Can’t a bride catch a break?
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to some supremely talented wedding planners recently, and that plus my own experience working at weddings has really made me appreciate just how complicated (and overwhelming) they can be. It’s a LOT of moving parts! Some of my brides have worked with coordinators to make sure everything runs smoothly (and to troubleshoot on the spot when they don’t, because when does everything run smoothly at a wedding?), and others have bridal party or family members assume this role – some brides even seem to do it all themselves! There’s no right or wrong way, as long as everyone’s having fun, right?
As an on-location artist, the environment in which I’m working is ALWAYS different. I don’t think I’ve ever had two weddings be the same. But there are a few things brides and their entourages can do to make the most of where, when & how they’ll be getting ready:
1. First of all, do everything you can do – ahead of time – so you can relax on the day of. Most brides want to be guests at their own wedding so they can enjoy the results of their hard work (and what they’ve spent so much money on!) To do that, you have to feel confident that things will be taken care of – that there is someone (often several someones) designated to handle the last-minute details or things that come up. You really can’t do it all yourself, and that’s OK! Talk to your recently married friends to find out what sorts of things you should anticipate. Ask them what they might have done differently that would have made them more relaxed and worry-free. And then hire, or delegate, or both, to make sure you aren’t being pulled in twelve different directions while your hairstylist is chasing you with a hot curling iron. (Because that’s just dangerous!)
2. Consider the space you have for prep. Do you have a chair that’s the right height for your hair & makeup artists? (I bring my own chair, but barstools and other elevated furniture work great if your artist isn’t as compulsive about packing as I am. For hair, you can usually be seated lower.) How about adequate, not-weirdly-colored light (indirect sunlight is always best, when it’s available), electrical outlets, and table space? (Once again, I’m a nutcase with a trunk full of just-in-case portable furniture, including a table, lights, extension cord and power strip… but not all artists will have this and you can waste a lot of time tracking it down or waiting for someone to bring it to you.) Is there a place for you to hang wardrobe, and steam it if needed? Adequate bathroom space and mirrors? Make sure you will have access to what you and your bridal party need to get beautified, and that the team you hire either brings what you don’t have, or can get ahold of them easily on the day of.
3. How many people can you fit in your prep space (and how many people do you WANT around while you’re getting prepped)? I spoke to a planner recently who always suggests to her clients (particularly those with large bridal parties) that “not everyone needs to be in the same room at the same time.” This is a totally personal decision: do you want some quiet time to get pampered, or do you prefer to have more of a party atmosphere happening? Do you want people to come in and out to congratulate you, or do you prefer that to wait until you’re prepped?
4. There are often more options for prep space than you think. If the hotel rooms are simply too small for your group (those beds eat up a lot of space!), ask the front desk if there is a conference room you could use instead. A family or bridal party member might have the perfect sunlit kitchen or dining room or even office space that they’d be willing to donate for the day. Ask around, while keeping in mind any added travel time that this could require – you probably don’t want to have a long trip from your prep space to your ceremony.
5. Make a decision about communications – will you be answering the phone, fielding texts, etc. yourself, or will someone in your bridal party take responsibility? When someone is in my chair, at some point I have to ask them to look up at the ceiling or close their eyes so I can do their eye makeup (which will definitely cut into texting ability!) – so having someone who can take over is a good way to stay on schedule.
6. Finally, consider the things that help you feel calm and happy. That could be music, or meditation, or the company of loved ones, or a call from your soon-to-be spouse at a specific moment… whatever makes you feel relaxed and delighted, try to have some element of it during preparations. One of my brides this year scheduled a massage for herself while her bridesmaids were getting their hair & makeup done; I thought that was a brilliant idea. Do what you need to do.