Getting Ready for your Wedding: Tips for Brides

 Let's talk about Wedding Hair and Makeup and how long you will need to get ready on your wedding day. When it comes to planning your wedding day timeline this is a question I get a lot from brides "How long will it take to get ready?" 

Bridal hair and makeup Vancouver, WA

Generally, the answer is different for every bride and I try my best to give great advice when it comes to planning these details but let's face it, I'm the photographer, not a wedding planner or HMUA. I typically will suggest my brides get ready early and plan at least 1 hour per bridesmaid for hair and makeup. It seems like a lot of brides think they are going to have all day to get ready but time slips away very quickly on the day of. I have seen bridal parties with 10+ bridesmaids get full hair and makeup and still arrive on time ready for photos with no hiccups and I've seen small bridal parties struggle to show up an hour late to the ceremony. It's so important to make sure you have enough time for everyone to get ready on your big day. Since I didn't have a for-sure answer for my brides, I decided to ask a few of my friends and experts in the wedding business for their opinions. 

Wedding day Getting ready

Meghan Hamilton Owner of Glam Beauty Bar says "We allot 2 hours typically for a Bride and 1.5 hours per bridesmaid if they are getting both hair and makeup done."

Bridal hair and make up Vancouver WA

Hair and Makeup artist Jennifer Ferris says:

"For me, it depends on what the bride wants. It can take anywhere from an hour for both to 3 hours for both makeup and hair if she is wanting something particularly elaborate. On average I'd say the makeup usually takes an hour, the hair about an hour as well. For the bridal party, if I'm working alone, maybe 5 hours. The bridesmaids don't take nearly as long on average. If I'm working with a crew, then we are usually in and out within 3 hours"

Victoria Lou Hair and Make up Vancouver WA

Melodi Ramquist owner and event planner at 1000 Stories events says: 

"At a minimum, I plan 90 minutes for the bride and an hour per bridesmaids....but it depends what they are doing with their hair. If there's ONE stylist, then it'll take longer (and if there are more than 3 people then they probably will need a break as well). When I'm working on the event day schedule I always defer to the pro to make sure I'm giving them all the time they need."

Wedding getting ready

Victoria Lou Master Cosmetologist and HMUA Says: "Typically for brides it’s about 2-21/2 hours depending on their look. Obviously, if it’s got a bit more intricate aspects to say the styling for example, then we accommodate for that. I typically do 1-2 trial runs with the bride so it helps remove any guesswork out of how long it will take, getting to know their skin and hair as well. These factors play into timing as well. A great example is having a bride that might have hair that is very silky; even with styling aids etc, this is a good to know, so I know I’ll need to allow a bit of extra time to really prep that hair so it stays put through her wedding. For me the first trial run is to get to know my brides, what they are wanting, plus to see if we match up personality and style-wise. Why?...well we’re going to spend a good amount of time together pretty close up, personal, literally in your face! If there’s anything that we don’t mesh on we can usually get a good read after the first run. The second trial run we hone in on pinpointing the complete look, schedule willing; to do on the bride's final fitting day too. This just really ties it all together for her so she’ll really have an idea of what she’s going to look like walking down the aisle."

"Now with Bridesmaids, I’ve had parties all want the same look and I’ve had them all individualized at times too so their own personality shines through. With the consistent look for the party, it typically does move a bit faster; pallets are already considered and styles decided. Even when this is an option, everyone still looks great, because facial features, skin tone, etc come into play still giving it a very pulled-together overall appearance yet each one may look just a bit different for the slightest reason. It’s always fun to get to individualize looks because the girls really get to show off their own flair and sparkle in their own light. On average I spend about 1-11/2 hours on each bridesmaid. So when you’re trying to plan out the timing, essentially we work backwards to see when a good starting time is. I always like to chat with the photographer as well so I know what their timeline is as well as knowing who’s getting pictures first. So if you’re expecting an 11am ceremony: start counting back taking into account how many bridesmaids, or moms, grammas, aunties that may come into play in blocks of hours to really get an idea of a good start time. One other aspect I like to find out from my brides is if they’re willing to have my bridal team help with bridesmaids so we can move along at a much easier pace. If we can get 3 girls in makeup, hair, and dresses in an hour...everyone is typically in much better spirits! I ask my brides if their grooms are doing anything beforehand(this particular wedding pops into mind where the groomsmen and groom all played a round of golf the morning of the wedding; my team and I dealt with concealing sunburned boys...and it wasn’t the ring bearers lol!) even then guys need a little TLC for pics. The slightest bit of under-eye concealer can make a big difference...these are the pictures that are meant to last a lifetime, so why not get everyone picture perfect!"

Hair and Make up Glam Beauty Bar Vancouver WA

Tips for awesome getting ready photos: 

Keep it Tidy:

Clear away any clutter before the photographer arrives. Make sure food, drink cups etc are cleaned up. Designate an area for bags, clothes, shoes etc. so that it's all in one area. The more bridesmaids the more mess. I have arrived to bridal suites that have been completely taken over and look like a tornado went through with clothes, shoes, make up etc. Remind your friends to keep their things tidy so that it doesn't show in photos... It also makes clean up easier later when you need to pack everything up. 

