In terms of beautiful spaces and locations, don't only think about your ceremony and reception venue, but also your preparation location! Choosing to do it in your own home or where you grew up is always a lovely touch, but if booking somewhere else, closer to your venue, have a think about the space, furnishings, lighting and surrounding locations, as this can all contribute to the outcome of your photographs.
I would love to make some suggestions on places to stay the night before your wedding and for your preparations, but obviously it will be dependant on the location of your ceremony. Perhaps try looking at Airbnb for beautifully decorated or simplistic homes to rent the night before the wedding, or a luxe hotel room with beautiful furnishings always adds a beautiful aura to the imagery.
Natural light, Space & removal of clutter
I cannot stress the beauty of having wonderful big space, natural light and a room free of most clutter. Having beautiful naturally-lit rooms is useful and spacious rooms make for great prep photos of hair and makeup, or the groomsmen putting on their suits. If most surfaces are cleared of excess clutter, this reduces distractive elements from images.
For my own wedding, I found a cottage about 20 mins from the chapel, that had a large living area, space to have both hair and makeup happening, while the rest of us painted nails on the large sofa. The space also had lots and lots of windows - allowing fantastic lighting - and the bedroom had beautiful soft drapes. We made sure we had most hair and makeup done (I had my makeup put on at 7.30am! I was not going to be running late), and cleared the space before my photographer arrived.
Putting "The Dress" on
Rooms with lovely soft curtains or drapes, with lots of natural light can add a romantic touch to the shots of you getting into your dress. At this stage it is best if all bridesmaids and mother of the bride are in their outfits, when helping to put on the Bride’s.
If time allows, your prep location is where I will take group shots (with bridesmaids or groomsmen and then also with parents) and individual shots of bride or groom. Unfortunately if you happen to run behind time, this will be what will have to be missed to get you to the church on time! Can't keep hubby-to-be waiting. This time can also be a good opportunity to have a photo with your mum or dad or whoever else has popped in to see you. Having a space inside or just outside of the building will mean a nice backdrop and variety for these images, and ultimately mean it is easier for me to get some great shots so I can get on my way to the ceremony just before you do, and capture some candids of the guests waiting your arrival.
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