Not only is it important to have getting ready photos, as I talked about here, but it’s also important to find the right location! This is one of the most important places you will book, since it will be the backdrop for the first few hours of your wedding day. When choosing a getting ready location, there are some tips you should keep in mind. You want to make sure you chose the right space, that will help create quality images.
Consider the venue locations when picking a getting ready space. You want to make sure you chose a place that is not far from your first look site, or your ceremony. That way you minimize the travel, as well as making sure your hair and makeup are still perfect! If you do choose a location that is further away, make sure to have transportation booked, or ready to go in advance. Also, make sure that you allow plenty of buffer room to drive or walk to the first look site or the ceremony site! I like to have 15-minute buffers to ensure the timeline goes as planned.
Also, don’t forget to look at vacation rentals! While hotels might seem like an obvious choice, there are plenty of vacation rentals, Airbnb’s and VRBO options in every city. In Savannah specifically, I love Lucky Savannah Vacation Rentals.
You want to make sure you chose a place that has plenty of natural lighting. Not only is this important for the hair and makeup artist, but also for the photographer! Natural light is the best kind of light for photography – lamps and overhead lights can give off a yellow glow that will not be flattering. Pick a space with lots of windows, that will allow for plenty of light. If you are booking an AirBnB, make sure to check out images of how bright the spaces are.
Make sure you pick a place with plenty of space. A standard hotel room will often be too crowded if you have a larger bridal party. So make sure you find a space that has plenty of room for you to get ready! You will need a space for hair, and a space for makeup, and you will need a large bathroom for your bridesmaids to change. In hotels, typically there are penthouse or bridal suites that are much larger than the regular rooms.
You will want to make sure you have plenty of space to put on your gown as well, so if you can, check out the room prior to booking to see if you will need to move furniture around. And don’t worry, I am not afraid to do this day of as I see fit!
Keep in mind, you are going to have a lot more items in the room than you might think. Some items include everyone’s dresses, dress bags, shoes, accessories, purses, hair and makeup chairs, hair and makeup products, perfume, and possible getting ready outfits. It’s best to pick the area in which you would like to get dressed for photos and to keep that area CLEAR of everyone else’s stuff. Also, make sure there are plenty of outlets! You will want to be charging phones and cameras, and your hair and makeup artist will need quite a few plugs themselves.
I also recommend only having the bridal party, and close family, in the room with you. Not only will this help you feel less stressed, but will give you plenty of room. The focus on the morning of your wedding should be on being relaxed and stress-free!
When looking for the right hotel or Airbnb for your getting ready space, consider your wedding. What are the color palettes and décor of your wedding? Will it match the getting ready room. Make sure it matches the vibe of your wedding so that your photos are cohesive from the start.
If your wedding is very bohemian, try to pick a spot with more bohemian and eclectic rentals – and avoid ultra-modern spaces. A lot of fun rentals with cool vintage and eclectic furniture can found via VRBO and AirBnb.
Having a modern, minimal wedding? Don’t choose a rental full of antiques or an old quaint bed and breakfast – instead, look for bright white & clean. spaces or new, really modern hotels. The Brice Hotel, as well as Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah, offer modern and bright rooms.
If you are going for a more vintage, classic southern feel, pick one a historic Bed and Breakfast, like the Hamilton-Turner Inn.
When picking your getting ready space, make sure to look at the details. Are there fun paintings we can use as a unique backdrop? Is there a full-length mirror we can use? Does it have a small balcony where we can let in more light, and get some portraits? Is there a spot to hang your dress – a chandelier, armoire, sturdy picture frame or molding along the ceiling? Hardwood floors, marble table tops, etc make excellent surfaces to photograph your invitation suite & other bridal accessories. Look for any details in the space you choose, that will photograph well.
Also, make sure the space is overall clutter-free. Keep in mind not all items can be moved around, so anything that is in the background will show up in every picture. This can include pictures on the walls and large furniture. You want to have the furniture clean, pattern-free, and remove any knick-knacks that will clutter up the picture.
I also suggest having a space where you keep your stationary, rings, and accessories, so the photographer can capture them. Set aside any fun accessories in the room, like tray tables or blankets, that the photographer can use to style. Another bonus is to ask for any extra flower stems from your florist to be delivered along with your bouquet – these can be used in styling your invitations, shoes and jewelry.
If you decide on a hotel, make sure the rooms are close to each other, to decrease the time it takes for your photographer to move from one space to another. If you choose a vacation rental, but pick a separate one for the groom, make sure it is close by. Keep in mind that travel time will use up your photographer’s precious time as well – and will limit the time your photographer is taking pictures. Ensure that they are close by, and can be walked to, or be a short car ride away. When looking at hotels, pay attention to the common areas – the lobby, library and bar areas. If they are exceptionally beautiful and light filled, I will often suggest that the groom’s getting ready photos happen here, making it close and convenient to the bride and having the groom right on hand if doing a First Look!
And don’t forget the parking! If your location only has street parking, this will add time to the photographer’s timeline, meaning less time taking pictures. Try and pick a place with a parking lot, parking garage, or private parking.
If you have a dream venue, but the getting ready space is less than ideal, take a look at the outdoors! Your photographer can get many of your getting ready photo’s outside. This is also great if the hotel or getting ready room is smaller, and you have a ballgown dress. This will allow us to get more shots of the gown, and of you! When looking for a getting ready location, see if there are outdoor spaces you can use. This can include balconies or patios spaces. Just make sure they are not too crowded, so we can get details without people in the background.