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Some of my favourite photographs from the weddings I cover are those taken first thing in the morning as the bride gathers with her nearest and dearest to prepare for the day ahead. There’s just something about that buzz, that excitement – and then the stillness and calm that takes over as the bride prepares to leave, usually with her dad – that never gets old.

But how to make the most of that precious time and ensure that you feel calm and confident leaving your home or hotel room? And how to guarantee that your photographer has ample opportunity to capture some stunning preparation shots? Never fear, dear reader – here are my top bridal dos and don’ts for the morning of your wedding.

  • DO take advice from your hair and makeup team on when to start and DO let your photographer know so that they can build their schedule around this starting point. A good, timely start to the day is very important, so make sure you stress this with all of the suppliers you’re relying on in the morning.
  • Although I spend 1-2 hours with my brides in the morning, I don’t hover over them the whole time. Therefore DO leave your details to one side for your photographer and they can busy themselves with your shoes, flowers, dress etc. as well as capture some candid shots of you, your girls and family enjoying the morning. Have your dress hanging outside of its bag somewhere that you would like it to be photographed and ask your bridesmaids to be on hand should your photographer need any help moving things around.
  • DO consider the space where you’ll be getting ready beforehand. Nobody expects the house to be perfectly tidy – it is a wedding morning, after all! – but try to declutter the room where you’ll be getting dressed and having your hair and makeup done.
  • DO pick somewhere with good light and set up a chair facing the window – this is so important, both for flawless makeup application and for great photographs! It will be hard to change the setup once your photographer arrives and the chance for gorgeous lighting will be lost!
  • DON’T invite every (wo)man and his (or her) dog to your house in the morning, and ask your parents to cool off on the early morning invitations, too. Having a houseful can lead to delays and make your morning more stressful – the last two things you want on the morning of your wedding! A quiet, calm house equals a happy bride – enough said.
  • DON’T forget to do time checks. Ask your photographer to give everyone regular reminders on timings. I relish this job – don’t worry, I won’t point at my watch or wag my finger, but rather keep things – gently and politely! – on track. Time can disappear on a wedding morning and this has a knock-on effect on the rest of the day. You’ll be glad you were so organised when you have lots of time to relax at the drinks reception later in the day, I promise!
  • And after your photographer leaves, DON’T forget about time! I often leave the house ahead of everyone to get to the ceremony location and catch the bride’s arrival, but this is where time really does vanish into thin air. Hand over timings to a trusted bridesmaid or your dad – or, if you’re feeling brave, take them on yourself. Try not to keep your groom and guests waiting too long!
  • And finally, DO build in time for bridal portraits. It only takes a few minutes once you’re ready and it’s so worth having beautiful images of just you before you leave for the ceremony to look back on in years to come.

Relax, take a deep breath and prepare to drink it all in. And then finally, put one foot in front of the other and head onwards to the most important ‘do’ of them all: “I do”.