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Approved Photographer Tips for Getting Ready on Wedding Day

10 Photographer-Approved Tips for Getting Ready on Your Wedding Day

After you’ve said “yes” to your lifetime partner, booked your wedding venue and locked down all the other important details for your big day, you may be wondering, what’s next? I bet you haven’t given much thought to how your emotions, actions, timing, and other details on the actual wedding day can make or break it. Well, as a wedding photographer, I’ve been to A LOT of weddings (over 150 actually). I could tell you exactly how the rest of the day is going to go just by walking into the bridal suite. No really, I can! Trust me when I say that when I walk into a room full of panic or chaos, it will continue to feed into the rest of the day. On the flip side, if I walk into a ’90s dance party paired with laughter, the day is going to turn out friggin’ epic. This is just one example of what I’ve taken notice of throughout my seven years as a professional Knoxville wedding photographer.

Lucky for you, I like to share! I want to pass on Ten Photographer-Approved Tips for getting ready on your wedding day. Hopefully, these tips will lead to a happier and more “picture perfect” day for you and your partner.

Approved Photographer Tips for Getting Ready on Wedding Day
View this Chic Light Pink and Navy Blue Wedding

1. Freaking Enjoy It!

Remember, the most important part of your wedding day is that THIS IS YOUR DAY! It’s yours. All yours. Your family and friends are all here celebrating you, your fiance, and the love you share in this world. Yes, I know that sounds really cheesy, but it’s the truth. Life is always going to be full of ups and downs. It’s never perfect, so don’t stress about every little detail on your wedding day. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to go with the flow. Because you can’t get this day back. If you enjoy having a drink, go ahead and have a mimosa or two! Just a reminder to enjoy responsibly. We don’t need a dumpster fire.

2. Stick to a Solid Hair and Makeup Timeline

A lot of times brides underestimate the time it will take to get not only their hair and makeup done, but for all the other bridesmaids too. Depending on how many bridesmaids, this can end up taking much longer than you originally planned. In fact, from my experience, hair and makeup is the number one thing that can push a timeline back! That’s how important it is ladies. You don’t want to have to cut into your photography time because you’re waiting for Sally’s hair to curl.

Just to show how important the hair and make-up part of your day is, we reached out to our friends at Southern Belle Beauty for some tips! As professional and licensed cosmetologists, they suggested that brides estimate one full hour for their hair and one full hour for their makeup. For the bridesmaids? The Knox Babe Tribe recommends 45 minutes for each service. The recommend to the bride and to the bridesmaids a few extra tips: make sure that you don’t party too hard the night before the wedding. Showing up late to your appointment for hair and makeup is definitely a bad start to the day. But, if you and your friends get done earlier than planned you will have time to take a breather, pop some champagne, take photos, or reminisce on funny college stories.

Approved Photographer Tips for Getting Ready on Wedding Day
View this Classic Meets Adventure Wedding

3. A Messy Room Will Kill Your Photos

Food trays. Red Solo cups. Dress steamers. It’s all there. A wedding day is rush of momentum and raw emotions. The wake of that excitement can be detrimental to your photos. One of the hardest things about a wedding day is physically maneuvering around a bridal room. And we usually take a few minutes to move these items out of the way. But let’s talk about the photos that happen in this room. Messy rooms can make photos feel…distracting. A clean space goes a long way in minimizing the mess, while keeping the attention on the emotion, the moments, and the people in the photos.

So, what’s the solution? Ask your family, friends, and bridal party to be conscious of their stuff! No biggie! It’s such a big help to keep your “getting ready” room in some sort of decent shape. Think of it as a friend coming over for a quick stop-by, and you shove everything into one room. I mean, we all do it. Do your best to keep your bridal suite as clean and tidy as possible. I’ll be snapping a few pictures in here as you finish your hair and makeup.

One last note on the mess room. It is also important to keep a clean space in the room where you will actually be putting on your dress clean. We will be moving around in this room as well, and we want ALL the angles of your getting into your dress. I mean, you have spent a lot of time planning for this moment, so let’s make the best of it!

Approved Photographer Tips for Getting Ready on Wedding Day

4. Find the Light! Light! Light!

Oh, one more thing! The room where you will be putting on your dress should ideally have lots of natural light to ensure superior photographs. I recognize that some venues may not have that as an option, but if it’s available then we will take it! The more natural light the better.

