I know that in the grand scheme of things, deciding where to get ready on your wedding day is probably not at the top of your to-do list. But it should be (at least not at the bottom)! The getting ready portion of the day is a fairly large chunk of your timeline and it will account for a significant number of photos in your gallery including your wedding day details, getting into the dress, etc, and it will also impact your morning, the work of your hair and make-up team and more. So, it’s definitely worth putting some thought into choosing a worthwhile location. Here are the top 5 things to consider when choosing where to get ready on your wedding day:
If you’re getting ready location has one thing, make it lots of natural light. Natural light is a game-changer when it comes to your photos. Look for big windows or glass doors that let natural light into the room in the morning/early afternoon when you’ll be getting ready. It’s easy to choose a hotel for your getting ready (and this makes a lot of sense considering the #3 on this list) but oftentimes, hotel rooms lack in the natural light department and have icky fluorescent lighting. So if you’re choosing a hotel to get ready, consider a suite with more windows (and space). But really, you have to have at least one window to the outside world! I call it the window effect. With one window, we can make a lot of magic.
The next thing to consider is size. You’re likely going to be getting ready with a lot of people around you between your entourage and any vendors that might be coming in to help you. Tally up how many people there will be, from your wedding party, family, to hair and make-up, photographers, videographers, and so on. Make sure you have plenty of space for all of these people and their belongings. Cramped spaces tend to induce some stress, especially if there’s clutter around. Consider also how many mirrors there are. Is there space to hang your dress for a full-frame photo (almost floor to ceiling) without seeing clutter? This will help ensure we can capture those beautiful details and getting ready shots you’ve been dreaming of. Guys can usually get away with slightly less space but even so, it’s still important to make sure there’s enough space for everyone and their things while still not being cramped.
Consider the location of where you’re getting ready relative to your venue(s). You’ll likely start the search with your ceremony venue. If they offer suites or at least a bridal suite, this can be a great way to simplify travel and timing logistics if it doesn’t skip on the points in this list. Be sure to ask about any time restrictions with the venue suites. Sometimes there’s a limit on how long before the ceremony you can enter the suite and you’ll want to make sure it’s enough time to get ready.
Though we can make just about any scenario work, if you’re both getting ready in the same location (ie. ceremony venue, hotel), this will save time for photography since you won’t need to accommodate for much travel time in between spots. But if you’ll have a 2nd photographer on the wedding day, this is a moot point. Also consider your location in proximity to where you want to take photos, especially if you’re doing a first look. Is it close to a beautiful outdoor park but a bit further to your ceremony venue? That’s likely worth it for the photos but if there’s a great option close to both the photo spot and ceremony venue, then that’s a timeline game changer too.
This one’s going to be more personal to you and what you love. Consider the appearance or character of the spaces you choose as these photos will start your wedding day story and set the tone for your album (and the actual day!). Cleanliness of the space in terms of sparkle and shine and clutter-free space is one thing but simplicity and the style in what would be in the background of your photos is another thing. To find a unique getting-ready location with killer aesthetic, I recommend looking into AirBnBs rather than standard hotels. You can usually find really cool spots for a similar price to a hotel suite. Or, think about your family members and friends and their homes. Does one of your friends have a great house? Would they be willing to let you get ready there?
If you’re doing a first-look, then this point is not quite as important for you. If you’re not doing a first-look, several of the portraits will happen right after you get ready, like bride and bridesmaids portraits or groom and groomsmen, so having outdoor options for photos is really nice and will save some time and headache logistically. Portraits can also be taken at the ceremony venue or another spot along the way, but nearby outdoor options are nice to have.
And my last piece of advice when choosing where to get ready on your wedding day is to just visualize you and your crew there. Can you? Does it fit in with your personal style and look like fun? Can you visualize those photos in your wedding album? Then it might be a good spot! And as always, this isn’t to tell you where or how you should get ready, but rather, see this as a tool to ensure you get the photos you dream of. If your getting ready venue has only one thing, let it be a window.
For more tips on getting ready and planning your wedding day in a way that allows for the most successful photography, be sure to get your hands on my wedding guide using the link below! It’s loaded with tips and tricks as you plan your wedding.