Where should I get ready?

Photography by Caitlyn Nikula Photography

When planning your wedding you are probably the most detailed orientated person out there.  You have binders full of table settings, guest lists, registries and color theme’s.  When it comes to your wedding you know exactly how the day is going to go,  how long your ceremony will be and what time your dinner will start.  The detail that often gets overlooked is where you will get ready and how long it will take to get ready.  Believe it or not makeup artists and hair stylists need about 45 minutes per person… I know shocker.  So where will you get ready?  This blog will explain all of your getting ready location options so you can best determine what will work best for you.

Photography by John Curry Photography

1st option: Your Venue

Your first obvious choice will be your venue.  I am not going to lie I love working at venues it is easier to get ready at the location you will be getting married at.  Here is the hitch most venues don’t open until 11 am or 12 pm, if you have a large bridal party than getting ready at 11 am or 12 pm will probably not be the best option for you.  In my experience your venue opens at 11 am or 12 pm, your pictures start at 1:00 pm or 2:00 pm and your ceremony starts at around 4:00 pm.  2 or 3 hours is not enough time to get you all ready unless you have a bridal party or 2 to 4 people, anything larger and you run the risk of being late.  

Some venues do give you the option of buying extra hours in the morning, which is wonderful and I think it is well worth the money and something to consider seriously.


2nd option:  Somebody’s house

Getting ready at your house, your family member or friends house brings a certain level of comfort and coziness.  Usually my bridal parties get an opportunity to spend the night at the house so everyone is at the same location together.  There is a familiarity there that you can’t get anywhere else.  Usually breakfast is cooking, mimosa’s are flowing and laughter is heard everywhere.  There is no awkwardness of trying to find things or figure out where move things.  This is my second favorite getting ready location.  I love when all the girls are in one place and I don’t have to wait for people to show up.  We also can start earlier and not worry about what time the venue opens.  Usually my bride has people there setting things up and the bridal party is listening to music and enjoying their morning getting pampered.  As long as the house is close this is a great option.

Photography by Fyrelight Photography

3rd Option: A Hotel

A hotel is a great option if you are close to your venue.  Usually your whole bridal party is staying the night with you.  I am going to be honest from a makeup artist standpoint this is my least favorite location to get you ready.  There are not enough tables for food, drinks and our equipment.  Usually your bridal party is staying in multiple rooms and it gets a little chaotic.  This is a great option if you have people in your bridal party that are from out of state and you can’t get to your venue until the afternoon.


4th Option: Air BnB

I have gotten bridal parties ready at a lot of Air BnB’s.  I really like it, it is more comfortable than a hotel.  The only problem is if you have a large party and not enough rooms people stay at hotels so just make sure your bridal party is close by if they do stay in a hotel.  This is a great option if you can’t get to your venue early.

Photography by G Squared Photography

5th Option: Your stylist’s location

I have had full bridal parties get ready at my in home studio or kitchen.  I work from my house so it is a little more homey than a salon.  Here is why this is a great option usually bride’s choose vendors close to your venue so your travel time will not be long.  Also we have all of our equipment at our studio so i am not going to lie it is nice to not have to pack up and travel, I love traveling but when I get an opportunity to work from home it is nice.  Also I can start earlier being able to work from my in home studio.

Photography by Simple Light Photography

I hope that you found this blog post helpful.  When choosing a getting ready location you have to think about a few things time you can start, how many people need to get ready, what time your photos and ceremony are?  This was a fun post to write and stay tuned for next week.


Let’s hear from a photographer

I am so excited about today’s blog post it is all about one of my friends, fellow wedding vendor and a brilliant photographer.  We get to hear from Kali Lu Photography.  I met Kali a few years ago at a work party her husband and my husband are coworkers, we got to talking and found out we both work in the wedding industry and hit it off.  One of the things I love about Kali is her heart, this woman has the biggest giving heart.  She is a wife, mother, a nurse and a photographer.  She wears so many hats and juggles everything beautifully.  Alright enough gushing let’s get on to the interview.


1) Tell me a little bit about how you got your start and what you love about photography?

I can remember sitting cross legged when I was around 10 staring up at pictures that were projected through slides that my dad took when he lived in England.  He used an old 35mm camera.  I was mesmerized by the beauty and emotion the pictures gave off, right then and there I knew I wanted to learn to take pictures.  I took middle school and high school photography and shot my first wedding while I was in Nursing school.  It was one of my classmates sister’s.  That was 10 years ago and they paid me $100 for the whole wedding!  Since then I have gained a lot of experience though second shooting for other photographers, attending workshops and teaching myself a lot by using the amazing interwebs. When film started becoming popular again I immediately added it to my arsenal it was easy for me because that was how I originally learned photography.  I currently shoot a mix of digital and film and continue to learn and study the art of photography. 


