A Breakdown of the Perfect Getting-Ready Timeline

Make it to the ceremony with plenty of time to spare by following this guide

Updated 10/17/17

© Yes, Dear. Studio 2015

The No. 1 secret to a stress-free wedding day? Scheduling ample hair and makeup time for you and your bridesmaids. By including enough prep time in your wedding-day schedule, you'll arrive at the ceremony venue relaxed and ready to go, with plenty of time to spare. Otherwise, if hair and makeup run late, everything else will be behind schedule for the rest of the day. So, to help you make it to the church on time, follow our getting-ready guide and sample timeline.

How Much Time Should You Allot?

Some brides try to cut costs by hiring one hairstylist and one makeup artist to work on herself and the bridal party. While we're totally on board with saving some funds, you need to plan accordingly time-wise. If you cram, you run the risk of throwing yourself off schedule, and if you do start to run behind, a wedding planner can get things back on track. If you planned your own wedding, then it helps to have someone who's not part of the bridal party on hand just in case things get hectic. When you put your day-of timeline together, try to keep these guidelines in mind:

Makeup: 30–45 minutes per bridesmaid and mother of bride, 60–90 minutes for the bride.

Hair: 30–45 minutes a bridesmaid and mother of bride, 60–90 minutes for the bride.

Alyssa Greenberg

Timing Tips

• According to hairstylist Kacee Geoffroy, have your stylist start on the bridesmaids first, while the makeup artist begins with the bride.

• Book the photographer to arrive one hour before the bride is ready to go. That way, he or she will be able to shoot getting-ready shots, like the bride applying her last bit of lipstick or having a flower pinned to her hair. This also gives your photographer plenty of time to capture those oh-so-important detail shots: your gown on a hanger, shoes, jewelry, purse, etc.

• If you have yourself plus four bridesmaids all getting your hair and makeup done, allot at least four hours of getting-ready time. That may seem like a lot, but it's just enough.

• If your bridal party is a bit bigger, ask your stylist to bring an assistant to cut down on time. Do the same for makeup. Make sure any additional charges are discussed ahead of time.

• If you're traveling to a salon, double the travel time you anticipate.

Alyssa Greenberg

Sample Timeline

Take a look at our getting-ready order of events below for some extra help with your planning process. For our example, there's a 4 p.m. ceremony start time and the bride has four bridesmaids in her party.

10:00 a.m. Bride's makeup and bridesmaid No. 1's hair

10:30 a.m. Bridesmaid No. 2's hair

11:00 a.m. Bridesmaid No. 3's hair and bridesmaid No. 1's makeup

11:30 a.m. Bridesmaid No. 4's hair

11:45 a.m. Bridesmaid No. 2's makeup

12:30 p.m. Bride's hair, bridesmaid No. 3's makeup, photographer arrives to take getting-ready and details photos

1:15 p.m. Bridesmaid No. 4's makeup

2:00 p.m. All hair and makeup complete, wedding party photos are taken

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