A Bride’s Definitive guide to Getting Ready

Your wedding day is one of the most special days of your life, and you want everything to be perfect – from the dress you wear to the hair on your head. But with so much to think about and plan in the lead-up to the big day, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. That’s why I’ve put together this guide to help you get ready for your wedding, from head to toe. With tips and advice, you’ll feel calm, confident, and completely ready to walk down the aisle.

Start planning early

One of the most important things to think about when getting ready for your wedding is to start planning early. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready on the day of the wedding, and start preparing well in advance. This means booking appointments for hair, makeup, and other beauty treatments well in advance. Deciding where you want to get ready – your home, a friend’s home, your venue or a hotel room are all options you might consider. The earlier you start your planning the more time you have to make any adjustments or changes if necessary.

Create a schedule

Once you have all of your appointments and plans in place, the next step is to create a schedule for the day of the wedding. Create in advance, a schedule for hair and makeup, breakfast, giving gifts to bridesmaids, putting on the dress and accessories as well as any other appointments or preparations that you need to make. Make sure to factor in time for any unexpected delays, and include a buffer time to allow for last-minute touch-ups, brushing your teeth and using the restroom before you put on your dress. You might consider hiring more than one make-up artist or hair stylist if you have several bridesmaids in order to have everyone ready in less time.

When getting ready for your wedding set aside 15-30 minutes for putting on your wedding dress, which can take longer if it features buttons or a corset that needs tying. Don’t forget to also factor in time for your jewelry, headpieces such as a veil or birdcage, your garter, and getting your shoes on. Be ready to go and leave yourself enough time to get to your ceremony or first look location on time.

Gather all necessary items

Before the big day, make sure you have everything you need to for getting ready. Here are some of the things you might need:

  • Dress
  • Veil or hair accessories
  • undergarments
  • Shoes
  • Garter
  • Jewelry
  • Perfume
  • skincare products
  • Make-up & touch-ups to take with you
  • Rings
  • Emergency kit: band-aids, tide to go, sewing kit, kleenex, blotting pads, Advil. Here is a good article about what should be in your emergency kit.
  • Champagne and bridesmaid gifts
  • List of all your vendor contact numbers, ceremony location, reception location, addresses and timeline of the day

It’s a good idea to have a designated place to keep these items together. This will help keep everything organized and make it easy to find what you need on the day of the wedding. It’s also might be handy to have a checklist of all the items that you’ll need on the day of the wedding so you don’t forget anything. Make sure to also include any other items you may need for the reception, such as dancing shoes or if you are changing into a going away outfit.

Get your hair and makeup done professionally

Consider hiring a professional hair stylist and makeup artist to ensure you look your best on your big day. Even though you are likely skilled at doing your own make-up and hair it is nice to put that in the hands of a professional on your wedding day. The pressure is off of you and they will have the expertise and experience to help you in getting ready. A professional will also be able to make sure your hair and makeup stay in place throughout the day, give you a polished look and you can focus on enjoying your wedding, rather than worrying about touch-ups.

When looking for a professional, ask for recommendations from friends or family, or to look for reviews online. Be sure to look at portfolios and ask for references from past clients to get a sense of their work and style. You can see a list of professionals I recommend here that you can contact and try out.

Practice your hair and makeup

Doing a trial run for your hair and makeup before the big day is a great way to make sure you’re happy with the final look before the wedding. This allows you to experiment with different styles and looks, and make any necessary adjustments. It also gives you the opportunity to work with your hair stylist and makeup artist to create a look that’s perfect for you, taking into account your personal style, face shape, and other factors.

Practice runs are also a great opportunity to take test shots, you can use these shots to see how your hair and makeup look in photographs. This can also be especially useful if you’re planning an engagement photo session. You can do your trial in the morning and book an engagement session for later that day.

Another tip – have a photo of your wedding dress and accessories to bring, so the hairstylist and makeup artist can make sure the look will complement your overall style. Also, bring a photo of yourself that you feel represents your ideal bridal look, this will help your stylist understand what you have in mind and what you’re looking for.

Have a designated area for getting ready

Choosing a room or area where you can get ready in peace and quiet, free from distractions and interruptions, is nice for the getting ready process. The designated area should be large enough to accommodate your wedding dress, shoes, and other items, as well as enough space for hair and makeup preparations and you and your bridesmaids while you are getting ready.

When choosing the area, take into account the natural light, as well as the location of electrical outlets and mirrors. You’ll need good lighting for hair and makeup preparations, as well as a comfortable space to get dressed. The area should also be in a location that’s easy to access, but not too close to the ceremony or reception, so you can have some privacy and avoid being disturbed while you are getting ready.

031brides guide to getting ready

Have a support system

Surround yourself with people you trust and who will help to make the getting ready process as stress-free as possible. This can be your bridesmaids, family members, or even a wedding planner. They can help with last-minute tasks, keep you calm, and be there to support you throughout the day.

Having a support system can also be helpful for keeping you organized, for example, your maid of honour can keep track of your wedding day essentials, and ensure everything is in its place. She can also act as point person for vendors that need information or any unforeseen circumstances that may arise.

Remember to stay hydrated and eat breakfast

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and stress of the day, but it’s important to stay hydrated and eat breakfast. Being dehydrated can lead to fatigue, headaches, and dry skin, all of which can affect your overall well-being and appearance on the big day. A good breakfast will help to keep you feeling full, focused and energized throughout the day.

Keep some snacks and water bottles handy as well throughout the day for everyone. Especially on those hot summer days it will help to ward off dehydration and keep your bridal party energized and prevent that hangry feeling.

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Have Fun

Try to relax and have some fun. Take a moment to enjoy the little things, such as the excitement of getting ready with your bridesmaids, share some champagne or even take a few moments to breath and do some yoga like this bride and her sister below.


Do I need two Photographers?

As a solo photographer since 2004, I have experimented with hiring a second shooter a couple of times to capture the groom’s preparations. However, my clients specifically desire my personal style and therefore, I make sure to allocate enough time to also photograph the groom. Having a second shooter for additional perspectives is not necessary if you find a photographer whose style resonates with you and can ensure they will be the one present on your wedding day. See more of what I have to say on this subject in this article.

Should I get a fancy wedding dress hangar?

If I am with you in the morning to get those getting ready shots, I always find a place to hang the dress for some beautiful pictures. Having a wood hangar or one of those pretty metal hangars bent into a word look great in photos., but if you don’t have one don’t stress, we will find something.

How early do I need to get ready for my wedding day?

A good way to figure this out is to work backwards from the ceremony time or the time you are meeting your photographer for the first look. If your ceremony starts at 1:00 and you need to leave at 12:30 to get to your venue, then you should start putting your dress on at 11:30/11:45. Budget 1.5 – 2 hours for hair and make-up just for yourself. Also allow some time for breakfast and time for the bridesmaids to get dressed before you do.

When/where should I have my flowers?

Flowers should be delivered by your florist to you in the morning wherever you are getting ready. It’s great for your photographer to be able to include them in some pictures. It’s also nice to have them with you and ready to go when you are.

Who gets ready with the bride?

Typically the bridesmaids are with you, but you may also include your Mother, your Mother-in-law or anyone else that you would like with you. There really aren’t any rules.