One of the best parts of any bride's wedding day is the morning of: spending time with her girls, getting pampered with professional hair and makeup artists, and likely drinking a *few* mimosas. What could be better?
As we prepare for wedding season, we wanted to share a few photographer-approved hints to help you get those beautiful wedding morning photos that you'll cherish forever. Check out of 5 Tips for Better "Getting Ready" Wedding Photos below, and let us know if we missed anything in the comments!
Photos in this post are from a beautiful Raleigh, North Carolina wedding courtesy of destination wedding & lifestyle photographer Jillian Knight.
Tip 1: Look for Natural Light
This is the number one thing you'll hear from any photographer when you chat about your wedding - having a surplus of natural light in the room is the easiest way to get the best looking photos. It's simple: a room flooded with natural light is more flattering (on you and your venue) than one with incandescent light or filled with flash. Sunlight filtered through large windows spreads evenly on your face to fill in any shadows. Spring/summer light casts a warm glow on your skin, which can even out your complexion and actually camouflage blemishes from photos. If you have the luxury of a room with lots of windows, we recommend turning off any artificial lighting and letting the sunlight do its job.
The best way to ensure you have a room with good light to get ready in? Call the venue or hotel and ask, or email for photos. If you live nearby, swing by for a visit and check it out one morning for yourself!
Tip 2: Start Early and get Ready at your Venue
This one is something you'll hear across the board in wedding planning, not just in terms of photos. Getting ready early (but not too early) is the best way to make sure you'll have the time to get the photos you want without rushing your hair and makeup artists or feeling rushed yourself.
Don't start so early that your bridesmaids are sitting around for hours in full hair and makeup, but definitely leave an hour of "cushion" before you have to leave to go to your ceremony. Things will almost definitely take longer than what you budgeted for, but having that extra time will help you stay relaxed and not feel tense while taking bridal portraits or fun bridesmaid photos.
Here's a little insight from wedding photographer Jill Knight on the subject:
"I always recommend brides have all their details laid out first thing in the morning (a great job for a maid of honor!) This allows me to spend time photographing the details upon first arriving while your maids are still getting make up on. Make sure to craft your timeline with your photographer in such a way that allows you to have ample time to relax and get ready. It's the key to candid, sweet and fun photos. You'll want this part of your day to be relaxing. The rest of the day goes by so quickly!"
Tip 3: Be Comfortable
There are enough reasons to be anxious on your wedding day, getting pampered should not be one of them. The best way to avoid wedding morning stress? Make sure you and your girls are comfortable. One of our favorite ways to have a comfortable, relaxing wedding morning is to give your girls bridal party robes to lounge in. They feel luxurious, and are the perfect way to make great photos, even while you're bridesmaids are sitting around for hours in full hair and makeup. They're also a great keepsake that your girls will use over-and-over (hello, indulgent at-home spa days!).
Oh, and pro tip: don't skip meals! A well-fed bridal party is a happy bridal party. Pizza is never a bad choice, just make sure you have lots of napkins ;)
Tip 4: Less is More
When it comes to decorating your wedding venue and getting-ready room, less is certainly more. Don't get me wrong, I know all-too-well that's it's tempting to buy or DIY a billion embellishments and bedazzle the day away, but you'll regret crowding your photos with unnecessary things (and your budget could probably use a little TLC, too).
Too much clutter in your venue? Don't be afraid to rearrange the room you're getting ready in. If you see something that you don't like, such as a tacky hotel lamp or a trinket on a shelf, simply move it out of the room for the morning! Ask your girls to keep their bags, makeup, brushes and anything else they might have organized or in another area. Keeping the clutter to a minimum will help keep you sane, and give your photographer more photo opportunities.
For instance, before any of the photos in this blog post were taken, photographer Jillian Knight spent a few minutes to move two glass vases filled with sea shells off the mantel, ditch a couple lamps and decorative books, scoot a chair out of the way and open all the shutters. After that, she showcased the bride's dress on a custom hanger in the background, turned off any artificial lighting and asked the girls to move their bags to the room next door. What resulted is a set of morning of photos that look effortless and natural.
Tip 5: Stay Photo-Ready
This tip is one that can easily be overlooked. And we understand - sometimes you're so busy planning your big day that you forget those little morning details that can really make your day special. That's why we're here to help.
A few simple details really go the extra mile when it comes to morning of photos. Something that photographers hear from brides all the time is that the detail shots are what made their wedding photos special. Whether it's a handwritten note from/to your future husband, beautiful florals in the bridal suite, personalized gifts for your girls or even cute apparel for your flower girl, there are tons of little ways to make your photos stand out.
Still looking for ideas to spruce up your bridal suite? Check out our full collection of bridal accessories by clicking through the "bridal" dropdown on our homepage.