The Groom is an equal part of a wedding day, and too often they seem to be forgotten. Sometimes the wedding industry pushes Grooms to become that figurine on the top of the wedding cake, almost like a stand in necessary for the Bride’s big day. Yeah… that’s not how it happens in real life. There are two people getting married, and this handsome, possibly a little nervous, super excited Groom is one of them! They deserve the same type of treatment as the Bride, especially in photos.
However, when it comes to getting ready, men can usually roll out of bed, shower, and have their suit on in about 30 minutes. Brides on the other hand, are typically spending hours in hair and makeup before it takes another 30 minutes just to get into the dress. So there’s that. The getting ready portion of the wedding day is an area we get a lot of questions about. Usually Brides will ask us first about how long we spend in the Bridal suite, and what portions of the morning we photograph. The very next question is “what about the Groom?”
Today we’re going to walk you through our typical Groom getting ready photo layout, and answer a few typical questions…
So what are we really photographing during the “guys getting ready” part of the day?
We like to ask for the Groom and Groomsmen to be dressed in their pants, undershirts and dress shirts when we arrive at the scheduled getting ready photo time. From there, we’re able to photograph the guys as they button their shirts, dress in their vests, suspenders, ties, cufflinks, socks, shoes, and jackets. The guys get to be a little more relaxed during this time of the day. While the Bride and Bridesmaids are on a hair and makeup timeline and have to deal with Spanx and double sided tape just to hold everything in place, the guys just have to know how to tie their ties. (Which reminds us… please practice tying bow ties before the big day if you plan on wearing them.) The getting ready photos we’re typically taking of the guys feel more like the “final touches”, and less like “dressing”. Very few people look good while putting on pants. Once everyone is dressed, we’ll also focus for a few minutes on the Groom and grab a few quick portraits of him before heading out. That’s really it!
How much time do we spend with the guys?
While the ladies can sometimes require 2 hours of photography time in the Bridal suite, the guys can get away with just 30 minutes of getting ready photos, sometimes less. If everyone in the Groom’s party is dressed in their pants and shirts, and in the right place at the right time, the length of time we have to spend getting these photos is minimal. Sometimes we end up spending more time waiting for a few Groomsmen to show up after a beer run, than we do actually taking photos. We understand that typically, guys are not the biggest fans of being photographed, and we want to let this part of the day remain calm and free of distractions for the Groom and his guys.
Do we have to take photos of the Groom getting ready?
We photograph about 50% of the Grooms we work with in those real “getting ready” moments. Sometimes Grooms just don’t care to have these photos, and they’re not excited about them. In those cases, we have no desire to push anyone into doing something they’re not in love with. So we skip the real getting ready moments and the first time we see the Groom on the wedding day is just before the First Look. But… we do like to sneak in a few “storytelling” photos of the Groom buttoning his jacket and straightening his tie to use in the album (these also make the Bride happy to see later on, and they add consistency to the final collection of images). Basically, right before the first look, when we have the Groom alone while we wait for the Bride’s arrival, we’ll ask him to remake a few of those getting ready shots for us. These are painless and the guys very often love this as an alternative to the full getting ready photo option.
Sometimes, we have to skip the real getting ready moments in photos due to distance between locations. If the Bridal suite is a 30 minute drive away from where the Groom is getting ready, it just doesn’t make sense to send one of us that far away. In these instances, we’ll defer to the remade photo opportunity later in the day.
Whenever possible, have the Bride and Groom get ready at the same hotel/venue. This allows for easy access to both the Groom and Bride as they get ready. If the guys run late, or if they arrive early, we’re better able to accommodate adjustments to the timeline because we don’t have to drive to get to them. It allows for much better communication and the hours before the ceremony are very stress free!
Keep the getting ready room clean and clutter free, maybe even use a different room from where the guys actually hung out all morning long. Usually we’ll walk into the Groom’s hotel room or room at the venue and it’s a disaster. Coolers in the corners of the room, beer cans everywhere, suitcases and book bags covering the bed… not easy for us to clean quickly and not attractive in photos. If you know you’re going to be photographed on your wedding day, keep at least one bed near the window made, clean and clutter free.
Stay out of dark dungeon rooms. The guys are always put in the smallest, darkest board room at the hotel or venue. Ask to be put somewhere with windows and as much light as possible. It’s not all about the Bride, the Groom deserves a nice, light filled space to get ready in too.
Bring the family along! Having the Grooms parents around for a small portion of the getting ready moments allows us to photograph what can become very beautiful exchanges between a father and son, and mother and son. These are wonderful moments and it’s always nice to include the parents even if just for a short time.
Groomsmen gifts, do these with the photographer in the room. If possible, wait to give your Groomsmen their gifts from the Groom until the photographer is there to photograph those reactions. These too can be very special photos later on.
Do the same for any gifts from the Bride. If as a couple you decided to write letters to one another, exchange gifts, or both, make sure your photographer is with you to photograph this time. Once the Groom is dressed and we’ve taken his portraits, we’ll sometimes take him to a more private location for the gift opening/letter reading or ask the room to be cleared. This gives him some privacy and the space to have a real, emotional reaction to the letter or gift without an audience.
Save any big toasts for the photographer as well! If you plan on opening that aged bottle of scotch and toasting your best friends, make sure you do it when someone is there to photograph it! The toast photos can be some of the best!