How to Prepare for Getting Ready Photos on Your Wedding Day

The getting ready process is a HUGE part of your wedding day. Makeup, hair, getting dressed, detail shots, and first looks with parents take up several hours of your wedding day. This is the part of the day where it’s easiest to get off schedule. (A blog post on that is coming soon!)

I send my couples several helpful tips and tricks in their wedding photography timeline and their welcome guide. Several of those are specifically for the getting ready portion of the day. Today I’m sharing eight ways to prepare for getting ready photos on your wedding day!

Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Your hair stylist, makeup artist, and each member of your wedding party should know exactly what time they should arrive, what time hair and makeup has to be finished, when they need to get dressed, and what they need to bring. If a groomsman thinks he doesn’t need to be there until 2:00 but photos start at 11:00, that will throw a major wrench in things! I always suggest emailing your photography timeline to EVERYONE that will help move the day along. This includes every wedding party member, parent, and vendor! It will help your makeup artist and hair stylist tremendously if they know exactly what time they need to leave.

Have all of your details in a box for me when I arrive on the wedding day.

I’ll be posting a blog post soon all about detail shots and what you’ll need very soon. But in the meantime, my BIGGEST tip regarding detail shots is to make sure they are ALL together by the time I arrive.This includes every detail you want photographed, including:


-all jewelry

-family heirlooms



-something old/new/borrowed/blue



-any other details you want photographed.

If I have to gather all of the items once I’ve arrived, that will eat into precious time, and result in fewer detail shots.

If you want the groom’s details photographed as well, have a box with:



-cuff links



-socks (if they have a cute pattern)

-any other details he might want photographed.

Have your wedding dress out of the bag, zipped or buttoned up all the way, and on a pretty hanger.

This is something that is often forgotten about. A pretty hanger will make a HUGE difference in your detail shots. Your wedding dress should also be fastened for the photos so that it hangs well on the hanger. Buttons left undone will take us several minutes to fasten, eating up crucial minutes in your timeline. Make sure all the tags have been cut off as well!

Decide what the girls will wear during hair and makeup.

One popular shot that brides want is a photo of all of the girls together before getting dressed. If you want this photo, decide what you’ll wear! Will it be matching monogramed robes, matching pajamas, or t-shirts in your wedding colors? This isn’t necessary, but if you’re wanting to all match in these photos, plan for that ahead of time! (It’s also a great bridesmaid gift – ESPECIALLY pajamas. Who doesn’t love a cute PJ set?!) On my own wedding day, I chose not to have photo or video coverage of the hair and makeup process. However, I did wear an ivory silk robe to make me feel special since it was my big day!

Decide who will help you get dressed.

Whoever is helping you get into your wedding gown needs to be completely ready about fifteen minutes before you get into your dress. This includes hair, makeup, dress, and shoes. Decide ahead of time who you want to help you get dressed so that they can be ready in time. (And not have rollers in their hair haha!)

Clean the getting ready rooms.

It is SO important that the areas where you are getting ready are CLEAN and free of clutter. I’ve had weddings where the bridal suite has been full of trash and clutter when we arrive, and it can take us up to 20 minutes to get it presentable for photos. If you have a bridesmaid and groomsman clean each room about half an hour before we arrive, we’ll be ready to start as soon as we get there! The best places to keep your belongings are in a corner away from any areas where photographs will be taken, in a bathroom, or in a closet.

Have the boutonnieres ready in the groom’s suite.

If you have the boutonnieres and pins ready, the guys can get them on their jackets/vests as soon as they are dressed instead of searching for them elsewhere in the venue. This is a huge time saver!


On my own wedding day, the getting ready time was so special to me. All of my favorite girls and my mom were in the same room getting our hair and makeup done, listening to music, and giggling and telling stories before the day began. It was the only time of the day that I had with just them, and I loved being able to spend time with all of the special women in my life before the day started. My matron of honor had all of the bridesmaids and female family members write me letters to read (before makeup started, thank goodness!), and it was an extremely special experience for me.

The rest of the day will be so much fun, but the time you’ll spend in the bride and groom suites before the rest of the day begins will be so special and intimate. Soak it all in! It’s your last hours as a single person with all of your besties in one room.

I hope these eight tips were helpful in planning the getting ready portion of your day! I’m so excited to share more blog posts about the wedding day, including tips on family formals, the importance of a second shooter, why you need a coordinator, and so much more. In the meantime, enjoy planning your perfect day!

Want more wedding planning tips? Click here!

I’m a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Knoxville, Tennessee but available anywhere. If you have questions about booking me for a session or wedding, click here! To follow me on social media, check out my Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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