Wedding Planning Tips

January 11, 2019

5 Tips for Choosing Your Getting Ready Suite

virginia-photographer-old-town-alexandria-st-marys-church-wedding-fox-chase-manor-wedding-photos-27.jpgToday I’m talking all about the getting ready suite. This space could be at your wedding venue, at a hotel, at your parent’s house – or even your own place! As you plan for your wedding day, think about the key moments that will happen here. Finishing hair and makeup, getting into your dress and spending time with loved ones are just a few examples! Most of all, it’s the time of day where you anticipate walking down the aisle to your best friend – and saying “I do!”

Here are some of my favorite tips to help make the experience more enjoyable!

Five Tips for Choosing Your Getting Ready Suite

1. Look for lots of windows! 

This is the most important tip. The more windows the better, but you’ll want at least one. This allows plenty of natural light to flood the room, which means you’ll get better photos! I also use the window for the iconic getting into the dress and bridal portrait moments because it will naturally flatter your features. And who doesn’t want that?

Another tip: don’t be alarmed when you see me turn off lights when I arrive! Trust me, it makes a HUGE difference in your photos. If we leave them on, it mixes with the natural light from outside, which can look a little odd. A good test? Think about what the space would look like with no lights on. If there is enough natural light, you know it’s a great choice! If your only option is a very dark space, don’t worry too much! I’ll likely end up using flash for your photos, or I may give you the option of doing some of the final touch-up photos outside so you can still have some light and airy options in your gallery.

2. Take note of the wall colors. 

Neutral is always best! When a location has very noticeable colors the light will reflect onto you. Examples of this include any bright colors such as green, red or orange. Also, keep in mind that the background will show up in some of your photos. I will do my best to work with the space, but some things just can’t be altered. If you absolutely despise the wallpaper, it might not be a great option since it will be in your gallery.

Also, think about what’s in the space. Consider clearing the walls of photo frames, moving furniture and creating an open space clear of items (if it’s somewhere like your home where you are allowed to do that). The fewer distracting elements in the background, the better! That way I can focus on you and the most important moments.

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3. Make sure it’s big enough for your getting ready crew. 

If you have a large bridal party plus other family members, a tiny room might not be the best option for you! Take into consideration how many people will actually need to be comfortable in the space. And don’t forget to include your makeup artists and hair stylists in that list!

Also, consider the number of bags and getting ready gear everyone will bring. Before you know it, half the space could be covered in stuff, making it difficult to move around and finish getting ready.

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4. Think about the distance to the ceremony.

 Ideally you’ll want to keep your getting ready location 15-minutes or less from your ceremony location. Even better if you can get ready at your ceremony location because then you won’t have to worry about traffic at all!

If you do have to travel, it’s always good to allot extra time for getting ready and driving there.  When it’s time to go, you’ll have to gather all of your things, walk down to the limo in a big dress and heels with a large group of people. By the time everything happens, you may have added 10 extra minutes! If you plan ahead of time, it will make the transition much smoother and more enjoyable.

5. Let me know if there is another room in your suite when I arrive. 

Depending on your location, you might have an adjacent room or one nearby that’s not open when I get there. Let me know if you do! I spend the first 45-minutes shooting the detail photos (learn more about how to prep for that here), and I try to stay out of your way as much as possible during those moments. This allows you to forget I’m there and focus on getting ready! And it gives me the space to style the photos and stay out of everyone’s way.

If you don’t have an extra room, don’t worry! I promise, I can find the perfect spot for the detail photos. But I like to mention this to couples just in case they have the space available and want to put it to good use.

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