When Do I Need To Start Getting Ready?


Aug 9, 2018

Wedding Photographers Huntsville Alabama // Wedding Planning Tips // Wedding Advice

“When do I need to start getting ready on the wedding morning?”

This is a subjective question to answer, but it’s also one we get quite often. When you need to start getting ready is going to look different for each bride. Some brides just want to finish everything up as quickly as possible, and others want to have a laid back morning with plenty of time to socialize.

Even with so much variation, there are a few principles that you can use to guide your decision on how much time to allow on the wedding morning. If you’re not sure how much time is too little (or too much), check out these tips to plan the wedding morning that’s right for you!

Step 1: Start with your photographer’s timeline.

Knowing what time you need to start formal pictures is the pivotal point of your entire day. The start of formal pictures marks the end of your getting ready time and the beginning of showtime!

All photographers create their timelines differently, but we also include a specific time for the bride to get into her dress. Having a clearly defined time for this means that you’ll know when hair and makeup need to be finished so you can start on the final getting ready touches.

Step 2: Create a schedule with your hair and makeup artist.

Use your photographer’s timeline to show your hair and makeup artist what time everything needs to be finished up. How much time a hair or makeup artist needs depends on a lot of different factors. Ask them how much time is needed and when they want to start.

We always recommend adding about 30 minutes of “cushion time” to hair and makeup. Sometimes unexpected things come up on the wedding day – even after a hair and makeup trial – and you want to be able to give your hair and makeup artist all the time she needs so she doesn’t feel rushed.

Tip from our hair and makeup artist friends: Don’t surprise your hair and makeup artist with extra bridesmaids on the wedding day. There’s a limited amount of time for all of you girls to get ready before pictures start, and it can be really hard for them to squeeze unexpected people into the schedule. You can always ask (especially if you’re a mother of the bride or groom and have extra time before family pictures), but have a plan B in place just in case.

Step 3: Decide how laid back you want your morning to be.

Once you know what time you need to start hair and makeup and how long it will take, you can start to plan the rest of your morning.

Do you want to sleep in? Are there time limits on your venue that you need to be aware of? Do you want a easy-going morning with lots of time to talk with your bridesmaids, or do you prefer to jump right in and get everything done without wasting too much time sitting around?

Do you have a habit of running just a little bit late to everything? Does the thought of running behind totally stress you out?

These are things only you can answer, but these answers will give you a better idea of how much time you want to schedule throughout your morning.

Step 4: Don’t forget about the little details

Things like eating lunch (and having it delivered), the time it takes to get all your stuff from your car to the getting ready room, and the time it takes to pack everything back up.

For example, most of us underestimate the time it takes to get everyone from one place to another. If your venue is 10 minutes away from your getting ready location, you can’t allot just 10 minutes on your schedule to get there. Packing up might take 5 minutes, loading your car – 5 minutes. Driving – 10 minutes, gathering everything from your car – 5 minutes, walking down to the getting ready room (and stopping to admire a few things along the way) might take another 5-10 minutes.

Your 10 minute drive just became 30 minutes before you’re settled in and ready to step into your wedding dress.

There are a million little details that we don’t consciously think about as we plan something as big picture as our wedding day. That’s why we always recommend giving yourself as much extra time as you can on the wedding morning. Even if things run smoothly with no hiccups, you’ll have given yourself some extra time to rest and soak in the day.

Step 5: Relax!

Even if your day runs a little behind schedule, it’s okay. Wedding days rarely run like clockwork in reality. Just plan your morning the best you can – then relax and enjoy your day!

Wedding Morning Example:

6:30 – Wake up!

8:00 – Breakfast with family

9:00 – Pack up

9:30 – Leave for venue

10:00 -Arrive at venue

11:00 – Hair and makeup

12:30 – Hair and makeup finished

1:00 – Dress on, finishing touches

1:30 – First Look and portraits!

I hope this was helpful as you navigate the wedding morning schedule. Figure out what’s best for you, talk to your professionals, and enjoy the moments!



Looking for more wedding planning resources? We’ve got your covered!

3 Reasons To Have A Private Meal Before Your Reception

Quick Tips for Your Wedding Day Timeline

What To Expect At Your Wedding Dress Consultation

Get our free eBook: 10 Creative Ways To Keep Your Guests Entertained At Your Reception



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