The preparations are still one of my favourite parts of the day. The excitement, the details. I love it. Photos of the prep really add to the story of your wedding day and in your photographs. The time you spend with your family and friends before saying ‘I do’ is really precious and it will fly past.
At almost every single wedding I shoot, when I arrive and it’s super chilled & running to time, and then the closer it gets to the ceremony the time seems to pass faster and faster. It’s the one part of the day where being short on time can make things super stressful. Getting dressed for your wedding should be one of the most special moments of your life; anticipating the future and what the day holds as well as truly enjoying the garment you’ve chosen to wear. (Oh I love wedding fashion!) But all too often it becomes a stressful rush so I’ve put together a few top tips to help keep things calm and relaxed as well as a few things which will help you get even better photographs from the morning of.
CHOOSING THE SPACE
From a photographic point of view the ideal preparation space would be spacious, light and uncluttered. I totally get that you might have your heart set on your childhood bedroom, but consider how many people will fit in the room. Usually a prep space has to accommodate hair and make-up as well as a photographer, possibly videographer too as well as your wedding party so the bigger the better darling!
A lounge is often the best choice and anywhere with natural light is preferable as loads of natural light makes for better photographs. Wherever you’re getting ready get the make up chair as close to the window as possible, if you’ve got a conservatory or French windows even better!
When booking a hotel room or Air BnB for this part of the day ask the hotel staff which rooms have the best natural light, or keep your eye out for photos of big windows or sky lights. Ensure there’s plenty of space aside from just around the bed. Don’t be scared to ask if you can have a look around before making a final choice.
With space in mind get ready with your nearest and dearest. Loads of people only ups the pressure and stress, trust me on this. In an ideal world it’s best to get kids dropped off at the last possible moment before you leave. This avoids fuss and spills!
It’s all about the details
The first thing I shoot after I’ve arrived and said hello is your outfit on the hanger and any other details you may have such as shoes, any jewellery or accessories & fragrances. Please gather these together either all in a bag or on a table so I can just crack on with shooting it all without interrupting you. Don’t worry if I move your items around to get to prettier light, it’s all about getting the best photograph possible.
The Time Has Come, For the Dress (or Suit, or Jump Suit!)
If you’re having members of your wedding party get ready with you ask them to get dressed before you. Ideally they should all be dressed when you start getting into your outfit. This way they’ll look great in the photos of you getting dressed, and as soon as you’re ready we can step out the door for a few final photos of you all before I leave for the ceremony.
Sometimes the moment of dressing can be the most stressful, when it should really be a wonderful enjoyable moment. Usually this is because time seems to have run away! Cut any labels out of garments the night before to avoid a last minute mad dash looking for the scissors. It’s also a good idea to allow a buffer of time after any hair and make up is finished to brush your teeth, apply some deodorant and a fresh pair of undies.
Giving yourself plenty of time for everything is the key to keeping things relaxed, and this includes when you actually get dressed. It might sound like overkill but it’s a good idea to have a trial run if your outfit is complex. Dresses with buttons or laces for example can take a good 20 minutes to put on. Remember whoever dressed you in the dress shop is a pro, and laces up dresses every day, while your Mum or your BFF might be feeling flustered and unsure so again, allow plenty of extra time.
Also make sure that you’ve shared the key timings from our pre wedding consultation with your wedding party and make up artist. This will mean you’re all on the same page of when you need to start getting dressed, and when they should be dressed too. They might be thinking, ‘oh, the ceremony isn’t until 1pm’ when you actually need to be dressed by 12pm to have some photos and see the registrars in advance.
Make space for the moments
If you’ll be giving your wedding party gifts while I’m with you in the morning, or you’ve got your heart set on a first look photo with your Mum, Dad or bridesmaids do let me know during your pre-wedding consultation and we’ll factor in some time for it. Again, make sure you share these timings with your hair and make up team if you’re having one. Trust me, it’ll take longer than two minutes for that moment, queue tears!
Finally, whatever happens, whether it’s all smooth sailing and perfect, or a mad dash to get out the door. This is it, your wedding day has finally arrived. Breathe, and breathe it all in. Whatever, I’ll be there to capture all the joy, all the little moments and seemingly insignificant details of your wedding morning. From your Mum ironing the bridesmaids dresses, and the to do list on the fridge right up to the final photo of you and your squad. And I can’t wait.
PS. CHOOSE A GOOD TEAM
I just want to give a shout out to the incredible hair and make up artists I work with who help make wedding mornings a joy, and who are so brilliant at what they do. Here’s a few recommendations for some awesome people who you’ll want to have with you the morning of, trust me.
- Yasemin Bilgic – Hair & Make Up
- Riot Hairdressing
- Charlotte Tillyer – Hair & Make Up
- Frances Moore – Hair & Make Up
- FLC Hair & Make Up
- Tara Sanger – Make Up
Finally, enjoy a gallery full of photos from wedding mornings. I can’t wait for yours!