For the last 4 years that I’ve been a wedding photographer, I’ve seen the groom be forgotten time & time again… ladies, I’m here to say enough is enough. Your Wedding Day is a special moment for BOTH of you – and regardless of how laid back your guy might be (all the JFL Grooms seem to be super chilled, which is something we love about them) he deserves some pretty pictures too! SO, I’ve put together some tips to make sure that your guy is well looked after and his morning is documented as well as yours is. I hope you find them helpful!
GROOM PREP TIP: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Now this may seem really obvious, but where your fiance gets ready will have a HUGE impact on his preparation photos! A lot of couples will opt for the bride to get ready in a beautiful hotel room, understanding that she’ll be spending hours on hair & makeup with her girls and needs somewhere fitting to get into her wedding gown. I get it – and I love photographing Bride Prep for this very reason (of course there are others too!) BUT, your groom also deserves somewhere clean, tidy & appropriate to get ready in – instead of being crammed into a dark apartment room, trying to relax with a bunch of mates before the biggest day of his life so far (trust me, I’ve seen it all!) Not only is this uncomfortable for everyone, the light in these rooms is notoriously awful – and it’s going to make it difficult to photograph his morning as well as we do yours.
BUT… I realise that hiring a luxe hotel room each may not be in everyone’s budget – so I wanted to give you some other suggestions:
– If your fiance decides to get ready at home or at a friends/family members house – treat yourself or the owner of the home to a cleaner for an hour or two the day before the Wedding. Not only is it a lovely gift to the persons home you might be using (or if it’s your own, it will make a nice treat to come home to after your honeymoon), it also would be much cheaper than hiring a hotel room – even if it was a budget one. Book through websites like Absolute Domestics and don’t give it a second thought (FYI: a once off clean is around $90 for 2 hours… trust me, it will be worth every cent!)
– If getting ready at a private home isn’t an option, check with your wedding party or parents to see if anyone is already hiring a nice hotel room and if so, see if they wouldn’t mind sharing it with your fiance & his wedding party for an hour or so in the morning so that he can get some nice photos. It could even be their wedding present to you both. If you can do this, make sure to call down to the Reception and get them to send someone up to tidy the room. There really is no one like a pro when it comes to making the bed… (especially if it’s going to be in the background of your photos!)
– Lastly, don’t forget the beauty that is AirBnB. There are a wide range of beautiful houses, cottages, apartments online that you can rent for a portion of what you might pay at a fancy hotel in the city. Just remember, you may need to negotiate directly with the owner to make sure you can access it in the morning when you need to, rather than the usual 2pm check in that most bookings have.
The last piece of advice I have when it comes to deciding where your groom should get ready is to make sure that the space is light & bright. There needs to be at least one decent window filling the room with natural light – you shouldn’t need to have downlights or any artificial lights on in the room, as they can make your man’s skin look totally weird – and hey, we want him to look his dashing best – no weird skin tones allowed!
GROOM PREP TIP: GATHER THE GROOMS DETAILS IN ADVANCE
OMG. I can hardly count how many times the JFL guys have almost given themselves an aneurysm on the big day because they didn’t know how to tie a bowtie, fold a pocket square, pin a buttonhole or occasionally even iron a shirt (and hey, I’m totally not judging as I don’t do the ironing in my household either!) It’s only when they’re like, ‘oh hey, I’m getting married in an hour’ that they think to google “how to tie a Windsor Knot.” Make sure your fiance is all over this long before the wedding day – it will make for a more relaxed groom! p.s Of course we’ll help if we’re there and able (I seriously deserve a medal for my buttonhole attaching technique, just quietly) but if we’re having to help the groom, his groomsmen and any other family members, it means we’re not taking photos during that time and may miss a moment that is begging to be captured!
When it comes to buttonholes, ask your florist to attach a safety pin to the back, rather than just provide two normal pins. Trust me, it’s much easier to safety pin the button hole onto the lapel of a jacket, than try and use two sharp pins to secure a sometimes top heavy buttonhole… and if not secured properly, it’s going to get its lean on during the Ceremony – and there is nothing that bugs my OCD more, than a crooked buttonhole – especially when you’re trying to focus on your grooms reaction when he first sees you coming down the aisle toward him – and there is a crooked buttonhole on his jacket. Fail. No one wants that!
Lastly, make sure that all of your grooms details are gathered together, ready for your photographer as well. This includes: his suit, shoes, belt, cufflinks, cologne, tie pin, tie, watch and the rings (of course, these items might differ from groom to groom, depending on his style but that’s a good overview of the details we normally photograph.) If he didn’t buy new shoes, make sure the ones he will be wearing have had a polish – and if he did buy new kicks, make sure they are laced the same! You’ll be surprised how many pairs I’ve seen that have been laced a little differently to each other or have untidy laces. Again, my OCD goes into overdrive and I have to spend time correcting the left & right shoe to match… again, it’s details like this that you will notice in the photos, trust me!
GROOM PREP TIP: MAKE TIME FOR A KILLER GROOM PORTRAIT
I’ll always help my couples with their wedding day timeline before the big day – but in case your photographer doesn’t – make sure you allow half an hour before your photographer has to leave to get some killer portraits taken. During this time is when we usually take photos with the groomsmen and with his immediate family if they are with him during the morning (parents love these photos!) BUT, don’t forget to ask your photographer to take a couple photos of him on his own – this is when he’s looking his best and his suit is unsquashed from hugs and his cheeks unstained from his grandma’s lipstick! … and trust me, will be taking some stunning portraits of you as a bride, you’ll want a handsome portrait of your new husband too, especially one that looks like it could be straight out of a Hugo Boss ad!