preparation of the bride

The preparation of the bride: rules for a perfect getting ready

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The preparation of the bride is one of the most intimate and emotional moments of any wedding. Every bride will carry this mixture of anxiety, excitement, emotion, and glances within her entire life.

Besides to this, it is a small but essential part of the wedding day: everything must go for the best.

Never as in this case, is the saying that who gets off to a good start is half the battle!

If the preparation runs smoothly and everything is in place, the bride will arrive at the altar relaxed, radiant and…on time. My role as a wedding planner is to make the bride, the bridesmaids and all the people that the bride decides to involve in her preparation experience a moment of intense emotions with zero stress.

My golden tips for a smooth bride preparation? Let’s see them all.


The preparation of the bride: drawing up a precise timeline (and respecting it!)

The first step to ensure a smooth preparation like oil is to draw up a timeline. The wedding planner usually performs this task in collaboration with the bride and the suppliers involved.

In this case, I proceed like this.

  • I establish when the bride will have to leave the place of preparation. I can do that precisely because I know the time of the ceremony and the time needed to reach the location. Which can be your own home, your parent’s home or a romantic hotel room in the case of a destination wedding or a location far from the place of the ceremony. I will leave here extra time for any unforeseen events!
  • I contact the makeup artist and hair stylist to find out the times they have calculated for makeup and hairdressing. Under no circumstances can a standard time be established. Elaborate hairstyles can take even more than an hour of work! The same goes for makeup.
  • I contact the photographer and the videomaker to arrange the moments for the photos at home and add any extra dedicated time.
  • I speak to my spouse to find out if they have any special wishes that need some bonus time.

At this point, we can draw up a timeline in which everyone has their own working time and extra time for any unexpected events.

The timing of the unexpected is essential: every professional knows this very well.

I’ll give you an example. At one of my last weddings, the bride got up with a swollen eye from an allergic reaction. Tragedy? Absolutely no.

The makeup artist had about 30 minutes extra compared to the time for the makeup. Minutes that were essential to making a couple of ice packs and draining serum that saved the preparation!

When drafting the timeline, there are three other fundamental aspects, besides to timetables, to be defined:

  • where the preparation will take place;
  • who will take part;
  • what preparatory activities are necessary for the getting ready – pardon the necessary repetition – to go well.

The right place for the preparation of the bride: intimate and bright


Preparation is a time when the bride is vulnerable. Emotions, feelings, and nudity are all aspects that make privacy a must for this moment.

The place for the preparation of the bride must be intimate and collected. But also big enough to allow the professionals and the people the bride wants beside her to move freely.

Ideally, a bedroom combined with a second room could be perfect. 

Why two environments?

  • Because one room is – usually – too small for everyone.
  • Because one of the two rooms will look untidy and will not be suitable for photos.

It is also essential to consider the preparation spaces for any other guests. 

If the bride prepares at her parents’ home, we must consider spaces where parents can get ready in peace and privacy.

If the house has only one bathroom, it is good practice to exclude the bathroom from the bride’s preparation areas. After all…everyone needs it! 

Better to find an alternative between a bedroom, second bedroom or study.

It is essential that the chosen place:

  • is not a crossroads for guests – remember the bride’s need for privacy;
  • is bright – for the needs of beauty professionals and photographers.

But how many people will attend the preparation of the bride?

Who to have (and who not to have) with you during the preparation

The preparation of the bride is not a show. During the wedding day, there will be ways and times to be with your dearest guests. Preparation is not one of them.

This does not mean that the bride will have to go through this moment alone.

But that she will have to choose a relatively small number of people to have with her.

The mother, the grandmother, the sister, the bridesmaids, the best man: that’s enough!

But how to block the curious guests who will show up at home to greet the bride? It’s necessary to define specific tasks from affective to the people next to us.


Give your loved ones some homework – it’s your day.

Some think assigning tasks to their loved ones on their wedding day is selfish. After all, they too must enjoy this moment!

And this is undoubtedly true. But let’s not forget it’s your wedding.

If you need help or like a loved one to do things for you while taking care of your preparation, raise your hand and ask for it!

