My absolute favorite part of photographing a wedding day is what we call “The Bridal Prep.” Simply stated, this is the time the bride prepares to, and gets into her wedding gown. Often, the beginning of the wedding day is moving 100 mph. By the time the bride actually gets into her dress, she may very well be stressed out. This blog post will offer a few tips on how to reduce a little of that stress, naturally create some intimate moments, and pave the way for some beautiful images. (Hey… I’m a photographer first, everything is always about the images)
Don’t just think about where you will physically put on your dress. Think about where you will have your make-up applied. Is your make-up artist going to be responsible for applying your bridesmaids make-up as well? Are you getting your hair done in advance? Will it need to be touched up? Where will your bridesmaids get dressed? Who will assist you in getting into your wedding gown? All of these questions, need to be considered, as they will either aid or hinder the flow of your day. So, here’s my first piece of advice…
1. You need your own space
You definitely need your own room. Doesn’t matter if you are getting ready at home, the church, or a 5 star hotel. Don’t make the mistake of combining your space with your bridal party’s.
Generally, our wedding photography starts right around the time the bride gets into the make-up chair. I can’t even count the times I’ve showed up ready to shoot and the room looks like a hurricane has hit. Most of the time it’s because there are 3,4 or 5 ladies all utilizing the same space. In these cases, the first thing we have to do is tidy up the room, and because it’s the ladies personal things, we have to pull them away from getting ready to tidy up the space. Having the ladies in a separate space will eliminate most of the clutter. Remember, they bridesmaids have to spend the same amount of time getting ready as you do.
There is a second benefit of separating yourself. Minimizing stress. When 5-10 ladies are getting ready for a grand event, odds are, something will go wrong. Most of the time, it’s nothing major and will work itself out. However, after a few of those minor issues, you’ll find yourself stressing about things that have zero to do with the overall focus of your wedding day. If the bridesmaids are in their own space, they can work out the missing earring or torn hosiery among themselves without ever involving the real star of the show. Once everyone is dressed, then it’s perfectly fine to mingle amongst each other.
2. Give yourself room to breathe
Here’s a revelation… Most brides will get a bit nervous. So schedule your timeline in a way that gives you time to take in the moment and breathe. You don’t want to be arriving at the ceremony venue/church and then walking down the aisle 30 minutes later. This is YOUR day. Make sure you have time to enjoy it. Give yourself time to laugh with your bridesmaids. Give yourself time to send that text to your soon to be husband, letting him know that you can’t wait to see him all dressed up.
This will also give those ladies in the other room time to find those earrings or fix that hair before the ceremony starts.
This time also gives us a chance to photograph you before you get into your dress. You’re probably thinking, why would I want photos “before” I get into my dress? These photos are always a little more relaxed, and seem to show a bit of that bridal glow! They also always seem to be the favorite of the grooms. Remember, he doesn’t get to experience any of this. He does, however, get to relive it through the photos.
3. Have a bridal attendant
This one is pretty straight forward. Find someone who’s only job will be to make sure that you are ok. That it. It shouldn’t be a maid of honor, or bridesmaid. Remember, they have to get ready too. Your attendant will be that person that gets you a glass of water, makes sure you’ve eaten, and also keeps your room in order. She shouldn’t have any other roles or responsibilities, as she will be with you right up until you walk down the aisle. Lastly, this shouldn’t be mom. We’ll talk about why a little later.
4. Get rid of your cell phone
This one is a piggy back off of #2. Put it away, or give it to one of your bridesmaids. After you send your fiancé that last love note/text, get off of your phone and be in the moment. Anyone who will need to contact you, will already be there. Anyone else, they’ll have to see your planner or coordinator. Remember, you can’t get married and coordinate your own wedding.
There will be plenty of time to check social media after your wedding! Actually, that when you’ll have 100s of social media notifications from the tagged photos and videos. They aren’t going anywhere, they can wait.
5. Don’t forget about your parents
For those that are blessed to have their parents and grandparents, remember that they are the most important guests on your wedding day. I spoke earlier about not having your mom as your bridal attandent. Here’s why… First, she has to get ready too. It’s the same reason why you shouldn’t have a bridesmaid as an attendant. Most of the time, parents spend a lot of the wedding day meeting and greeting guests and family. Let them handle all of that before the ceremony begins. Secondly, and this is mainly about photos… There is an amazing moment that occurs when a parent sees their daughter in her wedding dress for the first time.
For me, there’s only one other moment that comes close to that one, and it’s when the groom gets his first sight of his wife coming down the aisle. But the parents first look at their baby is a close second. If mom is helping you get dressed, then that “wow” moment can’t naturally occur. After that, we do encourage you to have mom assist in purring on the final piece of jewelry or assisting with the veil. Those moments make for great photos as well.
6. Where will you get dressed?
I strongly recommend including a hotel room into your wedding budget. Most couples will book a hotel room for their wedding night, I’d advise on checking in a day earlier. You can use that same room as your bridal prep area. Having that space will keep things a lot more organized than doing everything at your ceremony venue or church. It’s also a more comfortable and intimate space for you to get ready.
These tips are just a few things we’ve observed while photographing weddings and what has made our brides day run a little more smoothly. I really hope they will help you make your wedding day everything you’ve ever dreamed of. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Thanks for checking out our blog! Be on the lookout for more wedding tips. Next we’ll dive into first looks. What they are, how to set them up, and deciding if. They’re right for you and your wedding day.