I’m going to let you in on a little secret — ready for it? Those getting ready photos that you’re swooning over on Pinterest didn’t happen by accident. Most of the time, your photographer can’t pull those off alone. It takes a good amount of pre-planning on the bride’s end in order to make our job run as smoothly as possible.
Have no idea what you even have to consider before deciding to get ready at your home or a hotel close to the venue? Take a look at these recommendations below, some of them might surprise you!
1 – DOES THIS SPACE HAVE ENOUGH WINDOW LIGHT?
The most common thing that makes or breaks a getting ready space from a photography perspective is a lack of natural light. This is especially the case when a bride really wants a bright and airy look to her photos because let’s get real, this is super difficult to pull off in a room without any windows.
For me, window light is the most necessary in order to capture candid images with flattering skin tones. If I’m thrown into a dark room, I can definitely compensate and brighten up the area by using flash. That said, with a light popping off every few seconds I also notice that you and your bridal party are suddenly super aware of (and uncomfortable about) the fact that there is a photographer in your space during some intimate moments.
When selecting the space you’ll be getting ready in, I always recommend seeking out a location that has an abundance of windows. I’m not talking about one small window per room – in this case, the more really is the merrier! Think of your photographer like a houseplant, the more bright indirect sunlight that we have access to, the happier we will be!
I also recommend looking for a space with white or lighter coloured walls. White walls will bounce natural light around the room making for soft, glowy skintones in your images. Black or dark walls, on the other hand, will absorb light and stop it from being spread. Very nostalgic of sixth-grade science class, no?
2 – CAN I FIT EVERYONE IN THIS SPACE COMFORTABLY?
I’m just going to come out and say it – one standard-sized hotel room is not enough space for you, your bridal party, your mom, your hair and makeup team, their equipment, and your photographer no matter how many times you try to convince yourself that it is. Not only is it going to be incredibly difficult for people to move around the room freely without getting in each other’s way, but it becomes super claustrophobic when you mix in the high-level emotions of a wedding day!
This is why I always recommend looking into options on Airbnb or through other home rental services. In most cases, these options will provide you with a main living area that can be used for mimosas and dance parties while secondary bedrooms can be used as areas for your vendors to work comfortably. If a hotel really is the best option for you, make sure you opt for a larger suite that offers multiple rooms for your own comfort!
Bonus tip — you can even look into co-working spaces or corporate rentals since they often have larger neutral rooms available for meeting spaces. These spaces tend to have more availability on the weekends since it’s not interfering with the usual 9-5 crowd.
3 – DOES ANYTHING ABOUT THIS SPACE CLASH WITH THE DESIGN PLANS FOR OUR WEDDING DAY?
This is something that always seems to be a regret once it comes down to album design time. When you’re laying out your wedding into an album or even printing some images for around your house, it always looks way more seamless if you consider how your getting ready space will look in the full story of your wedding day.
For example, if you’re getting married at a super hip venue with mid-century modern furniture filling the space, your parent’s traditional home with beige-toned walls and classic furniture would seem out of place when you put both images side-by-side. Alternatively, getting ready in a sleek modern hotel wouldn’t make much sense if you were having a wedding in a barn with more rustic touches.
I also love paying attention to colour schemes when thinking about this. Neutral spaces are definitely an easy route to take, but colour isn’t a bad thing so long as it doesn’t clash with your wedding palette. In Mary and Brad’s case, their Airbnb selection with blue furniture and accent walls pulled together their morning photos with the blue tones in their invitations and floral design! (pictured above)
4 – DOES THIS LOCATION MAKE SENSE LOGISTICALLY?
A struggle for sentimental brides who love the idea of getting ready at their home or a parent’s home on their wedding day is the travel time between locations. What some couples don’t realize is that this brings in a huge potential for timeline delays (hello, unpredictable traffic) and for some serious additional costs in your budget.
Let’s say you’re planning on getting ready at your parent’s home 45 minutes from your ceremony venue. This means that you’ll likely have to schedule in an hour minimum to account for travel time, which is an additional paid hour from vendors like your photographer and videographer. If you were to get ready at an Airbnb 10 minutes from your venue, you could save hundreds of dollars in these costs alone — and that’s not even taking other travel expenses from vendors like florists and makeup artists into consideration!
5 – WHAT IS THE PROXIMITY TO MY PARTNER’S GETTING READY SPACE?
This last suggestion would be far less of a deal-breaker for me as a bride, but definitely worth mentioning for budgeting purposes! As a personal preference, I love when my couples book getting ready spaces that are close together and allow for me to photograph both the bride and the groom getting ready myself. This could look like hotel suites in the same building or an Airbnb with multiple floors or a separate guest house on the same property.
If you’re in a situation where you’ve found the perfect getting ready space but there isn’t a secondary location close by — this is totally cool! Just keep in mind that if photos of both of you getting ready in the morning is a priority, you’ll have to book a second photographer to pull this off. If you’re trying to keep your costs low, it’s smart to think ahead to areas that will result in unexpected fees prior to finalizing your contracts.
** As a secondary note on this topic — I always strongly recommend that you do not base your photographer decision on whether or not you can afford a second photographer in your package. It is always better for you to choose a photographer whose work and personality you connect with opposed to settling for someone who is priced lower. At the end of the day, having fewer high-quality photos that you want to show off to anyone and everyone is steps above having photos you don’t love quite as much solely because they allowed for groom coverage!