Wedding Day Preparation Tips


Congratulations!  Your wedding day is almost here!  As you are in the last stages of your wedding planning, there can be many moving pieces, which is why I’ve created this checklist for you.  The following tips and ideas are things to consider and/or remember on what will be one of the most beautiful days of your lives together!  The most important thing to keep in mind is to just relax and enjoy each moment of the day, because you’re getting MARRIED!!

Pre-Ceremony Details & Timing


Natural light (window light from the sun) is our favorite light to work with!  If possible, I suggest that both sides of the bridal party get ready in rooms with lots of natural light, where we won’t need lamps or artificial light.  Having an orange tungsten light from the lamps mixed in with the light from the window can make for less than flattering portraits and skin tones.  Getting ready can be such a beautiful time to get those genuine pre-wedding shots, but the energy can be ruined by the aesthetic.  A cluttered, messy dark room takes away from the beauty of the genuine moments happening.  Natural light makes a WORLD of difference in your images, I promise!


Try to keep clutter and trash, such as extra clothing or snack bags, to a minimum so they don’t end up in the background of your wedding photographs.  The last thing you’ll want is a beautiful portrait of you and your girls as you’re getting into your dress, with water bottles scattered in the background!  Keep anything like dress and suit covers, duffle bags, snacks, beverages and any other clutter to one corner of the room (bonus points if there's a separate room or closet to put most of these items in!).

Bride's Preparation

When it comes time for you to get into your dress, it is important that everyone who will be helping with this task is already dressed, so they all look lovely in your photographs!  You’ll want to get into your dress near the biggest window in the room, as it will pour in the most amount of beautiful natural light!  After you’re in your wedding dress, I’ll take a some candid bridal portraits if we have a few extra minutes before heading out for the first look, ceremony, or bridal portraits.  Usually during this time, you’ll be putting in your earrings or looking in the mirror, soaking in the fact that today is your wedding day!  These portraits are some of my favorite of the bride, because they quite often capture her excitement and anticipation for the day ahead!

Groom's Preparation

My assistant photographer will document the guys getting ready, as well as other details.  The groom shouldn’t have all of his wedding attire on when my assistant arrives, as we like to capture details like the bow tie, shoes, cufflinks and other accessories before the groom is wearing them!  Like the bridal portraits, we want to be sure to capture the excitement and anticipation of the groom, too!


Details, Details, Details

When I arrive to photograph your getting ready moments and details, it helps to have a Detail Bag assembled with all of the items that you would like me to style in your initial detail photographs.  If possible, try to have all detail pieces organized before my assistant and I arrive.  This will make the time we have to shoot the details more efficient, allowing us more time to photograph the most important people of the day: YOU!  Below you'll find a checklist of details to organize so we're sure to document all the personal touches of your wedding day!



  • Dress, Veil and/or Hairpiece(s)
  • Rings (engagement and BOTH wedding bands
  • Jewelry
  • Shoes
  • Bouquet
  • Perfume
  • Garter
  • Paper Suite (Invitation Suite, Save the Date, Envelope, etc.)
  • Heirloom Pieces
  • Something old, new, borrowed and blue
  • Personalized items


  • Tuxedo or suit
  • Bow tie or tie
  • Watch
  • Cufflinks
  • Shoes
  • Boutonniere
  • Cologne
  • Heirloom Pieces
  • Personalized items
CT, NYC, New England + Destination Luxury Wedding + Engagement Photographer | Shaina Lee Photography

Other Items to Consider

  • Are you two exchanging gifts on your wedding day?  If so, be sure to have these ready too.  We want to be sure to document them for you!
  • A nice ring dish or box can add so much to your detail shots!  Pick one that matches your wedding colors or theme.  The Mrs. Box is a beautiful option, as well as the many wonderful ring dishes available on Etsy!
  • It also helps to have your gown hanging from a non-plastic hanger with any pins or stuffing removed.  Wooden hangers are a great alternative to the plastic ones you may get from a bridal salon.  The wooden hangers photograph beautifully, and give your photos a much higher-end look!  If you would like your bridesmaids' dresses photographed as well, be sure to have them all hanging when we arrive.  This gives me more time to find the perfect place to photograph your dress, rather than spending those precious minutes unpinning and hanging.  
CT, NYC, New England + Destination Luxury Wedding + Engagement Photographer | Shaina Lee Photography

I hope this helps to take a bit of last minute wedding planning stress away from your To-Do list!  Happy Planning!