• Gina Dover-Jaques

Top Tips for a calm & relaxed wedding morning + My Wedding Day Timeline Example

Updated: Apr 28


AUTHOR:GINA DOVER-JAQUES.

CONTRIBUTORS: THE STARS INSIDE and STAPLEFORD PARK, UK 



As part of your planning process, and certainly as your wedding day draws near, you will want to know what you can do to help your wedding day run smoothly.


This article focusing on 'The morning preparations' is part of a series of articles that I will create over the forthcoming weeks to help couples plan their wedding day with a little more ease. I draw from extensive experience over the past decade, combined with advice from friends in the industry.


Should you have any questions, however great or small, it will be my pleasure to assist you. Feel free to comment on this blog or email me at info@doverjaquesphotography.com



Amy's stunning 'updo' was by talented Gabriella Viana of I Parrucchieri in Rome. Isn't it utterly gorgeous!




Follow my 'Top Tips' for a calmer you and timely morning!





1. Delegate!


Before your big day, be sure to set expectations, outline where people need to be and take them through their duties, especially if you will not have a Wedding Co-ordinator onboard on the day.


Share your ideas and vision with others in advance, so that when it comes to the lead up, everyone knows what is required of them. It will negate the need for many questions on the day. 





2. Have a designated 'go-to person'

Hiccups can happen on the day, but with a 'go-to' person on hand to resolve anything that may arise, you can be kept completely unaware to enjoy your day.


Your 'go-to-person' should be up to the task i.e. someone that you fully trust, who will have a clear head, stay calm and is a natural organiser.





3. Be on the 'front-foot' from the 'get-go'!


Allow 15 minutes to organise your wedding day items in the bridal suite and for everyone to soak up the room, it might be the first time your maids will have seen it, and so they are bound to want to take a good look around and snap some shots of their own!


Place your shoes, jewellery etc. in one place so that I easily find them to photograph.


From a photography perspective, be sure to keep one area of your bridal suite empty and tidy, ideally corner of the room, or a sindicate room if you have it, for your photographer to capture you during those final moments portraits etc.





4. Food & Drink


In advance of you wedding day, arrange for your venue to provide refreshments such as none-messy finger food/sandwiches and bottles of water an for you and your bridal party.





5. Bridal Beauty


When it comes to your bridal beauty or you’re looking to transform your look for the special occasion then be sure to hire a wedding beauty, hair and make up specialist.


Being pampered by Professional Beauticians and chilling with your besties can be one of the most memorable parts of the day. Sit back and let a professional take care of you so that you can chill and really enjoy this aspect of the day. A professional has the skills and products to ensure you will look stunning all the way into the early morning dancing!






6. Realistic time for your Bridal Preparations


The start time of your bridal preparations is very much determined by the number in your bridal party requiring hair & makeup by a professional beautician and the number of beauticians.


I've outlined a typical timeline for a wedding in the UK further down in this post and will be very happy to create an example timeline for overseas.


Timings for the Bridal preparations are so very often underestimated, which invariably leads to the final moments being somewhat rushed.


Being pampered by Professional Beauticians and chilling with your besties can be one of the most memorable parts of the day, so I have created the following key guidelines to help you remain chilled and on track.





7. A sound plan for you and your beauticians



Allow time for your Beautician/s to set-up.

Your Beautician/s arrival time is not the same as the start of their prepping time. They will want to look for the best light to work in, then set-up in readiness for making everyone look amazing, so give them 10 minutes or so for this.

Allow for interruptions & cross-overs

Based on your trial/s with your beautician/s, they will have suggested to you a proposed timeframe to finalise hair and make up for you and your bridal party. Be sure to add to this timing an additional 10 minutes for everyone as interruptions will happen, and 'cross-overs'  are not always in sync i.e. one of your maid's make up will not necessarily be completed at exactly the same time as the hairstylist is ready to work on her hair.





8. Everyone is feeling amazing and looking gorgeous after having their hair & make up done - 1 hour prior to your ceremony.


With your hair & make up completed one hour before the Ceremony will help to keep you feeling calm after all of the wondeful pampering!


It's a lovely time for me to position you in gorgeous light to capture the clinking of Champagne glasses and perhaps a huddle on the bed, followed by your maids helping you into your dress. I love these final moments and love to create images of your maids fussing around you . These captures are particularly beautiful if your maids are already dressed and ready.






Valentina Ring of The Stars Inside suggests the following [thanks Valentina!]



Respect your evening and morning routines:

Be sure to moisturise before bed, go to sleep by a sensible time, meditate, have a healthy breakfast, and so on. All of these little tasks will ease your nerves, and also help with your energy levels on the morning of your wedding.



