How To Choose The Perfect Getting Ready Location On Your Wedding Day

...Not only does location dictate the backgrounds and light quality your photographs will take place in but it can also help pull together the style of your wedding day and help tell a more compelling story.

As a couple planning the wedding celebration of your dreams there are so many things to consider throughout the wedding planning process, which means some things tend to get overlooked or over shadowed.

Like… choosing the perfect getting ready location for your wedding day. Have you thought about it yet? Fret not friend, it’s one of those things that is often overlooked while wedding planning so you’re not alone and we are here to help you know what to look for and what to avoid when it comes to choosing the perfect getting ready location. Keep reading for our top tips for achieving wedding day getting ready photos just as beautiful as the photographs from the rest of your day.

Brides Bouquet of white roses

The importance of intentionality when choosing your getting ready location


If you hired us to photograph your wedding, then we already know that you value your wedding photography experience so we want to help you plan ahead for the photos you’ve come to expect from us. Whether you are getting ready at a hotel room, your childhood home, the wedding venue, a VRBO or an Airbnb LOCATION MATTERS. Not only does location dictate the backgrounds and light quality your photographs will take place in but it can also help pull together the style of your wedding day and help tell a more compelling story.

Bride sipping champagne in bathtub

1. Choose a location that compliments your wedding vision and style


We have photographed hundreds of wedding celebrations across southern California and San Diego and when our couples have put intentionality and thought in choosing their getting ready locations it has helped us create a more personal photo story. We have seen so many couples think outside of the box when it comes to choosing a location that compliments their personalities and wedding style and the photos always show that it was well worth the effort. If your venue has a lackluster dressing room or won’t allow you on the grounds early enough to utilize the space for all of your getting ready photos then you will need to start hunting for the perfect location as soon as possible. Think charm, character, and cohesiveness.

Choose a location that will pull together your wedding story. If you are getting married in Palm Springs at a swanky midcentury modern estate or one of Palm Springs many boutique hotels then consider finding a midcentury style Airbnb or booking out the largest suite the hotel has to offer. If you’re having a beach wedding try to book a little beach cottage, if you’re venue is very historic and stately try to find a Victorian space with similar accents. This will all help piece your story together beautifully. As an additional perk people always feel happiest in spaces that feel like “us”, so choose something that suits your personality. It’s important to feel tranquility on your wedding day and environment definitely plays a role in that.

Bride in window in San Diego hotel

2. Find a location that is spacious


Seriously, find a location that is spacious. It’s very likely that it won’t just be you and your wedding party in your suite the morning of your wedding. We usually walk in to see you, your wedding party, parents, grandmas, flower girls, ring bearers, makeup artists, hair designers, videography team and a wedding planner or coordinator. That’s a lot of bodies to fit into a space especially if we intend to capture your bridal or groom portraits in that room. Find a space large enough to accommodate all of the people you intend having in the room.

That said, also try to limit the number of people you have in the room. Make sure it’s the people you really want there, you can always tell us and we don’t mind being the “bad guy” and telling some people they need to wait outside while we capture some photos. We are there for you at the end of the day and we want you to have the most relaxing environment with the right people and energy surrounding you.

If you can find a space with two rooms that’s even better. Try to keep one room with no one in it, this room should be the one with the most natural light where we will take your portraits. Keep makeup and hair and everyone else in the other room as it gets very cluttered with the hustle and bustle of the morning and we won’t want any of that in the room where we take your photographs.

Also pay attention to how many mirrors there are, is there more than one? Are they spread out enough that your bridal party won’t all be huddled around one? Is there a place to stash away every ones bags and dresses without contributing to the clutter? Is there a beautiful spot to photograph your dress and accessories in an artful way like all of those Pinterest pictures you’ve been pinning? Where do you intend on having the makeup and hair designers set up? Make sure there are a number of outlets in that area if you have a glam team coming for you and your bridal party so that they can accommodate doing multiple girls at once. Also if you don’t want a ton of makeup photos with the makeup artists ring light in them see if she can set up near a window where you will be facing out to get that beautiful natural light on your face for your getting ready shots.

Bride at Green Gables wedding venue putting on earring.

3. Minimalism is best


We mean this in all regards, less people in the room and less stuff. We touched on it above but it’s worth mentioning again keeping the number of people in the suite while you get ready to a minimum will make such a difference in your photographer and your mood. It will help eliminate overwhelm which is key on your wedding day.

