Getting Ready Photos


What they can be and why you may want to include them

in your wedding photography coverage


When helping my clients with their timelines and helping them determine the hours of coverage for their wedding day I will ask if they want “Getting Ready Photos".  Often I hear a hesitation on their end, followed by a not so pleasant response of “no we don’t want “getting ready” photos. 

Unfortunately, the term "Getting Ready Photos" often gets misconstrued by couples and have gotten a bad rap.  This has only been reinforced by the many wedding planning sites, articles and blogs etc. Brides get visions of themselves in curlers, robes and slippers with make-up being put on all over their face.  “No, I don’t want photos of me looking like that.” they say.  But "Getting Ready Photos" don’t have to be anything like that as you will see below. 

Getting ready or as I like to call them "Bride Prep"/ "Groom Prep" photos provide photographic opportunities not available during any other part of your wedding.  Firstly, you are surrounded by the most intimate and closest of family and friends and separate from the hubbub of the crowds of the rest of your wedding.  This provides for a very different feel than most of your wedding providing for priceless moments and emotions shared with the ones you love the most. "Getting ready photos" can be arranged to include a wide array of photographic moments including, letter reading by the bride and groom, gift giving and exchanging,  first look with dad or mom or bridesmaids, a first touch, portraits of the bride and groom looking their best, portraits of the family, portraits of the bride and groom with their bridesmaids and groomsmen etc.   Wow all that during "getting ready photos". Have I peaked your interest?  I hope so.

Portraits of the Bride and Groom

Let’s start with what should be the obvious.  Portraits of the bride and groom respectively.  Not in robes, or curlers, or slippers but with make up complete and make up artists out of the room. With you looking your best,  in a beautiful wedding dress, or sharp tux before the wind, sun and heat have a chance to intervene.   Getting ready photos also start off telling the story of your wedding day.  They provide a good starting point and transition to the other parts of your wedding day.  
A great location for your getting ready photos can add so much to your photos and make for a totally different feel and look to your wedding photos. Connecticut has many historic inns, bed and breakfasts and wedding venues that make your wedding photos really stand out.  They can also be a great place to stay the night and make a mini honeymoon out of it.


Torringford Bed and Breakfast-Torrington, Connecticut



It is said that location is everything.  Though not 100 % true there is something to be said for this as location can really make your getting ready photos be that much more amazing.  Getting ready photos are usually done at a hotel, private residence, bridal suite, bed and breakfast or inn.  I recommend having them done in a nice space.  Believe me I have done them in less than desirable places such as locker rooms, attics I could not seen stand in, basements with flourescent lighting and outdoor shower/restrooms.  Please check out your getting ready location first to make sure there is enough room for photos, good natural light with a window and nice wall coverings and furniture, drapes etc.   


A beautiful and telling moment. A moment of reflection upon Hope's wedding ceremony and day ahead.

Shady Lawn Farm-Goshen, Connecticut


Bevin House Bed and Breakfast-East Hampton, Connecticut



Goodwin Hotel, Hartford, Connecticut

Bridal portraits of Kristen just before the wedding ceremony begins at the Madison Beach Hotel in Madison Connecticut Madison Beach Hotel-Madison, Connecticut


Groom Jeremy all ready for his wedding day. Way to go rock star! Farmington Country Club-Farmington, Connecticut

Birchwoods at Oak Lane-Woodbridge, Connecticut


Bluebird Farm-Willington, Connecticut


Farmington Country Club-Farmington, Connecticut


Private Residence-New Milford, Connecticut

The Waterview-Monroe Connecticut

Bride and Groom getting ready with Parents and maid of honor, best man and siblings 

Getting ready or "Bride/Groom" prep photos provide the opportunity for the exchange of emotions between the bride and her mother.  But can include a groom and his dad or mom a sibling and of course, the maid and honor and best man, all of whom take that role of helping the bride/groom get ready for their wedding day.


 Bride and mom Goodwin Hotel, Hartford, Connecticut

Dad helping his son Patrick get ready for his big wedding day!!

