bride having blusher applied during bridal prep at The Old Rectory at Hartwell House in Buckinghamshire. Captured by Kent wedding photographer Victoria Green.

Ten tips for getting the best morning bridal prep…

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Did you know there are 10 things you can do which will help you and your photographer get the best morning bridal prep shots?

Hopefully these will act as little reminders to help your bridal prep run smoothly. And you’ll be super happy when you get to look at all your wedding photos.

My name is Victoria Green and I have over 8 years experience photographing weddings across the South East. I absolutely love capturing bridal prep. There’s a massive buzz of excitement, nerves and happiness in the air. It’s an intimate, special time for female bonding. I’m beyond privileged to capture the range of emotions I witness in just a few morning hours. 

Let’s jump straight in…

1/ Choose your room wisely

If you’re getting ready in a hotel or venue, you’ll hopefully have a nice spacious room. Remember there will be the people getting ready, potentially your make-up artist and hairdresser and invariably people come and go too.

If you have a choice – go for a nice big window or windows / where there is a lot of light as you’re make-up artist will be doing cartwheels. Plus your photography will look fantastic too. 

Spacious, light, airy rooms are great. Think about where your dress can hang. Plain, white backgrounds are fantastic for capturing your dress. 

If you’re getting ready in your house, brides often find their living room better because of the space / near a kitchen than in a bedroom. It may have better lighting too. 

2/ Position your dress for maximum effect

Have a think of where your dress can best hang. You need something that is long – a wardrobe is perfect. Occasionally a window hook can work or sometimes hotels have a suitcase on top of a wardrobe for maximum effect / and practicality.

Thinking about this before your bridal prep morning gives you one less thing to organise.

There might be an opportunity that is a bit unusual which you can think about and arrange with your photographer in your pre-meeting. Like these amazing mobile caravans – the bride wanted them hanging on the door. Letting your photographer know about this in advance is great planning. So everything can be managed including getting the dress in a safe place as soon as possible after the capture. 

close up of wedding dress hanging on retro rocket at Brook's Guest House in Bristol

⭐️Bonus tip⭐️ Think about your coat hangers. Often a wedding dress will come on a beautiful material hanger provided by the bridal shop. But this attention to luxury doesn’t always extend to the bridesmaids hangers. Plain hangers don’t do the dresses justice. There are some beautiful hangers you can purchase and personalised hangers with names engraved is massively popular at the moment. 

3/ Declutter

If you stayed the night before, it’s highly possible your room the next day could look like a bomb has gone off! Ensure to arrange room service to do bed sheets and empty bins nice and early. This is before your entourage of suppliers arrives.

I have had my fair share of doing the bins, clearing up wrappers, moving bottles and dirty plates resembling a teenager’s bedroom. But you’re paying your suppliers to make you look beautiful, so make sure their concentrating and spending the time doing just that.

It’s extraordinary how the good ole bag for life crops up in many a hotel room full of bridal accessories, last minute decorations for the tables and various contingency bags. Whether you’re in a hotel or in your house, work out a place where all the boxes and bags for life can be stashed.

Saying this, a cluttered mess that represents the day is fine like this marvellous scene here:

Bridal preparation candid shot captured at The Shelley's Hotel in Lewes, East Sussex

I love this as it shows a moment in time and it’s completely natural.

So I am not mascarading as the Cleaning Police. But you’ll notice there isn’t a cheeky Sainsbury’s bag for life nor ugly carrier bag in site. 

4/ Make a rule on where phone chargers go

This is the funniest phenomenon I have spotted in my years of capturing bridal prep! All plug sockets have wires going everywhere attached to phones. This isn’t always bad but can look a bit unseemly if there are wires trailing all over your beautiful demure pics of you relfecting your last moment before you become a Mrs. Delegate a place for phones to be charged and keep it that space for perfect piccies.

5/ Don’t leave out your tampax!

