Last week I gave a list of all the things a bride should have laid out for a photographer when he arrives so that he can knock those shots out early while still having time to creatively focus. Today is all about what comes next. Getting ready! First, I’ll go into detail about what you can do to make this time great, and then I’ll talk about the timing of it all! [Side note: I wrote a post a little while ago giving some tips on WHERE you should get ready. You can find that HERE.]
So, how can you help your photographer create some beautiful getting ready images? When I enter the getting ready room, I think about a few different things: light, clutter, and moments. Everything revolves around those.
We’ll go through solving one at a time and then discuss the timeline itself.
1. Light: For a natural light photographer, the more light you can give me, the better the final images will come out. Look for rooms that have big windows and then open EVERY SINGLE shutter!
2. Clutter: Make sure the room you’re in is devoid of clutter! You would be amazed how much better your pictures can look if you separate all the stuff from the place where you’re getting prettyfied! And it’s not that hard. Just take all the non-essentials [purses, food, & everything else that isn’t pretty] are all given a designated place. This makes the photographer’s job just a little bit easier, as he doesn’t have to maneuver around everything all the time to get uncluttered, beautiful images. Also, it’s often best if all final detail preparations [example: sign making] is done in a DIFFERENT room than the actual getting ready.
3. Moments: Your reaction when you see the bouquet for the first time. Your mother hugging you with your makeup on. The bridesmaids laughing together being silly. Each is as important as to you as the moment you walk down the aisle. But, in between my getting pictures of the details, photographing the groomsmen preparation, and taking moments to just talk with people, I am bound to miss some. To fix this, I simply ask that you let me know when you have something really important you don’t want me to miss. I now take a clipboard with me to every wedding so that I have a written list of each and every special moment you’d like captured. But, unless I know, I can’t add it to the list.
Next, timing. I’ve discussed this before but I figured I would go ahead and put all of my thoughts in one place [but you can see the other post HERE]. Getting ready will almost certainly take FAR longer than you realize. In a perfect world getting ready for a wedding would take no longer than it took you to dress for your last day of high school… but it’s just not possible. And if there was one thing I would say stresses a bride out above EVERYTHING ELSE, it would be a crunched schedule. So do yourself a HUGE favor and just schedule as if everything will go wrong.
For each bridesmaid, you should schedule around 30 to 45 minutes of prep. time. That means, if you have 5 BM’s, you should have… (5×30)/60 to (5×45)/60 = 2.5 to 3.75. That’s two and a half to three hours and seventy five minutes just for them to get ready! For the bride it goes up to 1 full hour. How can you reduce these times? Well… really the only way is to have multiple people doing hair and makeup at once. Otherwise, this is really all you’ve got.
So that’s that! Prepping your getting ready time 101.