Tracy from GTS Photography Essex, shares her top advice for a bride on her wedding day. Summarising her top list of things to do to prepare for your wedding.
1. Leave plenty of time before the ceremony
*In the run up to your wedding day you should consult with your suppliers for their advice on timings. Your photographer will be a great source for this, as they see the whole day from start to finish and keep a close eye on the timings all day.
*Check with your hair and make up artists to see how long they need for each person, and agree on overall timings. Consider having your make up done in the middle of everyone, so all of your ‘getting ready’ photographs aren’t with you with no makeup! (also you’ll avoid any potential last minute panics should there be any).
*Work out beforehand if you would like a dress reveal with your bridal party? If so then those people will also need to be dressed and ready for these shots too. Don’t plan too many shots in this time though, as your photographer will just want to capture you and your bridal party during this time. To ensure your dress and make up stay as fresh as possible.
*Be sure to all be ready at least 30 mins before you’re needed for the ceremony/registrar, to allow for some beautiful bridal and bridal party portrait shots and that all important last nervous wee and lipstick touch-up!
*Create a timing sheet for the morning, and make sure you share it with your bridal party and your suppliers present on the day, so everyone is on the same plan. It will help you stay on track and you’ll feel better knowing you’re not forgetting anything and have plenty of time for everything. Who doesn't love a to do list?!
On the day:
*Be prepared and collect together all your outfit accessories - shoes, jewellery, perfume, hair pieces, veil, garter, personal trinkets, etc. and your bouquet - anything that you’d like your photographer to capture on the morning to save them running around looking for it all (wasting time they could be photographing your morning).
2. Roles for the wedding party: delegate, delegate, delegate!
*Even the most protective of brides have to give over some responsibility of their precious wedding day when it comes down to it, to help make sure things go smoothly. Pick one or two of your most trusted (and responsible) bridesmaids/ushers/family members to know the proceedings inside out like you do and entrust them to be able to step up if something crops up. Discuss with them some eventualities and what you find acceptable or not, so they don’t need to check in with you for every little query.
*One lucky delegate (one that can venture to the ladies with you) needs to carry the 'emergency bag', to contain items such as: touch-up make-up, mints, paracetamol (or any other emergency medicine you might have such as inhalers or histamines), plasters, deodorant, hairspray and spare pins, wet wipes, copies of speeches and family photo lists, if children are in the bridal party then essentials such as spare dummies, snacks, toys, money/debit card for drinks if it’s not a free bar, scissors, needle and cotton, sanitary items if needed, spare contact lenses…chuck it all in!
*Nominate the bossiest and or loudest member of the bridal party to help the photographer gather your friends and family when it comes to the group photographs. Save yourself from walking around looking for family members, and make them earn their dinner! Give them the list beforehand and tell them the timings associated with this part of the day too. Introduce your photographer to them on the day, then just sit back and relax!
*Also don’t forget…Decide who looks after the gifts for the bridal party and makes sure they are ready for when you give out the gifts; who collects and delivers to your room any cards and presents your guest bring along; who is in charge of getting the signing book/frame signed by all the guests; who is going to look after any elderly or less abled guests so you can rest assured they are looked after and can enjoy their day too.
*If you don’t fancy your venue (or they can’t do it) moving your personal items over to the honeymoon suite then make sure you’ve asked someone trusted to collect up all your things from the room you got ready in, once you’re done, to your honeymoon suit so you don’t have to worry in the morning. Extra drink for them if they leave it in a nice tidy state too!
On the day:
*It’s worth delegating someone as the precious ‘phone holder’ for the day. You don’t want to be worrying about last minute panic texts from your guests or random emails, you need to be focussing on staying present in the moment of your wedding day (just be sure to give them your screen lock).
3. Wedding outfit preparation
*Remove all labels, tags, sticky labels before the wedding day.
*And it goes without saying make sure all clothing fits, underwear is suitable, shoes fit and hems are the correct length before the wedding morning! The wedding morning is no time for last minute checks or alterations thank you very much!
*As a back-up, consider printing out any instructions on how to tie ties, cravats, fold handkerchiefs, button or tie up the dress etc. just in case one or two people don’t know and there is no phone signal!
On the day:
*Make sure you take off any underwear (socks, bra straps etc.) or watches with plenty of time as you don’t want any marks left on the skin that may be showing once you walk down the aisle. I’ve yet to find a trick to eradicate these wear-marks at short notice (except for Photoshop after the event)!
*Be sure to hang up the dresses/shirts - in fact all outfits with plenty of time to allow for any creases to drop out and for the outfits to fall back into line and sit correctly. Don’t forget to hang the veil too! Somewhere out of the way for safety is a good idea, and top marks if it’s also somewhere photogenic for your photographer!
4. Have a healthy amount of snacks and (non-alcoholic) drinks at the ready
*Lets face it, you'll want to celebrate all day long when your wedding day finally comes around, BUT take it easy! Prepare a bundle of snacks and wholesome brekkie treats for your morning (try to avoid any foods that could stain clothes just to be on the safe side!) to make sure you’ve got something in your stomach to avoid feeling dizzy/faint or just plain hungry. No one wants to hear the bride’s stomach growling in the middle of her vows!
