How To Make Your Wedding Morning Picture Perfect

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Hilton Garden Inn Wedding

It’s the morning of your wedding! Hopefully all of the little details are taken care of and you’re relaxing with your best friends while your hair is being done. If certain items haven’t been checked off of the to-do list, it’s time to hand them over to someone else. I know it’s hard to hand over the decorating duties and all of the last minute things that need to be done, but it really is important to relax the morning of your wedding. The rest of the day is going to be fast-paced and filled with a lot of emotions! Take advantage of this down time!  There are a few things to consider about the “getting ready” portion of the day.  Do you want to share a “first look” with your dad or any other person who plays a huge role in your life? Will you and your groom be exchanging gifts during this time? If so, who would you like to deliver them? 

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Sioux Falls Wedding Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer

Are there certain women in your life who would appreciate seeing you get into your gown? Some brides want very few people around for this moment. Other brides love having aunts and grandmas present! It’s totally up to you!  A few other things to consider.... as you get ready to put your dress on, refrain from putting any jewelry on.  I love shooting all of those final steps once you’re in your gown!  Speaking of the gown, if your gown is on a plastic hanger, try to make a note to bring a ‘fancy’ hanger along for picture sake. If you forget, no big deal! Are you wearing flats? Grab your favorite pair of heels from your closet or ones that match your colors! They will be great for photos and no one will know you went with a comfy option instead! Keep reading along for more “getting ready” tips to help you prepare!

The Window Effect
By having just a  simple window in the bridal prep area, I am able to create beautiful portraits with soft light.  I prefer natural light so the more windows, the better! 

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Blue Haven Barn | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer

Rings, Shoes, Jewels...

The whole day begins with the DETAILS!  This is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day, because it allows me to prepare and get my creative side warmed up for the rest of the day! I photograph a bride’s details in a way that matches and showcases the style of the entire wedding day.  So, in some ways, the details set the stage for the look of the whole wedding and I love having ample time to stylize, and shoot everything from the dress, to the jewelry, to grandma’s handkerchief!  To the right, you’ll find a list of the most common details that I shoot.  One suggestion I have is, if you decide to go with flats or sandals that you don’t want photographed, grab a pair of your favorite heels from your closet or ones that match your colors and bring those! No one will never know you didn’t spend the whole day in those heels!  I ask brides to gather any details they have before I arrive so that I can walk in, say hello, give you a big hug and then begin with all the goodies!  (Please assure your mom that I will take GREAT care of the dress, I promise!) 

Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Blue Haven Barn | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | What to Bring To Wedding Photos

Day of Reminders!

Bethany Melvin Photography | South Dakota Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography
Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photography

Gather the Goods

If possible, collect all of your details before I arrive so that I can begin quickly and have more time for some “getting ready” shots of you and your girls!  If we are doing getting ready shots of your guy, make sure he knows to only put on his pants and shirt and leave the rest out (cuff links, watch, tie, shoes, socks, pocket square) for me, or my second shooter!

Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer

Hang The Dress

Buy a nice hanger for your dress! It doesn't have to be personalized or expensive, even a nice wooden one looks better than a plastic one. I will take your dress for a few dress shots somewhere near where you are getting ready. No worries, I will make sure it doesn't get dirty or seen by the groom!

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Orpheum Wedding
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer

Extra Elements

Sometimes, depending on the theme and “look” of the wedding day, there may be some extra elements that you could include when you gather your details.  For example, if you’re having a country themed wedding, you could include a piece of burlap or lace.  If you’re  having a rustic themed wedding that includes some wooden elements, maybe save a small piece of wood for me to use when I’m shooting your rings and jewerly.  This REALLY makes for beautiful, consistent album spreads!

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Area Humane Society
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography | Blue Haven Barn

Keep all 3 rings!

The most common detail missing when I arrive are the rings! Moms, officiants and planners will tell you to hand over your wedding band to the best man before the day begins. However, it’s actually better to hand it over during the bridal party portraits so that I can shoot some great ring shots in the AM!  If you forget, no worries, I can always shoot the ring shot at the reception  if there is extra time!

Bethany Melvin Photography | Rochester, MN Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photographer

Bring the Bouquet

Don’t forget the Bouquet! Have the bouquets and bouts delivered to the bride before the first look so that she can have her bouquet in her portraits. No worries, if it’s hot, we’ll be sure to keep it in water as much as possible before the ceremony

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Hilton Garden Inn Wedding
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Hilton Garden Inn Wedding
Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photographer

Tell Your Groom We'll Be Taking Photos!

Sometimes the Bride forgets to let the groom know we will be there taking photos of him putting on his final details and taking photos of his stuff too! Typically my 2nd shooter will go to wherever he is getting ready and get a few shots of him getting ready. If you only have me as the shooter, if your groom is getting ready close by I can typically get some shots of him as well!

Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Wedding Photography
Bethany Melvin Photography | Twin Cities Wedding Photographer
Bethany Melvin Photography | Sioux Falls Hilton Garden Inn
Sioux Falls Wedding Photographer | Bethany Melvin Photography

I hope this helps you when it comes time to start planning all your details and starting your day off on the right foot! Look for more blogs soon about timelines, inspiration and more!


It’s your love story. Brag a little.™

Bethany Melvin Photography is a Sioux Falls, SD wedding photographer who specializes in capturing love stories. Bethany Melvin Photography is based in the Midwest, but is available nationwide and for destination weddings. Have a question or want more information on booking? Contact Bethany today at hello@bethanymelvin.com or visit bethanymelvin.com