6 Tips For Planning Your Wedding Morning Prep

So, your wedding morning. How exactly do you know how to coordinate all your suppliers & wedding party – hair, makeup, photographer, videographer, bridesmaids, Mums et al so you have a stress free, relaxed morning?

As we have only been to a few wedding mornings as a guest, we thought we ask an expert, so we spoke to the amazingly talented Nicola M from Honey & Violet about her experience.

Having been at a lot of prep as a Wedding makeup artist, here’s my top tips for a successful smooth running morning.  You’ve likely never had a wedding morning before, so you rely on your suppliers to guide you {and so they should – scheduling is part of the job!} but it would be nice to get an idea in advance yes?  Well, now comes the time to impart the wisdom of having been present for over 350 wedding mornings – my guide on how to boss your wedding prep to have the easiest, most stress free morning possible.  Most of this is only applicable if you are having professional Hair and Makeup, as if you are doing your own some of this won’t be applicable, but it’s still worth a read through as some of this will be relevant to you.

1. Be prepared to start early

So, you have 6 bridesmaids, you and Mum to get ready and a 12pm ceremony which is 30 minutes away from your prep location? In case you hadn’t figured it out, you are probably going to have to start hair and makeup pretty early!  50% of my clients are fully prepared when I tell them it’s to be a 6am start {for example}, however, for some there is a sharp intake of breath! The earlier the ceremony and the more people you have to hair/makeup, the earlier you’ll need to start.  My average start time is around 7/7.30am for weddings, and my average party size is around 4/5 people for weddings but this does vary with each wedding I do.

My advice – if you have a lot of Bridesmaids, go for a later ceremony – it really does make for a much more stress free, less complicated morning. If you don’t want an early start, you can ask your MUA or hair if they can bring a second assistant (some will, some won’t), or go for a smaller party size. Make sure you also check if there is a certain time you are allowed into a venue if you are getting ready there but not staying – sometimes if there’s another wedding the day before it might not be until 9 or 10am {this little bombshell 4 weeks before the day causes me all kinds of problems!}

2. Leave buffer time

I cannot stress enough how important it is to factor in some “buffer time”. If you assume 30 minutes to get dressed for example (we will come to that later) and you don’t factor in some extra time, if the morning runs over you will be left stressed and rushed in putting it on, which is not conducive to feeling your best. If you factor in an hour and your morning runs over, you have much more breathing space. Make sure your suppliers are generous with their timings too – it works pretty much across the board that an extra 10 minutes here or there (particular for travelling, driving from venue to church etc) really can make all the difference to the day.

3. Start dressing an hour before you need to leave / the ceremony

“My dress has a zip – it only takes me ten minutes!” If I had a £1 for every time I’d heard this at a trial, I could’ve bought a Mulberry Bayswater by now. Maybe (MAYBE *sceptically*) in the Bridal Boutique it took  ten minutes to get you into your wedding dress – but you didn’t have a veil to put on, a Mum whose hands were shaking as she used a crochet hook to fasten a million buttons rather than a seasoned expert, a hoop to step into, shoes to try to fasten whilst in a dress you can barely bend down in, a photographer staging a perfume spraying shot, a Dad to reveal yourself to, 4 bridesmaids who suddenly seem incapable of finding their dress, shoes, jewellery etc, Bouquets which need drying…..trust me, the list goes on. Even if each one of those extra things takes 3 minutes – factor in 10 of them and there’s half an hour.

The hour before you leave/the ceremony? Welcome to “Power Hour” (as one hairstylist I worked with referred to it as). It flies by in a heart beat – the whole morning will but no time more so than the last bit! All anyone ever says toward the end of prep is “where did the morning go?” I promise, promise, promise you will not be left sitting around dressed waiting for the ceremony (as everyone worries they will) if you start dressing an hour before – I always aim to finish makeup an hour before, and this always works.

Plus remember – if you are at a venue, the registrar comes to see you up to 20 mins before the ceremony – do you want this to be whilst you are in your underwear, stressing about not being ready, or when you are fully dressed, had a glass of champagne with the girls, had photos with Mum and are in control of the morning and your emotions? The choice is yours!

4. Speak to your photographer

Sometimes you might want to get dressed even earlier than an hour before- that’s usually if you are getting ready somewhere different from where you ceremony will be. Photographers will sometimes leave way before you do to arrive at the church / venue to capture your guests arriving, so if you want a getting into your dress shot, or any group shots, or Dad seeing you ready, you’ll need this to be before they leave you to head to the ceremony. This is usually not an issue if everything is in one place, but if you are going to Church/changing location, make sure you check.

5. Bride – never last for Hair or Makeup

I made this mistake in my early days – I allowed brides to tell me that they should be last to ensure their makeup is as fresh as possible. This is all fine in theory, but the longer the morning runs on the more time becomes precious and the narrower the buffer time gets. Obviously you want everyone else to look gorgeous, but you never want your hair or makeup stylists to feel rushed with your makeup or hair – you are, of course, the most important that day! I’d always rather have more than enough time to do the best job I possibly can – the more stretched you are the less you feel you can do that. If the Bride is third last for hair, and second last for makeup, this gives you breathing space – plus a lot of suppliers arrive later in the morning (flowers, photographer) so it can be hard to keep a bride sitting still as things start to reach a crescendo of excitement!

Make sure as well whoever plans on dressing you {it’s definitely at least a two woman job} is ready and dressed in good time when they get you ready too – it’s less of a rush for them and looks better in your pictures than their PJs!

6. Plan, Plan, Plan!

Make sure you having timings from all of your suppliers. Don’t accept a hairstylist telling you they’ll “be with you around XX o’clock” with no plan or schedule – make sure everyone that morning knows where they need to be, and whats happening to them at what time. I always make a schedule with the bride at the trial, and where necessary I liase with her other suppliers to ensure her morning is planned, I have enough time to do my job properly and efficiently, and I’m working around and alongside her Hairstylist.

The amount of time a hair or makeup artist takes per person may vary greatly, so I can only speak for myself and how I work.  I arrive 15 minutes before start to set up and then allow in total around 50 mins per person, and an hour and 15 for the bride, plus 10 minutes buffer times between each client for brush cleaning, getting bums on makeup chairs, etc. This also allows time when the Bride wants to quickly see her florist, greet her photographer, give Maids their presents etc. As I’ve said, I finish an hour before she either leaves the house, or before the ceremony to allow plenty of time to get dressed.

The more you plan in advance, however arduous it may be, the more you can sit down, relax and let it all unfold on the morning. 

Thank you to Nic for speaking with us. I really hope this was useful! If you’ve questions I’ve missed just let me know and I’ll make sure I add them in.

Emily x

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