What is the number one things brides almost always overlook on their wedding day? It’s the thing you would least likely expect, but makes a huge impact when you look back through your photographs.
It’s the getting ready location.
I know it seems small and insignificant, but location and tidiness is key to keeping your photography looking great throughout the day. In my opinion there is nothing worse for a photographer than arriving onsite to what might look like a bomb just went off - empty dishes and mimosas from brunch scattered about, a gazillion overnight bags tossed around, misc clothing laying about + the people +the makeup team etc. Chaos! And trust me, it will show in your pictures. Some photographers will do their best to tidy up- but the more they occupy their time with being your maid, the less time they have to get those great getting ready shots. So here are some key tips to making sure your setting yourself up for success. But before we get into all that, the first thing to consider is choosing your getting ready location.
Location Location Location
I always suggest a hotel suite that has a kitchenette/dinning area, a sitting area and a separate bedroom space. This gives you multiple areas for photography and also allows you to order-in brunch and your beauty team can come right to you. This also means there is no rushing around the day before to clean the whole house or grocery shop for brunch the next day.
My Favourite Ottawa Hotel Suites:
*** If you live in or have friends that live in a condo building, another option would be to consider checking if you can rent a furnished suite for the day.
You gotta lay the groundwork. At your dinner rehearsal, reminding your girls of how the day will progress is so so important. This way they fully understand the time constraints and how their actions can affect the overall flow of the day ie: tardiness, forgetfulness etc. Actually, a mini printed timeline with tips would be super helpful. Here is a list of helpful tips i’ve provided brides before:
It is very important for all bridesmaids to arrive 15 mins before the suggested arrival time. This provides a small buffer period for everyone to get organized before your beauty team begins.
Bring only one overnight bag and place it in the bedroom once you arrive
Steam and hang your dresses the night before
Don’t forget to bring a comfy pair of shoes for dancing
Have a small’ish purse with all your immediately necessary items you want to carry with you throughout the day.
Grown Up Babysitter
I know this sound silly, but as a bride, to truly enjoy your day, you shouldn’t be running after your bridal party to keep them on time and in check. Instead, delegate morning tasks to your Maid of Honour such as:
Preparing morning snacks
Ensuring endless coffee available
Keeping the getting ready space clean and tidy
Assisting the beauty team with set-up once they arrive
Ensuring there is a steamer for the brides dress
Gathering any items the bride would like photographed for her details (veil, shoes, perfume, invitations, gifts)
Keeping all the girls on-time throughout the beauty process
It's always nice to have getting ready robes available for more cohesive images during your getting ready photography.
30 mins before your photographer or videographer is due to arrive, your Maid of Honour should grab whomever is not in a hair or makeup chair, to tidy and clean all areas to ensure you don't have any clutter which can be seen in photos. I’ve personally gone as far as removing artwork. I know, I know….it’s soooo bad…but if a bright neon blue poppy painted in the 90’s in a speckled gold frame doesn’t flow with your wedding vibe- guaranteed I’m taking it down! You’ll thank me later:) Mind you- I’m not always onsite while your getting ready.
The 5 Minute Rule
If there is anytime in a day where you will loose time, it’s while your getting ready. I have this rule. For every person with you getting ready, you will be 5 min late. Let do the math together:
1 bride + 4 bridesmaids + Mother of the Bride + Junior Bridesmaid = 7ppl x 5min = you will be late by 35 mins
With all this being said, it’s important to be prepared. If you feel like you need additional assistance to plan and coordinate and keep you on time during the morning, you may want to ask your planner if she can provide you with a dedicated attendant to ensure everything runs smoothly and you want for nothing! ;)