60 Must-Have "Getting Ready" Photos

Although the bulk of your wedding photos will be taken during the ceremony and reception, the hours leading up to the main event are a crucial part of the storytelling process. Emotions are running high while everyone is getting dressed and beautified —especially when you finally make your big debut as a bride — and all of that nervous and giddy energy can equate to some amazingly intimate photographs. Now's also the time to capture those little details that you worked so hard to plan, such as your invitations, bouquets, and more. Check out 60 behind-the-scenes snapshots that you can take before the I dos!

By: Stefania Sainato

Enter Slideshow
  • All Tied Up

    All Tied Up

    Action shots like these make fun additions to any wedding album.

  • A Sweet Shot With Grandma

    A Sweet Shot With Grandma

    How touching is this moment between a bride and her grandmother caught on film? If you're blessed to have your grandparents still around, then include them in the photo-taking fun.

    Photo Credit: DreamLove Photography

  • A Pic With Your Furry Best Friend

    A Pic With Your Furry Best Friend

    Include your four-legged friends in your wedding day celebrations.

    Related: What to Consider Before Including Your Pet in the Wedding

  • If the Shoe Fits

    If the Shoe Fits

    Talk about a Cinderella moment! Even if you're getting ready solo, sans groom, it's still a great idea to include a shoe-tying snapshot.

    Photo Credit: openField Photography

  • First Look With Your Bridesmaids

    First Look With Your Bridesmaids

    Resist the urge to show everyone what you'll look like in your dress before the big day. Some of the most touching pre-ceremony photos we've seen are of loved ones witnessing The Dress in all its glory — and getting weepy-eyed or ecstatic in the process.

    Photo Credit: B.O.B Photography

  • First Look with Mom and Dad

    First Look with Mom and Dad

    "First looks" with grooms have surged in popularity in recent years, and now parents are joining in on the fun with their own photo reveals!

    Related: Magical Photos of Parents Seeing Their Daughter As a Bride For the First Time

    Photo Credits: Moxie Rose Photography

  • Putting On the Veil

    Putting On the Veil

    There's something magical about a veil — it has the power to transform you into a blushing bride and bring your nearest and dearest to tears of joy.

    Related: 50 Long Wedding Veils That Will Leave You Speechless

    Photo Credit: Husar Photography

  • The Big Squeeze

    The Big Squeeze

    Wearing a corseted wedding dress? Your friends will get a kick out of this amusing photo op.

    Related: 50 Wedding Photos That'll Make You Laugh

    Photo Credit: Evermore Photography

  • Getting Into Your Gown

    Getting Into Your Gown

    A snapshot of mom lovingly buttoning or zipping you up is a sweet addition to any wedding album. Have her come with you to your final gown fitting to learn how to help you into your dress and bustle your train (if you have one).

    Related: Like Mother, Like Daughter: Then-and-Now Wedding Photos

    Photo Credit: Evermore Photography

  • Trying on the Dress (For Real This Time)

    Trying on the Dress (For Real This Time)

    An aerial view captures the excitement without accidentally revealing too much.

    Photo Credit: EM Events Photography

  • Formal Portrait

    Formal Portrait

    It's not every day that you get to wear a big fluffy dress or a cathedral-length veil, so take advantage with a few stylized portraits that'll make you feel like a movie star.

    Related: 33 Tips for Taking Beautiful Bridal Portraits

  • iPhone Paparazzi

    iPhone Paparazzi

    Get stunning photos from every angle of your first moments in your gown.

    Photo Credit: Cinematic By DavidM

  • Jumping on the Bed

    Jumping on the Bed

    Getting married doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the silly, childhood pleasures in life. Chief among them: Jumping on the bed with your best friends.

    Related: 50 Must-Have Photos With Your Bridesmaids

    Photo Credit: Bre Thurston

  • Reading a Letter From Your Soon-to-Be Spouse

    Reading a Letter From Your Soon-to-Be Spouse

    Exchange love letters describing all the reasons why you can't wait to marry your partner. Not only does this add to the romantic buildup before the big moment, but it also introduces another emotional element to your wedding photos and film.

    Related: 50 Ways to Share Your Love Story at Your Wedding

  • Your Main Squeeze

    Your Main Squeeze

    A photo of you admiring your wedding gown can be a sweet addition to your "must-haves" list. This bride took it a step further by giving her gown a big ole hug, and the resulting shot is all kinds of adorable.

    Photo Credit: Tim Halberg

  • A Giddy Moment With Your MOH

    A Giddy Moment With Your MOH

    Your maid of honor has been there for you through thick and thin — include a solo shot together to show how much her friendship means to you.

    Related: How to Be an Awesome Maid of Honor

    Photo Credit: The Reason

  • Stop to Smell the Roses

    Stop to Smell the Roses

    This pose is a beautiful way to highlight your bouquet. Plus, it's a more subtle take on a sexy garter shot.

