How to Schedule Your Wedding Morning


Here’s my tips for how to schedule your wedding morning, with my experience as a professional makeup artist to give you some insights.

A wedding is like a giant stage production with lots of moving pieces and no re-dos so it’s important that there’s the least amount of “figuring it out on the day” and “winging it” as possible.

Have you been asking yourself:

How long does it take to get ready on the wedding morning?

When should we start hair and makeup?

When should we get dressed?

Will I have time to get ready at my venue, or do I need to find another option?

Have no fear, Rachel is here!

Okay, that was super cheesy, but really, I’ve scheduled a lot of wedding mornings, and I can help you figure this out.


How to schedule your wedding morning when to start getting ready

The first thing you need to know is:

When is your ceremony?

This is the first question I like to ask, because even if NO OTHER THINGS are scheduled when someone contacts me, usually they’ll have a ballpark time for the ceremony. I can backtrack from there.

Find a piece of paper, and write down the ceremony time.


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The second thing you need to know is:

Are you doing a first look or other photos before the ceremony?

I usually estimate 2 hours minimum for a first look and photos before the ceremony. Some photographers like to have more time, and others will take less and you’ll have a few minutes to sit and rest before the ceremony.

Write down on your paper 2hrs before the ceremony.


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The third thing you need to know is:

Does your venue/getting ready area have any restrictions on how early you can start getting ready?

A lot of venues won’t let you enter the property to start setting up before 10AM. If you have a party larger than 2 people and you are hiring a hair and makeup team, this is probably too late for most people.

To ease the timeline, I often recommend getting a hotel, or airbnb near the venue if your venue has restrictions on how early you can get in. Being rushed and stressed on the wedding day is not fun. Trust me. It happened to me.

Write down on your paper your restriction for start time. If none, great! If you do have one, keep other options in mind.


The next thing to figure out is:

How easy to put on is your dress?

For gowns that slip on and zip up, it’s reasonable to schedule 10-15minutes for the mini-photo session that usually happens around the bride’s dressing.

If you have a corset backed dress or a dress with lots of small buttons, it’s wise to schedule 20-30 minutes just for you to get dressed. Your bridal party will also need 10-15 minutes to get everything figured out.

Most formal dresses will need body tape and a pin or two somewhere. I always carry body tape and a box of pins in my kit. It’s a good idea to make sure you have adequate time for you and your party to dress and get taped into your dresses.

Whew! The list is getting long! If you’ve got this far, and are like “Enough already, just do it for me Rachel!” skip to the bottom and schedule your free no-obligation consultation call now.


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How many hair and makeup services do you need?

Having a solid idea of how many hair and makeup services you are booking is important. Most artists won’t even be able to give you a solid price quote without some solid numbers about your party size. It’s not as easy as it sounds to add on a few extra services last minute.

Write down on your paper how many hair and makeup services you will need. If everyone is doing their own hair and makeup, you can skip this step.


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Do you have any other special considerations?

Make sure you take into account any travel time between venues, any travel time to other locations for first look or other photos. I’ve had couples drive 10-20 minutes for a gorgeous backdrop. Worth it, just make sure it’s scheduled!

If you are getting ready somewhere else besides you ceremony venue, I highly recommend adding 20 minutes to the travel time. It takes that long to get everyone and their belongings into the car, and any last minute stuff handled. Trust me. Someone will forget their purse, their shoes, or their phone and need to dash back to get it.

Write down any special considerations, the travel time, and padding time.


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How long does hair and makeup take?

When I’m creating a rough schedule for a client at our initial consultation, I estimate 45 minutes per service (hair or makeup) for any bridal party members, and 1hr per service for the bride.

Some services will not take that long, and others will take a little longer. This is the number that has worked the best for me. I have some ways to cut down on time, but it involves the extra step of hiring additional artists to either prep faces or handle whole services.

I like to keep the getting ready time to 5 hrs or less. This means I can do 4 bridal party services and the bride before I need to hire additional help. Each wedding schedule I make is customized to the bride’s needs.


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Putting it all together

Now that you have all the numbers you need, let’s schedule your wedding morning!

Let’s say:

  • You are doing a first look and photos before the ceremony and your ceremony is at 4PM
  • Your venue doesn’t open until 10AM so you decided to get ready in a hotel room
  • You have 4 bridesmaids, and have hired both a makeup artist and a hairstylist
  • You have a sleek sheath dress with 20 small buttons down the back

Here’s a sample schedule:

Ceremony: 4:00 PM
First Look and Party Photos (2hrs): 2:00 PM
Traveling to Venue (10 min drive, 20 min padding): 1:30 PM
Dressing (30 min): 1:00 PM
Hair and Makeup (5hrs): 8:00 AM
Hair and Makeup Team Arrive Early to Set Up (15min): 7:45 AM

I hope this extensive look at how to schedule your wedding morning was helpful to you. If you’d like to get a specific customized quote and schedule for your wedding morning, I’d love to talk with you! Just click the button below to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation call.



and let the professionals handle everything

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