2) What makes you stand out to your clients and different from other photographers?

First, that I shoot with real film.  I think this is unique and has a look and feel that can not be duplicated with just shooting digital.  Two other reasons I stand out is because I genuinely love my wedding couples.  By nature I am a caretaker, my other occupation is a nurse and I am second oldest raised in a big family.  Loving and caring for others is part of me and I do this with my wedding couples.  I really talk and listen to them and what their needs are for their wedding.  I get to know them and after the wedding is over I have made some of the most amazing friends.  Last but not least I stand out by experience.  I have been shooting a long time…10 years and although this makes me feel old this also makes me experienced and knowledgeable.  Experience is something that can not be told or taught it is something that has to be lived.  


3) What are some tips you can give brides when figuring out the photography process for their wedding day?

My top three tips are be concerned about lighting, trust your photographer and enjoy your wedding day. Lighting is one of the most important factors for getting beautiful wedding images.  I would highly suggest allowing time for bride and groom shots during the golden hour (during or right before sunset). So much time and preparation is put into your hair, make up and the dress so getting just the right lighting to show these off is essential.  Trust your photographer.  You hired a professional for a reason we know how to manipulate the camera and lighting, we know what poses work, we know where to place you, we have done this before. It will put your mind at ease if you can realize that putting your faith and trust in your photographer will give you the best results.  Enjoy your wedding day, the more natural and happy you are the more it will shine through into your pictures.  Relax and have the best day of your life. 



4) How far in advance should a client book you and what is your process?

Ideally it is best to book one to two years in advance.  If your wedding is off season (not during May-August) you have a much better chance of your date being open.  I understand every wedding is different and I will book weddings that are less than a year out as well.  The process of booking with me is pretty simple.  If I have your wedding date open I let you know, we talk over the phone or meet in person to make sure we would be a good fit and go over the package and what it includes.  If we both feel good about each other then we both sign my Terms and Agreement form.  I ask for a $500 deposit and then the day if officially booked. 



Kali is such an amazing photographer and I am so excited that I got to feature her on my blog this month.  What I love about her style is it is so light and airy and that she uses film.  To learn more about Kali please go here.  Next weeks blog post is going to be a fun one so stay tuned.


Should I do a first look?

Photography by Autumn L. Rudolph Photography

Should you do a first look?  It is a totally personal decision based on what you and your soon to be husband desire for your wedding day.  It is okay to go either way.  I am not a photographer by any means but I can tell you in all the 100+ weddings I have done I love when couples get a chance to do a first look.  Today’s post is going to be all about the pros and con’s to a first look.  



Photography by Shane Welch Photography

Pro:  You get to spend a few minutes with your future spouse alone before all your guests eyes are on you.  Getting married in front of a lot people even if they are your friends and family is nerve wracking.  You are going to be a bundle of nerves anyway without everybody staring at you, so having a few minutes alone with your future spouse can be helpful to calm those nerves.


Con:  You don’t get that grand entrance where your spouse sees you for the first time walking down the aisle.  I am not going to lie having that moment where your spouse sees you for the first time is a huge moment for you as a couple.  It is like everyone there melts away as a background and it is just the two of you for a minute.  


Photography by Logan Westom Photography

Pro: Usually you give your spouse a small gift.  I have had couples write each other letters.  I have had couples give each other images or small tokens.  These are very heartfelt moments that your photographer get to capture again before your guests and everyone arrive.  I love seeing what my brides have come up with to give their spouse.


Con:  If you don’t do a first look you have to find time after the ceremony to give each other gifts or do it a different day.  It will still be 100% heartfelt but you will just have to plan around your ceremony.


Photography by Julianna J. Photography

Pro: Your timeline runs more smoothly because you don’t have to wait to do formal pictures after the ceremony.  Getting formals done before the ceremony just makes everything easier for you, your guests and your photographer.


Con: Not doing formal pictures before your wedding means your guests have to wait after the ceremony to start the reception.  A good option for you if you decide to not do a first look is to make sure you have things for your guests to eat, drink and do while they wait for you guys to do your pictures.  This will help your reception run smoothly.


Photography by Autumn L. Rudolph Photography

Please as with all my blog posts remember that your wedding is your wedding and you choose what is best for you and your partner.  Nothing else matters except your happiness on your wedding day.  This month is going to be all about makeup and photography.  I can’t wait to share with you what I have happening next week.