How to enjoy the day before you say I DO.
How fast does your wedding day go? And how can you enjoy it?
Let’s set the stage: hotel room, bride’s room at the venue, or MOB’s home. I’ve just walked in, kit in hand and I’m scoping the room out for the best place to set up. I’m looking for all my clients for the day- counting BM’s, and taking in the overall vibe. Then the bride pops in, usually in a robe or other white lounge-wear and happily says-
‘Set up where ever you’d like! We have all day! Take your time!’
I smile broadly, laugh and say- ‘Happy Wedding Day!!! There is never enough time today! Let’s get rolling!’ It’s also at this time when I inform them what time they need to be in my chair- with their hair done. Next, I turn to the hair stylist (if I’m lucky enough to be in the same room with them) and confirm that they are also OK with the time for the bride to be in their chair. If this works- the show goes off without a hitch. Trust me.
I’m a makeup artist. True fact.
But- more importantly- I am a ringleader.
Few wedding planners are around during the ‘getting ready’ process. They have other things on their plate- where’s the linens? How come the chairs aren’t set up? The caterer isn’t answering their phones. Yeah, their hands are full. But when they or the photographer/videographer arrive, they want- no, they NEED- you to be running on time. That’s where I come in.
So, let me give you some insight from my perspective to ensure that you won’t be rushed, feel like you missed out, or turn into a stress ball during your wedding day prepping process. (This is supposed to be fun….friendly reminder.)
1. Book at least 45 min makeup and hair appointments for parties larger than 1.
I don’t really tell anyone I do this, because my goal is to run 10-15 min early by time I’m done with the 2nd person. Why? Because it takes me 30 minutes to do a face. But it may take 15 minutes to talk to the client about their desires/needs and make them feel like they have all the time in the world to work with me. This also allows for those moments when they get pulled away: a mimosa toast; a toddler who needs convincing by mom that they, in fact, won’t die if they get their hair done; the florist who arrives to unveil the bouquets; the cars that need moved from the hotel to the venue. Need I go on? And if I’m not running early, I have ensured that I am not running late. Key.
2. Choose vendors that have done this before.
Please hire someone who has experience in bridal hair/makeup. Someone who has spent time working on location with a party the size (or bigger) than yours. Why? Because there isn’t unlimited time, and we can get disastrously backed up if time isn’t being watched and respected by your vendors. It’s not your job- it’s ours. Your job is to have fun. And a seasoned hair stylist and MUA know how to manage their time properly without you having any idea what we are doing. IE: When I know you should be sitting down for hair soon, I’ll say- ‘If you have any projects or things you’d like to accomplish today, now is the time to do it. Because as soon as you sit down to do hair, the train takes off! Hair, makeup, dress, photos, vows…tomorrow morning!’ Everyone laughs, but everything keeps moving too.
Everyone wants to help the bride- so let them! Ask your groomsmen to move/pack cars; ask a friend to bring in lunch. You will make them so happy. Who don’t you want ask to do anything that includes leaving the hotel/house/suite?: Your mom, your future mother in law and your bridesmaids. They aren’t the grunt-women of the day. They are here to experience the day with you, tell you how amazing you look, which bracelet looks the best, and toast with a mimosa. Those are all serious wedding business matters, you know! The men associated with your day are capable humans- they’ve survived to adulthood and as much as you might think you can do it better/faster/more efficiently, who cares as long as something edible actually arrives for you to eat? Trust them.
4. Communicate and plan ahead.
Especially if you don’t have a comprehensive wedding planner. Day of and venue coordinators are not wedding planners. They are very helpful, but communicating a timeline to all of your vendors is not in their job description. And I can’t stress how important it is that everyone knows what everyone else is doing. For example, I often ask for your photographer’s and hair stylist’s information so that I can touch base with them. And I urge you to send my contract to your wedding planner, photographer, videographer and hair stylist. If you and I agree that you need to be done at 2:00 and your photographer thinks you’ll be ready by 1:00, we have stress and missed opportunities instead of laughs and fun photos. It’s not the end of the world (you’ll still get married), but we want to give you the moon and the stars, so if you communicate with us, we can do more for you.
Want to see time disappear? Magic!!
Here’s a wedding that you might just resonate with…..
- Ceremony at 5:00p.
- 5 BM, 2 moms, and Bride to get hair and makeup done. (8 total)
- First look scheduled with Photographer.
- Getting ready location is different than ceremony location. 3 miles apart.
