What time should I be ready?

Chris Tips & Advice

What time do I need to be ready on the morning of my wedding? 

I get asked this question quite a lot, even though my photography style is natural, it’s good to have a plan to make sure everything goes smoothly on the run up to the ceremony. Most of all I want my brides to be on time and calm and I am sure they do as well!

The morning of a wedding can go slowly, until that last hour. It’s literally the fastest of the day I swear! As a photographer there are quite a few moments I love to capture. Ensuing there is plenty of time means brides can experience them and enjoy the moment, while I take care of the rest.

So let’s go with the example that the bridal party are getting ready at the venue and the ceremony is there at 2pm. You want to be finished with hair and makeup at 12.40pm. . . yes really! This allows for any touch ups or hair that isn’t playing ball to be sorted. It also allows for a trip to the toilet, change of underwear etc before the dress goes on. Its critical at this time that bridesmaids are well underway to being dressed along with mother of the bride or the person who is getting you dressed, if not dressed already. At 12.50pm its finally time to put THE dress on, this can be a little later if you only have a zip. However lace up dresses these need a good 20 minutes to do, don’t be fooled into thinking it will take 5 minutes as the lady in the shop did it that quick! The person who has this responsibility needs time or they will get a massive sweat-on and panic will fill the room. Once you are dressed it’s nice to then put on jewellery, perfume etc which make for some lovely images for your photographer.

So at around 1.10pm, everyone is dressed and ready to go. ‘What? A whole hour before! I don’t want to sit in my dress that long!’ I hear this so much, however there is a good few reasons for this! We want those reveal shots, to the bridesmaids but most of all Dad. It a precious moment for father and daughter and it’s not something that should be rushed at all. There may be tears, hugs, gifts to be given. It’s the last time Dads feel their daughter is theres before they give them away, savour the moment. At 1.30pm I like to head downstairs to get guests arriving, the boys chatting and I need to speak to the registrar’s taking the ceremony. They will also then come and see you at 1.45pm for the final checks and talk before the ceremony gets underway. During this time as well, it’s nice for everyone to have a final glass of bubbly, take some selfies and relax before the day begins. Less rushing means everyone may actually remember more of the day and have more fun!

So a little recap; if bridal pre is taking place at the venue, the bride wants to be dressed and ready 50 minutes before the ceremony and for hair and makeup to have finished a whole hour and a half before the ceremony. If there is a drive involved, be sure to add in the right amount of time for the drive. If prep is happening at someones house (so not a hotel) even more time needs to be added; it gets very manic as everyone is packing bags to take to the venue as well as locking doors and windows, leaving food for the cat etc. So add at least 15 minutes after the’ reveal’ to ensure time for this. It’s always better to have a longer drive than rush, besides a good driver will time manage.

Weddings days are a blur if everyone is rushing about; planning beforehand ensures everyone is relaxed. This will also help your photographer have time to document everything, so there is no disappointment after that something was missed.

All this being said… if you are late just remember it wont start without you!