“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller
Any bride will tell you that getting ready was half the fun of their wedding day. To help maximize that part of the day, here’s a how-to-guide with some ideas on how to keep your day with your “ladies-in-waiting” fun and relaxing as you prepare for the main event.
First to keep in mind are the logistical items at hand, and therefore schedule accordingly: food, hydration, makeup, hair, getting dressed, and having photos done . Then there are the memorable elements to add: girls’ morning yoga or walk, silly games, funny photos, brunch, shared stories, champagne, and a great music playlist (we’re looking at you, bridesmaids). All appointments for manicures, pedicures, tanning, any waxing, and/or massages should be done the morning of the rehearsal dinner.
ON THE BIG DAY
When planning, you want to work your schedule backwards from the time you need to depart for the ceremony. An important key is to add 10-15 minutes to everything because you’re likely to run behind in some areas. You also want to schedule the bride as the first to get her hair done and the last to get her makeup done (with a final hair touch-up once her makeup is applied).
The key is to keep on schedule but have as much memorable fun as possible. If in the budget, reserve two hotel rooms that join together for you and your bridesmaids to stay in the night before the wedding. The next day, use one room as the makeup room and the other room for hair. Otherwise, someone’s house will do just fine. Here is a wedding day preparation guide from an ideal schedule (with the average four person bridal party + mom, hiring two stylists and two makeup artists). Just remember: have fun and soak it all in!
Wake up and have a full glass of lemon water, then enjoy an hour of coffee or tea time with your gals and something light to eat (yogurt or smoothie).
Get some fresh air. Take a short brisk walk or do light yoga, nothing more than 30 minutes. The idea here is not a heavy workout but to get the blood pumping, calm any nerves, take in the morning sun, and start the day with a posture of pause to take in every moment.
Start showers – bride first, maid-of-honor, mother of bride, then bridesmaids.
Play a game – as simple as a board game you played as pre-teens, or as active as Pictionary. Just make sure you’re getting in some good laughs and great pictures. Coordinate your photographer’s arrival time beforehand so you can ensure they capture these moments.
Start on the bride and maid-of-honor’s hair. This would also be a good time to pop the champagne. Resolve to no more than a glass of champagne each; drink water between each cup of coffee or glass of champagne. You want to stay hydrated to prevent fatigue later.
Start buffet brunch to eat casually while getting ready. Check out our bridal brunch recipes on a previous blog post.
12:00PM – 2:00PM
Alternate hair and makeup for mother of the bride and all bridesmaids.
Start Bride’s and maid-of-honor’s makeup. If you have flower girls, schedule to have their hair done at this time as well. If you’re planning on adding a bridal boudoir session on the wedding day, you might want to start hair and makeup even earlier.
Start heading over to the ceremony venue. If possible, secure a room to change in at the venue. Try not to put your wedding dress on until you arrive there, so as to keep from getting creases or wrinkles. Also, make sure to stop consuming liquids around this time.
Pictures: Photos of the dress, shoes, bouquets; photos of putting your dress on (maid-of-honor and mother of bride assisting); photos with each bridesmaid; group shot of the bridal party together; shots of father of bride seeing the bride for the first time; shots of reading love letter or opening gift from groom; bride solo portraits.
Bride alone time. Even just three minutes to take a breath and gather your thoughts will keep you calm through the ceremony. Follow this up with any touch-ups: hair, makeup, perfume, deodorant, breath mints, and/or a small sip of cold water.
5:00PM – 5:40PM
5:45PM – 6:00PM
Formal Portraits / Wedding Party Portraits
OTHER KEY ITEMS
- The maid-of-honor or one of the bridesmaids should be in charge of the schedule prior to the ceremony and (kindly) ensuring you’re all on task. This shouldn’t be a worry for the bride. Then a wedding coordinator should take over once you arrive at the ceremony venue.
- Remember you want to do your romantic portraits in the “golden hour” which is typically at dusk (30 minutes before sunset and 15 minutes after sunset). Depending on if you want to do those photos before or after the wedding ceremony, you’ll need to plan your ceremony accordingly for the time of year you’re getting married in. If you’re having a Fall, Winter, or early Spring wedding, we recommend doing a “first look” and having all wedding portraits done before the ceremony where you can take advantage of the magic hour. Remember the “first looks” can be just as special and intimate as seeing the bride for the first time coming down the aisle.
- Rest, hydration, and healthy eating three weeks prior to the wedding – your skin, body, and emotional capacity will all thank you later. Take this as seriously as your wedding day.
- Rest (8 hours a night, and before 10:30)
- Hydration (water all day long)
- Healthy eating (lots of veggies) – limited alcohol & sugar (skin & keeping immune system up)