For anti-morning people like me, the morning of your wedding day already seems like a nightmare —
Not only is it the most stressful part of your day because you aren’t usually getting ready with the one person who can calm your nerves, but it is also where most things tend to go wrong. After photographing my fair share of weddings, I have seen the do’s and the definitely don’ts of organizing one of the most crucial parts of your big day. Here are my top recommendations to brides (and photographers!) when planning out the morning of a wedding day.
Location, Location, Location!
The decision of where the bride and groom are going to get ready on the day of their wedding is oftentimes one of the most overlooked details of wedding planning that can make or break those first photographs. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the convenience factor of getting ready in the hotel that all of your bridal party will be staying in, but there are a few key things to think about when deciding that this “is the spot”
Is the space big enough to accommodate all of the people who will be there with you?
I can’t tell you how many times I have had to squish myself into corners just to avoid stepping on the mother of the brides toes while her and I are in a single hotel room surrounded by twelve bridesmaids.
Is there enough light in the space for photographs?
For brides who are drawn to photography that airs on the lighter, more naturally lit side of the spectrum (mine included), that is sometimes simply not possible in some locations. If the room you are planning on getting ready in doesn’t have a large amount of window light just keep in mind that your photographer may have to compensate by using flash which in most cases doesn’t give you the same look and feel. When choosing a location, I always recommend seeking out a location with as much window light as possible (seriously, the bigger the better) and white, or at least lightly coloured walls that will bounce the light around the room and make it appear soft and bright in photographs.
Does the look of this room fit with the overall theme of your wedding?
If you are having a rustic, barn wedding, complete with flowing fields of tall grass, how are the photos of the hip, modern, Toronto hotel going to look when arranged side-by-side in your wedding album? Try to find a location that compliments your overall wedding theme whether it is in it’s “vibe” or even in colour palette. Pay attention to the items that cannot be altered in the room (mainly furniture and paint colours, artwork can almost always be taken off the walls temporarily) and if it clashes, consider another option.
Where can I find a location that isn’t a generic hotel?
Um, amazing question, so glad you asked! If your venue does not offer a location on the premises or it is just not up to snuff, I always find that the best locations are those that are somewhat meaningful whether it is your own home, your parents home, or one belonging to a friend. If you have no aspiring interior designers at your disposal, Airbnb normally has an incredible array of affordable short-term rentals that seem to be full of beautiful spaces. Another option is newcomer Breather, which is designed to offer breathtaking spaces for super short-term rentals (a few hours in most cases) for meetings, or photography shoots. They are reported to be listing Toronto options soon, but are already available in cities such as San Francisco, New York, Boston and even a few Canadian cities like Montreal and Ottawa. I recommend a peruse of their site regardless, just a quick glance is super calming to visual people like myself.
Work with your timeline, not against it.
Create buffer time
It is no news that things go wrong during almost every wedding, and in most cases these “problems” aren’t problems at all if there is designated time in the schedule allowing for any minor issue that may come up. Sometimes bridesmaids unexpectedly decide that they also want their hair and makeup done once they see the amazing job your makeup artist is doing, and sometimes traffic hits hard and your ride runs late. If there is an extra half of an hour worked directly in to the timeline, it makes these little things less impactful on your big events. If nothing goes wrong? Then you have a bit extra time to chill and enjoy the morning with your favourite ladies!
Package together all of your details
The first thing that your photographer is going to do once getting to your getting ready location is spend some time photographing all of your small, important details. Saving time by having these already set aside and prepared for them to sneak off with not only maximizes the amount of photos you will receive (less time waiting for you or your bridesmaids to gather, more time spent actually shooting) but is also less stressful on both you and your makeup artist who will likely be trying to set your foundation while you’re reaching around to find your earrings.
These items for the bride may include:
- Invitation Suite
- Bridesmaids Gifts
- Any gifts, or letters from the groom
- Something Borrowed
- Something Blue
- Something Old
- Something New
These items for the groom may include:
- Bowtie or tie
- Pocket Square
- Groomsmen Gifts
- Any gifts, or letters from the bride
Extra tip** Ask your florist for a few loose florals left over from your bouquet to be used when photographing your details and help tie everything in with your decor and colour scheme!
The one thing all brides forget – Keep the rings with you, not the groom
While your photographer is shooting details, they will want all three of your rings and not just your engagement ring. Yes, they will have time to shoot them together later on but there is typically the best natural light available to them at two parts of the day – the morning, and during your couple’s portraits. They will have the most time to properly style and capture beautiful photos of them during the morning, so try to hang on to them and pass them off to the best man either during the first look or right before the ceremony.
Keep it clean, ladies
There is nothing worse than getting an album full of photographs from your photographer and noticing that you left your bra hanging on the chair in the background of you putting your wedding dress on, or realizing there are a bunch of water bottles in the back corner. Tidy up the room as much as possible and keep anything that isn’t necessary in bags or small boxes in the closet, hallway, or bathroom. Water is totally necessary to hydrate, I know, but maybe consider bringing along some cute glasses to put them in that add to the photos rather than distract.
Don’t be afraid to make time for what you really want
Do you desperately want photographs in your mothers famous garden? Are you a dedicated dog mom who is probably only getting married to have an excuse to get a really good photo of you and your pup? It is your day, do what is going to make you the most happy. Don’t ever feel bad for making your bridesmaids get up a little earlier to squeeze in an extra half an hour of photo time. They’ll forgive you when they see how over the moon you are about it.