The best conditions for lighting would be a room with large windows and enough light coming in through the windows to light the room evenly with the lights off. This is why I recommend taking some time to review your options for your getting-ready space. Think about using your own home if it has great natural light, renting a cute Airbnb, or getting ready at a cozy bed and breakfast. One of the hardest places to photograph getting ready photos? Surprisingly, instead of stuffy hotel rooms. Hotels are great, seriously, but they come with a few pitfalls: no-smoking signs, sprinklers, and questionable chairs and carpet choices. And very few places to actually hand a dress. No joke!

The type of light that you want to avoid: Anything with mixed light (daylight + mostly orange tungsten bulbs, tungsten + fluorescent lights, daylight + fluorescent light, etc). It’s hard to see with the naked eye, but in photos, it can lead to odd skin colors. Churches often provide rooms to get ready in, but it’s generally a good idea to look at the space before deciding to get ready there. Often the “getting ready room” ends up being a classroom with bright colored walls and fluorescent lighting. If you take anything away from this, just know that florescent lighting is not the most flattering light (and it flickers, which causes banding). As professional photographers, we understand how to compensate for these lighting obstacles, but giving the light a second thought will lead to better photos.

5. Keep Wedding Details Easily Accessible

This tip will help not only me but also you since I won’t have to ask you where things are. Having all of your key essentials in one place makes it easy for me to swoop in the room, access the items, and get to shooting! I mean, that is what you paid me for! Keep your dress on the hanger so I can find it easily and photograph it. Place your engagement/wedding rings and any photoshoot details (flowers, heirlooms, accessories, etc.) together (usually in your shoebox). Anything you wish to have photographed in the room should be all in one place and simple to find. Once I am finished, I can easily return the items back to the places they belong to! Easy peasy!

Knoxville Antique Wedding Erin Morrison Photography
View this Antique Wedding with Honeycomb Bells

6. Bouquet Location is Key

Let’s be real, you have spent a lot of money on your bouquet. It is definitely one of the most utilized details you will have on your wedding day. Ideally, you will want your bouquets at the place where you will be getting ready. After you and your bridesmaids are ready for pictures, we will be doing a lot of shooting involving the bouquet. This includes bridal portraits, a first look with dad and/or your partner, and the entire bridal party. It’s a must-have.

7. Limit Time with Stressful People

Yes, we are going to talk about this. There may be certain individuals coming to your wedding that you simply could not take off the guest list. Whether it’s a childhood friend, neighbor, parent’s friend, or even your new mother-in-law, make sure to limit the time and interaction you spend with them if they cause you stress. There is no rule that says you have to interact with them for a set amount of time. And I really do say that with all of the love in the world. There are just some that will cause your stress levels to increase. It’s as simple as that. Again, it’s YOUR wedding day and you don’t have to deal with anyone you don’t particularly want to see.

bride getting into wedding dress

8. Your Groom is Totally Fine

To the ladies who are marrying a man, this one is for you. Keep in mind that you are getting married to a fully functioning adult. He will be fine! Don’t waste a minute of your wedding day wondering if he got his tux ready, if his hair looks decent, or if his socks match. He’s capable of doing all of these things on his own and he will be okay without you for a few hours. Nuff said.

9. EAT!

People. EAT! I really can’t say this enough. Your wedding day is going to be a whirlwind, and you will be surprised at how worn out you will get. Usually, the tired feeling hits right after the ceremony. And before you know it, you’re sitting down on some steps chugging a coke or a glass of alcohol. Or, you have full-fledged passed out. Yes, it has happened. Don’t let this be you! I promise you will fit into your wedding day attire if you sit down and pop that Subway sandwich in your mouth.

10. Let It Goooooooo

As I’ve mentioned earlier, life is not perfect! Let me repeat: Life. Is. Not. Perfect. Your wedding day is not going to be “perfect” as well. If a button snaps, a drink spills, or your dress gets snagged, let it go. There are bigger things to worry about in the world, like the fact that you are about to make a lifelong commitment to another human. Take a deep breath and forget those little things even happened. Unless you’re about to walk down the aisle naked, everything else is really no big deal. A lot of brides have “wedspectations,” and it may seem if one tiny detail goes haywire the whole wedding will go wrong. This is where you have to get out of your own brain. Worrying about one minor detail could have the potential to ruin your whole mindset for a day that you will never get back. Do NOT let this happen to you. Everything is going to be okay.

Knoxville Photographer Erin Morrison

My ultimate wish for you is to have a day filled with love and incredible moments. From the makeup to the dance floor, I’ll capture all the candid and real memories that will last a lifetime. If you’re looking for a professional wedding photographer in Knoxville, please explore my portfolio and contact me for my services! I would love to be a part of your wedding day!


Natural light + honest photographer for all humans.


Knoxville, Tennessee



Office Hours: M-F 8am-5pm | S-S 12pm-5pm

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