Your getting ready photos are the very beginning of your wedding day story. getting ready with your girls is something you will cherish forever, so why not have the best photos to represent that. Choosing a good getting ready location may not be on your radar, but in order to achieve those clean beautiful photos of you and your girls (and even the groomsmen) it is important to have a great location that is free from clutter and those horrible mustard color walls.
A getting ready room that matches the vision of your wedding day style will help tell a more cohesive story. Through my experience, i’ve identified five factors to help you select the perfect place for you.
1. Wedding Venue or Hotel or Air B and B?
When it comes to gorgeous photographs, the most critical factor to consider when selecting a getting ready venue is the amount of beautiful natural light that flows into the room. You can look for natural like by how many windows there are and if the room feels light and airy. Can you move curtains to have light flow into the room? Or does it feel dark? If you have to turn on lights that give a orange/yellow feel to the room then I would suggest looking for another location.
Most wedding venues offer a bridal dressing room as part of their wedding day package. Some of these rooms are spacious, well-lit by large windows, and completely enhance the story of the day, while others are dark, lit only by lamps or overhead lights and cramped. When touring your venue make sure to ask if you can see the getting ready room so you can decide if you like the way it looks. It is also important to find out how early you can get there. Some venues won’t allow you to get to the getting ready room till about a half hour before the ceremony, which does not allow us to get getting ready shots. My goal is to not make you feel rushed so it is important to be at a place that gives you and your girls enough time to relax, get ready, and party it up a little before you say I do! If you love the getting ready room at your venue I suggest to request more time on the property, even if it costs a little more. This will avoid the stress of having to cram all the photos in and instead let everything unfold naturally.
A lot of the times my brides will choose an alternative getting ready location, like a hotel or air b and b. This option can cost less than adding more hours to your wedding venue and some hotels and air b and b’s can provide a gorgeous backdrop for your getting ready photos.
2. If you choose a hotel, upgrade to a suite. It’s worth it!
Most hotel rooms or wedding venue bridal suites can be too small for more than a few people at a time. You want to have all your VIP’s with you as you get ready. Often hair and makeup will arrive to your location, so it is important to have a big enough room to accommodate everyone. It also makes it easier to have room (or designate a specific room if its a suite) for your getting ready photos for example when you get in your dress. That way we can make sure it is clean of clutter and has a lot of natural light.
Hotel suites offer large bathrooms with multiple vanities so all your bridesmaids can get ready at the same time. Look for hotel suites that have spacious living rooms.
Sometimes, the hotel will even open a fresh second room for you at no additional charge for you to get your dress on and take a few bridal portraits. It never hurts to ask!
Also for a bonus if you can find a suite with a kitchen/dining area, it will give you an opportunity to eat a stress-free breakfast together, have coffee and mimosas available the entire time, and make sure everyone is well-fueled for the day. For a few extra dollars, and a happy bridal party, it’s totally worth it!
Which leads to why an air b and b might be a great option! This allows for your bridesmaids to each have a room, you can all stay the night together the night before, everyone will be in one place and you can have several rooms to choose from for getting ready shots. Need a little help in picking the right one? Send me your options and I would be happy to tell you what locations would work best for photos!
3. Floor to ceiling windows are a huge gamechanger. The bigger the better!
No matter what getting ready location you choose floor to ceiling windows are crucial for beautiful images. Large windows create soft natural light which is perfect for when you put your dress on.
4. Get ready on the same property as your groom.
My shooting time starts when the first photographer arrives at the getting ready location. so when you and your groom get ready at the same location it maximizes the number of photographers you get. Instead of me being with the bride and sending my second to another location we each are able to go back and forth between you two.
If the bridesmaids are at a the wedding venue or a hotel and the groomsmen are at a private residence 30 minutes away, that’s 30 more minutes of driving and 30 less minutes of documenting memories. Also, bridesmaids almost always arrive earlier to the getting ready venue than groomsmen, and since our first moments at your getting ready venue are spent photographing details (like the dress), having two photographers on location will get you two different perspectives, expedites the process (one to hang it and one to photograph it) and gets us back to you faster.
5. Consider the interior and exterior aesthetics.
Getting ready venues with appealing visual aesthetics like unique doors, textured walls, bold furniture or sleek architecture is added bonus. A venue that matches the vision of your wedding day style will help tell a more cohesive story. If your wedding day is elegant and classic, use those same words as you hunt for a place to get ready. The more it feels like “you” the better!