Ah, the wedding morning! For some couples, the morning is smooth sailing while for others…well, it can be a bit of hustle and bustle. While it’s absolutely your big day, the wedding morning does have a tight schedule and require some organization to keep the day on track. To avoid rushing first looks or portraits, or even delaying the ceremony start time, it’s important for couples to utilize getting ready time wisely. We’ve seen a lot of wedding mornings play out different ways which is why we want to help prevent any stress and panic running – so here are our best ten tips to help couples stick to their wedding timelines so they can enjoy the morning and savor that mimosa!
1. Detail Shots
If you are hoping for detail shot photos with any wedding attire, stationery, jewelry, etc., make sure these items are all ready to be photographed prior to your photographer’s start time. This means have accessories opened and tags or stickers removed, dress out of the bag and steamed, and all details placed together. This will save your photographer a lot of time instead of using photo time to remove tags and untangle necklaces. Also, factor into your timeline that these “getting ready details” shots typically take about twenty minutes.
2. Hair and Makeup Schedule
Unless you want photos of hair and makeup being done, this should be finished before your photographer arrives. If there is a large group receiving hair and makeup services, work with the stylists and artists to create a carefully timed out schedule for each person’s turn in the chair. Don’t forget to ask moms or any attendants if they also want to be included! Aim to have everyone’s hair and makeup completed and attire on (aside from the bride) prior to the photographer’s start time. Again – this is only if you do not want photos of hair and makeup getting done or of bridesmaid’s dresses on the hangers.
3. Matching Outfits
If you have specific getting-ready outfits that you want everyone to be photographed in, make sure all included are wearing their robes, pajamas, t-shirts, etc. prior to your photographer arriving. It’s also best to have hair and makeup completed before these photos are taken. Trust us!
4. Getting Into the Dress
One of the most common reasons for timeline delays are because the people who are helping the bride get into her wedding dress are still in hair/makeup or not dressed. It’s important to make sure anyone who will be involved in the “getting into the dress” moment be finished with hair and makeup, as well as fully dressed, before the photographer is ready for the bride to step into her gown.
5. Second Getting Ready Room
Often, most venue’s have a designated bridal suite, but they don’t always have a second getting ready space for the other soon-to-be spouse. Couples, before the wedding day, have a set plan for where everyone will be getting ready. If one of you will be off-site from the venue, let your photographer know – especially if you want detail shots and getting ready photos for both of you.
Consider transportation time and options as you plan your timeline. This is really crucial if you have multiple venues for getting ready, the ceremony, the reception, and any additional portrait locations. Communicate in detail with everyone about where they are expected to be and make sure everyone has transportation to all locations. Determine too if cars will need to be moved, meters be paid throughout the day, or if you hire a professional transportation service, know exactly where your group will be getting picked up at each location and at what time. Remember to allow about a 10-15 minute buffer time for traveling if you do have multiple locations.
7. Floral Location
Know what time flowers are arriving and communicate with your florist beforehand where they will be placing personal floral (bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, etc). Often, too much time is spent having a personal attendant or family member searching the entire venue for the floral just to discover they were placed in the venue’s refrigerator.
9. Lunch Plans
Don’t forget about lunch! Everyone needs to be fed and hydrated. Arrange a delivery order or plan to have someone pick up or bring food for everyone at both getting ready locations. It’s also nice to get extra and feed any vendors who will be with you all day such as your planner and photographer.
10. Family Portraits
When it comes to family portraits, things can sometimes get complicated. Communicate to family members what time they need to be at the venue and where to meet for family portraits. Determine a location for family portraits with your photographer and decide if portraits will be before the ceremony or after. Want to stay hidden before the ceremony? Then the location matters where you do portraits prior to the wedding so you won’t be spotted. We also recommend having a designated person keep guests away from the area where you will be & directing early arrivals where to go.
Bonus Tip: Bustling the Dress
If your dress needs to be bustled, determine who will do this before the big day and that this person knows how! Also, decide when you want to bustle your dress – most people choose towards the beginning of the reception or after the first dance. But when a time isn’t planned out, brides often go missing before the reception and the grand entrance, dinner, and rest of the reception get delayed sometimes up to half an hour!
We hope these tips help you dot your i’s and cross your t’s as you develop your getting ready schedule and wedding day timeline. Cheers to a stress-free morning!
If you have any questions or concerns about your wedding day timeline, Jeannine Marie Photography works closely with every couple and/or their planner to ensure a well-thought-out plan!