Donna Marie




Getting Ready

Why getting ready & details photos matter

The getting ready portion of the day is one of my favorite times of the day to document! During these moments, the excitement is high and things are starting to feel so real. The day you’ve waited so long for is finally coming together, and you’re about to marry your best friend! Including this portion of the day into your photo coverage really helps weave together a complete story of your wedding experience. It’s also a helpful way to start getting warmed up to the camera and a great time for me to document your important wedding details.

I recommend starting your day off in a relaxed manner, waking up with plenty of time to get ready so that you can feel really prepared, be present, and just soak in the excitement before heading off to the first location.

During this time, I will photograph all of your special wedding details that you’ve put so much time and effort into. It’s helpful to have all of these details ready and laid out in advance. I recommend doing this the day before so you have one less thing on your mind day-of. Typically these details will include your wedding attire, rings, jewelry, vow books, florals, family heirlooms, invitations or announcements, etc. This is also a great time to give your partner any special gifts.

Will you get ready together or separately?

Some couples choose to get ready separately, especially if they’ve kept their wedding attire a surprise from each other or plan to do a first look. If you get ready separately, it’s helpful to choose getting ready locations that are close to one another, and even better if you can get ready in nearby rooms at the same home. A lovely thought if you chose to get ready separately is that I will be able to photograph a unique glimpse into your partner’s experience that you wouldn’t see otherwise.

Other couples choose to get ready together. This enables you to spend the entirety of your wedding day together. Some of the sweetest photo opportunities include sharing a mirror as you fix your hair, zipping your partner up into their wedding dress, tying a bow tie, or lacing up boots for each other. There is no wrong way to do this, it’s all up to you and how you envision your day panning out!

You could even choose a combination of the two! Start your day off snuggled in your pjs, making breakfast together, and enjoying it in bed or on the deck of your Airbnb with a view. Then when it comes time to get dressed in your wedding attire, you can choose to keep that portion of the getting ready process a surprise.

Tips on how to have the best getting ready & detail photos

While choosing your lodging and getting ready location, keep in mind the aesthetics, and look for lodging that fits the general vibe you’re going for. It’s best to keep the rooms you are getting ready in neat and do any necessary tidying up the day before. Try to pick up any loose clothing on the floor, move any luggage or miscellaneous items to one side of the room or out of the rooms altogether. This will allow me to candidly photograph you two without any clutter or distractions in the frame. It will also create a more calm and peaceful environment for you to get ready in.

When searching for photogenic places to stay, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Always look for a nice, clean, calm, and open space
The more natural window light, the better
The less busy and distracting the space and décor is, the better
Consider the general aesthetics and décor—do they match the vibe you’re going for?

Once I arrive, I may do some slight rearranging depending on lighting scenario, but don’t worry, I’ll put everything back in its place for you when we wrap up!

Amazing & heartfelt moments to incorporate into your getting ready photos:

Copying your vows into your vow books
Writing and reading each other love notes
Giving a gift to your partner
Reading letters from family or friends
Facetiming with loved ones who are not present
Reading love notes or cards from early on in your relationship
Framed photos set up of loved ones who have passed

Additional things to consider to further elevate your getting ready photos:

Sit by a window if you’re having your hair & makeup done. This will enable me to capture getting ready portraits in the most flattering light. Your hair and makeup artist will likely be in search of the best light in the room to apply your makeup anyhow. Having your makeup done in window light will also help ensure it will look natural once you are outdoors.

Think about what you will be wearing before you put on your dress or wedding attire! I will be capturing portraits of you before you put on your wedding attire, so consider opting for a nice casual outfit, robe, nightgown, or pajama set rather than sweatpants and a neon-colored graphic tee. You’ll be just as comfortable but it’ll bring that extra something special to your getting ready portraits.

Consider including details that are important to the two of you or that help illustrate the story of your wedding day in a way that is outside of the norm. Perhaps a postcard from the location you are saying your vows, extra loose flower stems from your florist, a special ring box or jewelry case, the bottle of perfume or cologne you’ve chosen to wear on your day, and a nice hanger for your dress or wedding attire.

How Much Time Do I Need For Getting Ready Photos?

There are a couple of factors that go into determining this. How many people will be present? Are there any specific moments that you’d like to make sure are included like, facetiming your mom, a first look with your dad, or making breakfast with your partner? Generally two hours is enough time for most, enabling me to fully capture the details you put so much time and thought into as well as the getting ready finishing touches that will help tell the full story of your day.

Your Getting Ready Checklist:
Declutter your space. Tuck all clothing, suitcases, and miscellaneous items away.
Collect all details you’d like to have photographed.
Create a calm atmosphere with music, candles or incense, and window light.
Relax with a warm cup of tea, coffee, hot coco, or a mimosa.
Enjoy these precious first moments of your wedding day.