Bridal prep, as it’s generally referred to in the wedding industry, is the time (usually in the morning) before a ceremony when a bride is getting ready with her bridal party. It’s usually busy, a little chaotic and emotions are high – from extreme excitement to lots of nerves.
Bridal prep is one of my favourite parts of a wedding day. I love seeing a bride surrounded by her closest friends and family, as they share in the excitement of the day being finally here. The best bridal preps are notable for how supportive the bridal party are to the bride. They show up – with prosecco and plenty of glasses to go around – wanting to ensure the bride has the best day and are helping in every way they can
Having been a part of many bridal preps I know the common mistakes that brides make. Many of the mistakes only happen because for most brides this is their first and only time being a bride. So let’s dive in on some of the top mistakes and how to avoid them!
1. Not making a plan:
Plan the timings, share the plan with everyone and give the responsibility to someone you trust
This actually applies to your whole wedding day. Although many brides plan the rest of their day out I think it often gets missed a little during bridal prep.
If you would like to have photos with your bridal party in your matching dressing gowns you need to allow time. If you’d like to give your bridal party gifts before your wedding ceremony, you need to allow time. If you’d like to do a letter reading before your ceremony, you need to allow time. Or if you’d like to enjoy time with your closest friends and family over a bottle of bubbly – you need to allow time. Anything you’d really like to happen on the morning of your wedding you need to allow time for.
Allow buffer time in case things run over
Always allow more time than you think (buffer time!). Then once you’ve made a plan for your morning give that plan to someone you trust (like your Maid of Honour) and let them take responsibility to guide you through. We always help our couples plan the timings for bridal prep and give our brides gentle nudges along the way.
The key to any plan is to allow for it to be flexible and change. Things come up, plans have to change but if something’s really important to you make sure everyone knows about it. It’s fine for things to run a little late (more on that below) so don’t let your plan add to any stress. Ensure your plan helps you make the most of this precious time.
2. Using bags for life:
Say no to bags for life
I can’t say this loud enough: say no to bags for life. I have been in some of the most beautiful bridal suites. They’re always carefully curated, often with beautiful large windows that allow us to create beautiful shots of you getting ready. I know they will have been part of the reason you chose your venue.
It’s going to be busy and often a little chaotic with lots of people getting ready in one shared space. But please leave the brightly coloured bags for life at home. I know you need to bring your things in something, so take time to find some neutrally coloured tote bags that will fit in with the decor. You could even gift some to your bridal party beforehand that won’t stand out. Tell your parents, siblings, hair and makeup artists, bridesmaids and everyone who is going to be there.
I’ll always do my best to help create a beautiful setting that looks great on camera but I can’t photoshop our footage. Large, brightly coloured bags for life will stick out on camera. So if you can avoid them, it will be worth it!
3. Getting hair and make up done in a dark corner:
Position your hair and make up chair in front of the window to make the most of natural light!
Natural light is always best, it is the most flattering and will look the best on your film. Let your hair and makeup artist know you need to be positioned in front of the window while you’re having your hair and makeup done. Trust me the beautiful shots will be worth this small change. And if you haven’t chosen your venue yet, add natural light to your bridal suite checklist!
4. Giving your bridal party gifts too early or too late:
Give your bridal party gifts just before everyone gets in their dresses and outfits
This actually depends on what the gift is. If your gift is something you want your bridal party to use during the preparations, like beautiful silk dressing gowns and slippers, give them to your bridal party at the start of the day. That way everyone can enjoy their gifts as you get ready.
However, if you’re giving your bridal party jewellery it’s best to allow time to give gifts just after everyone gets into their wedding attire. Everyone will be looking and feeling their best, and it means they can help each other put the jewellery on right away. This naturally creates beautiful memories to capture for your film. Also, your photographer and videographer will usually arrive 1-2 hours before your ceremony so saving your gifts for later in the morning means we’re there to capture this moment.
