A Brides Getting Ready Guide & Tips For A Brides Wedding Day

January 23, 2020

With so many getting ready options available for a bride, where does a bride start? It is my goal within this short guide to identify, and assist brides with one of the most important parts to their wedding day. Getting ready is one of the most enjoyable parts of a wedding day if a bride has the nohow.

Fast forward for a minute, your wedding day has arrived, and you have your closest girlfriends alongside you. Do you want it to be serious or fun and free-spirited? Do you want to laugh and smile till your face hurts? You have to make this happen if this is your dream, but how?

I love to laugh and enjoy life. I’ve found upon the whole people love to laugh and smile. Knowing how to pose in an unposed way allows for gorgeous photographs for brides to get ready. When you select your photographer, see if they make you laugh. Knowing the cost or average price of a wedding photographer is just the beginning. The difference takes place when you meet them in person on a Skype call.

How does that photographer make you feel? Does the photographer ask you questions that means something and connect with you? Or is the entire conversation about them and their awards.

One of the biggest tips that I can give you before you read this article about getting ready is to dig deep into the photographer and not just some website photographs. Your photographer is there all day long, and in many ways, you’ll see the photographer more than your future partner.

Your location to get ready will also affect your photographs. If you’re unsure about where to get married and are after the top mountain wedding venues or the best wedding venues in Calgary, make sure to pick a fabulous room to get ready in. Candid photographs materialize when you’re happy.

Okay, let us explore the best bride getting ready tips for your wedding day.

A brides getting ready guide and tips for a brides wedding day

Plan in advance your getting ready experience

Analogy: If you head to the airport without a destination and ticket booked, where will you end up? Imagine heading to the ticket agent desk and saying I’d like a ticket to somewhere. Exactly! You’ll not reach a destination, and you’ll flop around without knowing where to go and what to do. Obviously, if you head to the airport knowing where you’ll be going, and you have your ticket, you will know the steps involved. 

A wedding day is no different, if you don’t plan for success, you will stress out, and things will go wrong. I promise you; it will. I’ve seen it so many times as brides do not allow for many factors. I am a Calgary based photographer who wants to be a friend on your wedding day, so my door is always open for communication as I’m wanting your day to be successful and immensely happy. So, plan for your getting ready element to your day, and I promise you that you’ll have a fabulous time, plus it puts the rest of your day on a sound footing. The other person or company who has your best interests at heart are wedding planners. If you find planning your wedding day a bit overwhelming connect with a wedding planner to see what options they provide.

How much time to allow to get ready?

Time is one of those things in life that you cannot get back, so treat it wisely on your wedding day. The amount of time you allocate will depend on how many bridesmaids you have and how many hair and makeup artists you hire. If you allow one hour per person for hair and makeup, you’ll be doing great as a start. So, if you have one hair/makeup artist and there’s four of you in total, then you’ll need that hair/makeup artist for four hours. You can be super smart and hire two hair/makeup artists and half the getting ready time! Pretty cool, eh.

If you plan to have a first look at 1 pm and you have up to a 30-minute drive in Banff or Canmore for your first look, you should be finished with your hair/makeup by 11:30 am. I know right, I bet you’d never thought it would be this early right. In Lake Louise you needed drive at all, you can simply walk out of your hotel and meet your future husband. Point being, know how much time you’ll need to get into the vehicle, drive, and then walk to the first look location.

When to put on your wedding dress

Your hair/makeup is now complete at 11:30 am; you’ll have to eat a little; use the restroom before you put your dress on, but if all goes to plan, you’ll be putting your dress on for 11:45 am. Your dress can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, which brings us to 12:05 pm. Jewelry, shoes, hugs with family and it’s now it’s 12:20 pm. Your photographer has to depart now to meet your groom and prepare for your arrival. Does this help you? Let me know.

A bride getting ready on her wedding day

How many bridesmaids should I have?

I know right, your thinking, why is this even a question or thought! Let me share this with you, if you have 12 ladies getting ready, then make sure the room is sufficient of size, the room of choice is an excellent room and just not a big dark place with no character as your photos will portray what you rented, plus make sure there’s enough room for hair/makeup artist to work. I’ve been to large bridal suites to find the room lit by tungsten lights (no natural light), and the room was in a gorgeous hotel, but the room didn’t reflect the hotel’s character. Point being, if you want light and airy photos, but the room is dark, you won’t receive light or airy photographs. 

Don’t feel pressured to have many members of your bridal party if you only want two bridesmaids? After all, who’s day is this? But be careful, if you invite one person will it offend a “close” friend of yours who might think why did she invite her but not me. OMGOSH, suddenly a rift materializes. I’ve seen so many awkward situations but feel for the bride every time. This is her day, it’s a huge day, and it’s supposed to be fun. So, if you find yourself in this situation, consider no bridesmaids at all. Make sure you take care of yourself as those who love with you will be there for you.

Hair and makeup trial run

Do it, don’t think twice about this, you should most definitely have a trial run. Furthermore, make sure that all of your bridal party and parents know how they’d like to look on your wedding day. Do not leave this to chance. Draw on Pinterest to make a Pinterest Board so that your hair/makeup knows precisely what you envision for you, leaving nothing to guesswork. My destination wedding clients always have a trial on arrival at their mountain wedding venue. You have to LOVE your hair/makeup, plus a trial run will allow you to understand how much time you’ll need on your wedding day. 

