How to eliminate stress on your wedding day


Your wedding day should be about celebrating. You have been planning this day for months, perhaps even years so it should be the day to relax and enjoy. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. As a hair and makeup artist I am usually with the bride from when she wakes up on her wedding day right through until she is getting dressed and ready to leave. Having been present at over 200 weddings per year I consider myself a bit of an expert in making sure the day runs smoothly. I am sharing my wisdom to ensure you have the best possible wedding day and the lead up is stress free.

Calculate plenty of time, don’t squeeze too much into too little time

There is a lot to do on your wedding day. You have to get your hair and makeup done, have the flowers dropped off, the photographer arrives, you have to get dressed (which can take half an hour if you have a difficult corset). Then of course I’m sure you’d like enough time to enjoy yourself, perhaps take the time for a champagne toast. So plan your time accordingly and confirm times with your suppliers and bridal party in advance. Do not presume anything. If you aren’t sure about timing ask your trusted wedding suppliers for a time guide. Good suppliers have experience. We know how to keep your day running smoothly. For example when booking your hair and makeup we recommend that you have hair and makeup finished at least one hour before you have to leave or for when the photographer arrives. This way we aren’t overlapping and the photographer has plenty of time with you to get the perfect shots. If the florist is bringing flowers to go in your hair, check that they will be dropped off a couple of hours before you have to leave.

Have a contact list

Write down all your suppliers and their mobile number. That way if you need them on the day you have their numbers handy and you can ask your bridal party to take care of it. It’s probably a good idea to give it to the groom too and to your wedding coordinator at the venue so they can communicate cake drop off etc.

Research your suppliers before booking them

Choose contributors for your wedding wisely. Don’t pick the cheapest supplier or the first one you find. Weddings are expensive, trust me I know, but choose carefully when deciding how to save and invest in your wedding wisely. The stress builds up when you have inexperienced suppliers who don’t communicate properly leading up to the wedding. I know it’s tempting to have your best friend’s sister take the photos because you know her and she isn’t charging because she just started art class but remember this is an important day so go with the best you can afford, not the easiest. If you book experienced, talented suppliers to contribute to your wedding it is much more likely to run smoothly because they know what they are doing. I was at a wedding once where the maid of honour had to go to the hair dressers house to wake him up because he slept through his alarm after a big night out. Luckily they were friends so she knew where he lived. In saying that if they weren’t good friends and they employed a professional instead I am sure that wouldn’t have happened.

Lay out your whole outfit the night before

Sounds obvious I am sure but check you aren’t missing an important part of your outfit a couple of days before. Don’t forget the nude underwear if the dress is transparent. One of the worst memories I have from a wedding is the bride in floods of tears because she couldn’t find her veil. Her parents had to drive all over the North Shore to find a bridal shop open at 9am on a Sunday morning because they needed to purchase a replacement for the very expensive MIA veil.

Have your bridal party at your house first thing or have them sleep over

There is often one tardy bridesmaid. We all laugh about the naughty bridesmaid but when she is over three hours late it is stressful for you and us. No one wants to be rushing and if your artist is waiting around for two hours with no one to work on (A) you might run late and (B) they might bill you for the extra time.

If you are saying a speech at the reception write it in advance.

I know we perform under pressure and writing a speech can be hard but please don’t make it harder on yourself be prepared! I hate seeing brides sick with nerves because they have to leave in an hour and still haven’t written their speech. I had a bride once that wouldn’t let me do her makeup until she had written her speech. I was waiting and waiting saying you need to leave for the church soon and she still wasn’t ready. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t about me, I can rush a makeup in 20 minutes, which is what I had to do but make it easier on yourself, do the important things before the wedding day.

Keep the people visiting you before the wedding to a minimum

Try and limit the number of people around you when you are getting ready. Keep it to parents and the bridal party if possible as it does get chaotic with lots of people coming in and out all the time. I know this isn’t always possible (for example the Macedonians have a party at the brides house before the wedding begins) but remember there is so much going on the morning of your wedding and everyone will want your attention. Without offending anyone suggest that your aunt and her family meet you at the ceremony rather than coming to say hi when you are trying to get into your dress or get your makeup done.

Don’t take on too much

Sure personal touches are lovely but don’t take on too much. I have encountered quite a few brides in my time that were burnt out by the time the wedding rolls around. I’ve heard of brides staying up to 3am the night before the wedding to finish making bomboniere’s or those that went to the flower market at 4am because they wanted to do the flowers themselves. I understand wanting to make your wedding unique but get help and do all of your tasks well in advanced.

Avoid extreme sport the week of your wedding

I’m sure you had a laugh at the heading above but I have had to cover up many bruises because the bride’s father or the groom went dirt bike riding the day before the wedding. Unfortunately there isn’t much I can do for cuts or broken bones. Just ask those nearest and dearest to you to take it easy the day before the wedding!

Enjoy being pampered, put your phone down

Delegation is key when planning your wedding and the same is true on the day itself. Give your phone to your maid of honour or mother when you are getting your hair and makeup done. This way you can enjoy being pampered  and relax without being interrupted. Let someone else deal with the queries from suppliers or friends that call to check things like the address because they lost the invite (yes this happens a lot more than you think).

Arrange plenty of nibbles and food

You most probably won’t be in the mood for heavy, rich meals but you must eat something as it’s a long day and you won’t get a chance to eat until your reception. I didn’t even manage to eat at my own reception as I was too busy having a great time and chatting to guests. Order or have a family member prepare light snacks and finger foods. I suggest light sandwiches, a fruit platter and chips and dips. Try and eat before your makeup is finished so your artist can do your touch ups. I was leaving a wedding once and a platter of subway subs arrived, I cringed because it’s not easy to chew through one of those and keep your lipstick in place.

Play your favourite music whilst you are at home getting ready

So I know you have a million and one things to do and music for before the wedding isn’t exactly a priority but have someone else organise it. I have been a part of so many happy, positive weddings preps and that’s because there is great music to distract you and sing along to. I have noticed that the brides that tend to get the most nervous are the ones that get ready in silence, then you are alone with your thoughts.

Sort out payment in advance

There is nothing worse than stressing about money on your wedding day. If you can’t pay your suppliers in advance via EFT then put their cash in an envelope and label it with their name, your name and the date so it’s all ready and you don’t feel flustered counting cash.

Be prepared for anything, have a survival kit

Band aids and fashion tape are often wished for on wedding days. The new shoes give you blisters or the bridesmaids dress keeps slipping down. You could also need safety pins, bobby pins, cotton buds, your lipstick, pressed powder and panadol. You don’t want a splitting headache to ruin your night. If you will be out in the sun for two hours having photos pack the sunscreen too but check it doesn’t cause flashback in flash photography (then it will photograph white, avoid Zinc). Ask one of your bridesmaids to put a survival kit together, you never know when it will come in useful and save you discomfort.

So there you have it, my list of tips to ensure you are relaxed and have the best possible day free of drama. If you think I have missed anything let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

Bridal hair & makeup by Gemma Nichols-Sydney Makeup Artist

Hair and makeup pictured above by me.

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M: 0410 935 272

Gemma Nichols Makeup Artistry is a mobile makeup and hair styling service in Sydney that will pamper you & your group to perfection for all occasions.
Gemma also specialises in commercial & corporate print & film.

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