Groom and son, Private Residence, Torrington, Connecticut


Bride and daughter-Private Residence-New Milford, Connecticut


Bride, mother and sister-Bride's sisters house- Wolcott, Connecticut


Bride and her mom getting ready


Bride and maid of honor helping get ready-Madison Beach Hotel-Madison, Connecticut


Birchwoods at Oak Lane-Woodbridge, Connecticut



First Look with Father, Mother and Bridesmaids

Getting ready photos are the perfect time to include a "first look" with the father, mother, and bridal party. This can be done inside or outside.  This can lead to such tender moments between parent's and their children.  Below is a sequence of first look photos of Lauren and her father.  The photos share the feelings of that deep connection between a father and his daughter 





First Look and interactions bride and her father

Precious moment bride and her mother


Getting Ready Testimonial!!!

“I'm so happy that we decided to do some getting ready photos! I remember being on the fence about them These photos with my Mom and Dad are priceless to me. Thank you again, they came out so beautiful! And to think we had all met for the first time that day due to distance! You are certainly one of the best!”  Lauren P



First Look bride and her father-Birchwoods at Oak Lane-Woodbridge, Connecticut

First Look with bride's  grandfather-grandparent's house, Wolcott, Connecticut


First Look bride with bridesmaids-Heritage Hotel, Southbury, Connecticut


First look with bride and bridesmaid-Hilton Garden Inn, Wallingford/Meriden, Connecticut

Gift Exchange and Letter Reading

There can be no better way to prime the pump of love and start off the wedding day with exchanging gifts and reading letters that the bride and groom write to each other.  The tears start flowing and the feeling of love is tangible in the room.


Letter to the groom-Powder Ridge, Middlefield, Connecticut


Bride opening her gift for her getting ready shots at St. Clements Castle in Portland Connecticut

Bride reading letter-Saint Clements Castle, Portland, Connecticut

Groom Patrick getting ready, reading a letter from his wife to be Katelyn before their wedding ceremony

Groom reading letter-Parent's House, Torrington, Connnecticut


Bride reading groom's letter-Birchwoods at Oak Lane, Woodbridge, Connecticut


Groom reading  letter-Heritage Hotel, Southbury, Connecticut


Bride opening gift from her mom-Heritage Hotel, Southbury, Connecticut


Groom opens his gift from his bride with a smile-Private Residence-Woodbury, Connecticut



Bride reading letter from the groom-Hilton Garden Inn, Wallingford/Meriden, Connecticut


Bride opens up photo book gift of her and her fiance given by her bridesmaids



Portraits of the bride and groom with parents, siblings and wedding party

With the bridesmaids and groomsmen being present during the "getting ready photos" it is a great time to include them in the pictures either as a group or individually.  These are often the best and closest friends and this is great time to memorialize their friendship and love.  Also parents and siblings are often present at this time and is a great time to have professional photos taken of them. These photos can be either portrait or candid. 

Bride and her bridesmaids-Private Residence, Wolcott, Connecticut


Groom and groomsmen-Goodwind Hotel, Hartford, Connecticut


Bride and bridesmaids-Bluebird Farm, Willington, Connecticut


Bride and bridesmaids-Birchwoods at Oak Lane, Woodbridge, Connecticut


Bride and bridesmaid-Madison Beach Hotel, Madison, Connecticut


Groom and groomsmen at the groom room-Madison Beach Hotel, Madison, Connecticut


Bride and her mom sharing a candid moment-Private residence, Wolcott, Connecticut


Detail Photos 

"Getting ready photos" can often include many of the details that you have worked so hard to plan and purchase for your wedding day.  Many of them may have sentimental value or can be a family heirloom etc.  Detail photos can include but not be limited to: your wedding dress, veil, jewelry, rings, shoes, invitations and flowers.  This is a good time to photograph these items before the speed of the wedding picks up.  Then it is a lot harder to photograph them as the day goes on.  

