how to enjoy your wedding morning and get great photos

We want to tell the complete story of your day because that’s what a wedding photojournalist does. That means we will arrive when you start getting ready. We don’t need to be there when you get out of bed though. We typically start our days when a bride sits down for hair/makeup and before a groom puts on their suit.

I love this time of the day because there are lots of moments to capture. You’ll often be toasting and laughing with your favorite people, mothers are making sure you look your best and the bridesmaids reaction to seeing a bride in her dress is something I won’t want to miss. These intimate and emotional moments are something that you’ll cherish so we’ll be there for it all. Here are a few of my tips to enjoy your wedding morning and get great photos in the process.

Select a room with good natural light

Good light is important to any photo and that’s definitely the case on wedding mornings. I typically reocmmend you select a hotel near your reception venue. Hotels almost always have good window light (make sure you ask for a corner suite with windows on both sides). A hotel is also convenient at the end of the night and the hotel staff will do everything they can to make things easier for you. You’ll be spending a good portion of your day in this space, so don’t let it be an afterthought.

A bride gets help getting into her wedding dress by bridesmaids

Eliminate the clutter

If you plan to get ready in a hotel room, that’s great. They’re well decorated, relaxing and clean – at least when you check in. With all that goes into getting ready for a big day, it can be a challenge to keep things clean. Delegating someone to keep the clutter to a minamum will make a big difference to both your stress level and the quality of the photos. When you arrive, hide away all of the usual hotel things (notepads, room service menues, tourist guides, etc). Try to keep all the food trays and drinks to a designated area away from all clothes and where you’re getting dressed. If you’re getting ready at home, tuck away anything that’s non-essential like registry boxes and DIY wedding supplies.

Get a larger room and limit the crowd

One of the best ways to reduce your stress in the morning is to opt for a large room. For example, a hotel suite has more space for people to move around and things won’t get messy as easily. You should also think about limiting the number of people around that morning. A constant flow of visitors can be stressful while you’re getting ready, so it’s ok to ask friends and relatives to wait until the wedding to say hello.

Mallory has her makeup done before her Snowmass Cottages wedding near Aspen

Think about your morning outfit

Choose something with a simple, timeless feel. Consider elegant matching robes or personalized button up shirts. These make great gifts for your favorite people who will be getting ready with you and are easy to take off without messing up your hair and makeup.

Set out all your details in one place

If you have special details that you want photographed (shoes, jewlery, dress, rings, etc), have them all in one location before the photographer arrives. Don’t forget to remove the tags ahead of time. That way we can be effecient with our time capturing these special items and we’ll know exactly what you want photos of. I always think the dress looks best on you but if you’d like a photo of it hanging, I recommend having a good looking hanger with you. A classic wood hanger is a fine option or you can find custom versions online .

Bridal accessories are laid out on the bed

Essential bridal hair and makeup tips

If your glam team is coming to you, have them set up so that the makeup chair is next to the largest window in the room, facing outward. That provides the makeup artist the most accurate light and your photos will look great. We recommend that do hair first, then makeup. We also suggest you go last or second to last, that way you’re not in full hair and makeup all morning. Task a trusted person with watching the time and checking in with the glam team. Around 80 percent of weddings end up behind schedule before hair and makeup finish.

Allow an hour to get into the dress

I know what you’re thinking, it sounds like too much time. Trust us, we do this every weekend. Once you finish hair and makeup, there is still plenty to do besides putting on the dress before we leave. This 60 minute timeframe prevents you from feeling rushed. Everyone else in the room should be dressed before the bride puts on her dress. Shoes and jewlery come next before you all take a couple minutes to pack things up and head out.

Danielle laughs while putting on her dress in the barrell room before her Crooked Willow Farms wedding in Larkspur

Don’t forget about the guys

Most of the information thus far has revolved around a bride but the groom(s) shouldn’t be forgotten. We always work with two photographers so we can document each person and their party getting ready. Gentleman, you’re an important part of the day so we want to capture you getting ready as well. We want to make photos of the best man helping the groom with his tie or a father delivering a special pair of cufflinks so it’s important that the guys wait until the photographer arrives to start getting dressed. Keeping a tidy room with great natural light also applies for the gentleman too. Chances are the guys will be ready before the ladies so consider heading to the bar for a drink. Photos of you all sharing stories and a drink always looks good.

Groomsmen share a drink at a bar