If you’re getting married at a hotel or resort, I 100% recommend getting ready in the honeymoon suite or another large, spacious suite at the hotel, so consider booking two nights instead of one. There are so many advantages to this! You’ll get a great night sleep, all of your packed bags for the honeymoon will already be where they need to be, you want have to travel at all on the morning of your wedding, and of course, you’ll have an absolutely gorgeous space for photos!
As you decide on a room to book, consider space and light. Prep photos look so much nicer with a clean, simple background and lots of natural light. Look for neutral walls and furniture as well as lots of large windows with open space around them. These elements will completely transform your photos.
If you aren’t getting ready at a hotel, all of the above considerations still apply! Find a space that has tons of natural light and neutral or white walls and furniture. Clean and simple is best – the more color and clutter in the room, the harder it will be to take beautiful photos. The number one priority is big windows!
Since we will be utilizing the space around the windows, plan to keep this area clear of any clutter – food, water bottles, bags, etc. Ask your bridesmaids to be mindful of this and consider keeping their bags in a closet or other room. This will not only create less clutter for photos, but will make you feel relaxed and organized in the process!
If you’ve been in a wedding before, you know that the first part of the day, when everyone is doing hair & makeup, can be the most stressful! How to avoid the stress? Plan extra time for hair and makeup. Even if you’ve done a trial and have talked to your hair and makeup professionals, plan at least an extra 30 minutes! Almost all of the weddings I shoot will have either hair, makeup or both go long. If you don’t plan for this, it can throw off your entire day from the start! If you plan accordingly, the worst that can happen is that we’re ahead of schedule.
Usually, the best getting ready photos are when hair and makeup is nearly finished. Those last moments of makeup and hair touch-ups are when you’re looking your best, and also when I start to snap getting ready photos! If you and your girls are wearing special robes or shirts, this is a great time to capture the moment, right before the dresses go on! You’ll all look and feel your fresh, and there won’t be that one bridesmaid feeling silly because her hair and makeup hasn’t completed yet!
After you’ve finished hair and makeup and everyone is ready, the bridesmaids should pretty quickly change into their dresses. This usually takes longer than expected and usually there is at least one bridesmaid that has left the room or gone off to complete a task, so make sure your girls know in advance that it’s important for them to be dressed and ready by a specific time – you don’t want them to miss when you put on your dress! Mom will also want to be dressed for this moment. Definitely tell her this in advance, since moms often get sidetracked with other details of the day and don’t realize they also need to be dressed and ready!
Finally, it’s time to put on your dress! A quick trip to the restroom is always a good idea right beforehand, while you’re ladies are finishing getting dressed. I don’t take any photos until the dress is pulled all the way up (you’re welcome!). You can maintain privacy as you get into the dress, and then I’ll position you in the prettiest spot in the room for the final buttons & zip. Usually, it’s nice to have your mom and maid of honor help you into the dress and do the major buttoning. After that, you can have all your girls gather around and assist with fluffing and putting on your shoes. You’ll put on finishing touches – like jewelry and perfume – and then soak in the finished product in the mirror!
One final consideration for getting ready: a first look with dad. While this is definitely not required, a lot of brides really cherish this special moment with their dad, and I totally recommend it! I’ll pick a place with the best lighting and space and have your dad turn around until you enter the room. When you are a couple steps away from him, he’ll turn around. It’s a really sweet moment and allows you to take in another special part of your day!
The guys matter, too! All the rules of lighting and ideal space also apply to the guys getting ready. However, it’s typical that the guys don’t have as nice of a space to get ready in since it takes less time and effort for them! If this is the case, consider having the guys put on their finishing touches (jacket, bow tie, accessories, shoes) in a different spot. They can even wait until they get to the venue and choose the nicest available room!
The “getting ready” part of the day is usually not considered when a couple thinks about prepping for their photos. However, I hear so many couples say that these moments are very important to them. Following these guidelines will help create the most beautiful and relaxing environment for perfect photos!
Romantic with moody fall vibes and jewel tones, this wedding was cozy and so beautifully designed.
La Vie En Rose photographs their 100th wedding at an all-time favorite wedding venue, Rockhouse Hotel.
Mixing sophisticated style with family traditions and meaningful moments - our kind of DC wedding!
Washington, DC | Naples, FL | Destination
La Vie En Rose is a wedding photography and videography studio for couples who want photos that live in the moment with them. They are based in Washington, DC and Naples, FL and are available for travel worldwide.