*Ask the venue/caterer or a friend to prepare a plate of the canapés for just the pair of you for just after the service, to ensure you get something to eat for when you’re off having photographs. As well as a glass of something fizzy too!
On the day:
*Keep a bottle of water to hand (another job to delegate) all day especially if it’s a hot day. If you’re wearing a heavy dress or a 3 piece suit in the height of summer you will need it!
*Consider having bucks fizz in the morning to limit your alcohol intake, with the nerves and adrenaline running, and helpful friends keeping your glass topped up. It's easy to have too much.
5. Be weather ready on you wedding day
*One of the few things we can't control is the weather, and even the forecasters get it wrong sometimes. So to avoid last minute panics and anxiousness make sure you have plans in place if your venue has any parts of your day outside should it suddenly rain. Also, consider if is there plenty of shade and water available for guests if it’s likely to be a very, very hot day.
*Check the forecast in the run up to the wedding day, but it’s worth having all likely eventualities covered - umbrellas, wellies (or non sandal shoes), a light cover up, incase of rain or sudden storms and sun-screen and fans to hand in case it’s really very warm, as those items are very difficult to get hold of last moment and can make all the difference to you enjoying your day.
*Also check with your photographer what the contingency is for photographs if it is wet, is there somewhere suitable to photograph indoors if needed?
On the day:
*Make sure you take any medication on time or with you if you suffer from allergies such as hay fever, or if you unfortunately have a rotten winter cold then try to time these so you are at your best for your ceremony.
6. Don’t forget about comfort amongst all the glamour
*It’s understandable that you’ve opted for a draw-dropping gown, and killer shoes, for your one special day where all eyes will be on you. But I urge you to consider taking some items of comfort for your day too, for you to change into for the evening. For instance, some comfy shoes that you know you can dance in, maybe a more comfy bra/underwear, or maybe even a whole change of outfit. Don’t let the lasting memories of your wedding day be sitting out of the dancing because you couldn’t stand up in your shoes any longer!
On the day:
*Don’t be afraid to make last minute changes to your hair, makeup or outfit if you just don’t feel comfortable. You are the one who is calling the shots today - do what makes you feel comfy. End of.
7. Learn how to bustle your dress and remove the veil
* As part of your delegation, choose someone (mum or maid of honour) to be responsible for bustling up your dress. This should take 30 seconds or so, but trust me your groom won’t be up to the task just before you’re about to walk into the wedding breakfast with all your guests! And if it doesn’t show I’d suggest attaching a small discreet ribbon to the button and hoop for ease of locating them in a rush!
On the day:
*Don’t forget to ask your hairdresser to show your chosen person how to remove your veil too, should you want to take this out later in the day. It may not be as simple as it looks with an elaborate up-do held in with a million pins.
8. Five minutes alone as newly weds
On the day:
*Be sure to allocate or make time for 5 mins with your new beloved. The ideal time for this is just after the ceremony before you go off for photographs, or before your group photographs, and/or just after the wedding breakfast before you freshen up for the reception. Although you’ll be spending all day with each other in theory, it's highly likely you’ll be very busy individually catching up with and enjoying the day with your friends and family, so don’t forget to check in with each other and take a moment to reflect on what you’ve both just done! You’ll never get this day back again. I always build in 10 mins for my couples here, in case they forget!
9. If children are part of your wedding party
*Make sure you’ve got suitable snacks and entertainment to keep them happy. Be realistic that you won’t have much time to spend with them so it’s fine to let the rocker/jumparoo/ipad/phone/TV do most of the work for just one morning, under the supervision of a trusted person with you in the morning (just remember to pack the chargers/batteries!). For older children give them a seemingly important job or task to keep them involved and occupied (such as making up some pretend favours, or writing cards/drawing pictures of good luck for the bride and groom). Even the normally best-behaved children will feed off the nervous energy in the room, and are likely to be out of character.
*Have a back-up outfit to hand that you know they will wear, that might not be a million miles away from their original outfit, if all else fails or if something happens to the original outfit. It’s important to remember that as much as you want them looking nice/clean/tidy, in your favourite princess outfit, don’t set your expectations too high! This isn’t the objective of the day - don’t let this be a potential source of stress.
On the day:
*Limit sugary snacks so in an hour's time you don’t have a sugar-filled-whirling-hot-pot waiting to explode and then melt down!
*Leave getting them dressed till near the end to avoid spills or dirt, but don’t be too precious - be grateful they have the outfit on whatever time it may be! Your photographer can remove a multitude of dirty marks if needed!
10. If you’ve done all of the above then all that is left to do is just be present in the moment! Go slow, don’t forget to breathe, and enjoy your day.
For more advice or wedding inspiration please visit my blog, or reach out on my social channels - I love to chat!
Thank you for reading,