Choosing Your Wedding Prep Location

With everything you need to take care of when planning a wedding, one of the things often overlooked is the preparation location. Or maybe it’s not overlooked, but perhaps not thought of from a photography perspective. The photos taken of you and your bridal party getting ready for your wedding are sure to be special. After all, they’re photojournalistic in nature, capturing real emotion and all the joys to come.

We have photographed brides getting ready in expansive hotel suites, cozy childhood bedrooms, and charming New England farmhouses. Here in Virginia, there are endless options for choosing a location to get ready for your wedding day. Many vineyard and farm venues offer bridal suites that have been customized specifically for brides and/or grooms to get ready.  However, if you are getting married in a separate location (such as a church), you won’t benefit as much from the aforementioned suites. So it’s back to the drawing board.  We’re here to shed a little light on what you should look for when choosing a wedding prep location.

In a hotel room after dark, we have photographed the getting ready process using our flash, much to the surprise of the bride who thought the room was going to be too dark for the photos to come out.  So yes, without natural light, it can be done, and the photos look great. But nothing can beat the overall look of natural light streaming in through large windows. No matter what location you choose, with just one large window in the prep area, we are able to create beautiful photos of the bridal party getting ready. Of course, the more windows, the better!



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Simplicity and Cleanliness
Without fail, a clean and simple palette is wonderful for bridal prep. Neutral colors create great backdrops for bridal portraits, and by having little clutter around, there are less distractions to deal with when composing a photo. Neutral colors reflect light softly, making for wonderful photos.

kelly-getting-ready-159scirotto_blogged-103phoenix-prepping-143Unique Style
On the other side of the spectrum, there are unique spaces for bridal prep that offer so much more than neutral walls. We love it when your location has unique decor that we can incorporate into your getting ready photos. Bed and breakfasts and inns will often have interesting pieces that can be used for styling your details, and bonus if there is antique furniture for some of your portraits. For modern couples, hip boutique hotels may offer decor that fits your style.


For the sake of your bridal party and your photographers, the more space you have, the better! Photographing a bride getting ready in a teeny, tiny room is difficult to do while also attempting to stay out of the way of four other girls trying to get ready. Believe it or not, bridesmaids sometimes get just as nervous as the bride, and being cramped into a tiny room to prep may only heighten the feeling.

phoenix-prepping-167 getting_ready_052Access to Outdoors
Not a must, but certainly appreciated! We take many bridal headshot-style portraits inside the getting ready space, as the lighting is more directional and dynamic. However when it’s time to take full-length bridals and bridal party photos, we love having a space outdoors to use! This is also helpful when photographing your details, as it gives us more opportunity to get creative in our styling.



Above all, if there is a location that is sentimental to you, forget everything else. It’s your wedding day, and if you’ve always dreamed of putting your wedding dress on in your childhood bedroom, then you should do it. Because how sweet are the photos of Jess below?


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