New England Wedding Photographer

Bride Getting Ready

, planning & advice


One of my favorite parts of the day as a wedding photographer is the Bride Getting Ready. The anticipation of the day is huge during time… the feeling of all your family and bridesmaids getting hair and make up done together, your dress hanging right there on all of its glory and the butterfly in your stomack when you think that this day finally arrived. All of this provide for an amazing time and it’s essencial to show the bride getting ready during her wedding day.

When planning a timeline we will talk what time we will start photographing the bride getting ready. This will vary depending on so many factors, but essentially comes to if you will do a first look (when bride and groom see each other), and on the travel time to the ceremony place. Don’t worry as I will talk to you in detail when it’s time to plan the timeline. I will help you decide what is the best option of your day. Bellow you will find some information to start thinking and how long to consider for photos.

Hair and Make up for Bride Getting Ready

Usually brides don’t choose to have me capture this part of the day since this takes a long time and it happens a lot earlier. Brides prefere to have the photographer around when she is already made up and looking glam… If you are into this type of preparation photos we can also stage a little bit once we get there… make sure to ask for this to be included in your timeline.

Hair and Makeup are the number one reason for things getting late and behind schedule. So please read the tips on time for hair and makeup for weddings bellow:

TIP 1: Always plan extra time for all girls to get hair and makeup done, add about 10 minutes more than normal.
TIP 2: Probably the most important tip I can give you: The Bride and whoever is helping the bride to get dressed should never be the last ones to get hair and makeup done. If your mom will be helping you, she also need to be done early, otherwise things will get in hold even though you are ready to go. A good rule is that you should be ready by the time I’m schedule to start the photography coverage. Looking all fabulous!
TIP 3: Invest on buying a high quality lip stain. A lip stain will stay longer on your lips which is important since you are being photographed a lot. Also, during photos of bride and groom there will be some photos of you kissing/ peking on the lips, so this avoids that you get lipstick on your fiancé and also that you look perfect. Once lip stains dry, they are harder to get on clothes, so this will avoid getting o your dress in case of an accident. Also great during dinner, since many high quality lip stains don’t come off even if you eat or drink. Lip stains are safer and requires less touch up, looking good all day/ night.
TIP 4: Some girls want a very natural look for their wedding day makeup. Keep in mind that makeup doesn’t show quite as much on photos, especially when we use flash, so you can go about 20% heavier for photos.
TIP 5: Definitely add fake eyelashes and eye liner. They highlight your eyes. The window to the soul!
TIP 6: Avoid shimmer/ glitter type of makeup. Shimmer can highlight/ intensify the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Choosing a matte finish always looks best. Glitter will look like dots/ blemishes on your skin, so it’s recommended to avoid it.
TIP 7: Ask your stylist to wear a black discreet outfit, if you end up doing some photos that include them in it, or if they are part of the background when some candid moment happen, you don’t want to regret a casual choice of clothing that doesn’t match the feeling of the day. Dark/ Black outfit, like slacks and t-shirt should be sufficient.

The Details (between 15-30 minutes)


Normally I start the day photographing the details: your shoes, dress hanging, jewelry, bouquet, veil, invitation and any other important item… this take 15-30 minutes depending on the complexity/ amount of items.

TIP 1: I always recommend my brides to remember to put the invitation suite inside of the shoe box/ bag as by doing this you won’t forget to bring that to your getting ready location.
TIP 2: A nice hanger for your dress makes a big difference, sometimes the hanger will not show too large in a full shot of your dress, but it adds a finish touch when you have a nice looking hanger. You can order a custom hanger on, or even a simple wooden hanger will also look nice. Choose one that is strong and has the cut out space to hold the strings of the dress because that ill support your dress better and not slip off easily. Avoid the plastic one that comes with your dress, they are good for transportation but not so pretty.

Bride Getting Ready and Dressed (between 30-45 minutes)

Weddings Holy Cross College, bride and her mother putting the veil on before her wedding at the Holy Cross in Worcester MA

You might be thinking: 45 minutes for a bride getting ready? that is a lot! But getting dressed at your day and getting dress while trying on your dress are very different things. On your wedding day you will have your hair and makeup done, so you get dressed slowly to not mess things up. There are other parts involved too: you might need to get into undergarments first, and deal with lacing the back of your dress, or closing every button individually and this will take a bit of time. Also, while you are getting dress I will be taking photos, so we may pause for a few moments. Then you put shoes, jewelry, veil and hair piece. You will also, want to enjoy this process. Look yourself in the mirror and cherish this moment. It won’t be many more opportunities later for you to admire yourself as a bride, savor this moment with your mom, maid of honor and bridesmaids.

TIP: Get a crochet hook and keep with your wedding day kit if you have a gown that has a lot of buttons on the back, it helps to go faster and also protects the manicure of whoever it’s helping you.

Portraits of the Bride after Getting Ready (between 20-30 minutes)

I highly recommend that we add this time for some portraits in the room that you got ready and to use for some portraits with your family and bridesmaids. If you decide that you want these portraits, we normally ask to have you alone in the room, so you can actually be very present and enjoy yourself… this is a special moment, you start feeling the butterflies and are so excited that your eyes sparkle even more. We will coach you thru some basic posing so you know what highlights the best of your figure and your dress. I also assist you positioning on beautiful light… this makes for some amazing, classic and elegant portraits during bride getting ready stage… can you picture these photographs on your wedding album? It tells the story beautiful!

If you and your fiancé are planning on exchanging a card or a gift, this would be the time to have you open it.

Keep in mind that if things run late this part of the timeline will be sacrificed so try to keep the schedule.

Don’t forget to relax and live in the moment, breath in each party of the day so you enjoy the process.

These are general guidelines for a bride getting ready. As you know, all of our wedding couples receive a complimentary timeline planning meeting, when we share some ideas and tailor the schedule to fit your needs. Next article talks about Groom Getting Ready. Read about all Wedding Timeline Planning.