    Related: For His Eyes Only: Sexy (and Sweet) Boudoir Photos

    Photo Credit: The Becker

  • Wedding Morning Excitement

    Wedding Morning Excitement

    The day you've been waiting for has finally arrived! Looking back on a joyful shot like this one will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside as you're flipping through your album.

    Related: 15 Tips for a Stress-Free Wedding Week

    Photo Credit: Natan Sans

  • Getting Ready Together

    Getting Ready Together

    If you'll be bucking tradition by sleeping under the same roof on the night of the wedding, then add some unconventional, creative shots to the mix.

    Photo Credit: Liliya Gorlanova

  • Wake Up, It

    Wake Up, It's Your Wedding Day

    Knock, knock. Who's there? Your VIP ladies, reporting for duty.

    Photo Credit: Lennon Photo

  • The Last Time As a Miss

    The Last Time As a Miss

    Plan on changing your last name after the wedding? Commemorate your last time as a Miss with this cute idea.

    Related: 50 Sweet Props You'll Want to Use in Your Wedding Photos

    Photo Credit: Lennon Photo

  • Toasting With Champs (and Confetti!)

    Toasting With Champs (and Confetti!)

    Confetti isn't just for your ceremony sendoff — we love how it adds a festive pop of color to this champagne shot.

  • Beneath the Veil

    Beneath the Veil

    This through-the-veil shot is sheer beauty.

    Photo Credit: Joy Marie Photography

  • Flower Girl Fun

    Flower Girl Fun

    Cuteness alert! Include the tiniest member of the wedding party by having her "try on" your gown.

    Related: 100 Times Kids Stole the Show at a Wedding

  • Beauty Shots

    Beauty Shots

    Who doesn't love being pampered? Schedule your photographer's arrival towards the tail end of getting hair and makeup done, so they can snap some pics of you getting all glammed up, as well as close-ups of your beauty details.

    Related: 90+ Stunning Ideas for Your Wedding Makeup

    Photo Credit: Le Secret d'Audrey / Planning and coordination: Anne Mulvihill at Fête in France

  • Mirror, Mirror

    Mirror, Mirror

    Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? We think you already know the answer, dear brides.

  • Dramatic Staircase Shot

    Dramatic Staircase Shot

    Whether you're prepping for the event of a lifetime in your childhood home or a hotel, put the stairs to good use with a dramatic shot like this one.

  • Let

    Let's Shake On It

    The father giving away the bride before the ceremony is always an emotional moment. If you'll all be getting ready together at a hotel, then you can capture any casual interactions between your groom and Dad as well.

  • Suiting Up

    Suiting Up

    You always see photos of the bridesmaids getting ready, but don't forget about the groom and his guys! Even though their wedding prep may not be as, ahem, extensive as the girls', your photographer may still want to sneak in a few key shots, like this one.

    Related: Beyond the Black Tux: Stylish Groom Inspiration

  • Catching Up on Some Light Reading Before the Ceremony

    Catching Up on Some Light Reading Before the Ceremony

    This photo setup is a creative way to include your favorite comics or books in your wedding photos.

    Related: 25+ of the Most Unique Wedding Themes We've Ever Seen

    Photo Credit: Milton Photography

  • Group Hug

    Group Hug

    A snapshot of rambunctious groomsmen rallying around their groom is nothing short of heartwarming.

    Photo Credit: Julian Kanz

  • Silly Selfies

    Silly Selfies

    When your bridal party is all dressed and ready to go, it's inevitable that selfies will ensue. Compile them all with this clever idea!

  • Love Story Told Through Props

    Love Story Told Through Props

    Tell your love story with a little help from umbrellas and your BFFs.

    Photo Credit: True Photography

  • Goofing Off

    Goofing Off

    Goofing off can lead to some unique bridal party photos. Exhibit A: This bridal party who hoisted their groom up to try and get a sneak peek of his bride!

    Photo Credit: Zoe Rain for JKoe Photography

  • The Bouquets

    The Bouquets

    Spell out your new married initial using your bridesmaids' bouquets! You'll want to take this shot early on in the day while the blooms are still in optimal condition.

  • A Parent

    A Parent's Love

    Take solo portraits with each of your parents — you'll treasure them for years to come.

  • A "First Look" With the Bride and Groom

    A "First Look" With the Bride and Groom

    You've probably already heard of a "first look"— the bride and groom sneak some time in alone before the ceremony and their photographer captures this private, magical moment on film. Modern couples love it because it leads to powerful, emotional photos and gives them a few precious minutes of solitude before wedding-day revelry begins. If you'd prefer to wait until the walk down the aisle to see one another, then this creative photo is the ultimate compromise.

    Related: 70+ New Must-Have Photos With Your Groom

  • Walk This Way

    Walk This Way

    The walk to the ceremony is made all the more epic with this low angle and dramatic use of lighting.

  • Show Off Funky Socks

    Show Off Funky Socks

    Socks with patterns or illustrations add a dose of whimsy to standard groomsmen getting-ready shots.