Wedding rings and invitation for getting ready shotsWedding rings and invitation for getting ready shots
Wedding Bouquet, invitation and shoesWedding Bouquet, invitation and shoes


Hinkson 908.jpgHinkson 908.jpg

Wedding dress hanging and shoes at Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Connecticut



First Look and transition to portraits of the bride and groom and bridal party

Doing a "first look" after the getting ready photos is a great way for the bride and groom to have some intimate time together as well as transition into portraits of the bride and groom.  Doing this also gets your formal photos out of the way and frees up the cocktail hour  and later part of your wedding to enjoy and have lots of fun.  It can make for a wonderful relaxed flow to your wedding day as well as increase the time for your photos to provide more variety and settings.  I recommend about 30 minutes to 1 hour for getting ready photos and bride/groom portraits.  As mentioned, bridal party and family photos can be added onto this if you want all your portraits done before the ceremony for a more hands off and fun loving wedding experience.  I generally add 15 to 30 minutes each for the bridal party and family and stagger the times so people can show up without waiting.


First look photos at the Vyne Restaurant in Middlebury, ConnecticutFirst look photos at the Vyne Restaurant in Middlebury, Connecticut

First Look-Vyne Restaurant, Middlebury, Connecticut



First Look bride and groom at the Heritage Hotel Wedding in Southbury, ConnecticutFirst Look bride and groom at the Heritage Hotel Wedding in Southbury, Connecticut

First Look-Heritage Hotel, Southbury, Connecticut


First Look-Heritage Hotel, Southbury, Connecticut


Crystal Peak in Winstead, ConnecticutCrystal Peak in Winstead, Connecticut

Bride and groom portraits before the ceremony-Crystal Peak, Winstead, Connecticut


Outdoor portraits before the ceremony

Having portraits of the bridal party done before the ceremony can be a great way to free up your cocktail hour so you can enjoy it rather than having your photos taken at that time. It makes for a more relaxed and stress free wedding day with time to enjoy and have fun.  It allows for more artistic photos and it can also add a different location or variety to your wedding photos. I often will start off the wedding day with getting ready photos of the groom leading into portraits of the groom and groomsmen followed by getting ready photos of the bride followed by portraits of the bride and bridesmaids.  I add about 30 minutes for each of the wedding party for outdoor portraits following their getting ready photos.  

Bridesmaids portraits- Shady Lawn Farm, Goshen, Connecticut


Ryan and his groomsmen ready ready for the wedding ceremony at St. Clements Castle in Portland Connecticut Groom and groomsmen-Saint Clements Castle, Portland, Connecticut


Groom and groomsmen-Aria, Portland, Connecticut


Rustic Bridesmaids bridal party Wood Acre Farms, Terryville CTRustic Bridesmaids bridal party Wood Acre Farms, Terryville CT Bride and bridesmaids-Wood Acres Farm-Terryville, Connecticut


Timing of your getting ready photos

My standard "getting ready photos" bride prep photos is 1.5 hours for brides and 1 hour for grooms.  This time begins as mentioned after the make up is complete and the make up artists have left.  The time includes detail photos of the dress hanging, invitations, flowers, shoes, rings etc. as well as photos of the bride finishing up her dress, putting on jewelry, followed by portraits of the bride, family and bridesmaids.  From there time can be expanded to include robe shots (20 minutes) first look (20 minutes) Bridal party photos outside (30 minutes) first look and portraits of the bride and groom (1 hour).  Make up photos can also be added with additional time.


For more information on planning your wedding timeline visit my wedding planning website page


As you can see, getting ready photos can be a wonderful addition to your wedding day photos and wedding day.  So many special things can be added to capture this very intimate part of your wedding day.  Many couples don't know of the many possibilities that exist and the photos I can provide for this part of their wedding day.  Weddings should not be put into a box. Wedding planning assistance is included in all my packages where I will sit down with the couples I work with and plan out their wedding day to make it be special to their needs, personality and style.  I love building a wedding day from scratch to create out of the box timelines that make for relaxed, stress free, fun and creative wedding day flow with photos that eco who you both are as a couple.  I look forward to helping plan and capture the magic moments of your wedding day. 


In Light,

John Munno