After 5 years of shooting weddings, it’s hard to believe I haven’t posted on this topic yet! I get asked all of the time about bridal prep…and it’s such an important part of the day! With so many things to remember the morning of the wedding, it’s easy for brides to overlook some of the small details. Details like grabbing an extra invitation or having all three of the rings with the bride are easily overlooked with the hustle and bustle of the morning. That’s where this bridal prep list comes into play. For all of the list-lovers out there, this one’s for you! This is not a list for the entire day, just the bridal prep at the beginning of the day. The bridal prep details are important in order to tell the complete story of the day and they make for an awesome wedding album! This part of the day is also VERY important for me to get warmed up. It gives me a chance to get into the flow of the day. It also gets the bridesmaids used to having me around. The goal is to have the details ready to go. That way, when I arrive, I can photograph all of the details and then still have time to shoot the bridesmaids getting ready. I typically shoot bridal prep for an hour and a half before leaving for the first look or ceremony. About 30 minutes before leaving, I photograph the bride getting into her dress. It can be tempting for brides to cut this part of the day short when working with a certain number of hours. It’s never a good idea to start the day rushed though! It’s important to remember how essential bridal prep is to getting warmed up and for the sake of the photos. Regardless of if I’m your wedding photographer or not, I hope these suggestions make your big day flow even more beautifully!
Before I get into the details, I’d like to mention a few general tips to consider when it comes to bridal prep.
Consider your prep location – In order to get the best images of you and your bridesmaids getting ready, it’s important that the prep location has ample natural lighting. Also, that the space is neat and free of clutter. When getting ready there are often clothes on the ground, water bottles, bags, food, etc. Naturally these items will be around (of course I’m a proponent of having snacks while getting ready!) but it’s important to consider keeping the actual prep space free of clutter. That way these items are not in the background of your photos.
Have your bridesmaids dressed and ready when you get into your dress – It looks really nice in photos when the bridesmaids are dressed and helping the bride into her dress (as opposed to a tank top and leggings, for example). If the bridesmaids already have their dresses on, your photos will be more consistent with your color scheme as well because the photos will include their dress color.
I understand that not every bride will have all of these, but here is a list of items I commonly shoot:
DRESS & HANGER – As I’m taking photos of your dress, I don’t want to take away from the beauty of your gown by having it hung from a plastic/metal hanger. It’s a small detail, but having a pretty wooden hanger or a custom hanger can make a big different in your photos!
RINGS – All 3 of them! Bridal prep is a great time to get ring shots with all of the other detail shots. I try to have my brides keep the rings with them until the ceremony or first look.
VEIL & HAIRPIECES
EARRINGS, NECKLACE, & OTHER JEWELRY – I ask brides to wait and put on all jewelry once their dress is on! This gives me another chance for beautiful bridal prep shots!
KEEPSAKES – Examples include heirloom pins, embroidered handkerchiefs, something blue, etc.
INVITATIONS & OTHER STATIONARY
GIFTS & LETTERS – I love shooting gifts shared between the bride and groom and even gifts that are given to the bridal party! I also make sure to photograph any letters that may have been exchanged between the bride and groom (or the vows if they are hand written).
I hope this list helps all of the brides out there as you plan for your big day!