8 Ways To Obtain Stress-Free
"Getting Ready" Wedding Photos

Written By  Kelly Barry-Miller
Phoenix Memories Executive Creative Director & Photographer

The Pre-Ceremony or "getting-ready" phase of your wedding day, should be a joyous time, as you relax and get pampered in preparation for your milestone day.  Unfortunately we have seen quite a few bridal couples become unnecessarily stressed beyond-measure during this phase of the wedding day,  so we wanted to share a few great tips -- based on the 100's of weddings we've covered -- that will provide less stress and more peace to you. 


When considering your getting-ready location, keep in mind that in order to obtain beautiful images, your photographer will need quite a bit of natural light.  It doesn't have to be an expensive space, as even some homes have great light coming through the windows.  However, overhead lighting from lightbulbs or fluorescent lights will cause images to have a yellow/orange vibe which isn't always pretty for skin tones.  The less camera-flash needed, and more natural light there is, the more your images will be light and vibrant, with colors that pop!


It is so much fun getting ready with your bridesmaids or groomsmen; being able to laugh and goof around, to make the atmosphere light and cheery, as you make great memories together and prepare for the day. We want that for you!  Something to consider is the amount of space you will need to have a comfortable environment for everyone.  If you have 5 Bridesmaids, 2 makeup/hair professionals, two photographers and a videographer, as well as different family members coming in and out . . . it can get kind of tricky.  We covered a wedding recently which had 15 people all packed into a tiny hotel room, and we weren't able to get many pictures, due to the lack of space, and the Bride became so overwhelmed that it caused her to have a melt-down, and she started crying.  This breaks my heart, because we want our brides to be at total peace during the getting-ready phase, so that they exude joy as their walking down the aisle. Our recommendation is to have a limited amount of people in the space at one time (if you don't have a large space to get ready in).  If not, then plan for a larger space that will accommodate everyone.  


It is so important to have someone you can rely on to carry out miscellaneous errands, especially during this pre-ceremony time.  If you forget something in the car, or in another room of the venue, or you need drinks/food and a note sent to the groom or groomsmen, this person will be a beneficial help.  We recommend a friend or family member who isn't in your immediate bridal party.  Although we absolutely LOVE to assist our bridal couples, and help make their day run smoother, many times we find ourselves being the "go-to" errand-person between the bride and groom (especially when they choose not to see one another before the ceremony), because we are going back and forth between rooms for pictures.  Unfortunately, this keeps us from being able to do the one duty we were paid to do, which is capturing beautiful images of your day.  Our focus needs to be on you and the detailed images, and the assistant can help with the rest ;-)


Chances are everyone is in a hurry, trying to get ready, so they will end up taking everything out of their suitcases or duffel bags and placing them all over the getting-ready room.  This can make for a cluttered and messy space, which produces less-than-pretty pre-ceremony photos and video.  Have a designated space (preferably a closet or room on the side which will contain everyone's personal belongings, and which can easily be accessed). This will promote a streamlined environment for your makeup/hair and photo/video teams to come in and out of the room easily, without having to take the time out to de-clutter for you, and then have missed images.  We don't mind helping out at all, and are more than happy to, but the less cleaning our professionals have to do, the more beautiful images we can capture for your wedding album.


It's a hot summer day and you are ready for your long-awaited "first-look" with your beloved, and even though you spent hours getting ready . . . the heat is taking its toll on your makeup and it is now starting to melt or run down your face and into your eyes.  Your hair has also wilted and gone from a beautiful fresh look to a sweaty limp helmet, lolol. This is probably what is going to happen if you choose to do your own hair and makeup.  Sadly we won't be able to "fix it in editing."  To safeguard your look and make sure you are wedding day/photo ready, it is important to hire/invest in professional Hair/Makeup Artists.  We have award winning artists who will come right to your getting ready location, take great care of you, and help you to feel pampered and camera ready in the getting-ready hours.  Check out our preferred Hair & Makeup Artistsection for more details.


It was a month ago, and we traveled for 3 hours to cover a wedding in northern Minnesota.  When we arrived at the Bride's pre-ceremony location, her "go to" person already had the bridesmaids dresses hanging together on personalized hangers over the window, and the bride's dress un-bagged and hanging as well.  All the shoes were lined up below the dresses, as well as the accessories.  Within 20 minutes we were able to produce gorgeous images that contained the details of the dresses and accessories.  Normally it would take an hour just to get those shots, because we would have to trip over all the items laying on the floor, and sidestep people who are getting ready for the day, along with saying 20 "excuse me's, and I'm so sorry's" for being in people's way while trying to find the dresses and items needed for each shot. One time we spent over 45 minutes just trying to find the bridesmaids dresses because they were in different people's cars and in different places within the venue.  This is not to complain, or try to make our job easier at all . . .  but rather to shed light on how important the details are in order to maximize the use of your professionals time. Beautiful imagery is captured when everything is where it should be.  The bride's and groom's who know this, have people in place who will fine-tune the details, so that they can receive more wedding day images than they ever imagined, in a stress-free getting-ready environment.  


It's half-way through the formal photos and you are starting to feel light-headed and nauseous.  You realized you forgot to eat and drink anything, because you were so focused on getting ready.  This is not an uncommon occurrence for most wedding couples.  There have been several times we have had to stop formal photos or even ceremonies because the Bride or Groom felt like they were going to faint, due to lack of hydration and nutrition.  Make sure and have a veggie or fruit tray with sandwiches (or any food you can snack on throughout the getting-ready phase) and lots of bottled water on hand.  Have your "Go-To" person, Best Man or Maid of Honor bring food to you as needed.  This will give you the energy you need to have a fantastic and fun-filled day. 


Everything is going so fast!  Take a few moments and breathe . . . in and out . . . and allow your mind to go to and stay in a place of peace.  Be in the moment, and not anxious.  You've worked hard for this day, and have planned for a long time.  Now is the time to really relax and cherish the people who are surrounding you, and the support you have.  If there is anyone who is causing you undue stress . . . it is okay to ask them to kindly leave the room.  This is YOUR moment, and your time to be pampered.  Play your favorite music in the room, and realize THIS IS THE DAY, the day you have been waiting for to marry your beloved, and no one can be allowed to mess with your sacred space of peace.  Breathe . . . and know you are LOVED :-)

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