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FAQ – Getting Ready Detail Checklist

When I was planning my wedding, one thing I’d wish I’d known was how chaotic the “getting ready” portion of the day can be. I envisioned having a totally relaxing morning drinking mimosas with my best friends before slipping into my wedding gown and then leisurely making my way to our first look and ceremony.

That didn’t happen, and it’s kind of a shame because that COULD have been my wedding day reality. It can be yours too!

The key is preparation. Despite having quit Brownies less than a year joining, I’ve adapted the Girl Scouts’ famous motto (“be prepared”) as my own in my adult years. One thing you may not consider when you’re planning everything else out to a tee is that having all of your bridal/getting ready details in one place on your wedding morning will make your life so much easier! No one wants to have to go on a scavenger hunt looking for earrings, bobby pins, and double stick tape the morning of their wedding. TRUST me.

Having everything in one place not only makes your life easier (and your bridesmaids, too!) it also helps your photographer, which in turn, helps you out! I have so much more time to style and photograph your details if you have them prepared for me when I arrive. I also am able to get through styling and photographing all of those things more quickly, which gives me more time for candids and creative portraits! Being organized ahead of time is a win/win.

Here are a few things that I suggest having prepared in one place for your photographer to grab when they arrive:

A fresh copy of your wedding stationery, envelopes included. If you’re having a calligrapher do the addresses on your invitations, be sure to have them do an extra one for photos! Those little details are worth capturing because as I’ve learned since my wedding keeps getting farther and farther in my rearview mirror, those are the ones you forget about first without photo evidence!

Any jewelry you’ll be wearing (earrings, bracelets, necklaces, etc). Also, pro tip: if you have a few options on what you might be wearing, be sure to choose by the morning of the wedding so we can photograph what you’ll actually be wearing and not spend time shooting stuff you don’t want to wear. I would also advise letting us know if you’ve got something special that’s an heirloom so that we can give it special attention.

All three rings (your engagement ring and both wedding bands!). Sometimes people will advise you to give all three rings to the Best Man the night before the wedding, but the best time for us to photograph them (for both lighting and continuity) is at the beginning of the day with the rest of the getting ready details. We can either get the rings back to him if/when John goes to photograph the guys, or at the bridal party photos after the first look, or you can have your maid of honor slip them to him right before the ceremony.

Your bridal shoes. Pro tip: Be sure to wait until after we’ve photographed the shoes to add in any gel insoles or anything like that.

Your something old, new, borrowed, and blue. If you’re having these, definitely include them in your getting ready detail stash!

The bride’s bouquet. Bonus points for having a boutonnière on hand. Have this delivered to wherever you’re getting ready. This will mean we can photograph your flowers with your other things, but it will also mean that you can carry your bouquet to your first look and have it immediately for portraits. If you are really wanting to be on top of things, talk to your florist about leaving behind a few extra loose blooms when they deliver the bouquet. They’re always a bonus for styling detail photographs!

Your wedding gown & veil. This seems SO obvious, right? If you think about it beforehand, make sure to have a hanger that’s something besides the wire or plastic hanger you brought the dress in on. While those are practical for traveling with your gown, they don’t make beautiful photos. A hanger for the gown doesn’t have to be fancy or personalized or anything like that (unless you want it to be!). A plain, simple, wooden hanger from Target will do just fine!

Bridal gown and wedding rings at Barren Ridge Vineyards Wedding

Your bridal clutch or handbag. Not every bride has a handbag or a clutch, but if you’ve got one, by all means, include it with the rest of your details!

Your perfume. Perfume bottles often add a little something pretty to the mix when photographing details. I also love the idea of wearing a new perfume on your wedding day…that way whenever you smell it, it’ll bring back memories of that day!

These are some of the most common items we see during detail time on a wedding day, but if you’ve got other things that are special to you, by all means include them and bring them to our attention! It’s important to us to get whatever’s important to you!

If you’re new here, my husband John and I are Virginia Wedding Photographers and we’d love to chat more with you about your wedding day. Learn more about us here.

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