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If you’re new to the blog or this series of posts, do check out my other planning your wedding photography posts.

Today I’ll be covering the getting ready part of the day.  The time you spend getting ready for your wedding is often one of the most exciting, anticipation filled parts of the day.

As a photographer when you walk through the door at a preparation address, it’s always really interesting to see what the atmosphere is like. I love it where there’s a palpable buzz and things are starting to happen.

Some couples opt not to have this part of the day covered. I always think that’s a shame, as it has such a lovely energy about it and is a beautiful part of the story.

The people watcher in me especially loves it when couples get ready at home, as it gives the couple’s wedding day a bit of context. Where they came from, where they’re going and the wedding day as part of a whole, rather than a day that sits in isolation from normal life.

I work mostly unobtrusively during this part of the day, chatting with the people who are present, blending in and taking lots of candid shots. Capturing you drinking champagne or eating breakfast (very important!) or having hair and make up done or getting into your suit.

If you are having this part of the day photographed, here are a few tips, based on the way I work and my experience.

If you’re working with another photographer, do have a chat with them, as they may work a little differently.

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Start time

I usually recommend that I start around an hour to an hour and a half before you need to leave for the ceremony.

I don’t work with a second photographer as standard, so if the couple are getting ready separately and want both of their preparations covered, I’d usually need to arrange for a second shooter or have them plan their getting ready times around me, so that I can spend some time with each of them.

I suggest that the person whose preparations I’m covering is ready around 30 minutes before they need to leave.

I’ll usually leave the around 15 minutes before them, to get to the ceremony venue and photograph guests arriving, as well as having a chat with the ceremony official.


Eat something

Eat a good breakfast. This isn’t specifically photography related but it’s really important. Low blood sugar isn’t your friend. Especially if you’re planning on drinking champagne after the ceremony. You should also think about having some lunch before you leave.

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Your getting ready room

Try to get ready in a room with good levels of natural light if you can.

If you can’t, a good photographer can work around this; even the most beautiful naturally light room can be gloomy on your average UK winter day and a big part of being a photographer is being able to adapt no matter what conditions you are working with.

If you can find somewhere light and spacious to get ready,  though, it’ll be easier for your photographer to take beautiful shots.

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Detail shots

Have any details (dresses, suits, shoes, flowers, cufflinks etc) that you want photographs of in one place. I always start by photographing these things as it gives me time to warm up, suss out the mood and it’s nice to get these shots under my belt before I start photographing the people.

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Keep it tidy

Try to keep clutter to a minimum. If there is mess in the room there will be mess in your photographs. Of course you might not mind this and I always think it’s best to get a record of things as they actually are but you might want to present a tidier image in your photos!


Wear something you’re happy to be photographed in

If you’re happy to be photographed in your Care Bear Pjs (I actually got some for Christmas but I’m not up for a photo shoot in them) then that’s cool. If you’d rather wear something a bit more refined that’s fine too. Just make sure that what every you’re wearing is something you’re comfortable to have your picture taken in.

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Ask your bridesmaids/ushers/family to get dressed first

This is especially relevant if they’re helping you into outfits, unless they don’t mind being photographed in what every they’re wearing before they get dressed.

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Think about whether you want photographs of you getting into your outfit

If you’re a guy and your photographer is a girl or vice versa you may not feel comfortable having photographs while you get dressed. I always ask my clients if they want this part photographed and I’m happy to wait outside until they’re a bit more covered up.

Alternatively I’ll photograph them getting into their outfit without capturing any flesh on camera.

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Allow more time than you think you need

How ever long you think it will take you to get ready, add some contingency time. I have literally never been to a wedding where everything has run on time. Ever. And I’ve been to almost 100 weddings.

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Finally, don’t forget to enjoy it

This is the most important of all my tips! Chill out and enjoy your morning. Perhaps make a play list of songs that you like and that will relax you. Hang out with your friends and family, and relish in what is a very special time, before you go off to get married.

If you have any questions about the preparation part of the wedding day, do feel free to post them in the comments.

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January 9th 2014
I WELL enjoyed reading this post, it's really handy from a photographers point of view too and I LOVE that shot of the bridal party in their kimonos, BEAUTIFUL!
January 10th 2014
Great post Laura! Some really excellent points for brides to consider on the morning of their wedding!
January 21st 2014
Care Bears. Yey! Shame you weren't my wedding we were on time. ( Well, with some serious panicking!) These are great tips Laura especially about eating and ensuring you are ready 30 mins before you are due to leave. I could have done with those tips so I could've enjoyed my pre-wedding photos a bit more rather than panicking about being late to the ceremony. :)
July 17th 2014
[…] For more detailed information about the getting ready part of the day, check out this article. […]
[…] about things to consider when planning the getting ready part of your wedding day, check out this article in my planning your photography […]

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