The Importance of Wedding “Getting Ready” Photos

bride getting wedding dress put on

Post Summary: If you’ve heard the term “getting ready photos” thrown around ever since you began wedding planning, you might not have known what that even means, or why they matter. That’s exactly what I’m here to walk you through today! I’ll be explaining what the heck they are, why I believe they’re a super important part of your special day, common concerns couples often have, and how to make yours unique + personal to you. Get ready! (pun intended)

groom getting boutonniere fitted

What are “Getting Ready” Photos?

“Getting ready photos” – noun: photos taken while a couple gets ready on the morning of their elopement or wedding day.

Like I mentioned above with my little made-up dictionary definition, getting ready photos are simply photos that are taken while you’re getting ready for your elopement or wedding day. They’re typically taken in the morning, as you get your elopement attire on, do your hair/makeup, and spend time with your loved ones. 

Here’s a myth I bet you’ve heard at some point on your elopement-planning journey: you have to get ready separately from your partner so they don’t see you before you walk down the aisle.

FALSE! You absolutely can get ready separately if that’s what will mean the most to you, and feels right to the both of you, but by no means is it a hard & fast rule. If you want to spend your entire day together, from start to finish, you can totally, 100% get ready together/in the same room. This can be a really special, private time if you don’t have any guests, or your guests aren’t arriving until your ceremony. You can help each other get your outfits/accessories on, and spend some quiet, meaningful time together before you say your vows.

If you want to see each other before your ceremony,  but don’t necessarily want to get ready together, check out my blog post with 5 Reasons Why You Should Do a First Look On Your Elopement Day!

Now that you understand what getting ready photos are, why is it so important to have your photographer arrive early enough to document them? 

bride with wedding party getting ready

Common Concerns Around “Getting Ready” Wedding Photos

First, let’s address some concerns or worries that eloping couples often have when it comes to getting ready photos.

It can feel “cheesy,” “weird,” forced

I’ve definitely talked to couples before who are worried that if they have their photographer there while they get ready, they might feel weird, and they don’t want to be forced to do anything (e.g. “pretend to put your dress on again so I can grab that shot!” or “can you zip up your jacket a few times and smile like this?”).

I will never pose or direct you in a way that feels unnatural to you, so right off the bat, know that that won’t be your experience with me. I do help position you in the most flattering lighting, and sometimes I might ask you to shift just slightly to the left to make sure you look your best, but I’ll never force you to do anything cheesy or weird!

In fact, I actually think that getting ready in the morning is probably one of the most natural, candid parts of elopement & wedding days, since you’re just doing what you do in your normal life – getting ready for the day (except with a little extra glam, of course). It’s a part of the day that you can keep private, without any guests if you’d like to, and you can do whatever will make you both feel the most relaxed, at ease, and excited for the rest of the day. There’s no official stuff happening like there will be during your ceremony, so you can just let the morning flow as it naturally would.

bride and wedding party smiling

It doesn’t seem like much will be happening

You might think that it doesn’t seem like much will really happen in the morning – you’ll just be changing your clothes, doing your hair & makeup, putting your shoes on, etc. But that’s the beauty of it! You’re spending time just being with the people you love, whether it’s your guests or your partner – or both. Nothing crazy or unique has to happen to make you deserving of getting ready photos; it’s so much more beautiful to document you in your natural state, feeling all the feelings of the day and letting it all sink in.

bride getting wedding dress put on

There aren’t enough “details” to make it worth it

When you think getting ready photos, do you also think detail photos? Many couples associate getting ready photos with photos of the details of their day: jewelry, shoes, ties, veils, photos, decor, rings, stationery, etc. And then they think that if their elopement or wedding doesn’t involve many intricate “details,” then it’s not worth photographing that portion of the day. However, that is SO not the case! Your elopement doesn’t need to look like it was ripped out of Brides magazine or copied from a celebrity’s wedding Pinterest board for it to be deserving of being photographed. Whatever details you do or do not have at your elopement will be there intentionally – you made a choice to incorporate them into your day. So that automatically makes them “worth” photographing!

vow books and jewelry

You want more time for hiking/adventuring

Just because you spend time getting ready in the morning does NOT mean you’ll have less time for hiking/adventuring! We can absolutely create your timeline in a way that allows you to have a slow morning and an exciting afternoon/evening of exploring & celebrating. You don’t have to choose one or the other! This is why I also recommend booking all-day coverage, or even planning a multi-day elopement – I want you to be able to fit EVERYTHING into your special day(s) that you want to!

bride getting decorative comb put in hair

It doesn’t feel “important” enough

Well that’s just silly, because clearly I wrote an entire blog post for you about why getting ready photos ARE so important 😉 Let’s just move on to the next section already so we can bust this myth ASAP!

bride getting dress put on

Why “Getting Ready” Photos Are So Important

You deserve to have your whole story told

When creating elopement timelines, most couples ax getting ready photos first if they need to choose between parts of the day to be photographed. You may feel like you can just skip these, but you shouldn’t! It’s important to tell the story of your elopement as a whole, rather than just a piece of it, because the beauty of your elopement is in the process (the entire day), not just the end result (your legal marriage after your ceremony). 

