Getting ready photos for your wedding day
What are 'getting ready' photos?
This is the first part of your wedding day timeline. To keep it simple, this is a pre-wedding ceremony event, where you prepare yourself before the actual wedding ceremony. So essentially, this is the time where you get your hair and makeup done. You get into your wedding gown, and spend time with your closest friends and family.
What’s the importance of it you're asking?
Well If you think about it, for some, it may seem like you’re just putting on the rented suit, or the expensive wedding dress. But for others, if you are able to be present, and take in the moments, it really is a momentous part of the day that allows you to soak up the morning of the wedding.
Think about the fact that you have your best friends (wedding party) starting the day with you. Whether it is getting your hair and makeup done together, admiring your wedding gown, having a beer (or even a glass of champagne). What does it mean to you to have those people of significance around you and be there with you to celebrate your special day?
It can be done in so many ways, and just to point out, there is no right or wrong way. You could get ready at different locations. There could even be weddings that have two grooms or two brides getting read across the hall from each other. You could be preparing with 8 of your closest friends as your wedding party, or, if it is a cultural wedding, your family is likely to be helping. It’s all up to you.
For most Melbourne weddings, a minimum of 1.5 hours is needed for your preparation photos at each location.
Do I need getting ready photos?
At Houng Taing Photography, I want to ensure there are enough photographs to fill your album with as many memories as possible. This includes the preparations at the beginning of the wedding day.
I am always so excited to see how the beginning of the day starts, because without these photos, it’s like there is no context to your wedding. If you didn’t plan to have getting ready photos, you may be wrecking your chances of having a memorable experience of your wedding day.
What do I mean?
- it's like reading or watching the spoilers of a movie, before watching a movie.
- it's like going through university and not going to your graduation ceremony
- it's like having dessert and skipping dinner
- it's like watching a Netflix series and starting in the middle of the entire season and not watching from the first season.
If you don't have getting ready photos, you're missing so much of your day. Because a wedding doesn't start at the ceremony. Just like your relationship, it all started from one of you asking each other out on a date.
What's the process?
When I arrive, I’ll introduce myself to you and your family. I’ll arrive a little earlier than scheduled because it will give me a chance to have a look around your location and decide what is a good spot for taking the majority of your photographs to keep things simple, and easy.
On a normal wedding day I will normally use natural light from the window. This is usually the best lighting to use for a busy wedding day, but if I am required to use artificial lighting, I always have additional photography equipment at my disposal, so no time is wasted. If I have photographed at the location before, I will typically know where the best location is for photographs. However being the artist I am, I like to treat each wedding as uniquely as possible and create photographs that not only complement the venue, your wedding theme, but also who you are as a couple.
Many of the photographs captured will be a mix of wedding photography styles including traditional and candid shots. You can find out the types of styles I photograph at a typical wedding.
When photographing, I’ll be photographing you, your wedding party (bridesmaids, bridesmen, groomsmen & groomswomen), your family and your closest friends.
When I am photographing women, I will typically spend 2 hours photographing, I suggest that your makeup and hair be ready and prepared before I arrive. While you are preparing, I will be sure to be a gentleman and turn around when you are getting dressed. Unless you have requests for boudoir photography, if you request these types of photos, please let me know beforehand.
As soon as you are prepared, I will photograph the intricate details of you getting into your wedding gown and your shoes with the help of your wedding party. I will capture moments of you putting on your jewelry, with the help of your family and friends. I will also photograph details of the gown, because your gown designers do deserve a bit of credit as they were able to create the beautiful patterns you are going to be wearing.
For men, I typically take photographs for 1 hour and 30 mins. When I arrive, I won’t expect any hair and makeup done, unless of course you prefer it. I’ll be photographing you enjoying and interacting with your wedding party putting on your stylish suit, shoes, cufflinks, your tie and while that is happening freezing those moments when you and the boys are cracking jokes and just being.
This will all happen naturally, like a photojournalist. I won’t interfere with all of the magic that is happening in front of me. Sometimes there will be moments that are hard to describe, like that smile, that laugh, that joy in their eyes, that moment one of your parents is choking on their tears.
There will be times where I will direct you to have some nice traditional portraits taken with yourself. There will also be photographs with your wedding party as a group, with each individual member, as well as your family. And when there is extra time, we will have more fun and capture some photos that show you off in your wedding attire, and the amazing venues you decided to choose to celebrate your special day.
A ‘first look’ with your family
Sometimes I may suggest to my couples if they want a first look with their parents. (as well as the first look with the couples before the ceremony). This gives the family a chance to see their kids all grown up and prepare to start another chapter in their lives.
You may not know it, but when parents are able to see their kids commit to someone for marriage. It really is a special moment for them. Sometimes it can be feelings of joy, and happiness. Sometimes it can be bittersweet. But try to think about the fact that your parents have been with you since you were born. They raised you, they brought you up and they watched you grow up and be the person you are today. And given the chance, what if you were able to have your grandparents there as well? Can you imagine what those feelings look like in a photograph? If you have that first look with your family, you’ll find out!
