Kendal + Kevin Photography | Where to get ready on your wedding day?

Today's entry is the second in our series aimed at helping newly engaged couples with planning their wedding (If you missed our first 'Where to Elope in the Canadian Rockies?' make sure to go check it out!) 

This time we're discussing 'Where to get ready on your wedding day?' This is a topic that tends to be an after-thought but we feel it's very important. We are Wedding Photographers but we also describe ourselves as visual storytellers, meaning a lot of our energy is poured into curating our final collections to tell a story. You might hear this a lot with photographers but to break it down to what it means for us; we make sure to set up each scene by including details of the environment (both big and small), doing this at each location we come across; we are always shooting contextual photos, meaning each photo has intention and advances the story, and sometimes even tells a mini-story on it's own. (Without getting into too much photog-speak- think of this the next time you watch The Crown or House of Cards on Netflix... we use a lot of similar techniques to create a narrative of your day.)

How does this relate to getting ready photos? Well, all good stories have a solid introduction. Getting ready photos are just that, they are the starting point or foundation for the rest of the day. Just like when you're choosing your venue, you should ask yourself similar questions about where to get ready - Does the location speak to you as a couple? Is it lit well? Does it fit in to the rest of your day? To help break things down a little, we're going to focus on a handful of key points to consider when choosing your spot:


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1) Environment

This is the most obvious, and maybe most important point on the list. Whatever setting you choose will have a large impact on the look and feeling of your photos. As a general guideline we would suggest that you try to keep things consistent with the rest of your day. If you're planning a rustic ceremony + reception in the mountains, consider getting ready in a nearby log cabin. You could get ready in your grandma's adorable Century home if you're planning an intimate family affair. Maybe If you're throwing a contemporary bash in the city, keep the urban vibe going and get ready at a trendy hotel and maybe the guy's decide to get ready at the groom's favourite barbershop. You get the idea. 

Elyce + Sam were married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony in the heart of the city at Fort Calgary last summer. It was really important to the pair to be close and keep things walkable so Elyce and her girls rented a gorgeous AirBnB in neighbouring Ramsay: 

And Sam and his boys suited up at The Hilton Garden Inn in East Village: 

The pair were at separate locations but both a stone's throw away from their venue and their photos kept a consistent theme, making their photos + story that much stronger. 


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2) Details

Along with where you're getting ready, you should also think about and plan what you'll be doing in the morning. We know, we know - you'll be getting ready... haha, but besides hair + makeup and putting on your dress, what are the other details? What drinks + snacks will you have? Do you have a certain music playlist you want to throw on to get comfortable? Do you have any gifts that you want to give out? What about exchanging hand written cards? Exchanges in the morning can be such intimate moments and are so lovely when captured by photos. 

It's nice to think ahead and have some fun things to keep you busy in the morning. This helps to keep your nerves down and makes photos easy and natural. 

*Check out Elyce + Sam's full love story here


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3) Lighting

Next up we're going to talk about another biggie - lighting. The quality of light in a room can make a photographer jump for joy or flat out cringe. A capable photographer can and will make it work no matter what situation, but as a simple rule - the better the light, the better your photos will be.

So what if you're not a photographer and you have no idea what 'good' lighting is? Well we will lay out some simple tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose a space with windows! Natural light is key! Any window is good but north facing are even better! That way you'll avoid direct sunlight (which can be too harsh). 
  • Put up some drapes. If you have have south facing windows and notice that the sunlight pours into the room in the morning, a simple fix is to put up some shear drapes that will soften the light. It will still light up the room and the drapes will create a nice flattering light 
  • For the most part, turn off all lamps + overhead lights within the room. This often surprises people when we do this but as long as you have ample window light, you won't need them, (and they can also create white balance issues within your photos... meaning you'll see some funky yellow vs. blue light that your photographer will have to sort out in post-processing). 
  • Don't fret the weather! Okay this one doesn't have much to do with choosing your getting ready location but it does with lighting. If you happen to have a cloudy day, the silver lining is that you'll have beautiful lighting for all of your photos! Just like Andria + Mike had when they eloped to Mt. Engadine Lodge last fall. Check out some of their getting ready shots below:

*Check out Andria + Mike's full Love Story here


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4) Company

Our last point is Company, and by that we mean who you'll be hanging out with in the morning. Traditionally the Bride gets ready with her Bridesmaids + the Groom with his Groomsmen but what if you want to shake things up a little? Well, you can! We've shot many couples that decide to get ready in the same space and it's wonderful! The biggest thing is simply figuring out what makes the most sense for you. Do you want your parents around? Cousins? Your dog? Make sure to give it some thought. 

Maggie + Greg eloped to Emerald Lake Lodge, along with their 3 girls last summer. The pair got ready in the same cabin, although Greg made sure that he didn't see Maggie in her dress until their first look (which we setup just outside). This was easily one of our favourite getting ready moments as the room was brimming full of energy + emotion. They each juggled getting ready with parenting duties as the girls raced around, anxious and full of excitement for what their parents were about to do. It was a little bit hectic at times but it was also true and authentic. In the end their photos are beautifully them, and we couldn't have imagined it any other way. Have a peek below:

*Check out Maggie + Greg's full Love Story here

Lastly, if you ever want our opinion on some spaces before your wedding, don't hesitate to ask!

Cheers, K+K