    Photo Credit: B. Jones Photography

  • Say A Little Prayer For You

    Say A Little Prayer For You

    This tender photo gives us chills! Take a few minutes to have your loved ones gather around you while reciting a prayer. 

  • Rings Through The Generations

    Rings Through The Generations

    Bling through the ages — enlist your grandma and mom for this generational photo idea.

    Related: The Most Popular Wedding Photos

  • Rings and All Other Accessories

    Rings and All Other Accessories

    Get your engagement ring professionally cleaned on the week of the wedding so that it looks spectacular in person and your photos.

    Related: 75 of the Prettiest Engagement Rings

  • Sibling Love

    Sibling Love

    Give your siblings one last hug before your walk down the aisle.

  • In Loving Memory

    In Loving Memory

    Keep a deceased relative or friend close to your heart on your big day with this touching photo idea. Displaying the frame in the foreground symbolizes that they're there for you in spirit.

    Related: 10 Powerful Ways to Honor Lost Loved Ones

  • Dapper Gents

    Dapper Gents

    Hilary Cam Photography captured the groom and his groomsmen kicking back, along with all of their outfits and accessories, in this artfully composed shot.

  • Coordinating Outfits

    Coordinating Outfits

    There's a good reason why so many brides gift their 'maids patterned robes or monogrammed button-downs — they look ultra-polished in photographs. 

    Related: The Dos and Don'ts of Bridesmaid Gifts

  • Check Off The Last Item On Your List

    Check Off The Last Item On Your List

    Celebrate the fact that all of the planning is done with this adorable portrait idea.

    Photo Credit: Snappy Shots by Bev

  • Your Gown in All Its Glory

    Your Gown in All Its Glory

    Your photographer will take about 100 photos of your gown on the big day, and there's something especially magical about a still-life shot. When it's time to pick up your dress a few days before the wedding, take the garment bag off when you get home so that it has time to "breathe" and settle. (P.S. Ditch the plastic hanger that your gown comes with in favor for something sturdier and photogenic.)

    Related: 10 Things Your Wedding Dress Consultant Wishes You Knew

  • Surrounded by the Bridesmaids

    Surrounded by the Bridesmaids

    Prep for your big day in a beautiful, well-lit space with plenty of room for the number of people you intend to have with you while you're getting dressed. Keep it as uncluttered as possible so that your photographer doesn't have to worry about any distracting elements in the background.

    Photo Credit: Ryan Ray Photography

  • Sentimental Details

    Sentimental Details

    Communicate with your photographer in advance about any meaningful objects that you'd like to have photographed. Whether it's an heirloom locket from your parents or a hidden "something blue," only you know the details that will make you smile!

    Related: 100 Sentimental Wedding Ideas You'll Love

  • Close-Up of Your Dress

    Close-Up of Your Dress

    If you have small buttons on the back of your dress, consider getting a crochet hook at your local craft store to make buttoning them easier.

    Related: 50 Clever Wedding Tricks to Make Your Life Easier

    Photo Credit: E+E Photography

  • Boutonnières


    If your groom, groomsmen, and both respective fathers are accessorizing with boutonnières, get a few close-ups of this oft-forgotten wedding detail.

  • Invitation Suite (and Any Other Paper Items)

    Invitation Suite (and Any Other Paper Items)

    Assemble the full wedding invitation suite for your photographer in advance. Include details such as a shell, ribbon, or a sprig of rosemary for the perfect added touch.

    Related: 50 Ideas for Your Wedding Invitations

    Photo Credit: B. Jones Photography

  • Carrying The Train

    Carrying The Train

    Bridesmaids help their friend make the most important walk of her lifetime.

    Photo Credit: Scarlett & Stephen

  • They

    They've Got Your Back

    Peek-a-boo! Recreate this dynamic and non-traditional group shot by arranging your bridesmaids behind you so that they're staggered. Bonus points if you include your dress in the background.

    Photo Credit: Ty Boyce of Disney Fine Art Photography and Video

  • Cheers!


    A toast to the bride — and those who helped make her day so special — is definitely in order.

  • A Special Shout-Out

    A Special Shout-Out

    If a friend or family member can't attend your wedding — whether it's because they're elderly, ill, giving birth soon, etc. — show them that they were missed with a personalized sign. They'll be so moved that you took the time to give them a special shout-out!

  • Sips and Bites

    Sips and Bites

    Caffeine and light snacks are vital to helping keep everyone's energy up throughout the jam-packed day. This bride surprised her 'maids by having their favorite coffee beverage waiting for them when they arrived.

    Related: Wedding Countdown: 10 Things to Do Last

  • Surprise Snapshot for Mom and Dad

    Surprise Snapshot for Mom and Dad

    This bride took a heartfelt photo just for her mom and dad and surprised them with a framed version after the wedding.

  • Groom

    Groom's and Bride's Gifts

    If you and your groom plan on exchanging gifts on the morning of the wedding day, then those are definitely precious moments you'll want to get on film.

60 Must-Have "Getting Ready" Photos

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