Unlike your bride, I bet you haven’t been imagining the morning of your wedding, and just how important the prep is, have you? If you have, high five to you!
You’ve never done this before, so you only have preconceived notions of what to expect, especially from the photography side of things. Well, allow me to clear some things up, and also give you some hints and tips for the morning of your wedding.
Note- you can download my free Groom Prep Checklist below and I'll put a recommended supplier list at the bottom to help out if needed.
What to Expect
Firstly, I promise that I’ll be super relaxed around you. During the morning all of my shots will be taken candidly (unposed and natural) until you all have your suits on. I know you aren't too keen on having your photograph taken, and that's absolutely fine. There is nothing you can do to mess this up- it's all on me, that's why you hired me.
Second Shooter vs No Second Shooter
Do I need to hire a second a shooter for the groom prep? Hmm, yes, and no! It all depends on a few factors... If you are both getting ready in the same hotel or in close proximity, then no, it's not essential you get a second shooter (second photographer if you're wondering), But in doing so, it will allow me to give you more photos in your finished album as I cannot be in two places at once. If you are not getting ready in close proximity to each other, then you will need to either hire a second shooter OR we will have to a few of the photos when you arrive at the ceremony location. The difference being is I will not be able to capture the grooms morning in it's entirety, but most of this blog will still apply, so read on.
Where to Get Ready
What I’d recommend is that you get ready somewhere that is filled with natural light and has enough room to fit us all in, without us feeling like we’re on top of one another.
Unlike the bridal prep, the location of the groom and his groomsmen can be a little different. After all, you spend less time getting ready and you don't need a huge bridal suite for hair and makeup (or maybe you do, no judgement there! You do you). You could simply get ready in the family home, or the house you share with your bride to be, or your parents house. Literally there is no limitations as long as it's got windows and space for us all!
However, as I’ve mentioned in the bridal prep blog (here), there is only so much a photographer can do to disguise the surroundings that you are in. So if you really must get ready in the side room at the ceremony location, just know that it will be reflected in your photographs. Or if you are getting ready in your messy living room, it will be reflected in your photographs. Choose wisely.
IMPORTANT: If you’re located near your bride whilst getting ready, do not, I repeat, do not be tempted to sneak a peek of her in her dress. It will not be funny to her or anyone else, unless it's previously discussed with her and you've been given the green light.
At the beginning of the day, the last thing we both want is for me to put my camera straight in your face. I want to get to know you, your groomsmen and help you feel comfortable around me first.
So, instead, I start by capturing the details. “What details? I don’t have any” I hear you exclaim - Oh but you do. The details are the little things that make up your prep. Such as your shoes, the watch you will be wearing, even your bow tie. These details all go together to begin the story of your day. And are even more special when added to your wedding album.
Why though? Well, in years to come, these little things will jog memories and take you back to certain moments from your day, making you and your bride smile.
IMPORTANT: If possible, please have your details all together in one place. This stops me from having to hunt them down which ultimately gives me more time to photograph the prep. You can find a full checklist below with essential items.
The ‘crap’ corner
Men, like women, have lots of crap! So it’s inevitable that bags, phones, socks, and other ‘stuff’ will be thrown around the room whilst you’re getting ready.
To avoid this, have your groomsmen put all of their stuff in another room, or in one corner of the room you’re getting ready - what I refer to as the ‘crap corner’. This way there isn’t going to be anything that you don’t want to appear in your film or photos by accident.
IMPORTANT - You are not to be in charge of keeping the room tidy - this is your day! Instead, tell your groomsmen in advance that they’re responsible for keeping the room clear.
A Wedding Letter to Your Partner
One of my favourite wedding traditions is exchanging a handwritten letter with your partner. It could be something so simple as 'I love you, and I'll see you at the aisle!", but it has such a profound effect. It's heart warming to receive words of love in writing because then you have the opportunity to read it over and over again. It's a way to constantly feel the love whenever you need it, and calm your nerves. It looks awesome in photographs, and even better in video if you're reading it aloud.
A Gift to Your Partner
If you don't fancy writing a letter, or want to do something else as well, think about a gift for your spouse to open on the wedding morning. It could be something as simple as some flowers or a bottle of champagne for the girls to drink together in the morning, or you can get her a perfume, or an expensive earrings that will be handed down to the next generation. Whatever you choose, doing this will make your wedding day super unique to you both. I have added some links to gift ideas for your bride to be in the supplier links below.
Do Your Homework!
Do your groomsmen know how to fasten a bow tie? Do you know how to put on a buttonhole? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve rescued groomsmen on a wedding morning - And whilst I have no issues helping out; to save time, have them start practising in advance. It’s these little things that are forgotten about until it’s too late on the day to do anything about it.
