Organizing Your Prep Time Before Your Wedding

Prep time on your wedding day can really make a big difference. I have had weddings where the bride or groom is late to the actual ceremony because they didn’t plan their time well enough. This puts too much stress on everyone. But, here are some tips on how to avoid this stress.

This BridalGuide.com article may be of help:

The secret to a stress-free wedding day? Scheduling enough prep time!

Bride’s hair: One hour. “This gives enough time to get it right and make any tweaks or changes from the trial run,” said hair stylist Kacee Geoffroy.

Bride’s makeup: 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the makeup style the bride selects, according to makeup artist Erica of 10.11 Makeup.

Bridesmaids’ hair: 30 minutes per person.

Bridesmaids’ makeup: 45 minutes per person.

The order: When your hairstylist arrives, have her start on your bridesmaids first. “I prefer to have the bride go last so that when her photographer arrives, they catch those last-minute ‘getting ready’ shots, and the bride looks the freshest,” said Geoffroy.

Instead, the bride should start with makeup. “We like to prep the bride’s face first, let her relax and enjoy the day, and then allow her the last two hours of time for final styling,” said Erica. “But it depends on the bride’s preference as well. Regardless, with proper makeup application, her look will last.”

When should the photographer arrive? One hour before the bride is ready to go. “It’s generally best to arrive during the bride’s hair and makeup. The latter portion of the hair and makeup styling, when the bride is closer to being finished, makes for more flattering photos,” said photographer Suzy Clement. This also gives your photographer plenty of time to capture the details — gown, shoes, jewelry, etc. — in addition to the hustle and bustle of the room and the often emotional interactions between the bride and her bridesmaids and relatives,” said Clement.

If you have more than yourself plus four getting hair done, ask your stylist to bring an assistant to cut down on time. For makeup, add an assistant after yourself plus two.

If you’re traveling to a salon, double the travel time you anticipate — better to have too much time than not enough, advises Geoffroy.

Put on your veil after the dress. Consider asking your stylist to stick around until then to make sure your veil is secure.

Pre-ceremony photos of the bride with her family and attendants/groom with his family and attendants: Two to three minutes per shot; more if the groups are very large, and less if they are very small. “You must also consider how punctual the groups tend to be and possibly cushion the schedule to allow for unexpected delays,” said Clement.

First look: 15-30 minutes.

Bride and bridesmaids arrive: An hour* before the ceremony. “We want to make sure you are hidden before your guests arrive, so they don’t get an early peek at your gown!” said wedding planner Erin McLean of Erin McLean Events.

This article points out to add the time up as to how many girls you have in your wedding. You should ask yourself:

  1. How long is each bridesmaid going to take to get their hair and makeup done? Add up time accordingly.
  2. How many hairstylists and makeup artists do you have available on the wedding day?
  3. How long will it take for the bride to get her hair and makeup done?
  4. How long does it take to get the dress on? Who will be helping with that process?
  5. Don’t forget to eat and drink something…You don’t want to get faint during the ceremony.
  6. If you are getting ready at a different location then where you are to take photos how much time does it take to get to the photo location?
  7. Plan a timeline with the photographer so you all are on the same page. Stick to the plan as best as possible.
  8. Build in a cushion of time in case someone is late. One time a bridesmaid left her shoes at her home so her husband, a groomsman, had to get them for her. This delayed the groomsmen photos about 15 minutes. However, I had built in about an hour before the ceremony for a break so we were able to get the men’s photos done at that time.

    I always give my brides and grooms a wish list of photo groupings they may want throughout the day. This helps them, but also helps me be able to call out the group needed.

    I also highly recommend hiring a wedding consultant or coordinator. The good ones are worth their weight in gold, especially if you are having a large wedding.

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