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How to save time, money and stress on your wedding... plan your morning.

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Make-up artist applying blusher
Ivy and Vine Photography

It's more important than you would think to plan out your wedding morning in good time. There's actually quite a lot to consider and so lets unpack it for you and hopefully save you some money and some stress in the long run.

Here are our tips to help you save time, money and stress on your wedding day.

Choosing the time of the wedding...

Carefully choose the time of your wedding. Yes it's nice to have a morning wedding and then celebrate all day, but it's also a very long and tiring day regardless of the time you choose to start proceedings and the morning really does fly by. So a 1pm / 2pm wedding really is the most ideal start time especially if you have a bridal party of 3 or more bridesmaids. I've heard time and time again the phrase 'I don't want to spend all morning getting ready'. But consider that it's not just the bridal party getting ready to consider, it's the venue preparing the entertaining spaces, it's your guests travelling to your venue, it's caterers preparing the food, it's hair and make-up artists working their socks off at silly o'clock to have you all ready in time. Be aware that many hair and make-up artists will charge a fee for starting pre-7am. Of course if you have a large bridal party then it may be more cost effective to have a team of people to attend your day. Ask me for quote options depending on the amount of people that need doing, I'll be more than happy to explain how it would work best for you, both considering time and cost.

There are some venues that refuse weddings pre-12pm, and it's really for a good reason, especially if they've had a wedding the day before to clear down from, before they can start prep for your day.

Does your venue require you to move?

This is a detail you will want to check early on. They may well have a beautiful bridal suite you can get ready in, but what time can you access this? It's often not until 11am / 11.30am and it can be really disruptive to move your entire bridal party, plus hair and make-up artists. Note most hair and make-up artists will charge a fee to move venues as this takes a lot of time, even if you're on the same grounds or even in the same hotel. Packing up, moving kit and setting up again (particularly for make-up artists) takes at least 20 - 30 mins, so if there's a drive in between it can really add up in terms of time allowed and eaten up when you should be getting ready. Be sure to mention any moves prior to booking your hair and make-up team, so that costs can be considered in advance and you're aware of potential start times. Note even a 9am access is still much later than most bridal parties start hair and make-up prep, so please don't assume that just because you're getting married in the afternoon that there will be enough time. Talk to your artists/ coordinator (me) and I'll help you understand how the morning might pan out.

Bride having hair styled
Ivy and Pine Photography

Talk to your venue and photographer

Your venue will have a good idea of anything else that's time sensitive. i.e how long it takes for you to walk from the getting ready space, to the ceremony room or the time guests begin arriving meaning you need to not be moving around outside beyond this point.

Photographers will always want a little bit of time with you prior to the ceremony for a few portrait shots. But be careful not to fall into the trap of being talked into your dress too early. If you're getting married at 2pm in the same building, then it's realistic to be putting your dress on at 1pm or a tiny bit earlier. Especially if it has lots of buttons or a corset back. This means that if you're running 10 mins late that you should still be fully dressed by 1.30pm, allowing 15 mins for photos before the registrar comes to talk to you at 1.45pm. But trust me when I say having all hair and make-up complete by 12.30pm is far too early. You can expect to maybe have yourself finished by this point but there would still be someone sat in the hair and make-up chair until around 1pm. Otherwise you're making everyone get up even earlier than is necessary.

If you're getting married in a church then you'll need to consider the fact that your photographer will want to leave a little bit before you. In which case ensure you're ready 15 mins before they need to leave you. Allow 30 - 40 mins for putting on your dress. It may not take that long, but with having a wee, putting on the correct underwear, jewellery and veil fitting this really is quite realistic.

Bridesmaids dresses

Ensure your bridesmaids (at least some of them) and your mum are in their dresses before you put your dress on. They should be considering starting getting dressed around 1.5 hours prior to the ceremony for a few reasons...

1. they're not faffing about with their own jewellery, shoes, underwear etc when they should be helping you.

2. The pictures will look so much nicer once they're in their dresses and make for gorgeous pictures when you're getting dressed.

3. Once they're dressed they can be tidying the space and moving all clothes into bags and making the room look wedding portrait ready. You don't want your photographer having to edit out random bits of rubbish from your bridal portraits if you don't have to and you don't want to waste time on the morning tidying yourself, when you should be relaxing and staying calm before your big moment.

Bridal party drinking fizz on a bed
Martin Dabek Photography

Dressing gown shots

As gorgeous as these are, they have been known to make brides late... so if this is something you want to have taken then give some thought to when this might happen. If you want them to be taken when all bridesmaids and the bride are ready, then have them taken as soon as the bride is finished in hair and make-up (this usually leaves one person still being done) so is there someone in your bridal party that wouldn't be needed for this photograph? Mum or Gran perhaps, could they be planned to go last in hair or make-up? Ideally these photos should happen mid morning, so when not all hair and make-up is complete, but we do know that this isn't everyone's ideal, so please just give some consideration to it.

Bride having finishing touches applied by stylist
Matt Willis Photography

Fitting the veil / final touch ups

It's very often that not enough thought is given to when the veil is going to be fitted unfortunately. Whilst your hair stylist would ideally like to fit your veil when they have finished everyone's hair, it's often the case that the bride isn't dressed and therefore isn't ready to have her veil fitted at that point. Please note that if once you've planned your morning you think you'll need your stylist to wait to fit your veil then waiting time may well be charged. They may well have clients booked in after they were due to leave you, so there's no guarantee that they can just wait around to fit it unless discussed in advance. If you follow our suggestions above and start getting dressed around an hour before the ceremony, then in theory they should still be able to fit the veil before they leave and during finishing touches, as most stylists will allow 15 mins for finishing touches to all others before they leave, or to fit fresh flowers, if applicable.

If you don't wish to pay a waiting fee, then it's best to ask your stylist to show a bridesmaid or someone else how to fit the veil before they leave. This is a good way round it, if you have someone you trust to fit it, that is.

Other events / activities

So I'm talking about... (and these are actual scenarios that have cropped up in the past)...

*There's a fun run happening that some of the bridal party are attending.

*The mother of the groom wants to have breakfast in the hotel with her son

*The mother of the bride needs to set up the cake and will take X amount of time

*The official ceremony is happening at 9am and 2 of the bridesmaids are witnesses so they can't have their hair and make-up done during this time.

*One bridesmaid is travelling 3/4 hours on the morning, so can't be first in hair or make-up.

These might sound like a really obvious things to mention, but on more than one occasion have these things been thrown at us last minute to just work around and actually, with a little notice we can help you and plan round them. This might mean considering more pairs of hands, or setting up an artist elsewhere or something else we might be able to pull out of the bag. But knowledge is power, so arm us with as much information as you can.

Bride putting her earrings on
Sandy - Love in Focus

I hope this post has been useful. Please please just ask if you would like me to help you plan the running order of your morning. I can communicate with both hair and make-up and draw up a beautiful colour coded schedule that gives everyone a time slot, so that everyone knows where they need to be and when.

Thanks for reading.

Emily x

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