Last week I wrote a blog that ended up being incredibly popular about 5 things most brides don't know when they're planning their wedding! I won't repeat my 5 tips (click here to read them) but one big note is that hotel rooms are generally NOT the best place to get ready. They seem easy and convenient, but they are also often dark and crowded. Imagine fitting upwards of 10 people in a room that small, then add hair, makeup, and dresses, and you'll immediately see my point!
I wanted to expand on this idea a little bit and talk about what to look for in a getting ready space - and some options that don't involve a hotel room! Here are some things to look for...
1) Plenty of Natural Light. I may seem a little biased, but this should be a huge consideration when picking out your getting ready space for a lot of reasons! Your getting ready images will be SO much better if there are lots of large windows to let light in. Not only that, your hair and makeup artists will thank you. Artificial light is ok, and definitely better than a dark room, but overhead light casts shadows and creates funky color tones that can't be changed no matter how much editing happens.
2) Plenty of Space. As I mentioned, hotel rooms seem big - until you add yourself, 5 bridesmaids, the photographer, the videographer, the hair and makeup artists, and whatever other family might drop by during the day. The number one problem is often how cramped and crowded everyone is, which is both difficult for pictures and uncomfortable for everyone involved.
3) Access to an Outdoor Area. For brides who choose a first look, having a beautiful area outdoors will make pictures - both for couple's portraits and bridal party portraits - so much easier to plan. On top of that, having a nice outdoor space for detail shots is always a bonus, especially if the room is at all crowded.
4) Proximity to the Groomsmen. Though this isn't as big of a deal, having the groomsmen get ready in a completely different space is logistically difficult all around. Nathan has to travel, which cuts down on their picture time, and if anything is forgotten (the rings are the most common) it is difficult to reconnect. Communication is also made much harder by being so far apart.
So what can you do? Here are my three suggestions for getting ready spaces...
1) Ask the Venue. A lot of venues already have a beautiful bridal suite or getting ready space! It may or may not cost extra to have early access to this room, but it is SO worth it to stay in one place for the whole day. Some venues with gorgeous bridal suites include The Obici House (my favorite!), The Inn at Warner Hall, The Woman's Club of Portsmouth, and (opening this winter) The Historic Post Office in Downtown Hampton.
2) Rent a Cottage. In a lot of cities there are cottages or whole homes (hello, AirBnB!) you can rent. This is perfect for having a lot of people in one place while keeping the rooms and clutter separate.
3) Get a Suite Instead. If a hotel is really the only option, rent a suite instead of one room. This gives you much more space and allows for all the clutter to be in one place while the other room is free of any messes and makes for more breathing room and beautiful photos.
It may not be first on your list, but don't save the getting ready room location until last - it will be well worth the extra effort to have a calm, stress-free, beautiful morning before you say I do.