Let some light in: 

Natural light is always great for photos but it helps a ton to have a natural light source when you are having your hair and make-up done too. Choose a location to get ready for your wedding that has good lighting to make sure your make up application is even and well blended. 

Bride Getting ready

Bring a Mirror: If your venue or getting ready location does not have a large full-length mirror Bring your own!  I have arrived at so many beautiful venues where the bride is completely ready and has to go into a restroom to see how good she looks. Every wedding venue should invest in a full-length mirror but if they don't have one you should definitely bring your own! You can pick up an inexpensive mirror from Walmart, Target, or Ross. 

Make a list: Make a list of what you need for yourself and your bridal party during the getting ready part of your day. Do you need to bring a powerstrip, water, makeup remover, nail polish remover, bobby pins, etc. Make a list ahead of time of what you might need and ask one of your bridesmaids to help.

Eat and Drink up! Pack some snacks or plan to eat right before you get ready. It's a long day preparing for your wedding. It is so important that you eat and stay hydrated so that you don't pass out or get shakey during your ceremony. Sandwich platters, fresh fruit, nuts, cheese, and bottled water a
re always great to bring to the bridal suite or getting ready location. You and your friends can snack and fuel up while making yourselves beautiful.


Food, sandwhiches, simply thyme catering

Windy Hills Winery Wedding Ridgefield WA

Wedding Hangers: Consider purchasing a special hanger for your wedding dress. Even better buy a custom hanger for each bridesmaid as a thank you gift. These look so beautiful on the wedding day and add that extra detail to your story. Check out my friend's Etsy store: Simply Chic Coils . She makes beautiful custom wedding hangers and other personalized keepsakes. 

Wedding Dress

Wear a robe: Robes make clothing changes super fast! If you are having your hair and make-up done and don't want to risk messing up your hair or smearing your make-up when you change out of your clothes and into your dress consider wearing a robe. You can find beautiful matching silky robes on Amazon for you and your entire bridal party plus they look great in the getting ready photos! 

Bridesmaids Robes Floral

Give a copy of your timeline to your bridal party: This can help you communicate the expectations for your bridal party especially if you are not working with a coordinator. If you need everyone ready for photos and at the venue by a certain time you need to inform your group ahead of time. On the day of the wedding, everything happens very fast and it's very common for couples and the bridal party to underestimate how much time they need to get ready. Communicating with your group ahead of time can help reduce stress and the likeliness of people running late. I often hear people say "no wedding is ever on time, or no bride is ever ready on time" This is not true. If you have a ton of specific photos you want to be done before your ceremony starts it's crucial for you to be ready and arrive on time. Make sure you give yourself and your bridal party enough time to get ready and consider starting extra early just incase things don't go as planned or you forget something at home.  I have seen couples running late because of last-minute hair and makeup add ons (bridesmaids deciding the last min. to get professional hair and makeup,) not enough time for how many in the bridal party, dresses malfunctioning and needing repair, items left at home, rings left at home, etc. 

Make a playlist: Make a playlist to get ready to.  Ask your friends to help with this. Choose romantic songs or songs that are going to elevate the mood and get you pumped up for getting married. Make it personalized for your wedding and your group. Do you have a jam that just makes you and your friends want to sing and dance? Put that on your playlist! 

Wedding Photographer Vancouver WA

Get lots of rest the night before: It's not like the movies. Don't have your bachelor/bachelorette party the night before you get married. Every look in the mirror after a night of drinking? Alcohol caused you to bloat, have bags under your eyes, and dehydrates your skin. You want to look and feel your best on your wedding day not just survive the hangover after a night of drinking. Limit alcohol consumption if possible and drink lots and lots of water! 

Text your Lover: If you are feeling a little stressed or overwhelmed the morning of your wedding, send a sweet love text to your soon to be spouse! Sometimes a sweet little text exchange before you say I do can make you both feel more at ease. Do not send any angry or stressed out texts to your partner! 

Pamper yourself: Don't cut costs or corners when getting ready. You have spent a ton of time and energy to make your wedding special. Invest in a quality hair and makeup artist to help enhance your natural beauty. You want your hair and makeup to last all day and make you look great in photos! The pros know just what products to use to make you look and feel your best. Make sure you do a trial run before the day of your wedding so you know what to expect and you achieve the look you want. 

Wedding inspiration Vancouver WA

Bring your Wedding Lingerie:  I can't tell you how many times brides have forgotten to bring their underwear to their wedding! Seriously, don't forget to pack your undergarments, bras, panties, Spanx, whatever you need make sure they are on the list and in the bag the night before your wedding. You don't want to go commando when you have all your guests watching during the garter toss either... 

Pro Tip: if you do plan for some sexy bridal lingerie you might be able to sneak in a couple of intimate portraits aka Boudoir to give to your partner as a surprise gift! 

Celebrate: You have planned all the details, you've waited for this special day! Pop the champagne, cheers with your friends, Jump on the bed, have a dance party in your PJs, take silly selfies, JUST REMEMBER TO CELEBRATE! This day is supposed to be fun and memorable. Try to let go of the small stuff and enjoy yourself.

Vancouver WA Wedding Photographer

Hope you enjoyed these tips! 




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