Photos by Whitney Williston, Les Petits Bijoux.

Wedding photographer Whitney Williston talks getting ready photos and why you need them

Pop the Champagne! A wedding day is one to celebrate. But not without a schedule, according to photographer Whitney Williston, the girl behind the lens of Les Petits Bijoux.

“A schedule is so important,” she says. “It ensures that you get all the photos you want, and that you have time to breathe.”

However, while most brides get wrapped up in the timing of their walk down the aisle, Williston says the planning needs to start long before that. Photos of the process of getting ready have become popular in the last decade, and for good reason. These more casual photos document the bride before the day really gets going. Bridesmaids in matching pajamas and girls popping the bubbly are some that always make great Instagram posts. However, Williston says a lot goes into these “undone” photos.

“A big thing is that you want to make sure the scenery is together,” she explains, noting that brides should consider the décor of the locale they will be getting ready in, with plain and muted reigning supreme when it comes to the pictures. “Hotels are usually pretty small, so you want to have everything cleaned up before I get there. What I always tell my brides is that Airbnbs can be a great option. They have more space and more light, which can be great when it comes to the photos.”

Williston advises brides to push for hair and makeup to be done nearly an hour before scheduled photos in order to ensure that the bride has time to make changes if she isn’t happy with the outcome, and also to give her time to get into her gown.

“My favorite pictures always come from the bride putting on her dress,” she says. “They’re the most sentimental, and they document when it really gets real for brides. You want to make sure you have as much time as possible because it’s really the only time that you have to yourself to soak it all in that day. After that, it all goes so fast.”

But it’s not just about the bride (we forgot, too). The grooms also get dressed and, as we all know, require much more direction.

“Tell them not to get dressed until the photographer gets there,” she says. “Have their cufflinks, shoes, special socks–this year, a big thing has been underwear with the bride’s face–have all of that ready to go. That way, the groom, groomsmen and the photographer know what to do and can get those great, relaxed shots.”

But if you forget something, didn’t schedule correctly or have a last-minute meltdown over your hair (we’ve been there), don’t worry. Williston says everything can be reconciled with post-wedding shoots.

“I have a bride who forgot her invitation suite and that was a big part of the wedding for her,” she says. “We talked and I’m going to stop by and do some shots when she’s in town so she can add that to her gallery and have that for her memories.”

Invitations by Angela Marie Events and Rachael Roxanne By Hand

And memories are really the goal here. All the flowers, signature cocktails and heartfelt moments will–inevitably–pass in a daze. The photographs are what make the event live on forever.

“I always say, when the cake is eaten, the flowers are dead and the drinks are gone, all you have is your photos,” remarks Williston. “That’s what you get to look back on.”

Learn more about Williston at