While planning your wedding day, I encourage couples to get a few things together for the “getting ready” portion of the day, which is kind of its own mini session. You want the preparation part of your day to feel authentic and unfold organically—go ahead and savor this time with your crew. But you also need a few things in place so we can document it beautifully. Getting ready photos often find their way into the “favorites” category. They’re so full of emotion and anticipation! Plus, with everything prepared and organized up front, you won’t feel so stressed (and the mimosas will be that much better!) Consider sharing this guide with your Best Person/Person of Honor so they can help with all the details.
What You Need for Stunning Getting Ready Photos
I recommend putting together a “getting ready” box so you have it all together. In your Getting Ready collection, be sure to include:
1. A hanger
If you want a photo of your wedding outfit hung up, bring a hanger to your dressing room. It doesn’t have to be a fancy wedding hanger, but try to at least find a wood or dress hanger for pretty photos!
2. Your full wedding invitation suite
This includes the envelope if you have something nice or a pretty color. It looks so good with the little details. If you selected custom or wedding-themed stamps, bring those along as well! Feel free to bring any detail items and aesthetic mementos that may add to your wedding day details.
3. Styling blooms
If you want beautiful, laid out flat lays, ask your florist for styling blooms for photographing the details. It is worth it! Just remember that flat lays take a bit of extra time.
If you would like your rings photographed together, leave all rings with one partner that morning. Ring photos are stunning, especially when placed all together perfectly.
5. Personalized Styling Items & Mementos
In addition to the above items, you’ll also want to have a small box of other styling items that are unique to your wedding day. Photographing these trinkets and mementos together will ensure you don’t forget a single detail, and they look great in albums and wall art, too! Some common styling mementos include:
– hand written vows or letters
– any special details to your day (a match box with your names on it, a gift you are giving to your guests)
– any jewelry you are wearing
– sentimental items (family heirlooms)
– pocket square
– ring box
– anything else that is important to you!
Feel free to get creative; this is just a basic list of common things in flat lay photos. We love all the personal touches, from ring dishes to interesting tray or mirrors to lay your items on, to ribbon that matches your wedding color!
Tie Up Loose Ends
A week before your wedding day:
1. Cut all tags
Be sure to cut tags off of everything before you arrive. This includes your dress, getting ready outfits, bridesmaid dresses, etc. Bring non-stretch hangers to hang all of your outfits. These specific hangers ensure that the shoulders of your outfit are not stretched or lumpy.
Put all your details together the day or morning of your wedding day. I recommend throwing everything into your shoe box. This includes rings, jewelry, and ANYTHING you are wearing on the day of your wedding. (This is only for items that fit into a box—please leave the veil hanging separately so it doesn’t get creased or wrinkled!)
3. Arrange for flowers early
Ask your florist to bring bouquets to your getting-ready space! It is so nice to have them for bridal portraits and details. Plus, if you are doing a first look away from the venue, you probably want your bouquet in several photos.
4. Practice tying!
Wearing a tie or a bowtie? Practice tying it before your wedding day. Bowties are notoriously hard to tie! We want to make sure you aren’t stressed the morning of the wedding!
The Morning of Your Wedding
Here are a few notes to keep in mind the morning of (feel free to share this with your wedding party!):
Keep the room as clean as you can.
I recommend you get your wedding party together 45 minutes before your photographer is scheduled to arrive in order to clean the room. Typically, the rooms get messy with all the bags plus breakfast, coffee, and mimosas being served.
I suggest having a corner of the room (or maybe even a closet or a secondary room) where people can leave their stuff. For beautiful getting ready photos we want lots of natural light, so be sure to keep the clutter away from the windows since we’ll use them for photos!
Pop the Bubbly!
If you want a shot popping champagne or other drinks, make sure you have what you need—champs and some cute glasses to drink from. You may also want to call the hotel in advance and ask!
Or the Confetti!
Want an alcohol free option? As an alternative, confetti also makes for fabulous celebration shots. Or you can do them both!
*Please note, we can only do confetti indoors as I practice leave no trace, even if in a city. Don’t forget to ask your wedding venue or Airbnb if confetti is allowed!
Don’t forget to eat!
This is so important because it might be a while before you can sit down and eat again! Light meals and snacks with some lemon water can help settle your stomach.
Keep your crew in the know!
Your wedding party should be dressed a bit earlier than you. Whoever is helping you get ready will want to be fully dressed in their wedding day look. Their hair should be completed as well as their makeup if they choose. We want them to be photo-ready while we get you into your dress!
Share the location.
Whether hotel, home, or Airbnb, make sure to share your getting-ready location with your entire vendor team and wedding party. You may want someone to monitor your phone for you on your wedding day. If you don’t have a wedding planner, they will need to be available to talk to vendors as needed. Then they can call you if they need help getting into a space or up the elevator at the hotel.
Think about the photo space.
Remember the best getting ready photos are in places with lots of light. As you are setting up for hair and makeup, think about where you want your photos to be taken. Is there room to do the “robe shot” if we set up makeup/hair here? If breakfast is on the coffee table, is there room for my photographer to do my details? Is this item getting in the way of where I want to hang the dress?
When you get into your getting ready space, think about where you want hair and makeup stations, where you want details, and maybe most importantly, where you want to get into your dress! Try to get as much natural lighting as possible!
Let candid photos be candid!
Candid photos can be some of the most beautiful, authentic, and heartfelt shots. In order to do that, we want you all to be in the moment. I’ll pose you when it is needed, but otherwise, you do your thing, and we are there to document it! Your wedding party may feel “in the way,” but rest assured they are not. We are simply documenting the moments as they happen naturally.
Enjoy your big day!
Stay in the moment, dance around the room, and have fun! Turn the music up (you brought a speaker right?) Make silly TikToks, or FaceTime your out-of-town friends. Whatever your day looks like, celebrate it, and live in the moment! Your genuine personality with show through in your getting ready photos!
Pssst – Need a Wedding Day Emergency Kit?
I’ve got you covered—literally! I have the perfect blog for you HERE full of everything you may need!!
Get More Wedding Resources by Hanna Walkowaik Photography
Congratulations on your engagement! I am so excited for you both, and please feel free to contact me with any questions about getting ready photos or any other part of wedding planning. I am happy to help!