SERIES: Getting Ready Tips For A Stress-Free Wedding

December 15th, 2015

Your wedding day is soon approaching and the nerves and excitement are kicking into gear!  One of our main goals in working with you (outside of capturing your day in a beautiful and adventurous way) is to take away the anxiety of the day and make sure you spend as much time as possible (and hopefully every single second of your day) totally in THE MOMENT.  Wedding days are days of flow and are fast-paced but we will do all we can to keep space for you to go through it with ease and not feel the pressure of the timeline weighing on you.

There are several things to prepare for during your ‘getting ready’ stage of the day to setup the whole wedding day to be in the moment.  It’s the one time of day where the timeline can get severely pushed back and throw the whole day into ‘catch up’ mode.  We’ve seen hair & makeup run 2 hours late, we’ve seen bridesmaids delay 45 minutes to get dressed before the bride can get dressed, we’ve seen the bride hunting for details for us to photograph taking up precious moments away from spending quality time with everyone.  We’ve seen mother of the brides in sweats and miss out on putting the bride into her dress because she wasn’t dressed in time. We’ve seen guys enjoy so much relaxing, underestimating the time to get ready and keep the bride waiting!  All of these moments, if possible, we would like to avoid by creating a timeline that has buffer.

Especially if you are considering a ‘First Look,’ it’s important to keep the getting ready phase of the day fairly on track so we can have everyone ready to go for group shots and first look.  The advantage is that you get to attend your cocktail hour, have more time for creative portraits, or even have time to spend alone and relax together after the ceremony.

Getting Ready TIPS:

1) Prepare all details and place in one place when we arrive.  We recommend the bed where you are getting ready.  Not only does this make it convenient for us to make sure we get everything but also it’s helpful so that each item we take to photograph in a different location gets placed back exactly where it came and there’s no missing pieces or wasted time hunting for them.  It also makes for a beautiful group shot of all details.

Bride (or partner) Details Include: Shoes, Invitation, Jewelry, Family Heirlooms, Garter(s), Dress, Flowers, Your Something Old, New and Blue, Dress Hanger, Bridesmaid’s gifts.
Groom (or partner) Details Include: Rings (including bride engagement ring if applicable), Suits, Family Heirlooms, Boutonnieres, Groomsmen gifts.

2) Speak with your hair/makeup artists about doing the bride’s hair/makeup in the middle (not first and not last).  They want everything to be perfectly fresh and would like to put the bride last but that often pushes the timeline back.  Bride’s hair/makeup needs to be completed no later than 30 minutes before the dress goes on.  We like to photograph only the last 1/4 of the hair/makeup process when the bride’s look is almost complete.  Also, being by a window or having natural light is preferred for everyone for photos and makeup artists alike so they can see how everything looks without the yellow glow of tungsten lights.

3) Have anyone that is helping the bride into her dress (including bridesmaids/mom/grandmother) dressed and ready to go no later than 15 minutes before the bride’s dress goes on.  If that isn’t possible, at least have hair complete and dresses on. (they can complete their makeup after the bride leaves for her first look)

4) Go to the bathroom and have a snack before you get your dress on.  🙂

5) If your dress is corseted, plan on 20-30 minutes to get into your dress.  If not, plan on 10-15 minutes including time for jewelry, garter and shoes.

6) If you would like to do a toast, plan on a toast after everyone is dressed and looking pretty!

7) Having matching robes for bridesmaids, flower girls or other ladies in your getting ready area is a great gift and nice touch to bring all the photos together.

8) Plan on an extra 15 minutes to be in your dress before the first look so you have time to have everyone ohhhhh and ahhhhh as well as get some bridal portraits and take a breather from everyone to prepare to see your groom (or partner) for the first time on your wedding day!

9) Plan on having the guys get ready 45 minutes to an hour before the first look.  They may say they can be ready in 10 minutes but again, we want to catch the banter and fun and not everyone ties a tie super fast these days.  We’ll also get some groom portraits before the first look too.

Sample Getting Ready First Look Photography Timeline:

1:30 pm – Photography Starts/Getting Ready/Details
2:00 pm – All Hair/Makeup Complete
2:15 pm – Bridesmaids/Mom(s) Dressed and Ready
2:15 pm – Groom/Groomsmen Start Getting Ready
2:30 pm – Bride Gets Into Dress
3:15 pm – First Look
3:30 pm – Bridal Party Formal Shots
4:00 pm – Family Formal Shots
4:30 pm – Couple Tucked Away/Guests Start Arriving/Detail Shots
5 pm – Ceremony

Sample Getting Ready Traditional Photography Timeline:

1:30 pm – Photography Starts/Getting Ready/Details
2:00 pm – All Hair/Makeup Complete
2:15 pm – Bridesmaids/Mom(s) Dressed and Ready
2:15 pm – Groom/Groomsmen Start Getting Ready
2:30 pm – Bride Gets Into Dress
3:15 pm – Bride/Bridesmaids/Bride’s Family Formal Shots (without groom)
3:30 pm – Groom/Groomsmen/Groom’s Family Formal Shots (without bride)
3:45 pm – Couple Tucked Away/Guests Start Arriving/Detail Shots
4:00 pm – Ceremony