Keeping calm on the morning of your wedding day (and getting the best pictures from your photographer) is easier said than done! One of the absolute pleasures of my job is being able to witness the bridal preparations on the morning of the wedding. It is without question, one of my favourite parts of the day for so many reasons. Firstly, it’s so exciting!
Everyone is a great mood and there’s usually great anticipation and excitement for the day ahead. Usually, the bride is surrounded by her friends and there’s a real sense of support and love in the air. I love the ‘cooing’ when the dress is seen for the first time and the laughter that always happens when girls get ready together…and then there’s the champagne. It’s fun. It’s special.
However, years of experience have taught me that things don’t always go to plan. For all the months and years you might have put into planning the ‘perfect’ day, some things are simply out of your control when the actual day arrives. The make-up artist gets lost. The cake doesn’t turn up. The bridal car breaks down. Or the one we dread the most…you wake up with the most enormous scarlet spot on the end of your nose. It happens….I’ve witnessed all of the above and much, much more.
The one thing that I have noticed over the years, is that the key to keeping calm in a crisis, is very much down to the attitude you adopt in advance. Over the years I have developed a very specific set of tips that I now use to prepare my brides in advance, so that any morning mishaps become minor irritations rather than major catastrophes. I also asked some of my previous couples for their input on this post, to see what helped keep them calm when the day arrived.
Wedding planner heaven
Wedding planners are worth their weight in gold when it comes to dealing with problems on the day! Not only will they deal with problems as they arrive but very often because they are dealt with so swiftly, you will remain blissfully unaware.
Jennifer Phipps is a well respected wedding planner and runs Jenny Wren Weddings and Events based in Cornwall. I asked her to explain a little more about the role planners play.
‘On the wedding day itself your planner will be there early in the morning to oversee the set-up of the venue, coordinate all the suppliers involved and provide that extra level of detail required to ensure the rooms look perfect. Leaving you and your wedding party with no ‘on the day jobs’ to deal with, instead you will have time to relax, enjoy bubbles with your bridesmaids and enjoy getting ready.’
If your budget allows, then I would highly recommend booking a wedding planner to give you the space to enjoy your day. I adore them so much, that Jenny is going to do an entire guest post on my blog shortly about her role and the benefits it can bring to a couple on their wedding day…so look out for that one!
‘Having an amazing team around you that you can trust and knowing that whatever happened it was all going to be fine. Champagne helped.’ Fiona Stone
However, if a planner is simply out of your budget, here’s a few tips on how to put a little bit of zen into the proceedings.
The beauty of having bridesmaids and a maid-of-honour, ushers and best-men is that they are there to support you. Embrace this! I try to encourage my brides to delegate as many things as possible, from dealing with suppliers on the day and checking things have arrived to clearing clutter in the room and keeping an eye on the time. Give each bridesmaid a specific set of tasks in advance. Don’t leave it to the day. Get the girls together, write down all the things you will need to remember and then split the tasks between them. Discuss it with them to make sure they are comfortable with the responsibility. If they are to communicate with the suppliers on the day, make sure they have their contact details in advance. Also make sure that the suppliers have their details too in the event of an emergency.
‘Helpful bridesmaids are key! A bonus for me was having you Natalie. Your professionalism and organization was just what I needed. You are a wonder.’ Kirsty Mckechan
A happy bride is one who has lots of time!
There is nothing more stressful than having your false eyelashes being glued on as you race through the door to meet the registrars! Yes…I’ve seen that too.
I now help all my couples with scheduling their timings for the day, including their hair and make-up. We aim for the bride to be getting into her dress at least an hour before the ceremony, longer if the bride is travelling to the venue. This allows the dress to ‘settle’ if it is laced but most importantly, it will keep you fabulously calm! The added bonus is that it allows plenty of time to take some gorgeous bridal portraits.
“On the day I really enjoyed being all ready in my dress about 45 mins before I had to actually leave for the ceremony. It gave me a chance to feel relaxed in my dress and of course enjoy and treasure a glass of champers with the bridesmaids, the last as a single lady!” Alex Parker
Free the clutter, free your mind!
When girls get ready together in an enclosed space something mysteriously warps the space-time continuum. Within seconds the room is awash with mascara and spandex leaving very little room for anything else. Keeping the room free from clutter ensures that you wont get in a panic searching for things and it will also make your pictures look gloriously clear and stylish. Again, putting someone in charge of this is really important….or keep a separate space for you to get ready in away from the rest of the girls.
It might seem more sensible for the groom to get ready at the venue because he will have to greet the first guests but I would urge you to reconsider. It takes a bride so much longer to get ready and they often require more room. Your venue can usually provide a space that is more open, has better light for make-up and that’s free from clutter. This is fabulous for photos but most importantly it will keep you much calmer if you are running behind, as there is no travelling involved.
‘A massive thing is to have the right/ trusted team around you ( venue staff, evening entertainment and most importantly the photographer!)’ Jon Roberts
Gather your things
I love taking pictures in the morning of all the gorgeous details and I ask my brides to gather everything they are wearing on the day into one area the night before. This means that I don’t have to disturb the bride at all while she is getting ready but it also means that she can relax and avoid any last minute panic because, say her grandmothers vintage necklace has been left at home (yep….seen that one too)
‘An amazing groom! Lots of preparation, a quiet relaxing bath and good night’s sleep in the hotel the night before.’ Anna Roberts
If nerves are a real issue then I would also consider planning a First Look before the ceremony. This can alleviate so much pressure and adds a really romantic and personal touch to the day. It also means that you can have all your Bride and Groom portraits looking your absolute best leaving the rest of the day to enjoy time with your guests.
‘Planning and positivity. It’s was my special day after all. I stayed in a hotel the night before so had a calm wedding morning, then met my darling groom for photos before walking down the aisle together. Having done the photos already and having time with my husband to be we were excited and calm by the time the ceremony came.
We then had all day to see to our guests without stressing about getting pictures done. We adopted a whatever happens ‘if we are married by the end of the day then the day was successful’ attitude.’ Leah Hansons
Preparation is the key
It might seem obvious but making sure that as many things as possible are in place before the wedding day makes for a much more relaxing experience. Please don’t try to finish tying ribbon onto your wedding favours on your wedding day morning….if it’s not finished, give it to someone else…or let it go. Which brings me beautifully to my final and most important point.
Let it go
If you only use one piece of advice from this post, then please let it be this! You have spent months, maybe years preparing for this day. You have done everything you can possibly do to make it the day you have dreamed of. What happens now is out of your control. If the cake gets dropped, if the flowers are the wrong shade of pink and yes…. even if pink champagne gets spilt all down your wedding dress, remember that the only single most important thing to happen today, is that you are marrying the love of your life. I promise you, that once you see your partner waiting for you, when you hear him or her say their vows, everything else will melt away into insignificance. So…let it go and focus every ounce of your energy into celebrating your marriage and it will be one of the happiest and most memorable days of your life!