Why getting ready photos aren’t JUST getting ready photos

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Wedding Day Getting Ready Photos Inspo 

Why getting ready photos aren’t JUST “getting ready” photos during your wedding day

Your wedding day – there’s tons of AMAZING moments that happen even before your ceremony or first look. A sweet letter exchange or a first look with dad, I’m a sucker for all the sweet emotion leading to the moment couples lay eyes on eachother.

I’m often asked during consults or while timeline planning “why do you need to arrive that early?” It’s a valid question and unless you’ve been in a few weddings, how would you really know what happens? Today I’m sharing why getting ready photos aren’t just about “getting ready” and offering a little insight on all of the fun things that happen before the “I do!” Let’s face it – you really don’t need 100 photos of your hair or makeup being done. However, what you may not be aware of is that getting ready photos, aren’t just “getting ready photos” and there are quite a few other amazing moments that happen during the earlier part of your wedding day. 

So, why do we say that we arrive 2-3 hours before the first look or ceremony? Because there’s a lot that happening and all of that time adds up! Our goal is to get there right when hair and makeup is anywhere from finished to 30 minutes from being complete. The moments and photos before your first look or ceremony will look a little something like the following :

Photographing your details: These are the photos of your venue, dress, wedding rings, shoes, bouquet, invitation etc. We will send you a list so that you can ensure all of the items are gathered, present and easy for us to grab. Tip: Make sure to ask your florist to have them to your getting ready location by the time we arrive. That’s often an afterthought and flowers really dress up your other details! Depending on the number of details or sentimental items for your day – it could take up to 45 minutes for us to move, style and photograph them. While I’m grabbing those, your second photographer is getting candids of those around. Getting ready photos inspo for your wedding day | Megan Montalvo Photography

Ladies getting ready : These are the couple of photos of the bride’s hair and makeup being done. If bridal party is present and touching up, we’ll grab a couple of shots of them as well.
Getting ready photos inspo for your wedding day | Megan Montalvo Photography

Getting ready outfit photos : Getting ready outfits make awesome bridal party gifts and are a great way to add a fun element to some pictures with your ladies. From Pjs to robes to fleece and button downs, there are a ton of options to fit your vibe. We’ll gather all the ladies and do a couple of fun photos. Having mimosas? We’ll throw a couple of shots of that in there as well. All of the ladies hair and makeup should be done at this time.
Getting ready photos inspo for your wedding day | Megan Montalvo Photography

Putting on your dress : Don’t worry, we only take modest photos but love to capture the emotion in the room including that of the ones helping you. This is also a great time to grab details of the dress, your ring etc.
Mom helping daughter get on her wedding dress | Megan Montalvo Photography

Putting on your details : Whether you’re keeping it simple or dressing it up, this is the moment of the day when things begin to feel real. You’ll put on your shoes, any jewelry and any hair additions (veils, florals, crowns) that complete your look.

First look with family members or wedding party : If you’re doing a first look with your fiance and want to have a reveal with mom, dad or grandparents before you’re walking around the property, we can set up a sweet moment for you to embark upon the day together. Daddy-daughter are a personal favorite of mine.
Getting ready photos inspo for your wedding day | Megan Montalvo Photography

Bridal portraits / Ladies group shots : If we aren’t doing a first look, this is the perfect time to grab some photos of you while you’re hair and makeup is fresh and you’re soaking in those few final moments before you’re a married lady.  

Letter or gift exchanges with your future spouse to be, family members or wedding party : The perfect addition to a wedding keepsake box, a sentimental letter or heartfelt gift will make your loved one feel special and bring about the “today is the day” feels. If you’re not a fan of reading vows out loud, this will give you an opportunity to still make each other feel special and excited for your marriage. You’ll get to see each others sweet moments when your wedding galleries arrives. On another note – gift exchanges are often done with parents, grandparents and/or the wedding party. This is another opportunity to thank those who have worked so hard to make your day come true and make for great authentic moments on your wedding day.Bride receives letter from soon-to-be husband before wedding. Captured by Olympia Wedding Photographer, Megan Montalvo Photography.

Wondering what the guys are doing at this time?

The second photographer will head over once I’m back with the ladies. Our goal if for the guys to “be decent” meaning that they’re all gather in one place, and have their socks, pants and undershirts or shirts on. We’ll then capture them putting on any vests, jackets, ties, shoes, pocket squares, belts, etc. on.

Candids of the guys hanging out : playing cards, styling hair, drinking beer – whatever your group of guys is like – we’ll capture some of those moments.

First look or special moments with any family members

Boutonnieres : This is the final touch to complete the guy’s look. It can sometimes be a timely event so we recommend having someone closely to retrieve them and help the guys put them on.
Getting ready photos inspo for your wedding day | Megan Montalvo Photography

Letter or gift exchanges
Groom reading letter from his to soon-to-be bride while getting ready. Photographed by Megan Montalvo Photography.

Grooms / Groomsmen portraits if no first look. We’ll only have limited time after the ceremony so the more we can get done beforehand, the better!
Groomsmen Photos with Megan Montalvo Photography

Interested in having me as your Tacoma Wedding Photographer?  Email me today for information and to reserve your date!

Megan Montalvo is a Wedding and Elopement Photographer based out of the Seattle, Washington. She offers Seattle Wedding photography to surrounding PNW destinations such as Olympia, Tacoma, Mt. Rainier, Lake Quinault, Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Pass, Cle Elum, Suncadia, Leavenworth, Ruby Beach, Cape Kiwanda, Cannon Beach and the San Juan Islands. Megan also travels for destination elopements and weddings all over the country and internationally.

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Welcome to the blog! I’m a small-town Florida girl and Army wife relocated to the Seattle Suburbs, documenting love from one coast to the other. I live for a good PNW mountain breeze, sweat pants, and local eats. Let's be friends!

Hey there! I'm megan-
Washington Elopement and Intimate Wedding PHOTOGRAPHER



The Sanders Estate is the perfect combination of southern vintage elegance and outdoor beauty. It was no surprise that these two had a stunning day filled with sunshine, beauty and sentiment.

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