When you start to think about it, the morning of your wedding isn’t as simple as getting your hair and makeup done and getting dressed before the ceremony. Not only do you have to factor in that actual getting ready time, but you need to think about travel time, picture time, how many people there are getting ready and so many other factors! So, what should a typical morning/afternoon before you wedding look like? We’ll tell you!

When working with any kind of timeline, we always find it easiest to work backwards. In order to determine your pre-ceremony timeline on wedding day, start with your ceremony time. Take that time and add 30 minutes beforehand to account for prelude start time / guest arrival time. Then add 15-30 minutes before that to be tucked away in a holding room before guests arrive. So, if you have a 5 p.m. ceremony, you should plan to be dressed, pictures completed and in your ceremony holding room by 4 p.m. 

From there, you’ll need to know how many and what pictures you plan to do pre-ceremony. Will you be doing a first look or not? What about any family pictures? You will almost always get separate bridal party – bridesmaids and bride, groomsmen and groom – pictures done pre-ceremony, and possibly combined bridal party if you do a first look. Depending on your decision, your photographer will be key in helping you put together this piece of the timeline. Don’t forget to consider where you are doing these pictures and if you need to travel to/from that location and then traveling to/from pictures to the ceremony if they aren’t on-site. 

After you’ve decided on pictures, now it’s time to factor in the getting ready time. Beauty timelines are a beast of their own so make sure you know all about how to build a beauty timeline. The key is to know what time pictures start, how many people are having hair and makeup done, and how long each service lasts. And just like with pictures, you need to factor in time to travel from your getting ready location to wherever pictures are. 

In the end you can piece it all together – time to arrive at the ceremony, time to start pictures and time to start hair and makeup. Those are the three big moments to consider when putting together your pre-ceremony timeline! 

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Photo: Emily Meeks Photography