Makeup being applied to the bride on her wedding day

To hire or not hire a hair/makeup artist

If you want to save some money, this is an area I’d suggest not cutting corners on. Many ladies can for sure do their hair/makeup, but with the excitement of the day, I’ve seen hands shake so much they couldn’t apply their makeup. It didn’t go well, and many tears materialized. Plus, hiring an experienced hair/makeup arts makes for one feel special. 

Wedding dress fitting

A properly fitted wedding dress looks stunning. Make sure you’re on top of this, and you have found a fantastic wedding dress supplier like the fabulous Anaisanette or seamstress.

Bride getting ready with Lake Louise in the background

Repair kit

Don’t forget the basic repair kit for your dress, tide vanish, or even a second pair of shoes. Don’t forget eyelash glue or a second set. Have a close friend know precisely how your veil goes in and how your hair looks in case something loosens. After all, you’re wearing your dress for hours, so it’s likely something will happen. Just be prepared. 

Letter to the Groom

Put your heart out there. Share your thoughts with your future husband on paper; you can write your vows as you get ready. Or you can open a letter from your partner which he may have written ahead of time of during his getting ready portion of the day. The key is to allow emotions to run free. 

Wedding dress hanger 

As for the hanger, you have spent a ton of cash on your apparel, spend a little more on a lovely wedding dress hanger. If you’re not planning on having gorgeous photos taken of your dress, sure, save some cash and use a plastic hanger, but if you’re planning on having professional wedding photographs of your dress, purchase a stylish hanger.

You can get a pretty wood hanger, or you can get the classic bride hanger. Did you know you can have one made with the metal wire bent into any name?

Notes to the bridal party

Quite often people think about gifts for the wedding party, but it doesn’t always have to be a gift. Why not write a note to them all thanking them and telling them how much they mean to you?

Two wedding photographers

Since 2007 I’ve been photographing alone, yes I’ve tried hiring a second photographer to photograph the groom getting ready photographs. But, my couples want me, they want my look and style so I factor in the extra time and I photograph both the bride and groom. You do not need a second shooter to cover additional angles. You need to fall in love with the style of a photograph and make sure the person who is turning up on your wedding day is that person.


Some bubbly, perhaps? Let’s crack a few bottles of champagne and enjoy getting ready. Laugh, tell stories, your day is about having fun. Plus such moments allows for awesome photographs 

Bride and Bridesmaids drinking champagne as they get ready

Dad first look and parent photos

I am a dad of two amazing boys, and I’m very proud of them. I love them so much, and I know every time I capture a bride and her father seeing her for the first time, it’s extraordinary. There’s so much love, and it’s so special. Follow this up with some family photos of your dad and mom or sibling. It’s an emotional time, and often it’s the best for immediate family shots. 

FAQ For A Bride Getting Ready 

How many hair and makeup artists should I have on my wedding day?

Allow one hour per person for hair and makeup. So for four people, including the bride, allow four hours. To reduce time, hire two stylists to halve the time.

Who gets hair and makeup on a wedding day done professionally?

The answer is the complete bridal party or just the bride. Much depends on the budget and who is paying for everything. It can get expensive for the bride to pay for the entire bridal party. To bring down the cost, each member of the bridal party can pay the hair and makeup artist individually but make sure that this is clearly discussed ahead of time to save embarrassment on the wedding day.

How many hair and makeup trails do you need for a wedding day?

One for sure to make sure you are happy with the artist you have hired. If you are not delighted with the hair and makeup artist, you will need to search for a new one, thus repeat the process.

How early do I need to get ready for my wedding day?

Work backward from either the ceremony or first look. For example, if your first look is at 1 pm and there is no travel time ie at Lake Louise then you should be ready for 12:30 pm. The bridal dress should be on for noon, and hair and makeup should be finished for 11:30 am, allowing for buffer time.

Does the mother-in-law get ready with the bride?

Normally, your mother-in-law gets ready with her son. It’s a special time for his mom and emotional. Does this mean your mother-in-law cannot get ready with you, absolutely not, there’s no rule?

How many bridesmaids should I have?

As many as you would love to have is the answer. You might be a bride who gets overwhelmed and wants your wedding to have no bridesmaids, or you may have grown up with 20 of your closest friends, and you want them all. It’s about having a fabulously fun day and marrying your best friend. This is where hiring a wedding planner can assist with such descisions or at least help guide you.

Do I need to buy gifts for my bridal party?

Writing a note at least would be genuinely appreciated. A gift thanking them for their hard work is always welcomed, but it depends on how much money you have. Treat people how you’d like to be treated, if you worked hard on your best friends wedding day would you appreciate a letter or a gift as thank you. Often a wedding planner has ideas for bridal party gifts.

Why does a bride carry a bouquet?

Carrying flowers signifies a new beginning and fidelity going back to ancient times. Flowers are now connected to ceremonies and associated romantically.

Who walks the mother of the bride down the aisle?

It can be anyone from a family member, usher, a close friend.

Do brides still throw the bouquet?

Yes. Going back hundreds of years, the tradition of the bouquet toss means leaving the reception. Today many brides toss the bouquet for fun with no significant meaning behind it.

Do I toss my original bouquet?

If you were to stay with traditions, then the answer is yes. Things have changed, and many brides love to keep their bouquet, if this is you, speak to your florist for a throwing bouquet.