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I'd like to be late for everything on my wedding dayGetting pretty for your wedding day doesn’t have to spell stressful.

We’ve never met a bride who said, “I’d like to run late on my wedding day.” (We have met a couple who admitted that they probably would without someone pushing them to be on time, but that’s different.) No one wants to run late, and everyone wants their day to run as smoothly as possible.

We’ve also never met a bride who said, “I don’t care what I look like on my wedding day.” We totally get that you care, and we absolutely understand that many brides will choose to have their makeup done professionally. We actually recommend that you do so, unless you’re incredibly confident in your makeup abilities and your own ability to stay calm under pressure. (Em chose to do her own makeup, and it came out really well; but she’s always loved playing with makeup and finds it relaxing.)

The biggest “time suck” of wedding days is inaccurate estimates for just how long hair and makeup will take. We’ve photographed a lot of weddings and have many friends in the wedding photography industry around the world; one constant we can all agree upon is that makeup is the sticking point in the timeline. Sometimes this is because the makeup artist didn’t accurately plan for how long it would take; more often we’ve found that it’s something unforeseeable, such as a bridesmaid who bursts into tears over how her eyelashes look and demands a re-do. (Yep. That happened.)

Stowe VT Wedding Photographer

So how do we keep things on time?

Nothing is idiot-proof, but we’ve found that overestimating the amount of time needed for the getting ready process can help quite a bit. Which sounds better to you: rushing through your preparations with your girls in a frenzy, trying desperately to get to the ceremony on time, rescheduling your first look, and throwing the timeline out the window? Or taking a chance on possibly being an hour early, having extra time to relax with your friends and a snack, and spending extra time on group photos?

For this reason we recommend giving your makeup artists and hair stylists a “false start time” of at least an hour earlier than you think you’ll need. If all else fails and they run an hour behind, you’ll still be on time. (If you have family or friends getting ready with you who also tend to run behind, use this same tactic!)

Vermont Historic Home Wedding at Sumner MansionBetsey Johnson Stela Glitter Wedding Shoes Detail Photo

Should I have my makeup + hair done on location or at the salon?

As long as you plan for extra time getting to and from the salon, either works equally well. Sometimes salons run a tighter schedule due to having other clients on the books, so that might work better if you have girls in your group who tend to run on the later side of things. 

Documentary photography at Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens


A lot of thought and planning tends to be put into what the bride wants to do on “her” wedding day; while we find a lot of grooms aren’t worried about how their day starts out, we like to encourage you to find something you’d like to do, either with or without your groomsmen. 

Groom's flag socks for 4th of July wedding in Vermont

For a lot of groups, this means getting dressed a bit early and grabbing an adult beverage at the venue’s bar; but you could always do something else if that doesn’t fit into your plans. (Just remember to stay clear-headed for the ceremony; the last thing you want to do is stumble down the aisle!) 

Biltmore Coral Gables Wedding Prep Groom Plays Bocci

Make your wedding a day to remember (before the wedding even begins)

Some ideas: a round of golf (or mini-golf, if that’s more your speed); target practice; surfing; a friendly card game in your hotel room, or even just dressing up in your wedding day finery and walking around town. (You’re guaranteed to get a few looks and congrats from strangers passing by.) All of this makes for great photos of the getting ready process, but more importantly it forms a lasting memory of your wedding day with you as a single guy before the important events begin.

Wedding photography at the Eden Roc, Miami Beach

Some of our favorite guy moments stem from the laughter and fun had by all during the getting ready process. As with anything, a group activity can make everyone feel more relaxed and look forward to the important day ahead. 

Whatever you decide to do, keep us posted! We can't wait to get started.

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