If you’ve ever been a part of a wedding you probably understand how important the time dedicated for the bride and her party to get ready is…. It’s crazy important. Over the years of doing wedding photography, I’ve found that each bride does this time differently & that each experience is unique. The one constant has been that every bride has to get ready! So…. I’ve decided to compile a few of the top tips & tricks that I think can make this essential pre-wedding experience to go as smoothly as possible.
1. Give Yourself ENOUGH time.
One of the biggest stressors we run into on wedding day is getting behind on our timeline. Maybe there’s traffic on route to the venue, maybe someone can’t find their shoes, maybe hair + make-up are taking longer than expected, and on and on the list could go. Ultimately, there’s a whole host of things that can cause the bride to run late or feel like she’s running late. (hands up if feeling like you’re behind is enough to give you anxiety?) To avoid this stressor altogether, it’s very important to plan your pre-wedding time wisely & account for the unexpected (because it usually happens). Things to take into account can include: number of people going through hair & make-up with you (more people = more time) / distance from your house or hotel to the venue where you’ll be getting ready / number of outlets, mirrors, bathrooms, countertops, etc. available to the bridal party at the ‘getting-ready’ location (too few & everyone has to take turns) / ensuring there are other people [ex. family/friends/coordinators] who can take care of last minute decorations (this way the bride & her bridesmaids don’t have to juggle that AND getting ready on time).
2. Preparation & Packing are KEY
Ok….I know this tip sounds easy but don’t just dismiss it! It’s absolutely crucial for making your wedding day & getting-ready time go smoothly. Too many times I’ve seen brides & their bridal parties scrambling to figure out who packed what, which car is it in, is someone going to bring it, who can go pick one up etc. It happens nearly every wedding & it’s something that doesn’t have to! The night or even a day or two before the wedding, take some time to make a list of the things you’ll need & pack your car. This helps you have peace-of-mind that all you need is ready to go & you have time to make adjustments before it’s last minute.
3. Hire some help!
We’ve all seen the movies where the couple hires a wedding coordinator, or more accurately, a “wedding planner.” These movie coordinators do it all & play a vital part in the process from start to finish. Now, maybe you’re the type of bride that wants to be in charge of the details or perhaps you’re taking on a more DIY-style wedding & feel you don’t have a need or the budget for a wedding coordinator….I totally get that. However, today the role of a wedding coordinator is more customizable to the client’s needs. I typically see coordinators that work more on a “day-of” basis and simply help facilitate the timeline the bride & groom have established. This allows the bride & her bridal party to relax and focus on just enjoying the day without having to make things happen on time. The coordinator can be a professional who specializes in wedding events; the event coordinator provided by the venue; or even be a friend/family member who has been solely designated to handle the timeline & get things done. No matter who you choose – choosing someone to take that responsibility off yourself will decrease day-of stress a ton.
4. Limit the number of people in the room with you
Now, I know that at first glance, this tip can seem a little….harsh. BUT, you’ll understand what I mean in just a minute. If the place you’re getting ready in is small, then more people will just cause you to feel crowded. Now, I’m not saying you can’t have your mom, grandma, bridesmaids, great aunt, sisters, mom-in-law, cousins… (etc.) with you; BUT, you may not need to have extended family & friends coming in and out while you prep. This can be really distracting & take up more space in your room (more people = more stuff+space). You may feel like the more the merrier & perhaps that would work for you! If you have the time + space to spare & having lots of loved ones around makes you happy –– disregard this tip! It’s just a suggestion that may help you stay on track & focus on prepping for the big moment.
5. Carve out some alone/quiet time.
Whhaattttt? Yes.. I said it. I’m not talking about carving out like an hour of time to go sit somewhere by yourself while everyone else gets ready. Maybe just allowing yourself to take a 10-15 minute break (or more if you’d like!) to step outside the room, get some fresh air, or have a little walk-about the venue to see all the decorations. A little time away can help you gather your thoughts without the background noise – giving you a chance to take note of how you’re feeling.
Ultimately, you have to remember that this is a BIG DAY & you don’t want to look back & realize it flew by while you were fixated on when hair + make-up would be finished; if the reception tables were decorated, or if the caterer was there on time, and so on… Take some time to soak it all in & cherish the moments that happen.