The getting ready time is one of the most important parts of the day. Personally, its certainly one of my favorite stages of the entire wedding day. This is the time when the couple is (quite literally), getting ready on the day of the wedding. Many times bride and groom are joined by family, friends, and bridal party. The couple is getting ready and prepping, perhaps at the same location in different rooms, or at nearby locations. This may be at the homes of the couples, a hotel, or perhaps a bridal suite located at the ceremony/reception venue. You may choose to have a getting ready filled with the wonderful chaos of your brigade of bridesmaids, flower girls, mother of the bride, mother of the groom, aunts, all of the hair and make up team, your two dogs, and nosey neighbor. Or you may choose instead to have a more intimate experience with just one or two of the most important people to you. Either way, this is a significant part of documenting and telling the story of your wedding day. Additionally, this is equally important for both the bride and the groom.
Why is the getting ready important?
I can not stress enough, how important the getting ready part of the day is. During this time we will photograph many important elements. Generally we will start by photographing the details of the bride/groom. Details we will beautifully photograph include the dress, the rings (the engagement ring, and both wedding bands), the jewelry, the shoes, your something borrowed, and something blue, and all the other little sentimental ornaments. Once these details are captured, the remainder of the time is mostly spent creatively and unobtrusively documenting the various moments that unfold. The bride getting her hair and make up done, perhaps the bridesmaids popping champagne or jumping on the bed, mom trying to hold back the tears as she dresses her daughter - all of the beautiful moments.
The getting ready part of the day is so important because when looking back at your wedding album without this part of the day included, the story is incomplete. These moments really enhance and help form the narrative of this special day.
What will we need to be doing at this time?
Many bride and grooms always ask what is expected of them during this time. During this time we expect you to be relaxing, getting ready, preparing for the day, and having fun. As mentioned above, this part of the day is mostly very photojournalistic. We really want to capture real moments during this time, so don't sweat it. Just relax and enjoy this time, let us worry about the rest.
When does the bride need to be dressed and ready?
The bride needs to be dressed and ready at least 30 mins before the photographer needs to move on in preparation for the first look or ceremony. What does this mean? Simply, I need at least 30 mins with the bride after she is dressed and ready. During this time, I will take portraits of the bride when her hair and make up are fresh, her hair is perfect, and she is relaxed before the first look or ceremony.
Tips, advice, and things to consider .
Getting Ready : Approximate time required 2-4 hours
Location. When considering where to get ready, your home, a hotel, ceremony/reception venue's bridal suite are all equally wonderful locations. As for photography, we are only mostly concerned with one thing for the location, lighting. A space with large windows and lots of natural/daylight is the best option. Additionally, it is encouraged of the bride to direct the make up artists to seat them near this light source if possible. This usually goes without saying however, as makeup artists also benefit from sitting the bride in lots of natural light.
I also advocate, if possible, to have bride and groom getting ready in the same location. Hotels are great for this. Have the girls getting ready on one floor, and the boys on another.
Timing. We require at least 2 hours for getting ready coverage. We can not photograph all of your lovely details and wonderful moments ( candids, hair and makeup, getting into the dress, bridal portraits, etc ), in less time. We can not "try" to do this in less time, as from our experience we know the time required to deliver to you the best images and have the least stressful experience for everyone.
Furthermore, if the boys are being photographed, and getting ready at a different location, they should be fully dressed by the time the photographer arrives to photograph them. Additionally, an extra hour of getting ready time should be allotted for the boys.
Details. Have all of the details ready and put aside before the photographer arrives. This will reduce waisting of time searching for, and getting the things together. Moreover, I can get right to work!
Clutter. When getting ready in a space with a group of girls/or guys, clutter is to be expected. Especially if you are getting ready with your bridal party and/or lots of family in the space, things can get quite hectic. Generally having a ton of clothes and shoes, bras, and make up thrown all over the space is not the best for photos. If getting ready at home, ensure to designate someone to keep the area the bride is getting ready as uncluttered as possible. When staying at a hotel, have housekeeping turn down the room before the photographer arrives.
Know who you would like photographed getting you into your dress, helping with your jewelry, and putting on your shoes. Additionally, these individuals should be completely dressed for these tasks, rather than still being in their robes. This makes for better photos.
Will you be exchanging gifts, or opening a gift from bride/groom? Lets designate a time to do so! Generally, you'd like to do so with your hair and make up done. This may be done in your robe, or in your dress. Either way, allot time for this!
When putting together your timeline, make sure to add plenty of cushion time for delays. Weddings have a lot of moving peices and depend on various different individuals. I recommend padding the entire getting ready time at least 15-30 mins.