A first look with your partner.
This is a chance to see each other before the wedding ceremony. But some couples like to stick to tradition and not see each other until the ceremony. Like the first look with your family, it’s a chance to see each other in your wedding attire. It will be emotional, but that's the beauty of it. It allows you both to have and experience a moment together where you can take those 15-30 minutes to soak in what you have planned over the last year.
Remember, it is your wedding, you can decide how you want do it and if you give yourselves a chance to experience as much as you can out of your wedding day, why not give yourselves the opportunity to not only feel and experience these extra small moments, but also have more opportunities for photographs that make the event all the more memorable? A lot of articles say that it calms the nerves, I agree with this, but I’d also add that it just makes the day worth it. And when I say worth it, I mean it just adds that reassurance that the choices you both made allowed you to have what is in front of you.
Wedding party portraits
Picking your wedding party
Your wedding party will more likely consist of your closest friends and family. They can be consisted of groomsmen, groomslady (or groomsmaid), bridesmaids, bridesmen, flower girl, page boy (and vice versa). When it comes to photographing you and your wedding party. I will photograph you as a group, and with each person.
It is without a doubt one of your most important factors you have to consider when planning your big day. On the eve your wedding, even though you have planned everything, you will be overwhelmed by the hectic and chaotic day. So you're going to need help with your wedding party. When deciding on how to include, be mindful about who will help and be present for you on your special day.
Just remember, it is your day, so there are NO RULES. Here are some things to do and factors to consider;
- The size of your wedding party (e.g. space at the altar),
- The budget required to be a wedding party VIP
- Include individuals that you know are reliable, and will have the energy and time,
- Include those you are close with and that you want to be stuck with for an entire day (and the year before that),
- Include those that genuinely and whole heartedly want to celebrate your day,
- Outline expectations and responsibilities,
- Don't include those that are going to cause trouble,
If you can take into consideration all of these factors, you're going to have a fun and less stressful day. Why? Because you've included people that you love, care, and are there as a support for you.
If you picked the most optimal A team, your mood, and frame of mind will be more at ease. And the photographs will show it. The last thing you want is to have an extremely stressful day where you have no support and are stressed to the point where your photographs will see and express your unhappiness.
I don't believe you want to be looking at your wedding album years later and be reminded of that day, when you are suppose to be happy and joyful with your significant other.
Tips to ensure there is enough time for getting ready photos.
Getting ready locations
As a suggestion, it will be easier to capture getting ready photos, when you are both at the same venue. If you have planned to prepare at separate locations, it may require additional time to travel from one location to another. Something else to consider as well is to ensure you have permission for a photographer to take photographs at their venue (out of courtesy to the venue).
You maybe asking, where do hold this event? It's really up to you, some couples will do it at their home, so you don't need to travel too far, save money and it's just an easy location to remember (there will also be plenty of parking!).
Others may book accomodation at a hotel, because the hotel may be holding their wedding reception, and the ceremony may be close by or elsewhere.
Hair and makeup
It is well known that wedding timelines can go off track when your hair and makeup is not completed in time. Ideally I would suggest that it is completed 45 minutes (at a minimum) before I arrive for photography. This will give you a chance to relax, and allow yourself to breathe, have a glass of wine with your wedding party and enjoy the process of you special day.
Bouquets, flowers, boutonnieres & corsages
Ensure the flowers arrive before my arrival, this is just to ensure enough time is given just in case they are late. Sometimes it can cause delays in photos as these are important details for your wedding theme.
Wedding detail photos
Please ensure you have all of your accessories including cufflinks, ties, shoes, handkerchiefs, earrings, rings, perfume, gifts, bracelets, necklaces, wedding veil, shoes and anything of significance be prepared and placed in one area. This allows you to be organised so you don’t freak out where this or that is, and let’s me know that not only these items are important but also allows me to photograph all of the details needed.
Prepare your wedding attire
For both men and women. The night before the wedding, make sure you hang your dress and have your suits, pants ironed out so you won’t have to worry about it in the morning. Yes you probably want to have some fun the day before. But for your sanity and convenience, just get it ready so you won’t forget and you will be prepared.
For guys, lay out your suit or hang it somewhere, with your accessories, including shoes, ties, cologne and even gifts.
For girls, it'll probably be a good idea to do a rehearsal dressing with your bridal party, so they get an idea of how you should be dressed. Be sure to lay your jewellery, shoes, earrings, necklaces in one area so they'll be ready for the next day. Be sure to have your veil hanging next to your wedding gown, I have had a bride once lose her veil.
Pass on this information to your parents and family too, because there's always a chance that someone will be late and you may not be able to get the family photos needed at the beginning of the day.
Prepare food and beverages
Enjoy yourselves, have a beer, spirit, or a glass of champagne to celebrate! But make sure you stay hydrated and have some food stored. It is a long day, and there may not be chances to eat in between. The last thing we want is someone fainting.