|Edition #1: Hotel v. Home
So the consensus seems to be an overwhelming yes: you brides would like some love too! :) So I have decreed it, let the Piece of Cake Sessions begin! :)
Julia & I have long joked about writing "The Manifesto": a long list of things we have learned (sometimes the hard way) that we wish all brides knew to make their days easier. These are things that seem so simple or maybe even obvious in retrospect, but they are so hard to imagine when you're doing this for the first time. And so the good news is, we have a LOT of material to fuel these piece of cake sessions moving forward. Pretty much until you guys tell us you're bored with them! :)
First up and the very first one we knew we wanted to do is: It is usually so worth the extra money to get ready in a hotel, rather than getting ready at home.
When we hear from brides that they plan on getting ready at home (and in most cases that almost always means their parents' home), they usually give one of two reasons: 1) to save the money and/or 2) for the sentimental aspect of getting ready at home. While both of these reasons are really good in theory, in our experience, in practice it rarely turns out the way you're imagining it.
First of all, and maybe the biggest, is just that things get really crowded really fast at home. Besides your parents and you, you'll have your bridesmaids, your makeup artist, your hair person, the photographers, the florist dropping by, the sandwich delivery guy, friends & neighbors who just want to drop by, etc. And pretty soon it starts looking like that scene at the beginning of Home Alone where they're all racing up and down the steps trying to get out the door for the airport. Chaos. :) Whereas on the other hand, if everyone is getting ready at a hotel, typically the bridesmaids will have their own rooms they can go back to to hang out if the room starts getting too crowded.
Which leads us to the second thing, although you might imagine it feeling like this calm scene out of Father of the Bride where you stand in your room in front of three floor length mirrors while you hug your parents goodbye....typically getting ready at home is a lot more stressful than that. If you think about it, getting ready at home (which really means your parents' home) means that you are putting them in the role of playing host. To ALL of those people. And typically, more often that not, that means your mom spends all day running around making sure everything and everyone else is taken care of instead of being able to sit back and really soak in the day. Which means she misses a lot. And she feels frazzled. Which of course means you feel frazzled. And those "put your veil on it's time to go" moments become a lot more of a blur than a memory.
And finally and selfishly, the getting ready pictures are just usually a lot better in a hotel for one major reason: no STUFF in the background. Sure in any getting ready situation there is going to be stuff from the day, but getting ready at home means there's a whole lifetime of stuff on top of that in the background and therefore the pictures. If it's just some suitcases and makeup bags, we can move that. But rearranging an entire home becomes a lot more difficult. :) Plus, hotels just tend to have more modern furniture to shoot portraits on/good surfaces to shoot the details on. And it just sets a more serene, elegant back drop.
Now, here comes the major disclaimer time: There have been exceptions to this rule! I can think of a few good cases, Katie & Colin's wedding in particular, where getting ready at home was everything they imagined it would be. Everyone was calm and happy, and the furniture & background was clean, beautiful & serene, and Katie's parents Brenda & Bernie were the perfect hosts. And those pictures at home made up a huge part of the story.
So definitely, take this with the grain of salt that it is intended to be, and ultimately do whatever is best for you and feels most like your day and what you've always imagined. But just know that there are other options out there that, in our experience, tend to be a lot less stressful for everyone involved and make for really incredible moments & memories of the day.