The bridal suite is a room where you prepare (both physically and mentally) to say "I do" in front of all your family and friends. It's where the bride gets to relax (as much as one can), get her hair and makeup done, and toast to the day's events with her bridal party before walking down the aisle. It’s the ultimate wedding pre-game event, filled with music, laughter, and maybe even a few happy tears.
Before you prepare to walk down the aisle, you want to be sure to stock your bridal suite with everything you or your bridal party might need on the big day. To help you figure out all of the essential items you need to make your wedding day preparations a breeze, we spoke to wedding planner Tara Melvin.
Meet the Expert
Tara Melvin is the owner of Perfect Planning Events in Washington D.C and has over 17 years of experience in event planning. She is the founder and President of The National Society of Black Wedding and Event Professionals, the first and only wedding/event association for Black professionals in the industry, and was named one of BizBash’s Top 500 Most Influential Event Professionals in 2020.
When scoping out your bridal suite, make sure to check that there’s sufficient lighting in the room. Melvin suggests opening all the blinds on the windows and turning on all lights in the room to get a sense of the natural light. “If that does not brighten the room, you can purchase a studio light stand or ask your photographer or makeup artist if they will have one on-site,” she says.
A cloudy day or an early morning wedding can decrease the amount of natural light in a room, so it’s always recommended to check with the venue, your photographer, or makeup artist if they have additional lighting just in case.
“A floor-length mirror will be essential and aid as your quality control checker as you are getting dressed,” says Melvin. While most bridal suites at venues will have a floor-length mirror, if you’re planning on getting ready in a hotel room, you might want to ask the front desk or bring your own. You want to be able to get a good look at yourself in your bridal gown from front to back and head to toe before making your big debut.
Hanger and Clear Temporary Hooks
Once you get to your bridal suite, your first order of business should be hanging your dress in an open area. Clear temporary hooks are real life-savers if the bridal suite doesn’t have a tall hook that allows your dress to hang freely without touching the floor. They’re easily removable, won’t damage the walls, and the clear hook is invisible in photos.
Light Snacks and Beverages
It’s going to be a long day leading up to the reception, so keep you and your wedding party fueled with an array of light and healthy food. Small sandwiches, a veggie spread, granola bars, and chips will ensure that everyone eats something before the ceremony. And of course, you can’t forget to drink plenty of water. “I cannot stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated on your wedding day,” says Melvin. “Primarily drink lots of water or beverages that are light in color that will not stain; Gatorade, Pellegrino, LaCroix, Bubly, and if you must, white wine or clear sparkling champagne only.”
You’ll want to wait until the very last minute before you walk down the aisle to put on your wedding dress if you want to avoid any stains, spills, or rips. It’s a good idea for you and your bridal party to get ready in dressing robes so you snack and get styled without worrying about staining your dresses.
Make sure to get a robe that ties or zips in the front. Anything you have to pull your head runs the risk of messing up your hair and makeup.
Skip the iron and go straight for the steamer, which will allow you to get any wrinkles or unwanted crinkles out of your wedding day attire without the risk of burn stains.
Wedding planners have seen it all, from ripped pants on the groom to soda stains on the bride’s wedding dress seconds before she’s set to walk down the aisle. Be prepared for any and all wedding day disasters with a pre-packed emergency kit. Some things you should include are hair spray, hairpins, a sewing kit, safety pins, deodorant, straight-pins, first-aid essentials, breath mints, masking tape, double-sided tape, and a Tide pen.
If you don’t have a wedding planner or your venue does not provide a day-of coordinator to act as your advocate outside the room as you prepare for the ceremony in the bridal suite, designate someone who is not a member of the bridal party to be the manager of communications between the bridal suite and the venue. “Known as a Bridal Assistant or Lady-in-Waiting, this person will be your manager on wheels, from managing the time of events in the room to making sure your needs are taken care of prior to saying ‘I do,’” says Melvin.
Waterworks on wedding days are inevitable. Melvin recommends wiping your tears of joy with a lint-free tissue that won’t leave behind any debris. Keep some in the bridal suite and some in the emergency kit in case you shed a tear during or after the ceremony. If you tend to perspire when you’re nervous, keep some tissues stuffed in the top of your dress below your armpits while you’re putting on the final touches before the ceremony. Just remember to remove it before you leave the room!
Portable Hand Fan
“Your adrenaline will be on a high, and your body temperature will be on overdrive,” warns Melvin. “To keep calm and cool without disturbing everyone else, get a hand-fan you can carry with you as you get prepared for your wedding day.”