The other place less is more is when it comes to the space itself and the clutter. Try to choose a space that isn’t packed with furniture. You may think we are just wedding photographers but on your wedding day we turn into interior designers, coordinators, besties and furniture movers. We will come into a space roll up an ugly rug and push bulky couches out of the way. Try to avoid a space that has a huge television in it. To keep it timeless and in line with our aesthetic we try to place you in the cleanest, best lit backgrounds for your photos to stand the test of time.

Bride at Temecula wedding venue.

4. Choose a location with ample natural light


If you know us by now, you know that we couldn’t get through a blog without mentioning light. It is paramount in creating beautiful getting ready images. Whenever possible we recommend looking for floor to ceiling windows, not only will more light pour in but they create a beautiful frame for full length portraits of you. Having lots of available light will allow us to make you look your absolute best.

Bride getting ready at forever and always farm

5. Look for wall color and try for neutral interiors


If you can find a space with neutral wall colors like gray, cream or white that will be best for your skin tone in your images. Dark colored walls can create color casts on your skin when the light bounces off of them. Try to avoid spaces with dark carpeting, dark walls or a lot of dark wood. Look out for hotel rooms with busy wallpaper patterns or large art pieces that are sometimes not removable as they are bolted to the walls.

6. Please, keep it clean


Stash away suitcases, food, garbage, water bottles or drinks, anything that may have resulted in having so many people in a space should be hidden away. You don’t want that random red solo cup and Dorito bag and open suitcase overflowing with clothes rearing their ugly heads in your wedding photographs.

Bride putting on shoe at Padua Hills Theatre.

7. Consider proximity to your wedding ceremony venue


This will affect your timeline for the wedding day and can affect your wedding budget as well. If your getting ready location is further away from your ceremony venue you may have to arrange travel or pay your photographer and videographer for additional hours. One of the beauty’s of choosing us as your wedding photographers is that we offer unlimited event coverage so that we can ensure we are telling your story in its entirety.

Bride with bouquet in Oceanside.

8. Proximity to your partners dressing area


If you are choosing to get ready at the same hotel, or at your venues suites keep in mind proximity to your spouses dressing area. This way your wedding photographers can pop in and out of both of your suites to ensure not a moment is missed. It will just take a bit more coordination from your wedding party and your photographers to ensure you don’t cross paths until you want to see one another. It’s not a huge deal just something to keep in mind that will require a little logistical finesse anytime we want to go outside for a photo to say pop some champagne with a fun spray? Ryan and I are amazing at coordinating with one another on this. When he has one group out for portraits I’m sure to keep my group inside and vice versa.

Bride getting ready at Temecula wedding venue.

9. What outdoor spaces are available?


Don’t stress over this one too much it’s more of a lust than it is a must but if you can find a hotel with an adorable rooftop terrace or balcony, a VRBO with a cute garden or patio area it’s great to have the option to take some photos outside. Especially if you want to do a first look with a parent before arriving to your venue it can be a beautiful backdrop to set the scene for different moments.

10. Put your stamp on it


Hopefully you’ve really put your stamp on your wedding day and made it unique to both you, your spouse and your love story. Personalizing your wedding day doesn’t stop at your wedding décor, entertainment and style choices choosing your getting ready location and making the space feel true to you is just as important. So you can bring a candle to light to have a beautiful nostalgic scent for the day. Bring a styling board you created for your wedding detail photos more on that HERE. Have matching pajamas, robes and slippers for your wedding party. Bring some sweets from your favorite bakery and a bottle of your favorite champagne or spirit. You can even bring in a bouquet of fresh flowers to cheer you up and bring your wedding florals into the getting ready portion of the day to tie it all together cohesively.

Groom writing vows in Temecula.

Want more tips on achieving beautiful wedding day getting ready photos? click here to read our top tips for achieving beautiful wedding day photos and download OUR COMPLETE WEDDING DAY CHECKLIST so you can stay cool as a cucumber knowing you didn’t forget a thing the morning of the wedding.


Ryan + Emily Burhop

of emry

We are wedding photographers for those who believe in love, because Emry originated out of love. Love for each other, for imagery and for creating things that were made to last. We serve southern California & beyond. Outside of photography, our life revolves around our son, Jude and our families.

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