- Choose somewhere with as much natural light as possible.
For the best possible photographs and film, choose to get ready somewhere with lots of natural light. Natural light is the most flattering and can help to avoid awkward shadows. Conservatories, rooms with big windows, sky lights or patio doors usually work best.
2. Have a hair and make up trial.
Seriously. It may seem like an unnecessary additional expense but there is nothing more stressful than looking in the mirror and not being happy with what you see. You'll not just be upset in the moment, but you wont feel your best all day. I say this not just as a photographer who has seen the aftermath, with brides frantically scrubbing off make up as soon as their MUA leaves, but also as a bride who did not have a trial myself and hated my wedding hair. It still bugs me to this day more than 8 years later.
And if you're doing your makeup yourself? Don't wing it. Practice, practice, practice!
3. Have things ready for your photographer before they arrive.
If you want photographs of details like your wedding dress, shoes, jewellery etc, have them all out and ready before your photographer/videographer arrives. It can be a time consuming process removing all the tags and stickers from things so it's best not to waste that time on the day itself or once your photo/film team are there. Remember to remove tags from dresses, stickers from the bottom of shoes, bottles of perfume from the boxes and jewellery from bags.
4. Wait until the photographer is there before giving or exchanging gifts
If you're planning to exchange gifts before your ceremony, either with bridesmaids, parents or your soon to be spouse, it's a good idea to wait until your photographer and videographer are present to capture this for you. It can make or great photos and there can be some really fun and emotional moments.
5. Have a plan, but be prepared to be flexible.
It's always sensible to have a plan for the morning of the wedding. This helps you to keep on track and not overlook anything essential. However, don't become too fixated on it. Use your plan as a guide to ensure you have allocated enough time for things, but be aware that things do often change on the day itself. For example, your make up artist or hair stylist might want to switch up the order that they do your bridesmaids in because they've noticed that someones curls are dropping quickly. Or maybe it's a really warm day and now they want to leave doing your makeup until last so you're as fresh faced as possible for the ceremony. Things pop up unexpectedly, but it doesn't have to be a setback if you have planned well.
Related to this- make sure you liaise with your suppliers well in advance of the wedding to make sure timings work for everyone. The last thing you want is for your videographer to need to leave at say 12:30pm so they have time to set up for the ceremony, but for your hair stylist to not plan to have finished your hair until 12:45.
6. Allow buffer time and plan to be ready early.
Always factor a little buffer time into your plans. If you think it'll take you half an hour at breakfast, allow 45 minutes. If it took 10 minutes to get into your dress in the shop, allow 20 minutes. Then plan to be ready at the very least, 20 minutes before you need to leave or 20 minutes before your registrars are due to arrive. And if things run perfectly to time? Excellent! Now you have some free time to spend with your besties toasting, having photos or just chilling.
7. Eat and drink
It's really common for brides or grooms to be to not have much of an appetite in the build up to the ceremony, but do your best to eat and drink throughout the morning if you can. It will make all the difference to how you feel and will help line your stomach if you will be drinking some celebratory Prosecco or any other alcoholic drinks. Drinking is particularly important on warmer days, no one thinks it will be them, but people do faint or get taken ill. Graze if you have to, but get something down you.
8. Environment is everything
Unless you're someone who thrives on chaos, only invite those who are absolutely necessary into your preparation space. More bodies means more people to entertain, more people who'll be asking you questions and wanting your attention, more people who'll have opinions you might not appreciate. It can get hot, stuffy and overwhelming very quickly. It's easier to simply not invite people along in the first place than to reach a point where you are so stressed you need to ask people to leave.
9. Turn your phone off or put it in airplane mode.
You'd think it was common sense to not bother the bride or groom just before they're about to get married but it is insane how many people call or text (brides in particular) to ask silly things like "what's the name of the venue you're getting married at" or "where can be park". It's also mad how many people text with an excuse as to why they aren't coming in the hour leading up to the ceremony. If you value your sanity, just put your phone to one side and let whatever will be, be. If someone is genuinely desperate to the address of your wedding, they'll find someone else who knows
10. Don't forget that its your day and it's to be enjoyed.
So much easier said than done, but enjoy the build up. If you find yourself getting stressed, emotional or overwhelmed, it's ok to step away and regroup. It's ok to ask your photographer to pop outside for a bit and come back in 20 minutes. We understand that it is a lot and I promise, your photographer will not be offended.