Some to do that you should consider delegating to your loved ones are as follows. 

  • Who will prepare the bridal dressing room – the night before?
  • Who will welcome guests at home?
  • Who will take care of the refreshments?
  • Who will ensure that the privacy of your preparation rooms is maintained?
  • Who will give information about the event, how to get there and where to park? Even if you have created a wedding site with all the information, there will surely be someone to ask these questions? 
  • Who will take the wedding rings?
  • Who will take care of the bouquet?
  • Who will bring the bride’s phone, spare shoes and an emergency wedding bag?

Coordinating relatives and friends in their roles – all fundamental – for the event’s success is not as simple as it seems! The wedding planner will be the figure who will support you in the moment of clarifying and dividing the roles of each one.

So you can face the preparation sure that nothing has been left to chance. 

And that nothing will be forgotten!

The steps of preparing the bride: makeup, hair styling, dressing


Hair or makeup first? When to take pictures? What to photograph? Reassurance from a wedding planner who has seen many preparations: the professionals at your side will already know everything. You won’t have to worry about anything. Try to enjoy your getting ready peacefully: it is a beautiful moment!

Let’s start with makeup and hair. Preparation for the hairstyle begins the day before when you will go to your hairdresser for shampoo and first styling in the evening or the late afternoon. The classic curlers or bobby pins hold a semblance of a hairstyle together.

The makeup artist usually is the first to start on the wedding day. She will apply the makeup base or eye shadows and then pass you into the hands of the hairstylist. 

The makeup will be completed last – before the dress, of course. You must arrive gorgeously at the altar! Especially in summer.

Tips: Before completing the makeup, perhaps during the hairstyle, eat!

You get up very early – maybe without even getting much sleep – and before will be the time to put something in your stomach, it will still be four or five hours. Better make sure you don’t faint from a sugar drop!


Once you have completed your hair and makeup, it will be your turn in the dressing. This is one of the most magical, intimate and emotional moments of your big day.

Here you will realize that this is happening. Everything you have ever dreamed of, for which you have spent sleepless nights, for which you have fought and given all yourself. It is going to happen.

Seeing you in the wedding dress will be a powerful emotion for you and the people around you.

Take the time to savour this moment with the people of your heart. It will be awesome!

Accessories and shoes: when is it time to wear them?

You often hear that you should wear shoes before the dress because it is difficult to bend down and sit down with the dress. We would probably have chosen the wrong dress to enjoy our big day if this were true!

While it is correct to wear shoes first in the case of princess dresses – or with very wide petticoats – it is not always suitable for soft multilayer or sheath dresses. 

We could damage it by inserting the heel into the dress – with a little too much emphasis given by emotion. Let us remember that we are with people who help us to dress. 

If we can’t bend over, they’ll be the ones to help us put our shoes on.

But the dress will be safe!

In the same way, you should wear all the other accessories later – not to damage the dress.

Only the garter must already be in place before putting on the dress.

Getting ready and photographers: between privacy and memories

Sometimes the presence of photographers during the preparation of the bride can cause some embarrassment. The bride can be in underwear or dressing gowns. In any case, we must think that the photographers are only doing their job.

And they will do what you have agreed to. 


To avoid embarrassment and have lovely memories, need to agree first on what will be photographed and filmed. And what you prefer to keep only in your memory.

On this topic, you will find many helpful ideas in my article on wedding reportage with the participation of one of my videomaker partners.

Tips: Prepare the details you want to shoot! 

Invitations, wedding rings, shoes, accessories: put it all on display and ask photographers to prioritize those details. You will have to wear them soon!

The preparation of the bride: a magical moment to be organized with care

Those of getting ready are hours that you will remember for a lifetime. But you will find that they will pass so quickly that you will eventually wonder why you didn’t start earlier.

If everything is organized, with schedules, roles and careful preparation, these moments will be incredibly full of emotions and beautiful memories. As I always say the support of a wedding planner is essential for this very reason: to make you have only lovely memories of one of the most important days of your life.

Tania Costantino – Full Service Wedding Planner in Sicily

Photos by  Gianmarco Vetrano, Giuseppe Santanastasio, Alberto Cosenza