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  • Writer's pictureLara Quinn

Wedding Day Timings

Since this is my very first Blog post, I thought I would kick start it off with something that I get asked countless times by my Brides.....

' What time do I need to be ready with hair and makeup? '

Now, when I get asked this question, my immediate response is always -

' Has your photographer given you a time they would like you ready by so they can take your pre ceremony photos? '

Most of the time, this question hasn't been asked by the Bride to the photographer before I have been asked, and if your photographer hasn't specified a time to you yet, the answer I will give you, comes down to the sheer volume of weddings that I have completed over the last 16 years and knowing how most photographers operate on wedding days and what they expect from your makeup artist and hairstylist.

Do not underestimate just how important it is, that your hair and makeup is running on time as it can throw your entire timeline out for the wedding day!

Your Finish Time

Your hair and makeup should be completed approximately 2 hours before your ceremony time if you are getting ready at a location away from your place of ceremony.

If you are getting ready on site, for example at a venue that offers a 'Bridal Prep Room' such as Summergrove Estate or the The Valley Estate , you can be ready approximately 1.5 hours prior to the ceremony time.

Often, Brides assume, that this timing is quite early to be ready before the ceremony, but your photographer needs this time to take your Bridal Prep photos and then leave before the Bride and Bridal party departs so they are there ready to take your photos of your ceremony entrance... and you don't want them to miss this part!

I promise you, this time will absolutely fly by - I can't tell you the amount of times I have heard a Bride say, ' I cant believe how quickly the time went this morning! '

It is important to note, that I like to schedule my Brides makeup last in the timeline, this is so your makeup is 'the freshest' - I do this based on how I would like to have this process done myself, and I always think having your makeup done as close to the finish time as possible is key to ensuring maximum longevity and minimal touch up's. Once your hair is done, it is done, if it's in an upstyle it shouldn't move and if it's down, most Bride's are wanting their hair to 'drop' a little before the ceremony time.

Your Start Time

The time you start with hair and makeup prep on the wedding day, depends on how many people you are including in your booking.

I personally, allow up to 1 x hour per person for each makeup application. I take this time to talk to the person, find out what there skin type is, ask how they like to wear makeup and work out how much makeup they are comfortable wearing. It is also for completing the makeup application process, getting the client to check over what has been done for them and then cleaning up the makeup station to ensure that everything is clean for the next person.

So, for example, if you have 5 people booked in for makeup on the wedding day, 5 hours needs to be allocated to accommodate this process.

You will also need to factor in a set up time for the makeup artist, which I allow up to 30 mins before the actual start time of the makeup application. This is so that furniture can be moved around if need be to allow the makeup artist to be set up closer to good natural filtered light, setting up of the makeup station and for a quick chat with the Bride and Bridal Party about what looks will be created for the day.

Example Timeline

I'm going to show you an example of a Bridal Prep timeline, and you can use this to help work out how your morning will look.


  • Approx 2 hours prior to the ceremony time if getting ready away from site.

  • Approx 1.5 hours prior to the ceremony time if getting ready on site.

This timeline example will be for makeup ONLY, so keep in mind that most makeup artists will take longer than hairstylists on the day as there are more steps involved in the makeup application and we have to clean everything in between each application. From my experience, hairstylists and makeup aritst's are aware of this and will work around each other on the day, alternating between people so there is never a 'double up' and we are not trying to do the same person's hair and makeup at the same time.

6.30am - Makeup Artist Arrive \ Set Up

7.00am - Makeup 1 \ Bridesmaid 4

8.00am - Makeup 2 \ Bridesmaid 3

9.00am - Makeup 3 \ Bridesmaid 2

10.00am - Makeup 4 \ Bridesmaid 1

11.00am - Makeup 5 \ BRIDE

12.00 - 12.30pm \ Touch Up's \ Makeup Artist Depart

2.00pm - Ceremony

Obviously, this timeline is a guide only and you should always check with your photographer in case they have a specific timeline they want you to follow!

I hope you can use this to help you work out how things will run on the day, just remember you may need to adjust the times depending on your ceremony time and how many people you have in your booking!


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