How to Have the BEST Wedding Day Ever – Part One: Getting Ready Photos | Light and Airy New Jersey Photographer

March 7, 2019

So I decided that it might be fun to do a little blog series called ‘How to Have the BEST Wedding Day Ever!’ and focus a bit on some tips that I, as a wedding photographer, have for each part of a wedding day to keep it stress-free, super photogenic, and most of all – fun! I generally shoot around 40 weddings a year, and this will be my 8th year in business – so I have had the honor of documenting many special days. Every single wedding day is different, but I have some helpful suggestions for you to hopefully make your wedding day easier to plan – and also to help you get the most out of your photos!

What better way to kick off this series than to take a look at the ‘getting ready’ portion of the day? This is actually one of my favorite parts of the wedding day because there is so much anticipation and excitement – and also because I generally take this time during a wedding to closely document all of your details. I cannot speak for every wedding photographer (as we all tend to do things a bit differently) but here are my top 5 tips for making getting ready for your wedding a breeze!

  1. How to pick the best space to get ready for your wedding in.

The best getting ready spaces have lots of windows and neutral colored walls. Bear in mind that if you are getting ready in a house (or even a hotel room) the entire house doesn’t necessarily have to look this way – generally just one room will do! The best spaces have enough light pouring in through the windows that it is almost unnecessary to turn on any lights, and white or light colored walls. Also – don’t forget to keep in mind how many people will be with you when you are prepping. If you have lots of friends in your wedding party – consider that you may need a larger room to accommodate everyone and the items they are bringing with them. While we’re on the topic of your bridal party bringing items with them – consider designating a spot out of the room for everyone to place their items, that way suitcases and garment bags aren’t in the background of your photos!

Bonnet Island Estate Wedding Pleasantdale Chateau Wedding2. Don’t forget your detail items for photos.

I always recommend that the bride have all her detail items together for me when I arrive, that way I can begin photographing them. This generally takes me around 15-20 minutes, and I love using all of the items that you have selected to be part of your weddings in these images! I do generally bring along a board to style everything on, as well as a ring box or two just in case you don’t have one – but I generally prefer to use your items to tell your story. Having everything together when your photographer arrives makes sure this process goes quickly that way I can get back to photographing you and your bridal party hanging out. I recommend that the bride has all three rings, her shoes, any bracelets, necklaces, brooches, combs, handkerchiefs, florals, and any other sentimental items for these photos. A bonus pro tip is to request that your florist gives you some additional clippings – they really are a nice addition to these images! I also love when wedding and other gowns are on wooden hangers. Fancy hangers are always nice – but in a pinch wooden ones will do!

Mallard Island Wedding Mallard Island Wedding The Ashford Estate Wedding Fernbrook Farms Wedding

3. How long do getting ready photos take?

I love to be with my brides for around an hour and a half to two hours of time before we leave the ‘getting ready’ space. This ensures that I get all detail photos, some photos of your make-up and hair being finished, some candid photos of you hanging out with your bridal party, and then you getting into your dress. I try to maximize this time as best I can, because time is definitely the one thing that tends to be at a premium on a wedding day! I also love to get in a few bridal portraits right when you are first in your dress with your make-up and hair freshly done.

Fernbrook Farms Wedding Fernbrook Farms Wedding The Ryland Inn Wedding

4. Should I get ready at my venue?

Well. Maybe? It depends on you! Getting ready at your venue can be a big timer saver on a wedding day – but it really depends on the space that is available to you, and how long you will be able to stay in it. If the venue has a well lit space with neutral colored walls that will fit your bridal party – definitely consider going for it as it may save you time (and travel) later. Travel can be a big variable on wedding days – because even a 5 minute ride can go longer if there is traffic or an unexpected accident.

Pleasantdale Chateau Wedding The Ryland Inn Wedding

5. Don’t forget to eat!

No – seriously. Eat something! Oftentimes you will not be eating again until cocktail hour (which might be hours and hours away) so it’s always best to have a bite while you are getting ready, before you get into your dress. Also don’t forget to hydrate! Drinking water is often overlooked (or totally avoided because nobody wants to run to the bathroom in a wedding dress) – but staying hydrated keeps your energy level up and will help you ward off headaches.

Pleasantdale Chateau Wedding The Ashford Estate Wedding

I hope that these tips have been helpful! Don’t forget to check back next Wednesday when I share Part Two – which is all about how to have an amazing ceremony!

Want to contact me about shooting your wedding day? Click here!

My photography experience is centered around you, and bringing your unique story to life through vibrant, joyful, honest, and elevated images.

...former librarian, dog enthusiast, and most importantly so very proud to say that I get to do my actual dream job for a living. 

Photography has always been my passion, and a profession I have always felt so honored to be able to call my own. 


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