Wedding day preparations are moments spouses usually doesn’t get to see, so we always recommend that they are documented. All those heightened wedding day feelings will be renewed when your other half gets to look at these photos.
Now, I realise that this topic may not apply to every family. Every wedding I have photographed has been full of different family dynamics.
Whilst a lot of focus is put on the mother of the bride; the mother of the groom can often be left feeling lost and not included on her little boys special day. The mother of the groom often wants to be included but doesn’t want to speak up so she doesn’t come across as overstepping in any way. It's easy for her to feel lost and not included, and finding jobs to do on the day that may be a little annoying if taken the wrong way.
A sweet and thoughtful way to include her is to invite her into your getting ready space. You can have her help fasten your tie or put in your buttonhole. She will treasure those photographs more than you will ever realise.
If you're getting ready at home and you have pets, your most likely going to want to include them in the photos! Make sure they are well fed, walked and happy to be around people. You could even get them involved with the groomsmen with matching bowties!
Hang your suit jacket up for me to capture when I first arrive! Then it will look super awesome in the back of photos. That's it, that's the tip- so simple.. Let's move on
Looking After Your Groomsmen
Everyone will be super excited for you on the morning. Although this is ultimately your day, there are little things you can do to make it extra memorable for them and show your gratitude.
Gifts on the Morning
It's common to gift your men a little something- whether it be cufflinks to wear on the day, hipflask, a watch, lighter or even just a "hangover kit" for later. You don't have to, but it also looks beautiful in photos to capture this moment, especially if there's a handwritten note in there from you, with a personal message for each of them. If you don't want to or don't have the budget to go gifting anything, maybe think of your mum, as a thank you for all he has done.
Make sure you have this BEFORE you get ready. Whether it be macdonalds breakfast via uber eats, or even pop out to the local pub for a fry up, feed your guys well as you will need them to help guests during the day. But whatever you do, do not put your suits on before breakfast- you do not want to have an egg banjo moment. If you are wondering what an egg banjo is, here you go mate:
It can be tempting to have a few beers before the wedding, which is absolutely fine if you can handle your drink. Make sure you have a dedicated groomsman to look after you and tell you when you've had enough. No one wants to make a fool of themselves on their wedding day, and it can look awful in photos and your bride may not be happy. If you choose to do shots, make sure it's just the one and for a photo moment- all together in a row. If someone doesn't drink or chooses not to, they can just add water to the shot glass (stay hyrdrated folks!)
Prep your Groomsmen for Photos
The groomsmen are a very important part of the day, but I realise that not all groomsmen are pumped about the picture time and I get it... that's why my goal throughout the entire portrait process is to have fun and have a laugh with the lads. Rowdy groomsmen are part of every wedding and I find the hilarious and fun to work with, however, you can actually help them warm to me a bit faster by doing a few things:
Encourage the guys to pay attention
If you trust me, they will too.
Reassure them that the more they listen, the quicker they'll be done.
Give them a Unique Role on the Day
Set your expectations and give them all unique roles to do on the day. Do you want them to help you seat guests at the ceremony? You must tell them. Do you want them to go get breakfast in the morning? You must tell them. Do you want them to keep the house tidy before you set off? You must tell them. Sometimes we assume they know what their role is on the wedding day, but often they don't! They are essential the key workers to keep the cogs turning, taking much pressure off your shoulders.
I will take a few pictures of you whilst you are getting ready, and a couple of classic portraits. I have found that staging a few photos is the most efficient way to get the shots I need whilst not interfering with too much of your hangout time with your groomsmen. The staged photos will take about 15minutes and I will give you clear and concise instructions along the way.
And that's it! If you want to experience this moment in it's full glory, please do hire a second photographer, which is an optional addon I offer in my packages. Just drop me an email and we can discuss in detail.
Recap Checklist (And a few extra tips)
Most importantly - Try to relax and enjoy your special day. It goes by so quickly, embrace every second
If you haven't booked with me already, and you would like me to be the one to capture your big day, please get in touch now to check availability.
Supplier Recommendations for Groom Prep Extras
Gift Ideas for your Wife to be:
Gift boxes: https://www.instagram.com/starboxcreations/
Hankerchiefs, Napkins: https://www.instagram.com/extraspecialtouch/
Wedding Car Hire websites: https://www.fordmustangwedding.co.uk/
If you would like to find out about my pricing, or just get in touch, simply fill in this form here: CONTACT ME
Gabriela's Photography and Film is a Sheffield based Wedding Photographer and Wedding Videographer. Specialist in candid portraits and natural photos. Photographer Brochure available upon request.