Bridal Preparation Tips for Great Wedding Photography
As a Hertfordshire based wedding photographer I get to document many wedding mornings. Yet, the stereo typical vision of “bridezilla” frantically getting ready is thankfully, one I’ve never had to photograph. (Maybe it’s a myth!) Crucially I find bridal preparation a happy time. Surrounded by your best women, it’s a celebration of being female and pampered and generally feeling special. Anyhow, I’m putting down a few bridal preparation tips to help make this time run smoothly. Undoubtably, this helps to create awesome bridal preparation photography.
Bridal Preparation That’s Relaxed
It’s been said that, “Your vibe attracts your tribe” and I believe this to be true. As a pretty calm and laid back wedding photographer, I do seem to attract couples with the same mantra. Likewise, this follows through to friends and family. None the less, if you don’t give yourself enough time for bridal preparation things could get a little tense! So, my first piece of advice is this…Give yourself plenty of time and then some! Add an extra hour on top of what you think you’ll need. No bridal party ever complained of having too much time.
Tips For Bridal Preparation Location
Quite often the location for bridal preparation is an obvious one. Many wedding venues will have an allocated room for this, with the option to stay overnight. Clearly this is a perfect choice. Alternatively many brides choose to get ready at home. Personally, I love this option. Don’t worry that your home isn’t a designer abode. Personal items and an authentic setting will add an honesty to your bridal preparation shots. These are the images that will become more precious as time moves on.
From a photography point of view, I’m always keen to have enough natural light. (I’m sure the make up artists will appreciate this too.) Window light is key, I love to photograph in natural light. I’d encourage you to position yourself close to windows when doing your make up and dressing. It’s the most flattering!
Interestingly, many brides are opting to hire a local Air BNB property. Thus giving the option to choose a beautiful home within a decent price budget. It’s a choice that might appeal to you.
Include Breakfast in your Bridal Preparation
Now I’m aware that you don’t want a “pasta baby” on your wedding day! Most likely you’re going to be sliding into a fitted dress, we all know the struggle is real. However, you’re going to be plied with bubbly from really early morning. Believe me, you’ll want to line your stomach. Importantly, breakfast will be the only meal you’ll have until long after your ceremony. Make it substantial, make it count, make it part of your bridal preparation. Honestly, you’ll thank me for that tip!
Honest Bridal Preparation Photography
As a documentary wedding photographer I focus on the real and honest connections during your wedding day. Therefore I’m not into manufacturing moments or creating situations that are forced and unreal. Nonetheless, I’m just going to put this out there…
You’re all going to arrive armed with bags, packaging and all sorts of paraphernalia. Now, whilst this is part of your day and your wedding story, do you want it in every bridal preparation shot? Consider keeping one area for all the junk, keeping the rest of the room free of unsightly rubbish.
Photographing the Details
A further tip to consider is to ensure that your dress, bouquet, shoes, jewellery etc are all out and easily accessible. Ideally I will document these important details in situ. I do prefer to photograph them on you, throughout the day. However, getting a few shots of them before you put them on is a nice touch too. Making sure they are available to your photographer means he/she won’t have to bother you to locate them.
Make a Timeline
Making a timeline might sound a little regimental but it’ll help. Most likely on the day you will have people coming and going all morning. Your room will be crowded with many people doing many things! It’s easy for you to lose track of the time. So, if you know who is having their hair and make up done at any given time you can stay on top of things. My best tip would be to give the job of this to a bridesmaid, leaving you to relax.
Similarly, I’d suggest making sure all your vendors are paid in advance. This allows you the freedom of not having to organise payment on the day. Alternatively, arrange cash ready in envelopes to give out once the job is done.
What to Wear for Your Bridal Prep
It’s no secret that matching bridal prep gowns are cute and Insta worthy! On a practical note they make getting into your dress modestly, pretty easy too. (Whilst defining the bridal party from the rest of the crew in the room.) Obviously these don’t have to be matching or skimpy. I’ve had bridal parties decked out in matching joggers and vests for a more covered up look.
Cards and Gifts From the Bride and Groom
Traditionally but not essentially, the bride gives out gifts and cards to her bridesmaids. This is such a great time to capture some priceless reactions and emotions. Photographing these moments are a joy! Documenting the closeness of you and your girls is just awesome and one of my favourite parts of the morning. Clearly I’m just a sucker for a teary shot. To be able to take your time over this, to be present and in the moment is a bonus.
Creating the Right Atmosphere
Music is the soundtrack to your life. Consequently you have to have a wedding day play list. Whether you are up beat and want a party vibe or more tranquil and feel the need for romantic tunes, there’s a playlist waiting to be made. Somehow having music playing in the background throughout your bridal preparation just adds to the atmosphere of the morning. You can include your bridesmaids and make the playlist together in the weeks before the wedding day.
Don’t Forget the Reveal!
This bridal preparation tips relates back to one of my first tips.
Leave yourself plenty of time.
Documenting you getting into your dress is an important part of your wedding story. Furthermore, photographing your loved ones reaction to you in it is priceless. As a wedding photographer I will most likely be rushing straight onto the church or venue as soon as bridal preparation is done. Therefore it is imperative that you are in your dress in time to allow this to happen.
Finally, Have Fun
Your morning bridal preparations will be treasured memories of your wedding day. The photographs taken will stand as a tangible reminder of this. They are hugely important in telling the story of your wedding. If you are having fun most likely you’ll be relaxed. If you’re relaxed this will show in your photographs. It’s a truly happy time and with a little forward planning can run smoothly and calmly. Not only this, this time gives everyone the chance to get used to being photographed. I work mainly candidly, so hopefully just blend into the background. Meaning you can just hang out with the girls and forget my presence.
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