BRIDAL PREP PHOTOS / GROOM PREP PHOTOS / MORNING PREPARATION PHOTOS
The start of your wedding day story
Getting ready for your wedding is an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sharing a bottle of prosecco with your best friends, laughing and joking as you all get pampered and dressed up together. The anticipation, the butterflies, the can’t-stop-smiling excitement. It really is a magical few hours.
And as a wedding photographer, the morning preparations are one of my favourite parts of the day to capture. And not just because of the excitement in the air, the giggles, the bubbles and the tears. But because they’re the start of your wedding story. The first photos you’ll see whenever you open your wedding album. They’ll set the tone for the whole story, so we want to get them right.
And the good news is, they’re the easiest photos to get perfect! Because you literally control everything. Just follow these 5 tips, and not only will you have one of the best mornings of your lives, you’ll have the perfect wedding preparation photos.
1. How to choose the perfect wedding preparation room
Choosing the right room for your wedding preparations is so important. So if you do have a choice of room, choose wisely! There are three main things to think about:
- You want as much space as possible. It’ll look a lot less cluttered in the photos. And it gives your photographer more space to choose their angles, hang up your dress and capture your details. And besides, this is the morning of your wedding! You want to be stretching out and relaxing in comfort. Not clambering over each other to get you your champagne!
- Think about how the room blends with the overall style and vibe of your day. The morning prep is the start of your wedding ‘story’. And if you go from a super-classy, prep. room to a chilled-out boho wedding, the story won’t visually flow. A nice idea is to find an Airbnb close to your venue that fits in with the look and feel of your day. If you’re getting ready at your house, leave as many details as possible that make it feel like home.
- Let there be light! Natural light and photography are best friends. Light streaming through a window is the perfect spot for some artistic bridal portraits. Skin tones look better in natural light. And even shadows somehow just look better! If you have to choose between space, style and natural light, always go for light. But if you can get all three? Perfect.
2. Main characters come first
If you only take one thing away from these tips, let it be this. As the bride and groom, make sure you’re ready first. It allows you to actually enjoy your morning. Not trying to enjoy yourself whilst secretly worrying if you’ll be ready in time.
And don’t worry about upsetting people or being rude. It’s not selfish, it’s sensible. There’s no point having four immaculate-looking bridesmaids if your partner’s at the altar, your dress is still in its box and you have scarecrow hair.
I always suggest as the bride you aim to be ready 1-2 hours before you need to leave for your ceremony (grooms, 45 minutes – 1 hour). And then the rest of the morning is a breeze. You can sit down, chat away with your wedding party as they get ready, have another glass or two of prosecco. We can get some gorgeous bridal portraits of you, and enjoy that precious ‘first look’ moment with your parents.
We can make a few last-minute touch-ups to your makeup, and head out the door like the calmest of swans on the stillest of lakes. Not shouting “that’ll do”, snatching up your bouquet and running out the door.
3. Make a plan and make time for your friend
“You can go next. “No, you go next”. “Actually, let’s let your mum go next. Where is she?” “I think she went to the car. I’ll go look”. The minutes are ticking away…
Going into your preparations with a clear schedule will make the whole morning feel so much more relaxed and streamlined. And I’m not saying you need to be constantly stressing about the odd minute here and there. But if everyone knows what time they need to arrive, when they’re supposed to be getting ready etc., you can just sit back and enjoy yourself without playing party organiser all morning.
In terms of timing, always give yourself more time than you’d think. If you’re late to the ceremony, it throws the timings off for the whole day. So err on the side of caution. Ask your hair and makeup artists how long they’d expect to spend on each person and then add 10 minutes each as a buffer. And as a final safety measure, plan for everyone to be ready 30 minutes before we have to leave.
Basically, you want to allow yourself all the time in the world to have the most relaxed, enjoyable morning ever. You want photos of happiness and memories of moments. Not photos of stress and memories of clock-watching.
4. Keep it tidy!
If you want your morning preparation photos to look their best, you need to make the room look its best. And the easiest way to do this is to keep it looking tidy.
You would not believe how much clutter emerges on the morning of a wedding. Accessories, dresses and suits all come with packaging and hangers. Then you’ve got spare clothes and trainers, water bottles, crisp packets, wrapping paper, gift tags and envelopes. It’s a tsunami of clutter. And chaos and clutter don’t look good in photos.
The simplest way to keep on top of it is to unpack everything to begin with, then throw away/recycle the packaging. That eliminates a huge amount of the clutter right off the bat. Then choose another (less-photogenic) room in the house to keep anything and everything you don’t need. Call it a dumping room. Your ‘Monica’s secret cupboard of shame’.
Then all you have to do is maintain it. Designate a naturally tidy member of your wedding party to stay on top of it and keep it looking neat. And not only will it make the atmosphere in the room a lot calmer and less chaotic, I promise you’ll notice the difference in the photos.
5. Have an unplugged preparation
The main reason I love the morning prep photos is because there’s just so much love in the room. You’re surrounded by the people you love, all huddled around you to be with you on the morning of your wedding.
And with that comes countless moments of connection. Jokes with lifelong friends, the tightest of hugs with parents, an eye roll and a quickly-wiped tear when it all gets a bit too much. These are the moments that’ll make your morning so special. And they can’t happen if you’re watching Tiktok with one eye on the TV.
So if you want to have the best morning, and get the best photos, turn off the TV and put down your phones. Listen to music, dance, talk about the day ahead, laugh about everything you’ve been through together.
Because in a few hours, the wedding day will begin. And a whole flood of other guests will be vying for your attention. These are the people who have been with you through thick and thin. The loves of your life, long before you met your partner. These are your moments with them. So be in the moment with them.
BRIDAL PREP PHOTOS / GROOM PREP PHOTOS / MORNING PREPARATION PHOTOS
Want more wedding photography tips? Stick around, I’ve got plenty!
If you’re after some more advice on how to get the best wedding photos, have a little read of some of my other blogs. From getting the best confetti shot to general wedding photo tips, I’m here to help.