5. Getting into their wedding dress too late:
Allow time once you’re in your wedding dress for your first look with your loved ones, giving any gifts, and bridal portraits
I’ll always recommend getting into your wedding dress at least half an hour earlier than you think you need to. This allows for plenty of relaxed time for photos and videos of you with your bridal party before you have to go for your registrar interviews and ceremony.
Getting in your wedding dress earlier than you may have originally planned gives you time to enjoy every moment, take everything in, and not feel in a rush up the aisle. I know you can’t wait to get married. But all of these moments will only happen once. Allow time to truly make the most of every little detail you’ve spent so much time thinking through.
6. Worrying about being late:
Realise you may be a little late, and that’s okay
It may be last on this list but it’s the most important. There are a lot of things people worry about on a wedding day. But the one I see as the biggest (completely unnecessary) mood killer is worrying about being late for your own wedding. It is easy to flippantly say your wedding isn’t going to start without you, but as true as it is I know in the moment it doesn’t usually help.
These last few moments are actually some of the best on a wedding day. You’re surrounded by your closest people. You are finally wearing the dress you have been waiting months or years to put on and show to all your family and friends. And this is it – it’s time to finally get married!
Enjoy all the bridal details you’ve thoughtfully curated
You want to be able to enjoy putting your jewellery on that you’ve so carefully chosen. And be able to spend time with your Dad as he first sees you in your dress. As well as enjoying all the little details you’ve brought together – from your perfume to your shoes and your veil.
It’s no use trying to force yourself to not be late and ending up in a blind rush. Or stressing about the time so much all morning you miss everything. I think the real solution is to think about it all beforehand. Imagine how you’re going to feel if (when) you do run late, and try to process some of your potential thoughts. Decide now how you want to react in the moment. Think ahead and try to let go of the stress and feelings. So in the moment you can just relax and enjoy every precious second.
The reality is you may well get stressed and feel worried and that’s okay – it’s all part of being a bride. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead and have your favourite people around you. Decide what’s most important to you, so you can focus on that. And in the end, all the stress and worries will fall away. As you get to enjoy the most amazing day you’ve so thoughtfully planned with the people you love most – that’s what really matters.
What to expect during bridal prep
Every wedding day is different. As a general rule, most of our brides start getting ready early morning when the hair and makeup artists arrive. If you’ve got matching pyjamas, dressing gowns, slippers or anything else to enjoy with your bridal party give them to them first thing so you can enjoy them together.
Your wedding videogrpaher (us!) will usually arrive around the same time as your photographer. In general, you can ignore us and just focus on enjoying your day. After all, that’s ultimately what we’re there to capture. When we first arrive, direct us to where your details are (shoes, veil, jewellery, stationery, flowers, perfume etc). This will give us a chance to find a good place to capture these before you need them.
Make sure everyone has finished in hair and makeup earlier than you think. This will allow time to give gifts, get dressed, and have photos and videos together as a bridal party.
Most importantly allow time to enjoy these getting ready moments with your closest family and friends. These are memories that you’re going to treasure for a lifetime. You don’t want to be rushing through them, you want to be able to lean in and enjoy every moment.
Your wedding day is going to happen once, so give yourself the best day ever
I know with all this advice it would be easy to overthink or get worried. Ultimately the most important thing is that you relax and enjoy being the bride on the morning of your wedding day. That’s what’s most important for you, and what will be best for your film. And that’s why you enjoying your day is always our number one priority.
Make enjoying every minute of your day a priority – whether it’s curating a relaxing playlist to have on in the background, getting ready alone away from your bridal party or having an extra hair and makeup artist to help get your bridal party ready so you can have more time to relax and enjoy being together. It’s your wedding day and it’s only going to happen once so give yourself the best day ever.
If you’re one of our couples there’s no need to stress we go over all of this in your final video call 4-6 weeks before your wedding. And we’ll be there every step of the way to help and give advice in any way we can. I can’t wait to see it all come together!