Capturing every little moment of a couple’s day is one of the things I really love about wedding photography. Those shots of the bride and her friends and family getting ready are among my favourites. So I have put together 15 top tips for getting the very best bridal preparation pictures.

bridal preparation pictures

It’s all in the preparation

A little bit of planning will ensure that you get the best bridal preparation photos! On the morning of the wedding there is so much excitement and a lot going on, so we suggest getting everything ready well in advance. Have a think about what pictures you would like captured, our featured weddings are a great place to start. We have lots of images from real weddings to help you figure out what pictures are most important to you. If you have a few shots you know you want then let us know by putting them down on our booking form. This could be a picture of you receiving a card from your husband to be or making sure you capture a portrait of you and your mum.

Colshaw Hall wedding

Buy matching dressing gowns

This is one of the little things you might miss amid all the other wedding preparations, but it’s a great touch that looks brilliant in the pictures from your big day. Not only that, but it’s a lovely thank you gift for your bridal party that they will be able to keep for years to come. Matching dressing gowns are a great way to get everyone feeling special!

bridal preparation matching dressing gowns mottram hallTips for the best bridal preparation photos

The ‘big reveal’

Make sure to allow your photographer to capture the reactions of friends and family seeing you in your dress for the very first time. These pictures will evoke fantastic memories from the day. Also, these pictures will remind you exactly how you felt during this emotional and exciting time.

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Buy gifts for your bridesmaids

It is traditional to purchase gifts for your bridal party as a thank you for their support on your big day. Lucky for you, these also provide great opportunities for some great wedding photos too! Jewellery or earrings are great ideas for the girls as they can wear these on the day – and your photographer will be able to get some lovely shots of them getting ready. For the boys, cufflinks are a good choice. Why not go the extra mile and pop your gifts in a personalised box? These little touches are sure to make your bridal party feel special and included in the day.

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Get into your dress early

So many brides get into their wedding dress just before they leave for the ceremony. If you can get ready 15-30 minutes before you need to leave, this allows some extra time for pictures before the ceremony – and give you some time to breathe in case anything doesn’t go quite to plan! Or you can use this time to arrive at your ceremony venue and capture some photos upon arrival.

Wedding dress

Keep the room tidy

While keeping the place tidy may be the furthest thing from your mind, doing so will ensure that you get the very best from your wedding photos. Wedding photographers love clean backgrounds for their shots so they can focus on you! It’s so much easier to move a carrier bag out of the way than Photoshop-ing it out afterwards.

Wedding makeup

Hang your dress

If you have space, hang your dress somewhere nice before you are ready to put it on. That way, your photographer can get shots of the bridal preparations with the dress in the background. This really helps to tell the story and gives context to the photos. Plus, it’s nicer than just a shot of the dress on its own. You can also pop the dress on a beautiful personalised hanger!

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The little details

If you particularly want pictures of your bridal shoes, jewellery, bridesmaids dresses, rings, or anything else, then make sure to have them ready for your photographer. These are shots they will want to get early on – leaving you time for the all-important pre-wedding preparations. You wouldn’t want to miss capturing your Dad’s reaction to seeing you in your dress just to get a picture of your shoes!

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Consider the location

If you don’t want to get ready at home or your wedding venue has limited space, then consider booking a separate venue or hotel just for the morning preparation. For instance, many brides that get married at Manchester Town Hall will get ready at the nearby Midland Hotel.

Another cute idea for a country wedding is to book somewhere like the beautiful Curlew Cottage in Knutsford.

bridal preparation tips

Ask your photographer to arrive early

Many brides worry about being photographed with no make-up on and ask their photographer to only capture half an hour of preparations. This isn’t long enough to get really beautiful pictures. Particularly if you want detail shots of your dress, shoes and ring.

When photographing weddings I always like to arrive nice and early. That’s why my wedding photography packages include full day coverage as standard. Anything else is just a compromise! This allows me to meet everybody before I start taking pictures, which helps everyone to relax. I can also check the lighting and find the best angles for when those special moments start happening. Also, I don’t really do close-up mascara shots; I much prefer storytelling images that capture the atmosphere and excitement of the morning.

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Boys first! 

If you want pictures of the groom getting ready then it’s best for your photographer to go to them first – that way, they won’t miss some of the best bits with the bridal party. As the excitement builds, bouquets arrive and your friends and family see you in your dress for the first time, that’s where you want your photographer. Or if possible, both get ready at your wedding venue as that way your photographer can switch between rooms easily.

Alternatively, your photographer can meet the guys prior to the ceremony for some photographs.

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Don’t forget the little ones!

Page boys and flower girls are the cutest. Make the most off having a professional photographer around and get some amazing photos of the little ones for the family album.

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Leave a note

Most of my couples will leave each other a special note for their partner to read in the morning. Weddings are so much work to organise that often when the day gets here brides are thinking about everything but the important stuff. A nice note is a great way to bring the focus back to what the day is about.

Make sure you open it when your photographer is around, the moment makes such wonderful images.

Photo of groom emotional on wedding daygroom preparation

 Set up by a window

Light, light, light! One of the most important elements for amazing images is natural light. The best way to get natural light is by placing yourself near a light source. Ask your hair and makeup team to set up by a window and your pictures will be all the better for it. Choosing a dark corner to do your makeup won’t be ideal for the make up artist or your photographer. If you choose to get ready in your wedding venues bridal suite there should be a nice bright space for this. However if you choose to get ready at home think before hand which room has the most natural light as well as plenty of space.

best bridal preparation pictures

Book a hair & makeup artist 

You only get married once, treat yourself to some top-notch hair and makeup. This is your chance to feel like a celebrity for the day. Plus the results are going to last a lot longer than what you would do yourself.

Over the years I have been lucky enough to work with some very talented individuals. Here are some of the fantastic people I recommend:

Sarah Meredith –

Flossy & Leigh –

Jodie A Smith –

Sonara Parker –

Lauren Shaw –

Lucinka Hodnett –

View our full list of recommended Manchester wedding suppliers for more advice.

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 Have fun!

By far the most important thing on your wedding day is to have fun! Get some bubbly flowing, enjoy getting pampered and look forward to the most special day of your life! Natural pictures are by far the best. Just relax and let the morning flow naturally.

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Manchester Wedding Photographer

Shane Webber is a Manchester wedding photographer specialising in beautiful natural images. He has been working in the wedding industry for 8 years and has had his photography work featured in a number of publications.

If you are getting married and like Shane’s wedding photography style, it would be great to hear from you.


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