The getting ready portion of the wedding day is absolutely mission critical when it comes to photography, and planning for the best results. This is the time when all the static detail items such as the wedding dress, shoes, rings, invitations, flowers, etc.. are photographed along with shooting both the bride and groom getting ready as well as stylized shots of the two of them (individually of course), and then additionally capturing the actual process of the bride getting dressed followed by some detail shots with her alone, and with the bridesmaids, mom, dad, etc.. There is a lot going on, and there is a lot to shoot. Any delay for any reason can and will start to detract from the photographers ability to get the best shots. In order to get the most from your wedding day imagery here are five simple tips to keep you out of the common traps.
1.) Details Ready – The night before the wedding, take the time to gather all of the static detail items that you want to have photographed and place them in one place so that when the photographer arrives they can start right away without having to take time away from you enjoying your day. Specifically, you want to be sure to take the wedding dress out of the bag and have it on the hanger you would like it photographed with. You should also ensure that you have all the rings with you, so that they can be photographed together. Also, consider skipping some of the smaller “less important” detail items such as bracelets, neckless, garter, and ear rings. This (for me) often looks much better photographed while it is on you vs. just sitting on it’s own. It will also be more personal to you, as a close up shot of the detail items on you vs. shot statically. Some photographers may differ in opinion, but I am very much of the mindset of “details with a heart beat” meaning that it’s best to capture this on the bride, especially the smaller things like ear rings, perfume, bracelet, etc. Photographing the details on you, up close will always look better, and have more meaning then if I shoot them sitting on a table top somewhere, regardless on how impressive I can make it look. Just a thought 😉 Either way, have them ready. Also, ensure that the florist will have the bouquet ready before your scheduled to be getting dressed, and not to arrive at the church or ceremony location.
2.) Get another room – If your going to have more then just one or two bridesmaids getting ready with you on the wedding day, you really want to consider getting a separate room for them to get ready in. All too often, I will walk into a hotel room on the wedding day and find six bridesmaids, the bride, her mom, a hair professional, a makeup artist, and then with myself and my assistant this room becomes comically small, and not in a good way! That’s twelve or more people right there, and everyone has “stuff” with them and the hair and makeup team will have all their supplies, plus they will want to be near a window for good light (which is something I may also need for a good shot), so logistically speaking you will want to strongly consider having a separate room for the hair and makeup team to get everyone ready in and then leave the “bridal suite” clean, empty, and peaceful so that your photographer can start taking detail shots in that room as well as start planning out where your going to get dressed, what the lighting will be, and other logistics so that when your ready to get dressed all you need to do is come in and everything will flow smoothly. If another guest room is not avail, perhaps ask about a conference room that is not being used.
3.) Keep it tidy – Ideally as mentioned above you have two rooms, and one of them is left un-touched. However If this is not possible or if you have a really small bridal party of one or two and a really large room then be sure to keep all the clutter picked up so that it is not in the way for photos. Time can be wasted, and it’s always awkward for a photographer to ask you to “clean up a bit” on the wedding day. We only want whats best for you, and the images so keeping the room nice and tidy will be in your favor. It also saves a lot of time, not having to interrupt the dynamics of the day and “clean house”.
4.) Getting dressed – Think about the people you will want to be in the pictures helping you “get dressed”… maybe mom, maid of honor, etc. They will be helping you “finalize” the back of the dress, as well as other creative pictures the photographer may take. You will need to look at your wedding timeline, and ensure that whom ever you want for those images, they must be fully ready and dressed at that time. This is extremely, extremely important. I can’t tell you how many times I as a South Florida Wedding Photographer have been at a wedding where the bride is ready to go, but either mom, or the maid of honor, or whoever is not ready yet with hair, or makeup, or they are not even dressed yet and time is lost very quickly waiting around for them to get ready just so we can move past the bride “getting dressed”. Don’t fall into this “time trap” and communicate with the people you have chosen to be in those images, and communicate with the hair and makeup team so that everything happens on time. There is no reason why everyone should not be ready on time, as long as communication is given to them, as well as the hair and makeup professionals.
A delay here can cost you many (if not all), creative stylized shots of you
perhaps alone in your wedding dress, or perhaps some wonderful moments with mom, and your bridesmaids along with others.
5.) Keep Track – Once you know when people need to be ready, either dictated by your photographer or by way of wedding planner you need to ensure everyone stays focused so that people are —actually— ready on time. An easy way to do this, is set a timer on your phone 30min before you need to be ready. When the timer goes off, pause and check with your hair and makeup team to ensure that you, and the people that need to be ready for your “getting dressed” images are on track. If not, you need to say something. Specifically, you the bride. If I step in and say “hey guys, we are starting to get behind” it won’t carry the same weight as if you, as the bride speak up and remind people that time is ticking. It’s your wedding day and your having fun, laughing, perhaps nervous, maybe even a drink or two and you may have a TON of distractions around you in the way of other bridesmaids, mom, etc. So, time starts to slip by incredibly fast.
Your wedding day, will come and go in the blink of an eye.
Allocating enough of, and keeping track of time is the biggest pitfall by far, and where most of the weddings get delayed. It will also come at the cost of other people rushing, and creative shots stop becoming so “creative” and they become more just “shots” as time can evaporate into nothing in the blink of an eye.
I hope you enjoyed reading these “insider” tips, they have been formulated from years of experience and hundreds of weddings shot. If you follow my tips, you are going to be in a much better position to get the most from your creative professionals on the wedding day. If you would like to read more about a similar topic, I would encourage you to check out my article on “Wedding timeline + Expectations”, as well as “10 Tips to plan & prepare for your engagement session“.