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  • Writer's pictureabbiehartlandmakeupartist

The ‘getting ready’ part of your wedding day

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

Often the morning part of a wedding day can be a little over looked.

As a bridal makeup artist I see most of what can pop up, and often does, on the morning of your wedding. So here is what I hope is a helpful guide to the ‘Getting Ready’ part of your day. Let's make sure you prep time flows smoothly and is stress free!


Picking the right place to get ready on your wedding day is so important for a number of reasons. Things like space, light and location make a huge difference to the feel of the morning, the efficiency of your makeup artist/hair stylist and the quality of images your photographer is able to capture!

Logistically, you want to be close to where all the action will take place on your wedding day. If possible, everything at the same location is the best option. This way you are there already and you can enjoy being pampered without adding extra time deadlines to your day. If this is not possible with your chosen venue try not to be further than a 15 minute car journey away.


You want your preparation space to be bright, pretty, uncluttered and large enough for everyone to fit. Trust me on this one: a small motel room (largely taken up by a double bed) is not going to accommodate your bridal party, artist/stylist, photographer and the extra people that come and go as part of this busy morning.

Great lighting is just as important for your photographer as it is for your makeup artist. You want your makeup to look amazing from outdoor portraits to your candle lit reception. Good natural, window light is needed. No a makeup artist cannot do makeup in the motel bathroom!

Here in New Zealand we like to get married in the height of summer, but this also means we tend to get a little hot in those gorgeous gowns – so a preparation space with air-conditioning is a must.


Hire professional hair and makeup artists that come to you the morning of your wedding. This way you are able to relax, lounge in your pretty robes, have a glass of champagne with your bridesmaids and relax. You really don’t want to be rushing back and forth from a salon, worrying about traffic and lost time.

Your hair and makeup will need to last you a good 12 hours, so you need to give your artists the right amount of time required to achieve this for you (they will discuss this with you prior to the day). The larger your bridal party and the earlier your ceremony or first look photos, the more likely you are to have an early start time.

If you hire separate hair and makeup professionals they will be able to work together and coordinate their timing to maximise the efficiency of your wedding morning.

Makeup artists and hair stylists are very often the last in the chain of action during wedding day prep. If for some reason time has been stolen earlier in the day it is up to your artist/stylist to make this time up for a looming photographer. A professional will be able to do this for you, but it is best to be prepared and try to avoid this if you can.

As a bride you should expect to be in the makeup chair with your hair already styled, second to last. As time draws near to your ceremony with this often comes nerves, phone calls, questions, and other distractions. You want to enjoy your pamper time and not spend it frantically issuing instructions to others while your artist tries to apply your lipstick through moving lips.  

The use of professional products will have you still looking fantastic if you get makeup applied at 1pm or as early as 7am.


Have a space for all your dresses to be hung. In front of a large, full length window or door way can be stunning. And matching hangers for those beautiful gowns – remember these will be in the photos too.

It is a great idea to have a set space for all your pretty bits. Somewhere where you can have jewellery, your something old, borrowed and blue, shoes, a copy of your wedding invitation and any other pieces you would like captured by your photographer.

Keep everyone’s personal items to a minimum or ideally in another room altogether. You don’t want your photographer cleaning up the room instead of taking photos and you also don’t want ‘stuff’ in the background to your photos.

Flowers, when they arrive will ideally need to be placed in the coolest room available. This is often the bathroom. Your bouquets will be in water, so will need theirs ends dried just prior to leaving. You don’t want water marks down the front of your gown.

The under things! We see it so many times – bra straps showing or underwear cutting into skin in all the wrong places. Make sure your bridesmaids try on their dresses with the underwear they are planning to wear on the day. There will be very little time, if any, to fix these things on the day.

You need to eat. A bride cannot survive the whole day on champagne alone (however much we might like to). Get platters of food delivered to your room, if this is something your venue can supply. Or consider asking someone removed from the bridal party (a good family friend is ideal), to arrive at a certain point in the day to be in charge of preparing food, drinks and the clean up for you.

Little people can get bored quickly in this environment. If you can, arrange for flower girls to arrive as close to your departure as is possible for them to get ready. This way they can feel part of it by having their hair done, some lip gloss applied and into their dress with you … without getting restless. It can be very hard for a bride to relax and enjoy having her hair and makeup done if she has little ones trying to climb onto her lap. If children are to be there for this part of your day you will be doing yourself a favor by planning activities or diversions for them in advance.

Remember your Mums. There is every chance your Mum has played a huge hand in helping you with the preparations for your day. She deserves to be treated too. So no matter how much she might insist on it, the list of jobs she has to do on the morning of needs to be minimal. Call in extra hands to help if needed. Unfortunately we see Mums miss out on getting their hair and makeup done because they were so busy running all the last minute errands.

And your nails. It is not advisable to leave these until the day of – unless of course you have a mobile professional coming to help you and your bridal party. It seems like a nice idea, you and your bridesmaids sitting around painting each other’s nails. But the reality is that they are very nearly always forgotten: being remembered at the eleventh hour… and we all know a rushed job is a smudged job!


It is easy to underestimate the time it takes for everyone to get dressed and ready.

There is often special underwear to be located, gifts to be given/received, accessories to be put on, last minute instructions to be issued, a final hair and makeup touch up, packing of a purse for the day/evening … lots of little things before you can get to ‘the dress’.

It pays to have a think about what you might like this experience to be like and make sure those that need to know are in the know. Some brides really want this bit to be a special moment captured with just their Mum and not a room full of everyone. Or you might have a particularly involved dress to get into and might prefer that only one or two people help you with this – preferably someone that has been to the fittings with you and has the knowledge on how to do you up. Ideally your bridesmaids will be all ready themselves and able to assist you with anything you might still need.

Veil in, shoes on, a final spritz of your favorite perfume and go marry the one you love!


Photography:  Ruth Gilmour Photographer | Hair:  Adora Bridal Hair | Makeup:  Abbie Motion Makeup Artist | Styling:  The Styled Table  | Stationery:  Creative Box | Sweet Treats:  Sweet Avenue Cakes | Floral Bouquet:  She’s Blossomed | Hair piece and purse: Royal Laboratorie | Shoes and Lingerie:  Harper Inc | Robe:  Recycled Boutique | Model:  Kayla Miller | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Gown: Astra Bridal | Venue: De preaux Lodge


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