When I shoot weddings I often show up early to take photos of the bride or groom getting ready. Sometimes these photo ops take place at their house, but oftentimes couples will book their wedding hotel room for the night before as well – that way they can do all of the wedding prep there. Brides and grooms generally want a photographic room for their wedding day prep because those photos are going to be looked back on for many years. So it’s not surprising that I get asked this question a lot – where are the best places to get ready for your wedding day?
Alex to the rescue! I’ve shot at my fair share of hotels and B&B’s, so I’m going to tell you my favourite locations in the St. John’s area. And I’ll also show you some of those “getting ready” shots to give you a preview of what your photos can look like at each location.
AN EXECUTIVE SUITE AT BLUE ON WATER
Blue on Water is such a beautiful hotel to book for your wedding for so many reasons. The location is great. It’s on Water Street, which means it’s close to many amazing photoshoot locations. It’s a boutique hotel so there’s lots of added charm and style to each room. The suites are very spacious and provide lots of seating for your bridal party while you’re all just hanging out or getting hair & makeup done. The bathrooms in these suites are epic! They are very spacious which is a huge help on a busy morning like your wedding. Lots of people will be bustling about getting ready and you won’t feel cramped in this space. There’s even a suite available that has a balcony to provide extra room (and a great spot to sip a mimosa). And don’t even get me started on the rooms with those gorgeous brick walls. They provide such a timeless, classy look to your wedding photos. Added bonus – Blue has great lighting for your photos.
One other thing that I really like about Blue on Water is that it’s next to the Murray Premises Courtyard which is a great spot if you wanted to have a quick first-look or to get some beautiful photos with your bridal party before heading out for the day.
THE PORT ROYAL SUITE AT LEASIDE MANOR
Leaside Manor is a great place to stay for your wedding weekend. It’s charming, beautiful, and going there makes you feel like you’re on a little getaway even though you’re still in the heart of St. John’s. I shot a wedding last summer and the bridal party got ready beforehand in the Port Royal Suite at Leaside. It was a great experience! The room was very large and spacious which worked well for the bridal party and also for me as the photographer. There is a beautiful bay window which is the perfect spot to hang a dress for some photos. That window also lets in lots of natural light which is a photographer’s dream. There is also a gorgeous canopy bed which looks really romantic (and comfy). The room has a very dreamy, fairytale look to it. And – unrelated to photography – I spied a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. Leaside also has beautiful grounds where you can take some wedding party photos before going off on your wedding day adventure.
CARIBOU COTTAGE AT BATTERY BLUFF COTTAGES
I’m so in love with Battery Bluff Cottages. I’ve shot a lot of wedding day preparations at their Caribou Cottage location and I think it’s a great choice for a B&B. Caribou Cottage is a full three story, four bedroom house overlooking the harbour in The Battery. Because of its size and the fact that there are 4 separate bedrooms it is a very convenient choice if you have a larger wedding party. There are also 2 separate bathrooms for people to get ready in which definitely comes in handy. The main reason that I love Caribou Cottage as much as I do is because the third floor has a loft with views from all angles of The Battery and the St. John’s harbour. The windows provide lots of natural light and are great for photos. The third floor also opens up into a large deck overlooking the water and downtown St. John’s, so you don’t even have to leave the house to get some nice shots. And then of course, because you’re located right in The Battery, if you just go outside and walk down the street you will have the most beautiful backdrop for your photos. It’s really ideal as far as location goes.
ADMIRAL’S COVE SUITE AT THE ROSES HERITAGE INN
I really like The Roses Heritage Inn because it offers something different than most other locations I’ve shot at. It has dark wood and a Victorian look to its rooms which can make for some really cool getting ready photos. The Roses Heritage Inn is actually located in 2 attached row houses downtown. Last year, I shot some wedding prep in the Admiral’s Cove suite in House 11. This suite was beautiful! It has a separate living room and bedroom area so there was plenty of room for the bridal party to get ready. It also had really high ceilings which was great for photos. The suite had lots of cool antiques and art and I loved the atmosphere. The house has a beautiful deck overlooking the harbour as well! Added bonus – The Roses Heritage Inn is located just down the street from Bannerman Park which is a favourite photo spot for a lot of couples. If you wanted to do a first look before your ceremony you could each get ready in separate suites and then meet up in Bannerman for your first look!
THE ADMIRAL SUITE AT THE SHERATON HOTEL
If you have a large wedding party and need lots of extra space but you still want a classic hotel experience with traditional hotel amenities, I would recommend booking The Admiral Suite at The Sheraton Hotel. It’s a huge suite (1128 square feet!) with a separate living room and it has amazing panoramic views of St. John’s harbour, including some round port-hole windows that are great for photos! There’s more than enough space in this suite for a larger bridal party to all get ready in the same place, which would be especially helpful if you also have makeup artists and hairstylists coming to you. Another great thing about this suite is that you can walk throughout the hotel and find lots of picturesque places for photos (including the gorgeous tree-lined atrium). The Sheraton is also in a perfect location. It’s close to a lot of the go-to wedding photo spots in the downtown area – Signal Hill, Bannerman Park, and Quidi Vidi.
If you have a smaller wedding party and you want to stay in a traditional hotel, I would also recommend booking a junior or jacuzzi suite at The Sheraton.
HONOURABLE MENTION – AN EXECUTIVE KING SUITE AT THE INN BY MALLARD COTTAGE
The Inn by Mallard Cottage is a very new addition to the hotel scene in St. John’s, so I’ve never actually shot a wedding there. But I’ve seen pictures of the interior of this inn and I’m in love. I can’t wait to shoot some photos in those rooms! The Executive King Suites have 11 foot vaulted ceilings which would be great for your wedding photos. I would especially recommend this location if your wedding is taking place at a venue in Quidi Vidi. If you stay at The Inn by Mallard Cottage it’s like you’re having a little destination wedding nestled in the heart of downtown St. John’s. Quidi Vidi is such a versatile spot for wedding photos (if you turn one way there’s the ocean, turn another and there’s a colourful fishing village) so you wouldn’t even need to leave the area during your wedding day – it would be so relaxed and lovely.