The secret to a seamless wedding morning

This is going to go against everything you probably believe, but of all the 500-odd weddings I've done, the one thing that really, really makes a seamless morning of wedding prep, is a run sheet. 

It doesn't have to be a disgustingly detailed, minute-by-minute run down of everything, but a list of what needs to happen throughout the morning, with a rough timeline, will make your morning ahhh-mazing. Don't listen to what anyone says - a run sheet does not make you a bridezilla!

Why does a run sheet make for a more relaxed morning? Because once all the things that need to happen on the day are written down, they can go out of your mind, leaving you to relax and have a stress-free morning with the ones you love. You can also share this run sheet with your bridesmaids and family members so you're not spending your wedding morning fielding questions from every second person. 

So, where do you start with your wedding morning run sheet?

Step 1: Start at sunset on the day of the wedding

Jump onto Google, and search for the time of sunset during your wedding month. For example: 'What time does the sun set in Toowoomba on 11 April 2021?'

Step 2: Schedule your ceremony for 3 hours before sunset

So let's say sunset on 11 April in Toowoomba is 5.39pm. Rewind back 3 hours, and your ceremony time should be scheduled in for 2.30pm. 

This allows a 30-minute ceremony, 1 hour for cocktails and canapes, and 1-1.5 hours for photos before the sun sets and you head into your reception (and yes, even the most 'candid' of photos still need time allowed for photos). 

Step 3: Work out what time hair and makeup should be finished by

Your hair and makeup team will have all hair and makeup finished 1.5 hours before your ceremony (or 1.5 hours before you need to leave for your ceremony, if you're not getting ready on-site at your wedding venue). 

This may seem ridiculously early, but your photographer and videographer will confirm that this timing is absolutely perfect!

Once hair and makeup is finished, you'll be handed over to your photographer for that last hour and a half, for all your bridal party prep shots, and to get dressed! Normally a bit of tidying up goes down in this hour and a half as well. 

So, based on the example of a 2.30pm ceremony, hair and makeup will need to be done by 1.00pm.

Step 4: Work out how many hours you have for hair and makeup

If your hair and makeup needs to be finished by 1.00pm for a 2.30pm ceremony, you have a window of about 5 hours to get all hair and makeup completed, based on an 8am start time (which is pretty normal for most hair and makeup artists). 

Some venues won't allow you to start hair and makeup before 8am anyway, and let's be honest, nobody wants to have to start earlier than that, so an 8am start is usually standard.

Some venues will also want to hide you away from arriving guests, 1 hour before your ceremony. So based on a 2.30pm ceremony, you'll be dressed and completely ready to go at 1.30pm, meaning all hair and makeup would need to be finished by 12.00pm instead of 1.00pm. 

Step 5: What can you fit into that time frame?

Let's say you have 4-5 hours for hair and makeup to be completed. 

On average, hair will take about 45 minutes per person, and makeup another 45 minutes per person. 

In 4 hours, you can comfortably fit 5 people in, or in 5 hours you can fit 6 people. 

If you're hiring a friend, or a less experienced hair and/or makeup artist, consider the fact that they may need to allow more time per person (for example, an hour or more). If they're a friend or family member who is also attending your wedding, they may need to finish a lot earlier so they have time to get themselves ready for the wedding too. 

Consider other things that you'll also need to do that morning, such as:

- eat breakfast

- do a rehearsal or walk-through

- eat lunch

- give/receive gifts

- steam dresses (best done before hair and makeup, so the steam doesn't affect your hair or makeup)

- anything you're DIYing 

- do a first look 

All of these things need to happen between that 8am to 1pm time period, so make sure whatever you want to do the morning of your wedding, is on your run sheet and can fit into this time frame without jam-packing your morning too much. 

Step 6: Work out how many people can reasonably fit in for hair and makeup

Typically, you'll have the bride, bridesmaids, and mothers getting ready together on the morning of the wedding.

If you've got 5 hours to get ready (ie. 6 people), there's enough time for 1 bride, 3 bridesmaids, and 2 mothers; or 1 bride, 4 bridesmaids, 1 mother. 

If you're thinking about having more bridesmaids, or other relatives or guests join you for hair and makeup, consider the time you have available. Your hair and makeup team may either need to start hair and makeup earlier (if your venue allows an earlier start) or they may need to bring extra assistants along to avoid an earlier start (if there's enough room at your getting-ready location for that), and these things will usually cost a touch extra. 

And just like that, you've got a wedding morning run sheet. 

Writing run sheets and scheduling a wedding day isn't everyone's strong point. So, if you need help putting a run sheet together, just ask me. This is no extra cost to you, and will seriously help make your wedding morning a million times more relaxed for everyone involved! 


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