7:30a– Hair and makeup begin on 45 min increments. Yup. 730a…..call room service for the coffee and breakfast. Or ask Dad or brother to deliver it to you. Thought you were going to get a run in? Hahaha…even most of my serious athlete friends can’t even find a time to do that… Just get up and shower. You’ll burn enough calories today.
12:00- Lunch arrives. Remember that girlfriend who said- Just let me know how I can help!! Well, here you go. Order online and have her pick up and deliver. You will make her day. And it will make yours. Nothing sucks more than being hungry on your wedding day….or ever. And nothing you eat today will make you too fat for your dress. So, please for the love of food, eat!
12:30- Your photographer arrives. He/She’ll need the rings, other jewelry, the garter, the dress, the shoes, the bouquet, and any other small details that matter to you. She/he’ll whisk them away and create magical images- trust me. You want those and they want to do them. So- help them out by having all your details stashed away in the same place the night before.
12:45- You are the last to sit in my chair. Holy-this-wedding-doesn’t-start-for-another-4+-hours-and-everyone-is-already-done. Yes. I get it. And remember when I said the train is about to take off? Here it goes!
1:15- Photographer takes ‘getting makeup done’ images. Lash, lip and touch-up powder brush application.
1:30- Hair and makeup done, ready to put dress. If you have robes for you and your girls and want that iconic Pinterest image of you all, this is the time to do it. 1:30. Not 1:35. By 1:35 those gals need to be dressed and ready to assist you into that drop dead, super expensive, unbelievable, dress of your dreams.
1:30-2:00- Get dressed. Give yourself at least 30 minutes if you have a dress that laces up the back. The photographer will want to be there to take pics of your attendants and your mom helping you into your gown and putting the veil in place. Please note your mom and bridal party need to be dressed for those photos. That’s why I say dress asap after those robe shots.
2:00-2:30- Same location bridal portraits, while your the freshest, and haven’t gone outside yet…or touched anything….or breathed really.
2:30-3:30- First Look and other cute pics. This is where the photographer will take you and your groom to have a moment to see each other, exchange gifts, hugs or maybe just a small prayer together. Then take lots of great images of you together and apart. At least an hour. That way it isn’t rushed and you two can truly enjoy each other….oh yeah, that’s what this is all about, remember?
3:30-4:00- Pop in whoever else can get photos with you. BM’s, moms, parents, family. Your dog. Whoever….you will be thankful you did this while you are attending your own cocktail hour. Trust. Me.
Exception: 3:00- the ABSOLUTE LATEST you should be done with hair and makeup and start putting the dress on. This is only if you have agreed to do ZERO photos before the ceremony outside of ‘getting ready pics’ and your photographer arrives at 2:30.
4:00- Leave getting ready location. 3 miles? Yeah, that’ll take 30 minutes. And if it doesn’t, you’ll be early. How nice- take a seat, take a breath, and take the time to hug your favorite attendant. Or say thank you to your parents for throwing such an amazing shindig for you. They’ll appreciate that even if you and your groom paid for a good chunk too. Running late becasue you just HAD to get that cool shot in the hotel lobby?? Totally cool- you’re now back on track.
4:30- Arrive at venue before any of your guest do because they will see you and they shouldn’t be seeing you. I hate it when the bride is arriving with her guests. The guests can’t help themselves- ‘OMG- YOU LOOK SO AMAZING!!’ they scream from the other side of the parking lot. Seriously, face palm. But it’s all meant in kindness, so you can’t even be annoyed. Just avoid it. There’s plenty of time for them to ogle over you.
5:00- Here comes the bride!! Whoa, how on Earth is is 5:00 already?? You will say this. I will laugh.
5:30ish: I’m off the clock at this point….please refer to your wedding planner. They haven’t been sipping cocktails all day and they will be right there to take over the remainder of the night with a swiftness.
And that, my friends, is how a 14.5 hour day (assuming your reception ends at 10) happens in a blink of an eye!
I know it sounds like a lot. And it can be. But there are people out there that do it for a living. This is not our first rodeo! Experienced wedding vendors don’t have to cost you a fortune, but they will be worth every penny. I tell my clients- we have learned lots of lessons along the way that we impart to our future clients. 13 years I’ve been doing this, and to some vendors, I’m the new kid! But my favorite quote is this: ‘You can’t be the star of the show and the crew’. Put us in, coach. We want to make this the best day of your life.
Thanks for reading.
Planning can be pretty powerful!