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With so many details to plan for your big day, it’s easy to overlook your bridal prep the actual day of your wedding. What most brides don’t realize is that they will spend the first half of the day getting ready and taking lots of pictures. Creating a relaxed atmosphere in a room that is large enough for all of your bridesmaids, family members, makeup artists and photographer is a must. Be sure to choose a venue or hotel with lots of room to spread out—and the availability of upscale amenities are something you should definitely consider.
The Park Chateau Estate and Gardens in East Brunswick, pictured here, does not disappoint. Its bridal suite boasts a salon-like atmosphere with two large bathrooms, full-size steamers, rolling racks for gowns, a beautifully furnished living room, kitchenette and dining table, as well as a personal bridal attendant.
Beauty needs: A hair sink and a full hair and makeup studio complete with comfy chairs and large mirrors is a dream scenario, but if your suite doesn’t come with all the bridal bells and whistles, make sure there’s enough room for your makeup artists—and that there are enough electrical outlets.
Getting-ready attire: Don’t forget to wear something that easily slips on and off without messing up your hair and makeup. Many brides get matching monogrammed robes for their maids as well. These floral-print satin robes are all the rage, but monogrammed men’s shirts or tanks with fun sayings are a great option as well. For more fun ideas, see What to Wear Before the Gown.
Bubbly: Set up a self-serve bar so your girls can help themselves to a cocktail. While bubbly is the typical beverage of choice, it may not be the best option if you’re worried about anyone getting a little tipsy before walking down the aisle. You can always opt instead for a light and fruity sangria.
Don’t forget to eat: Tea, coffee, fruit, bagels and tasty treats are always a good way to keep everyone’s energy levels up. Petite bite-size desserts and mini quiches are perfect for popping in your mouth without ruining your makeup. Ask your venue if they can provide these items, or have a caterer bring in a special spread. Be sure to pack a snack bag for later if you are planning a first look or extensive photo session before your walk down the aisle. Being dizzy, nauseous or hungry is the last thing you want to feel at the altar.
Stylistic details: Today’s brides are opting to have their bridal prep shot by their wedding photographer. Bring a beautiful tray, some perfume bottles and ring boxes to add to your detail shots. Ask your florist for loose blooms or an additional arrangement so your photographer can get creative. Be sure to have your wedding jewelry, shoes and invitations easily accessible so these items can be included as well.
Bridal portraits: Your first bridal portraits will most likely be taken during bridal prep. Having a light-filled space with a neutral background is ideal. Lots of windows, beautiful furnishings and a luxurious neutral palette help create the perfect space for capturing gorgeous images. For a list of the best getting-ready pictures from your big day, see 15 Getting-Ready Photos You Need to Take on Your Wedding Day.
Towels for flowers: A custom bouquet towel is perfect for drying your stems when you’re ready to take pictures. No one wants unsightly water marks on their gowns.
Relaxing music: Make a playlist—or delegate this to your maid of honor—of soothing music to enjoy while getting ready. Be sure to also include some favorite pump-up jams to play once the gowns are on and you’re ready to enjoy the best day of your life.
Styled by Kristin Rockhill.
Photographed by Vanessa Joy.
Shot on location at the Park Chateau Estate and Gardens in East Brunswick.