You might be shocked I am saying this. Sorry if you are. But consider what’s around your space. It’s incredible how a bright yellow tampax, box of immodiums, packet of ciggies makes it in to view. Of course, as documentary photographers we aren’t looking to clear the room of all life and make it a clinical set. But clearer decks means the pictures are more professional, less distracting and more timeless.

6/ Collate all your key details to be photographed in advance

Any key details you have discussed with your photographer you’d like captured, simply leave them in a designated space for them to snap away when they first arrive. This means you won’t be asked questions (when you’re busy and it’s unnecessary) and you’ll feel chilled you haven’t forgotten to bring anything. 

7/ Ask your photographer to turn up before anyone else

I always turn up before the make-up artist and hairdresser. The main reason for this is that most of the time, I am photographing in one room so the less people around trying to do their work, the easier it is for me to move around and capture the dress. You might have quite a few bridesmaids, I am already navigating not getting them in shot.

⭐️Bonus tip⭐️ Get your dress away from make-up and hairspray / products! Insects outside are magnetised to dresses with layers when misted with hairspray. You’ll find them getting inside all your lovely lacey bits. Whilst that’s super fun retouching for me (spot the sarcasm), removing little black dots from your dress, you want to be bug free quite frankly on the day you want to look your best.

Another reason the photographer turns up early is so they have taken the dress, accessories, shoes, etc. so when the hairdresser and make-up artist start, they don’t miss capturing the action.

8/ Make sure you have snacks / drinks

I’m being a bit of a nagging granny saying this, but it’s something lots of brides forget and then I end up feeling sorry for them, giving them my sandwiches and kitkats!

Yes – lots of brides don’t plan on eating something super carb-olicious before getting into a tight dress. But with nerves and it’s a big day, it’s really important to have something for energy. 

Plus, if you’re going to have a glass of fizz before you leave, it’s a good idea you’ve had a non-alcoholic beverage in the morning.

9/ Clear the room of people before getting the dress on

Aim for 1 person and leave a big reveal. It’s natural everyone wants to help you. But I often advise my brides at their pre-meeting to limit this to a mum, close friend or sister. First of all, it’s a bit calmer trying to get in to your dress. Your bridal shop will advise you to give plenty of time anyway as we’re not used to wearing dresses that intricately zip / button up!

Firstly, it’s a beautiful intimate moment I often see being shared between a mum and their daughter. But it also makes for much better pictures as you don’t have bodies covering the dress up and arms and hands all over the place. Just having one hand helping to do up the dress takes for a marvellous picture.

And then you have the added bonus that you get to do the big reveal – which is beyond nutty nut exciting! Your photographer can help manage this so you’re ready to reveal yourself at the best position and they can capture your dad’s reaction (often separately orchestrated) and then your bridesmaids / other relatives.

10/ Allow 45 mins – 1 hour to chill in your dress

The biggest tip I give to brides for their itinerary planning is allowing ample time to get into your dress before you need to leave. Firstly, things can sometimes take a little bit longer than you’ve planned. If you’ve allowed some contingency, it will make you feel far less stressed. And secondly, if all does go to plan which it’s likely to…you can have a glass of sparkly sit and breathe and take in all the morning. So many brides after have thanked me for suggesting this. They’ve said it gave them a moment to take things in, relfect, manage nerves and show their appreciation to their bridal party.

On a practical note, it also makes sure all the key morning bridal prep shots get taken before your photographer has to join the groom and his entourage before the ceremony. You want your photographer to be taking you getting into your dress and the reactions before they depart. So just make sure that is factored into your itinerary planning.

I really hope those bridal prep shot tips have helped forward planning and considerations so your bridal prep is relaxed, beautiful and wonderful. Everything you deserve it to be ?

Best wishes, Victoria xxx

p.s. as always – if you’d like to ask questions about bridal prep photography or talk to me about your wedding, you can message me and we can arrange a good time to have a chat ☕️❤️?

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