As much as we’d like to think the beginning of the wedding day is not nearly as important as the other parts (the ceremony, the portraits, the reception, etc.) it does serve a crucial part in your day! Making sure your morning is stress free will provide you a much better wedding experience for you and your bridesmaids/family as well as your photographer and other vendors. So here are quite a few quick tips for having a great prep portion of your wedding day in hopes that the rest of the day will flow effortlessly and will be full of so much joy!
- Pick a close by or onsite getting ready location! Getting ready onsite of the venue or nearby to wherever the First Look is going to occur is a GAME CHANGER. You would be surprised how much traveling in between each part of the wedding day adds to the stress and exhaustion of the day. I’ve noticed a significant difference in the ease of the Bride and Groom when everything was all in one place, rather than multiple different stops throughout the day.
- Lighting is everything. The worst thing you could imagine for a photographer or hair and make-up artist is a windowless room or a room with very small windows. Look for the room that has an abundance of natural light streaming in as well as the least, busy or dark (if still possible)! And if your makeup chair can be placed anywhere, have it placed near the windows (unless of course the makeup artist requests something different)
- Give yourself like two more hours than you think you’ll need. There are things that can come up; someone forgetting a certain item, car trouble, someone gets lost, etc. Who knows what it is, but things happen, it’s inevitable. Leaving some cushion room allows there to still be plenty of time and you not being late, and things getting pushed behind. I can recall countless times where the prep ran late and cut into our portrait time, or worse, the ceremony had to start late. This can happen for a million different reasons but it’s usually because hair and make-up time was underestimated for the whole bridal party getting theirs all done. So having a hair and makeup trial, prior to the wedding day (so you know how long it takes) is a very smart idea, and also a great way to ensure you are confident in the look you want and love.
- Bride, DON’T GO LAST for hair and make-up. It’s essential that there is plenty of time to take pictures of you putting on your earrings, finishing touches, and getting in your dress, etc. so if things are taking longer than expected, we want to make sure it’s just bridesmaids that are still getting ready and not you. Your hair and makeup done is first by priority, but then, making sure your maid of honor and mother of the bride is ready on time as well so that they can be in the photos of helping you get into your dress! But follow tip number 3 and then you’ll be safe.
- Know how long it takes to get your dress on. Some dresses have a corset back and take forever to get on. Know how long this takes and let your photographer know so they are prepared with the timeline!
- EAT! This should go without saying but I have seen the bridal party without any food in the morning. Or more importantly, the bride without food. This is the last time you’re going to get to eat before cocktail hour, and if you don’t do a first look there’s a good chance you’re missing that too which means the reception dinner is your chance! That could be upwards of a 12 hour difference between eating, so to ensure you don’t faint walking down the aisle so please eat something. I know your nerves may make you not even feel hungry, but trust me, just make your self eat something! Also, remember not to drink too much the morning of. We just want to calm your nerves and celebrate a little! Leave the rest for the reception!
- Keep all your bags in one room or area (preferably the room with the worst light and not near the windows) When I get to the prep location, I take all the details (shoes, dress, flowers, jewelry, etc.) and photograph them. It makes things a lot harder when there are purses and duffle bags cluttering every corner of the suite or house so make sure to confine the clutter to one area and keep one area clean. Then we don’t need to do a massive clean-up before you put your dress on because we will already have one clean room for that!
- Pack a pretty robe or button-up attire to wear while getting ready. This will help your hair not get messed up when you change and it provides a prettier esthetic in your pictures. Ideally, pick a color, design, material that will match with the colors and feel of your day. Nothing is cuter than seeing the bride with all of her ladies in matching robes!
- Bring cute hangers for your bridesmaids dresses! When the timeline allows (and we can find a place to hang them), bridesmaids dress pictures are super cute. Nothing makes it stick out more than a plastic hanger though, so get some cute wooden hangers for your bridesmaids! You can even buy some with personalized names on them. If you don’t know where to look, check out BHLDN, Etsy, or Amazon. I do also bring some of my own wooden ones to ensure the cohesive look so no worries if you don’t have them!
- DELEGATE everything. If there is no wedding coordinator, which usually there isn’t where the bride is getting ready. Make sure you delegate a bridesmaid to uphold the wedding day timeline. You will need her to be the one that gathers everyone together, makes them stay on track, gather their things on time, helps delegate tasks to other bridesmaids, ensure certain close family members are where they need to be, etc. But be sure to tell everyone of her role before the day so that they make sure to listen and respect her leading voice.
- Have all your details gathered the night before and placed together into a bag or box with handles that I’m going to photograph. That way, when I arrive, I can whisk your details off and start shooting right away and don’t have to chase down your shoes or your rings. (That means the Maid of Honor should have the rings in the morning instead of the best man— then I’ll have the Best Man come get them before the ceremony! (I provide my Brides with a list of their details they need to gather before the big day)
- Prep and know all of vendor time of arrivals You definitely want to ensure that the bouquets get to your getting ready location to have them in the photos, as well as the boutonnieres delivered to wherever the groomsmen are getting ready. Also, you want to ensure that there is plenty of time for the makeup artist and hair stylist, incase anything takes longer than planned. Lastly, delegate the hand off of wedding vendor envelopes to a bridesmaid, if you cannot give payments prior to the wedding day.
- Have a calming inner circle; The photographer, videographer, makeup artist, hair stylist, and any other friends/family will be in the room by your discretion. They will be apart of this intimate time and can really effect the vibe and presence in the room, so choose wisely!
- Follow your gut; trust people’s previous actions, not words… if they are always late, bring drama, make things about them, put you down, are sarcastic, etc. you may want to really consider if you want them there while you are getting ready. This is YOUR day and you do not want those types of scenarios to overshadow the good memories of your day.You want to feel calm, loved, and absolutely AMAZING!
- Have a hype (wo)man; a person in the room who will just beef up the excitement and not add stress! They should be in charge of the music playlist and keeping the energy light and high. It definitely helps calm your nerves and makes the morning so much more FUN!
- NO PHONE. Hand that baby off to your Maid of Honor and DO NOT be on it. And anyone you really care about, who is there, ask them to do the same. Life is meant to be LIVED embraced, people can wait!
- Use the restroom before putting your dress on! It’ll be a while before you get another chance!
- Have a bridal emergency kit. I bring one, but incase I’m not there yet, your bridesmaids should come prepared with the essentials: deodorant, toothpaste, bobby pins, mouthwash, double sided tape, gorilla glue, safety pins, scissors, tide to-go pen, pampers baby wipes-(they get stains out of a lot of things, even mud off of dresses!) And the list goes on. I have an entire bag of “emergency items” and it definitely comes in handy at times!
- Have a goodnight’s REST! As excited as you will be, there are so many parts of the day, emotions, and logistics, that is going to just be exhausting, YOU NEED SLEEP. And of course, you need some energy for when y’all leave the reception! 😉
So there are some of my tips for a seamless wedding morning. These can truly make or break your wedding day timeline and your stress levels so be sure to follow these simple steps for a great morning with your girls! This is truly a special time for you, your friends and your family. It’s the time you get to put on that veil and become a bride, the moments where your mother gets to zip up your dress, and help you with your jewelry one last time, and preparing to see your groom. Cherish this time and have fun the morning of. These tips will ensure you do just that!