The first thing that typically comes to mind when a bride and groom start thinking about wedding day locations are the venue and the ceremony space. Understandably, finding those two key settings is an overriding priority of a couple planning their wedding. Yet, I find that sometimes, what’s missed in the planning phase is a third key space – the getting ready location. Although it’s not on top of the wedding locations priority list, it’s still more critical than what some wedding couples and planners might think of it.
The getting ready space is where the bride spends her entire morning along with her close family and bridesmaids. It’s where meaningful gestures, heartfelt emotions, playful banter and toasts to the day’s events are shared by the bride and those closest to her in the hours leading up to a big turning point in her life. As importantly, it’s where the photographer is capturing it all. It goes without saying that the same goes for the groom’s getting ready space.
Some of the most memorable moments of a wedding day and in many cases, the most artful, are captured during the getting ready phase. Aside from the interpersonal and emotional moments, it is the time when the bride is getting her hair and makeup done. It is where she puts on her wedding dress and where all details of her wedding look are gathered. And because it’s the time when the bridal party is most relaxed and not hurried by the events of the day, it is when the photographer can focus on making art and capturing some the most iconic bridal, detail and sometimes, first look and romantic shots of the whole wedding day. However, this is only possible when the getting ready location is thoughtfully picked to provide the right mood, backgrounds and ideally, lighting that are key ingredients for a memorable set of getting ready photos.
For most brides that book their venues in hotels, the bridal suite is an option on the table and with any luck, this will make for a nice and photo-friendly setting for getting ready. However, if the couple are not intentional about this location choice, and fail to check on this specific detail in time, they may end up having to get ready in a random available space or as I’ve seen in some cases, in a conference room or a basement. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve worked with couples who invested a significant part of their wedding budget and planning efforts into finding meaningful and inspiring getting-ready locations like historic buildings or luxurious suites and that made for some of the most beautiful images of their wedding day.
To wrap it up with a word of advice to brides and grooms planning their wedding, I know that a lot of factors go into the decision to book wedding event locations, including reception, ceremony and getting ready. While you plan based on convenience, cost, accessibility and availability, if you can help it, don’t dismiss photographability.
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