will already naturally avoid while taking photos.
- Remove all the extra bags, trash, clothes, shoes, etc.
- Set aside the details that you want to be photographed, like your dress, jewelry, etc.
- Ask anyone who can to get dressed before we arrive so that all their extra stuff can be put away.
Don’t take all of this on yourself; ask your wedding party to help you prepare the suite for photos and delegate as many of these tasks as you can.
Prep an Emergency Kit
It doesn’t matter how carefully you plan your wedding, something is inevitably going to happen. And even if that ‘something’ is as small as a popped button, you’ll be happy you prepared!
Create a special emergency kit for all the uncontrollables your wedding day might throw at you! Fill it with safety pins, fashion (or double sided) tape, a Tide To-Go pen, bandages, bobby pins, scissors, Q-tips, pain killers, tampons, pasties (nipple concealers), breath mints, deodorant, nail clippers, a phone charger, etc. Stop by your local pharmacy and go nuts in the travel section.
As you can see, you don’t have to do much to make the getting ready portion of your day easy, extra special, and photo ready. A little prep goes a very long way!
If you’d like to learn more about how you can prioritize the most important parts of your wedding day, check out my blog, 5 Tips for a Sacred and Photogenic Wedding Ceremony! Among other topics, It includes detailed tips to help you get the very best lighting for photos, and a thought exercise to help you create unique and meaningful rituals for your ceremony.