Wedding days can be so chaotic! So many things to do, so many people to say “hi” or “thank you” to. I’ll be quite honest in saying that most wedding days seem to be over just as quickly as they started.
It’s important to remember that wedding days are fast! You wake up super early because you are too excited to sleep and before you know it, the whole day is over! One of the best things you can do is to give yourself plenty of time throughout the day to have a cushion in case something is forgotten or someone is running late. In most cases, that time can be added in at the beginning of the day. I know, I know. NO ONE wants to wake up early on their wedding day, but sometimes you really should. Most ceremonies take place between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. with ceremonies lasting anywhere between 10 minutes to almost two hours! And if you’re planning a morning ceremony, you’ll have to start your day even earlier!
Here are sure-fire ways to ensure a stress-free morning before your ceremony!
1. Start Early: A bride should begin getting ready for her big day at least four to five hours before the ceremony start time. I show up at least two to three hours before the ceremony so I have plenty of time to get getting ready photos, shots of important details, a first look with the couple and some shots with the bridal party and some family formals. Ideally, if a couple chooses to see each other before the ceremony (a first look), I should have 75% of our photos for the day captured before the ceremony even begins!
2. Choose Your Where Wisely: Where you get ready for the big day is more important than what people expect. The most important things to consider when choosing your getting-ready-space are the amount of space available, the kind of light in the room, the room’s decor and how close it is to your ceremony site. Natural light is always best – the more windows the better. Having access to a large (or multiple) bathrooms is so important and, obviously, if your bridal party is getting ready with you, you will need plenty of space! Most importantly, the decor of the room should be minimal and clean. Decor cannot always be changed or removed. Clutter and picture frames can be physically removed, but paint color and overly decorated rooms are usually impossible to manipulate. Hotel rooms are the PERFECT location for brides (and grooms) to get ready in. They usually have tons of large windows and lots of space for everyone! We do not recommend getting ready in church nurseries or classrooms and in basements or rooms without without windows. If you choose to get ready in someone’s home, we highly recommend getting ready in a room with lots of windows for the natural light AND that the room is cleaned beforehand and all clutter is removed.
3. Stay Organized: Keep your getting ready space tidy. You will definitely notice clutter in your photos and it will be distracting. Ask your bridal parties to limit clutter as much as possible and to clean up after themselves when they are finished getting ready. At the very least, it’s most important for the room to be clutter-free when the bride is getting dressed and for all bridal party members to be dressed and ready to assist the bride.
4. Details Box: If you want it photographed, put it in a box. Anything from rings and jewelry to your perfume to your shoes and dress. If it’s important to you, put it in the box. Invitations included! The details box will be the first thing I ask for when I arrive to your getting ready site. Details are photographed first and usually take about 15-30 minutes to complete. Once details are finished, I will photograph what’s left of everyone getting ready and move on to bridal party photos, the first look and family formals.
5. Day-of Coordinator: Consider hiring a professional to keep everyone on track. While your venue may provide you with an on-site coordinator, they don’t always take charge the way you might want or need them to. Most wedding planners offer a day-of only package where they will help set up decor at the reception/ceremony venue(s) and orchestrate the day’s schedule. If you need help finding a day-of coordinator, just ask and we will provide you with our recommended vendors list!
If you need help planning out your wedding day – don’t worry! About a month to two weeks before your day, I will put together a timeline that we will use throughout your day. I always try to meet our clients in person before their big day! This is when we’ll talk through the timeline and extra special moments to build into your day. You don’t get married as often as I photograph weddings, so please allow me to help you on this step. We use our experience to help create a timeline that best suits the special events of YOUR day!