Setting the mood

Pick a mellow playlist that makes you happy, and lighting calming scented candles around the room you're getting ready in - ideally pick your favourite ones that you can get a hold of after your wedding too, to remind you of all the good feelings!



Indulge yourself

I also think treating yourself to some pampering and indulgent clothing is a wonderful way to make you and the girls feel good. If you're having a later ceremony, why not use some time in the morning for manicures or massages, and then slip into some gorgeous silk robes (which have the added bonus of being adorable outfits for your photographer to capture!).



A sip or two of Champagne to relax you

A glass of bubbly will also help relax you, though I would suggest not having too much, as that can make you a bit jittery if it's not something you're used to having in the morning.


If you're naturally a bit anxious, I would advise being quite selective with who you ask to join you in the morning: try to surround yourself with girls that you know have a positive and reassuring influence on you.

If you're getting ready where all your guests are staying, it can be a little trickier to keep the group small, but remember that it's absolutely ok to put a note on the door that gently asks other guests to respect this time you have getting ready.



Generous Buffer & Delegation

Finally, as Gina mentioned, I would say that generous time buffers and delegation both play a key role in relaxing on your wedding morning: you shouldn't be doing any more planning or worrying at this point! Remind yourself that you've done lots of amazing hard work, and today is all about celebrating. Your day will go well, with your loved ones around you'






Amy Scott of destination wedding venue Stapleford Park Country House suggests the following [thanks Amy!]



Nominate a trusted member of your bridal party

Nominate a reliable and trusted member of your bridal party to be the point of contact for all suppliers, so all logistics and any issues are dealt with, without, unnecessary stress. Ignorance is bliss!



Pre-arrange refreshments for the morning preparations

Breakfast is essential, pre-order room service at the hotel the night prior, so that breakfast is served bright and early, to set you up for the day.



A realistic & timeley hair & makeup timeline is essential

Ensure you have planned your hair and makeup timeline to perfection, to avoid any rushing around.



A sip of Champagne to settle any pre-ceremony nerves

Indulge in a few sips of bubbly to calm your nerves and set the tone for the day.






Example Wedding Day Timeline based on ceremony & reception at one venue with a Ceremony start time of 14.00hrs




09.30 - Professional Hairstylist arrives [a Beautician's perspective]


Tipallow 2 hours for bridal hair & make up and 90 minutes for the Maids/MoTB etc. Build in an additional 5 - 10 minutes if your hair and makeup are complex, such as hair extensions and/or braiding



09.45 - 10.15 - Hairstylist places rollers in the Bride's hair to provide volume and a gorgeous look


10.20 - 11.20 - Makeup Artist applies Bride's makeup

An experienced professional will know how to apply the makeup for it to last throughout the day, especially for in the warmer days of the Summertime, but this takes time


11.25 - 12.10 - Hairstylist removes the rollers from the Bride's hair, then completes the look.


Tip: the 'getting ready' time can be reduced by having more than one Beautician, which is favorable if there are more than 2 maids and/or the Ceremony is around Midday


12.10 - 12.20 - natural break, a bite to eat perhaps, a check of your final look


Tip: everyone will gather round to check your gorgeous hair etc. and want to take snaps on their phones!


12.20 - 12.50 - Time to get into your dress & shoes etc, receiving of your bouquet. I've allowed 30 minutes for this because usually your maids will want to gather round you, take snaps on their phones and locate any mislaid items!


Tip: if your dress is a little involved i.e. requires careful Crochet Hook buttonhole fastening, allow at least 20 minutes for this [bridal shops are used to getting people in and out of dresses all day long and they’ll be able to do it much faster than your friends or family will. It's also a good idea to time a practice run when you get your dress home before your Wedding Day].


12.50 - 13.30 - Portraits of you, then with you Maids etc. clinking of Champagne glasses or the giving of gifts!




13.30 - 13.40 - Portraits of you with your father, then mother etc.


13.40 - 13.55 - chill & contingency time!


Tip:  this time isn’t really essential but it’s great to have a buffer in case your preparations run over. It’s also really lovely for you to have 15 minutes to gather your feelings. I like to leave the room at this stage to leave you in peace.



14.00 - CEREMONY

Tip: when it comes to the ceremony, there are two elements to consider:





Thank's to the following for their contribution:


Senior Event Planner Amy Scott of Stapleford Park Hotel in the UK







Coming up next: The Ceremony

Be sure to come back next week for my comprehensive top tips for a swimmingly glorious Wedding Ceremony and Photography.


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My Highend Talented Wedding Supplier Directory


Why film is the perfect marriage for wedding photography!






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