Experiencing your elopement day as a whole, and getting to reflect back on the day as a whole when you look through photos, is so much more special than just focusing on the “important”/”official” parts of the day. You wouldn’t just skip to the ending of a movie or a book – and it should be the same with your elopement day! 

groom getting tie tied by wedding party

Your time getting ready sets the tone for the day

Because you get ready in the morning, before anything else really happens, your time getting ready will set the tone for the day! You’ll be feeling alllll the feelings and can create really beautiful, meaningful moments with your loved ones that lead up to the ceremony later in the day, and that is so special to have captured. When you spend this time being super present in the moment with your loved ones, taking in all the emotions, it’ll really set the mood for the whole rest of the day and make it all the more magical. You’ll get to soak in each moment and how much this day really means.

And if you want to think about it in terms of your wedding album that you’ll keep on your coffee table for years to come, starting your album with your ceremony won’t accurately tell the story of the experience you had!

If you’re not sure yet whether or not you want a wedding album, or to even print your photos after your big day, I’d recommend reading this blog post with 6 Reasons to Print Your Photos. It’ll give you some insight into why it’s so important to have physical copies of your elopement photos once the day is done, and I’m sure you’ll now be able to understand why you’ll want your getting ready photos to be included!

bride getting wedding dress put on

All the little moments with your loved ones will be documented

Finally, having your photographer take getting ready photos will ensure that all the little moments with your loved ones are documented.

If you’re getting ready separately, photos are the only way you’ll see what it looked & felt like for your partner.

If you’re getting ready together, it’s a way to have an intentional, intimate, and beautiful glimpse into your relationship.

And if you’ll have guests with you while you get ready, your photographer can document all the little interactions & special moments with your loved ones in a candid, natural way. Just imagine your mom helping you put your dress on, your grandparents seeing you for the first time, or your best friends setting up the table for brunch – these are such special moments you’ll absolutely want to be able to look back on.

wedding party reacting to bride in wedding dress

Unique Ways to “Get Ready” for Your Elopement or Wedding

Now that you’ve got a better idea of why getting ready photos are so important, how about we find some fun, unique ways to actually “get ready?”

With most traditional weddings, “getting ready” involves the guys drinking whiskey and playing pool, & the gals in silk robes drinking mimosas. If you want to do this, absolutely go for it – but know that there’s more than one way to “get ready” that can be more special + meaningful to you!

Ask yourselves what kind of activities you either a) really love to do together, and/or b) would love to experience for the first time together. You can incorporate these activities into the getting ready part of your day, or into other parts of your timeline!

Here are a few fun ideas of activities you can plan to get your creative juices flowing!

Outdoor activity ideas for the morning of your elopement/wedding:

  • Hammock together 
  • Stargazing
  • Paddle board
  • Hot air balloon 
  • Ride bikes
wedding party sitting together

Indoor activity ideas for the morning of your elopement/wedding:

  • Take a bubble bath together
  • Do yoga
  • Help each other get dressed
  • Write vows together in special books
  • Cook breakfast + sip coffee together on the porch
jewelry and cologne

Why It’s Important to Hire the Right Photographer

Before I wrap this up, let’s talk real quick about why it’s so important to hire the right photographer to document your time getting ready for your elopement.

My role is so much more than just a photographer: it’s an intentional experience-creator. My job is to create an experience for you that, from the beginning of the day to the end, celebrates the transition from dating to marriage & all the beautiful moments in-between. Getting ready photos don’t have to be cheesy, posed, or forced – they’re about the little moments and emotions that are happening organically; moments that you will cherish 20 years from now.

Take the time to remember all those little moments – I promise you won’t regret it, and I would be so honored to come document them for you so that you can focus on being fully, completely present. 


In order to make your dream elopement day happen, it's super important that we connect and that you feel comfortable with me! The best way to do this is to reach out and schedule a call so you can learn more about me and I can learn about you two so i can document what's real + the most important to you.

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