Getting ready is usually an extremely exciting start to an extremely exciting day ahead! However, it’s also the first time that I’m meeting most of your party, and lots of folk won’t be fully ready for the day yet. For this reason, I start the day off by shooting slowly – I know there’s literally nothing worse than having a camera in your face first thing in the morning, so I like to ease you in. I’m nice like that.

For brides, I generally arrive at the getting ready location between one and two hours before you’re due to leave; this gives me plenty of time to get all the key shots without overwhelming you. We’re talking nice, relaxed shots of your hair and make-up being done, you getting into your wedding gladrags, and some of the general ambience too.

Speaking of glad rags (the handbags come later) – you should aim to be putting your outfit on 30 minutes before you’re due to leave. Though this may seem keen, it means you have plenty of time to do it up without rushing and risking getting make-up on the fabric or ruining your hair! Depending on how many buttons your outfit has, it takes approximately 15 minutes to get your outfit on; this leaves 15 minutes for your family and friends to bask in your fully-dressed glory, and for finishing touches like shoes and any veils or headpieces. Ask your wedding squad to be ready 45 minutes before you are due to leave so that they have time to help you with your finishing touches and leaving.

What that time should not be spent doing is worrying about the tidiness of where we are. When I shoot anyone getting ready one of the first things that most people will say to me is “I’m sorry but it’s a mess in here”. No need to apologise! Getting ready for a wedding can be chaotic, and with chaos comes mess. It’s nice to tidy away uneaten food and dirty plates, but I can work around everything else!

In fact, we’re aiming for you to not be worrying on your wedding morning at all. This is why it’s a good idea to plan it out, just like you have for the ceremony and reception. You don’t want to have to think about anything other than getting ready for your wedding and enjoying yourself, so if there are things that need to be done on the wedding morning, give clearly defined jobs to your wedding squad in advance. After all, that’s why you have a wedding party! You want to make sure that you haven’t got anything else to think about other than getting ready to get married – and they want to help you.

To plan it effectively, start with the end in mind and work backwards through all the steps. List out all the jobs and delegate everything (and I really do mean EVERYTHING) that you don’t need to do or be involved in. I promise you, you’ll feel a million times better for it on the day.

On to the boys! To photograph a groom getting ready I will arrive about an hour before you are due to leave. I generally ask guys to get their trousers and shirt on, then I will photograph the finishing touches like ties, bow ties, button holes, etc. It goes without saying that if you want me to photograph you giving presents to your helpers, or anything else that’s significant, then you will need to hold off giving them out until I arrive. Again, if there are jobs to be done on the wedding morning, delegate as much as possible to your wedding helpers. It’s what they’re there for after all (as well as drinking with you, obviously…)

Top tips:

  • Start with the end in mind and work backwards through the steps to create your running ‘to-do’ list.
  • Ask your hair and make up artist to have you finished 30 minutes before you are due to leave.
  • DELEGATE as much a possible.
  • Have a final check list to run through before you leave to make sure you have everything you will need. This might include the keys to wherever you are staying on your wedding night, any speech or reading you are giving, the rings (if they are your responsibility), a change of shoes if you plan to, a jacket if you have one.
  • Leave your phone at home. It’s just another thing for you to think about on your day.
  • A crochet hook will make light work of a button up gown.
  • Your flowers will arrive from the florist in water. Have kitchen roll or an old tea towel on hand to blot them dry so you don’t drip water all over your snazzy outfit.

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