Wedding Photography Advice | 7 Tips for the Best Pre-Ceremony Photos (and Video!)

Wedding photography and videography for a romantic outdoor wedding at the Lakeside Ranch in Inverness east of Orlando

When it comes to capturing the wedding day, pre-ceremony time is one of my favorites! The anticipation is building, emotions are running high and you are surrounded by some of the people that you love the most in the world! It’s kind of a big deal. The realization that you are about to get married starts to kick in hardcore and it’s AWESOME. 

I also love these photos because they are the one time during the day that you and your fiancé are separated. It’s so much fun for you to each be able to look back and see what the other was doing in the moments before you said ‘I do’. Some of the moments I love the most from my own wedding are of my husband and his groomsmen getting ready in our apartment. Namely a photo of his cousin shaving in his boxers by the kitchen sink using a CD as a mirror (Yes CD’s were still a thing when I got married in 2011)!

With that in mind, there are 7 tips to keep in mind to help ensure that your pre-ceremony photos and video are the best they can be! 

  1. Natural light is everything. When you are looking for a place to get ready, natural window light is the #1 most important consideration. When you arrive, make sure your hair and makeup artist positions you facing the window. And don’t be surprised if I arrive and turn off all the lamps and open the windows to get all that beautiful light streaming in!  
  2. Get ready close to each other. If you are able to get hotel rooms on separate floors, for example, it will allow us to bounce easily between both of your rooms to capture you both getting ready. You can also consider having one person get ready at home while the other gets ready at a hotel close to your home minimizing travel time for us between locations for optimal photo opps!
  3. Wear something cute while you get ready. Matching robes photograph beautifully as do button down collared shirts! You can even turn this into a wedding gift for your bridal party and get them embroidered. The important thing is that you’re not wearing something that has to go over your head as that may ruin your hair & makeup when you’re ready to get dressed. 
  4. Be photo ready by the time we arrive. Capturing concealer and contouring is only cute when you’re filming a makeup tutorial on YouTube. When we arrive everyone should have hair & makeup 99% ready and you just should be completing finishing touches like mascara and lipstick! Make sure to discuss this with your hair & makeup artist so they can plan accordingly. 
    Stunning blush champagne wedding dress by Stefan Jolie for Gaylord Palms wedding in Orlando
  5. Have your dress ready. Cut the tags off the dress, get rid of any cardboard or tissue paper it may have, and if you have a special dress hanger have that ready to go as well. If your wedding dress laces up in the back, pre-lace it! Not only will it photograph better, but it will save you valuable time when you are ready to get dressed. 
  6. Have all of your details in one place. Usually my brides have a tote box ready to go with details like their wedding shoes, jewelry, both wedding rings, the invitation suite and any other important details they want me to photograph. That way I can just grab it and go! I usually want to stage it somewhere away from where you are getting ready so this makes that super easy. 
  7. Make time to capture the moments. I typically recommend we arrive 1.5-2.5 hours before the ceremony start to capture you getting ready. If you are not staying close to each other we may need more time. It’s also important to account for travel time to your fiancé if needed or to your venue if you’re getting ready off site. Also if you are planning to do a gift exchange with your fiancé or if you want to present your wedding party with a gift we have to plan that into the timeline as well! Make sure to factor all of that in so we are not pressed for time.
    Bride getting ready for her wedding at Crystal Ballroom Veranda captured by top Orlando wedding photographer and videographer