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Choosing Your Venue | The Getting Ready Space

Wedding Advice

February 19, 2020

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I'm so glad you stopped by the blog! Here you'll find advice on planning your wedding, tips on what to wear to photo sessions, and of course, my favorite clients & people!

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Choosing Your Venue | The Getting Ready Space

I’m sure you have already spent time imagining yourself on the morning of your wedding. You’re surrounded by your closest friends, maybe your mom or another dear family member. Stepping into your dress – your dream dress! It fits you so beautifully. Everyone is ooh-ing and ahh-ing, and maybe a few tears are shed. Now…how can we translate this beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime scene into gorgeous photos that take you back over and over again? Photos that, when your children see them, make them giddy with adoration that their parents once looked like that! Photos that make you remember how it felt the morning before you said, “I do” to the love of your life. Here are some of my best tips to consider when choosing your Getting Ready space. Keep in mind – all of these can and should also be applied to the Groom’s Space as well!

First & Foremost: Consider its proximity to “The Hustle”

Do you know what I want for you on the morning of your wedding? I want you to be as relaxed, excited, and happy as possible. You should not be worrying about vendors or people running late. Or about accidentally running into your soon-to-be spouse if you happen to step outside for a second. I don’t want you directing where furniture should be placed or the arrival of the floral arrangements. For this reason, you’ll want to think about your getting ready space location in relation to the hustle. In my opinion, the MOST preferable option is for the bride to have a completely separate Bridal Suite building that is NOT located in the same building as the Groom OR the ceremony/reception location. I want you FAR from the hustle and bustle of the day! If the bride and groom’s getting ready rooms are in the same building, make sure there’s enough space and entrances that you won’t risk running into each other before you want to!

choosing your getting ready space


Next: The Size of the Room

Obviously, if you have a large bridal party, you’re going to need a large room. But even if you don’t have a big bridal party – you don’t want to feel cramped!  You’ll need space not only for you and your girls, but also for the HMU artists to spread out, have room for their supplies, and walk in between everyone without risking bumping elbows while holding a hot curling iron or a mascara wand. This is also where I will begin my day – in the room with you! While I try to keep discreet and out of the way, I will be photographing your details, you getting into your dress, and all your wedding party getting ready. I’ll be another body added to the mix, as well as my photo gear and, if needed, flash setup and a space to photograph your details. 😉

You also need to consider not just space for the people, but also space for the stuff. The last thing we want in your images is for water bottles, suitcases, yesterday’s clothes, today’s leftover brunch, and gift bags to be cluttering the background! We want to make sure your space is completely cleared out when we’re photographing you getting ready and getting into your dress. This means we need ample space in your room for moving all those other items to a different area of the room!

choosing your getting ready space

Access to Large Windows or Natural Light

For the BEST getting ready portraits possible? This is it. The big secret. Access to a large window or lots of natural light! Because while yes, I could bring in flash and still deliver beautiful photos there is just no beating that window light! If you have a say – and you do! – choose a room with at least one window with natural light pouring in! If your venue does not offer a getting ready room with a window or any source of natural light (patio/sliding glass door), you may want to consider getting ready somewhere else, which we will discuss below.

choosing your getting ready space


Ask Your Venue

Most likely, you will have a set amount of hours that you have access to your venue. So make sure you’re aware of what time you’re able to have access to the getting ready rooms. If you want all your girls getting ready in the same room at the same time, then you need AMPLE time for that to happen. Make sure you’ll have access to the venue early enough for this to be possible!


Getting Ready at Your Venue vs Going Off-Site

If you decide that you LOVE your venue but maybe not the Getting Ready space, you can always choose to start your wedding day somewhere else! Some fun options include your own home or a relative’s home (if you live close to your venue), an AirBnB, or a hotel room. The downside to getting ready somewhere else is coordinating the extra TIME it will take to TRAVEL to your venue. If you rent a room or home, you’ll want to make sure you rent it for an additional day so you can leave all your stuff there rather than worrying about cleaning up before you have to leave for the venue!

Photographer’s Hack 😉

If you decide you don’t completely LOVE the getting ready space of your venue, and you also don’t want to get ready in a hotel or Airbnb, the other option is to get mostly ready, and then we will move you and your bridal party to a location with better light (and far from your significant other of course!). We can then do the final zip-up in a pretty location and do bridal portraits there!

choosing your getting ready space

For my Grooms

Like I said above, all of these tips can and should be applied to the Getting Ready space for the Groom as well as the bride. However, perhaps it won’t take your Groom as long to get ready as it will you, since most likely him and his guys won’t be getting hair and makeup done. That’s fine – they can hang out a little longer at their homes or hotel room that morning before heading into the venue. But they still deserve and need a designated space just for them, and of course I will still be photographing the Groom’s details and getting ready shots too! So make sure you don’t overlook where the Groom will be on the morning of the wedding! 🙂

choosing your getting ready space


Stay tuned!

Choosing Your Getting Ready Space is Part One of a four-part series on Choosing Your Wedding Venue. In the coming weeks I will also be discussing the Ceremony Site, Portrait Locations, and the Reception Site!


If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out my other posts with wedding advice here:

The First 6 Things to Do After Getting Engaged

Elopement vs Micro Weddings vs Traditional Weddings

How to Make a Realistic Wedding Budget in North Carolina

Tips on Having a Destination Wedding in North Carolina


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I'm Meghan and I'm so glad you're here! My blog is where you'll find advice on planning your wedding, tips on what to wear to a session, and of course, my beautiful clients!

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