The morning of the wedding goes by in the blink of an eye. Before you know it you’re walking down the aisle, on your way to becoming a Mrs, so I always urge my brides make the most of the start to the big day – the “bridal preparations”! This post covers all the little things related to bridal prep photography – included in my Full Day Wedding Photography Collection.
I have also written another post in the “wedding photography tips series”, on making the most of your engagement session – click here to read it.
I was recently asked by You & Your Wedding Magazine which moments on the wedding day are most important / not to be missed and I have to say, for me, it’s beautiful bridal preparation photos. I remember how much I loved the bridal prep photos from my own wedding, and it definitely influenced the way I photograph it. You can see the You & Your Wedding feature below:
Here are a few things to think about when planning your bridal preparations (from a photography point of view):
Location of the bridal preparations: Getting ready at a hotel close to the venue / at the venue definitely has its benefits. Not only will you feel extra special when you wake up in a big, comfy hotel bed on the morning of the wedding, but you’ll be a lot more relaxed because you’re not worrying about travelling far to get to the church / venue later. Most brides will have the opportunity to get ready in the hotel’s bridal suite which if spacious and luxurious (which hopefully it will be) creates the perfect backdrop for lovely photos of you and the girls getting ready. If you get ready at home, that’s great too! In the next point I talk about choosing the best room in the house to get ready in, based on space & light. Wherever you choose to get ready, make sure you have a good breakfast! I know you’ll feel like you’re too nervous & excited to eat (like I did!), but eating something to keep those energy levels up & ensure that you don’t have a growling tummy when you walk down the aisle, is a good plan!
Space & light in the room: When it comes to your bridal prep location – bigger is definitely better! Getting ready in a spacious room where your bridesmaids can get ready with you & where I can move things out of the way (so they’re not in the background) if I need to, is great. If you’re getting ready at home – choosing the largest room in the house with the least clutter works really well and will definitely make a difference to the photos. Secondly having lots of natural light to work with, will also make all the difference to your photos. I only really use flash when I shoot after dark, and my preference is always to work with available light first. Some of my favourite bridal portraits have been taken using soft window light falling on the bride’s face – just beautiful and extremely flattering. So, when you’re choosing the room you’re going to get ready in, look at things like how spacious it is and also how much natural light there is available in the room – a room with large windows always works a treat!
Atmosphere while you’re getting ready: This is where your bridesmaids / family come in. Thinking back to the morning of my wedding, I felt relaxed, extremely excited, a little bit nervous but overall really happy! We had music playing in the background & some champagne to sip on which created a wonderful atmosphere in the hotel room. The aim here is definitely to enjoy yourself & bathe in the excitement of the day. There is nothing more beautiful than a happy, smiling bride on the morning of her wedding so I say the more fun & laughter and relaxation you can work into the bridal prep, the better! One of my brides from 2015 had a scented candle burning in the room and a box of her favourite chocolates to share with the bridesmaids while they were all having their hair done. It’s never to early for chocolate & champagne – especially not on your wedding day!
Preparation time: With your bridal prep it’s definitely better to start getting ready too early, rather than too late – especially where your bridesmaids need to have their hair & make up done too! Being ready ahead of schedule will mean that you have some time to relax, soak it all up and sip some champagne – which always make for great photos! If your bridesmaids are dressed & ready as soon as possible, it looks really lovely when they help you to get into your dress. All the little things you will be doing while you get ready – putting your earrings on, a spritz of your wedding scent, adjusting your dress, tell the story of the day and they are also some of my favourite moments to capture.
I normally arrive 2 hours before the ceremony starts. Make sure you have your details, like your dress, the stationery, your shoes and any other pretty details ready for me to photograph. Once I’ve done this I then start focusing on you, capturing the finishing touches of make and the wonderful moment when you step into your dress.
If you are ready with an hour or so to spare before the start of the ceremony, we will have enough time for me to capture these special moments between you and your bridesmaids and also have time to take some beautiful portraits of you – the blushing bride on your own.
Most of all the best advice I can give you as a bride-to-be is to enjoy the morning of the wedding without worrying about the details of the rest of the day! Don’t be afraid to trust your bridesmaids / maid of honour and to give them certain responsibilities to help make your morning as stress free as possible! Being a bride is such an incredible experience and it should be a morning filled lots of laughter, love and excitement. Savour the experience and make the most of it!