Wedding Day Timeline: Getting Ready

With wedding season right around the corner, we have a lot of couples working on the small details. Maybe you are ready to start finalizing your floral arrangements, creating long to-do lists to help you stay organized in the weeks leading up to the big day, or looking forward to your final dress fitting and dreaming that the day will just finally be here.

In planning our wedding, we knew we wanted to make sure we enjoyed every minute of the day. We didn’t want to feel rushed. We wanted to relax and appreciate every second we had with our close family and friends. This isn’t a new thing. Every couple wants this! 10 out of 10 couples say they just want to enjoy their day and they don’t want any stress. (OK, you caught me, this statistic is not legit, but you get the point). So why can’t every couple have this? We did! We strolled through our day as if we were just hanging out with our friends, having a great time, and making new memories that will be cherished in our hearts forever. The thing is, every couple CAN have this.

All it takes is a little planning. And, of course, the understanding that not EVERYTHING is going to go your way. If you have prepared and planned for all of the big stuff, the little unpredictable stuff that comes up during the day will be much easier to handle.

Chances are you’ve never planned such a huge event with so many moving parts before. We understand how overwhelming this can be, so we love to help our clients plan the day-of timeline. Having a wedding coordinator is extremely beneficial for this step of planning, but if you don’t have someone guiding you through it, we are more than happy to give insight on what we have seen work well (and what hasn’t gone so smooth). From our past experience, we have learned time and time again just how helpful it is when you, your bridal party and close family members have a good idea of timeline of the day. We focused heavily on this for our wedding, and truly believe it was the key to having a relaxed, fun wedding day.

This is why, over the next couple weeks, we are going to highlight some important parts of the wedding day timeline in this blog series. We’ll give some tips and pointers on how to plan for these moments and ensure your day will be stress-free! Because, like I said, isn’t that what everyone wants?

Bride Getting Ready
Groom Getting Ready

Let’s start at the beginning. The getting ready. The ladies getting dolled up like queens with hair & make-up. Moisturizing. Packing their clutches with the essentials (lip gloss, bobby pins, etc) and preparing for the day. The guys might be getting ready a little later; golfing, watching football, eating a breakfast buffet or just sleeping in.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Always plan for extra time. You’re going to think I sound like a broken record in this series, but the golden rule here is to allow for extra time in every aspect of the day. Ask your hair & makeup artists how much time they will need to style everyone. Don’t forget to include moms! Then account for an extra half hour or so. It is better to be safe than sorry!

  • If possible, minimize the amount of travel. Ask your hair & makeup artists if they will travel to you. Invite them to your home, hotel or your ceremony location so you don’t have to worry about travel time to the salon (unless it is nearby).

  • Try to have your bridal party get ready together. Schedule a girl’s sleepover the night before so everyone will wake up in the same spot, and you can help each other rise and shine!

  • Schedule your hair & makeup last. As the bride, you want your to look fresh for pictures and for when your soon-to-be husband sees you! Have all of your bridesmaids get their hair & makeup done first, and get yours done last. This will also allow you more time to enjoy your morning coffee and relax comfortably before the rush of the day really begins.

  • Don’t forget to eat! Plan ahead and designate someone (cousins or friends who are not in the bridal party) to go pick up food, or have it delivered. Many times, couples will remember to eat breakfast, but during the rush of the day forget about lunch and pre-ceremony snacks. Don’t forget that the bridal party may also miss any cocktail hour snacks while you wait to do your big entrance. You don’t want to starve until dinner is served!

  • Learn to let go of the small things. Spoiler alert: this is not the last time you will hear me say these words in this series. Inevitably, someone is going to be late (this is why you plan extra time!), or one of the groomsmen will not have had their suit tailored (it’s not your fault they look silly with a baggy suit). Years from now, you are not going to look back and think of these things. Focus on the big picture, the joy of this big day, rather than the small things that no one but you will notice. Relax, take a sip of that mimosa, and roll with it!

  • Put your phone away while you are getting ready. Assign a bridesmaid or family member to check on it in case of emergency calls, but don’t be stuck to it worrying about who is going to come even though they didn’t RSVP or whether or not the groomsmen are going to be ready on time.

  • Plan for extra time to put your dress, jewelry and shoes on! A lot of brides account for the time it will take to get their hair & makeup all done, but don’t consider the time it takes to actually get in their dress and put on all their accessories. Don’t forget that your photographer will want pictures of you, mom, and/or maid of honor getting into that dress! Make sure we know when you’re putting on the dress, so we can get these beautiful detail shots.

Bride Getting Ready for Summer Wedding
Catawba Island Wedding Groom
Groom and Groomsmen Getting Ready
Catawba Island Wedding Prep

This is just the start to planning your wedding day. Getting beautiful should be the most laid-back, enjoyable time of the day, so make sure you schedule enough time and communicate the plan to your bridal party.

From here, you will either be heading out to do your first look or to your ceremony to get married! We are huge believers in the benefits of doing a first look, and it fit perfectly on our wedding day (we even had time for a drink with the bridal party at Table Forty 4 before our big entrance!), but we know it’s not for everyone. This timeline series is directed at doing a first look, but don’t worry, if you’d rather do photos after the ceremony, a blog for your timeline is on the way!

Keep an eye out next week for tips on planning your first look and your bride & groom creative session!

How are you planning to keep your wedding day relaxed and running smooth? If you are already married, what was your timeline like? Let us know if we left any great pointers out!