How to Choose the Best Getting Ready Space for Photos

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Often times, a getting ready location is an afterthought for many couples. It becomes, "what is the most convenient for our venue?" While yes, location is super important, it is also very vital that you consider what the space looks like.

My wedding days always start with the couple getting ready. I love this time of day; it's kind of the calm before the storm. The anticipation is alive, the excitement is bountiful and the nerves are starting to kick in. My second shooter is always with the groom and groomsmen while I spend my time with the bride and ladies.

This time is when your details get photographed, as well as you actually getting into your wedding day ensemble! Your invites, rings, hair pieces, shoes, dress, perfume; cuff links, ALL OF IT! All of the little things that come together as one gorgeous look gets photographed. 

Once details are done, we spend our time photographing some candids. Guys taking nerve-calming shots, ladies in their fancy robes, and the last few moments as a single human. When it's time to get dressed, I always love guiding your whole crew into how to get the best photos during this time. My number one tip: choose a space that allows for optimum natural light and space! 

There are three "go-to" spaces that usually end up the host for this time of day: a home, a hotel, or  the venue. 

If you have the ability to CHOOSE where you are getting ready, I recommend using this checklist when making your decision!

1. Large Windows

Large windows allow for all the natural light to come in! The more windows, the better. This specific photo was taken on a very dark and rainy wedding day, but because we had all the light pouring in, it made for gorgeous getting ready photos!

2. Open Space

Your getting ready space can fill up real quick! You have you, all your girls, moms, your whole beauty team, all the dresses, each girl's bags, etc. It goes on and on. It adds up really fast! Making sure you are choosing a space or room that allows for you to spread out and not feel on top of each other is important. You will want room to breathe! (Peep the large windows in this space too!)

3. Simplicity

When selecting your getting ready space, make sure to select a spot that isn't too cluttered or decorated in a way that will be distracting. Any room that has a gaudy or busy feel will be more difficult to achieve nice, clean photos. The hardest thing for a photographer is trying to find a blank wall when you are surrounded with tons of mis-matched decor!

4. Space for formals

It is always a bonus when your getting ready location has a photogenic space for formals! This could be anything from your first look, your bridal portraits or even a space to do bridal party photos. If it has a roof or space that is just MADE for photos, it make it that much more convenient! 

5. Easily Accessible 

On behalf of your bridal party, photo team, video team and beauty team, it is always nice when the location has easy accessibility. Whether that be convenient parking or easy load-in/load-out, thinking about your vendors and your maids/men when it comes to accessibility is key! You will got lots of thanks ;)

My favorite hotels in the city for getting ready spaces are:
1. LondonHouse
2. Ambassador Chicago
3. The Gwen
4. The Langham
5. Ace Hotel
All of these hotels (except for The Langham) have rooftop access for formals!

For a reference point, I've put in many photos below for you to see how different spaces photograph:

Personal Home (Bedroom)
 Venue Suite (Mae District)
 Suburban Hotel (Standard Room)
 Ace Hotel (Bridal Suite)
 Hotel Arista (Suite)
 Downtown Hotel (Suite)
 Hotel Allegro
 Suburban Hotel (Conference Room + Standard Room)

The Langham (Suite)


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