Lacey M. Carroll Photography’s Wedding Prep Guide!

So the big day is nearing and you’re wondering how best to maximize your time with your photographer and what you should be doing before the big day!

I have a few tips as a 2-time bride (same husband we just had 2 weddings on two continents!) and as a wedding photographer.


Before The Big Day


A few weeks before the wedding, any rings you have been wearing (engagement & on some occasions also your wedding rings) should be taken to the jeweler and polished. Set them aside until the big day so they have maximum sparkle factor. Even if you have simple bands, polishing is important. Rings get dull very quickly when worn, the difference in photos is astounding! Most jewelers polish rings for free, or for a very small fee.

Pictured above: Gold bands, polished and ready to go!

Pictured below: Engagement ring (worn and not polished) on top of grooms wedding ring (never worn/still polished) See the difference!


Keeping your wedding attire pressed, on a hanger and in a garment bag is so important (Grooms & Groomsmen, I’m talking to you!) Most bridal stores press gowns for free before the big day (if you purchased your dress well in advance take advantage of this offering) but suits often get overlooked, remind your wedding party to care for their garments beforehand.


In the weeks leading up to your wedding, you will probably be stressed. It’s normal to be so focused on your wedding, pleasing your guests, making sure every detail is just right… you forget to take care of yourself! Drink…your…water. A recent study in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics says proper hydration results in clearer skin, a more youthful look, and overall health and it makes a world of difference for your photos.


Day of: Getting Ready Photos

Getting ready photos are my absolute FAVORITE! They will take a special place in your wedding album as they show the beginning of your story on this most special of days. To make sure these pictures come out truly stunning, you will need to plan ahead & arrange your getting ready session in a manner that will allow for the taking of great shots. These simple tips will help brides prepare for this part of the shoot.


This is extremely important. As your wedding photographer, it’s my job to tell the story of your entire day. Which means we always photograph the bride and groom getting dressed. There’s no question about how much thought goes into choosing a perfect ceremony site and a reception venue, but often times a getting ready room is a bit overlooked. But it’s just as important as some of the most sentimental moments of the day take place there, so there are some things to consider to help the day run smooth and your photos look beautiful! Keep areas near windows free of trash, bags, suitcases, snacks, etc. This will be where the bride will be putting on her dress!

Typically the hair and makeup team arrive before the photographer to start working on bridesmaids. If you’re able, set them up near a window (the makeup artist will also appreciate this) so you are well lit and when myself and my 2nd shooter come in we are able to get to work right away!

The most important consideration for a photographer is the lighting. Therefore, you should search for a space that will provide you with a room that has plenty of natural light during the time of the day when the preparation will take place. Well, lit rooms ensure every detail is able to be captured as well.

Consider the size of your bridal party and the size of the room. It may not accommodate all of you. The bride should always get the largest, most well-lit room for getting ready. The groom should get a well-lit room, but space isn’t needed quite as much.


I am a professional bridesmaid (or at least I call myself that). Anytime I’m in a wedding as a bridesmaid, I make sure to lay out the jewelry, rings, details, and dresses in preparation for the photographer. They come in and smile ear to ear because it’s all done for them and they can spend more time on just the bride and groom portraits and less time on setting up the shots. Below is a shot from Aptera Studios an awesome photographer in Southern California who shot my dear friends’ wedding in La Jolla! I set up the dresses beforehand as well as the jewelry on the side table. This allowed the photographer to get these first few shots done within 5 minutes and move on to portraiture work more quickly.

Photo by Aptera Studios

Detail shots with cufflinks and the perfume you wear on the day of are more special than you may realize. These items will hold special meaning years later and you will have captured it in your wedding album.


You and I will make sure as you are wrapping up your makeup that all bridesmaids, mother of the bride and anyone else who is important for the ‘final getting ready photos’ is done. They should be ready for you to put your dress on. From dresses to hair and makeup to jewelry and shoes, everyone should be set and ready to go before your dress goes on.

This is the time when your closest friends and family will see you for the first time as a bride. These moments are extra special and capturing them in the perfect room is so very important.

Pictured below: Although I was able to capture this beautiful surprise moment between the bride and her adoring father (we didn’t know he was coming in to see her) Now, notice the bags of makeup from the bridal party, snacks on top of the mini fridge and the lack of natural light in this small room the venue provided. This made it difficult to capture the true intimacy of this special moment and on a wedding day, you only get one chance!

Luckily, as shown above, I was able to crop these moments as well.


Go ahead and be dressed for my(or my 2nd shooters) arrival. Leave off the jackets, boutonnieres, shoes, ties and any special things like cufflinks/etc for me to capture. These make for awesome shots.



It’s so important to take a moment (ideally near sunset) to get away from the crowd and take your bride/groom portraits. I always recommend this to ALL of my couples. As a recent former bride, I know it’s hard to tear yourself away from adoring guests and seeing friends and family but I always try to find a place within 20 minutes of your venue for us to run off and ‘play’! These are the images you will have on your wall for the rest of your lives, these are the images your children will look at and remember just how in love their parents were and just how amazing you both looked on your wedding day!

It’s so important to take this time away, take a breath and enjoy each others company… and I love capturing these sweet moments.

Lastly for you both!

Allow more time than you think. It’s better to be safe and waiting than stressed out and rushed so by the time the reception rolls around you can party…  See you on your big day!







  • Emily
    Posted at 13:23h, 21 March Reply

    Love this! So fabulous and full of great info!

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