Beauty experts share tips for the perfect wedding morning routine

Beauty experts reveal how to make your wedding morning run smoothly. Scottish stylists chat to Nicole Conner about all their tips for getting the bride and bridal party ready.

Bridal party getting ready with wedding day makeup.
This bride and her bridal party are ready for her big day with makeup by Colleen Davidson Artistry.
(Photo: Graeme McInnes Photography)

Getting ready on your wedding day with your bridal party can be a lot of fun but there’s no room for all the mishaps that tend to happen when you’re getting ready for a night out together (we’ve all had an outfit or makeup crisis and someone arriving at the last minute).

Whether you’ve booked a hair stylist and makeup artist and want to know how to make the most of your time with them, or you’re wondering how to go about getting your glam squad together, we’ve got all the tips for you! We’ve got loads of advice from beauty experts for how to make sure your morning runs as smoothly as possible.

What to do before booking a hair or makeup stylist

Before booking a stylist, you need to figure out how many of you will be getting the professional treatment. The ideal party size, according to Nicola Denham from Honey & Violet Weddings, is a bride plus three or four ’maids. “We don’t travel out of our Stirling salon for fewer than three people,” she explains. “Our hairstylist Lisa and I can do hair and makeup for up to nine people, but that’ll mean it’s a much earlier start in the morning!”

Colleen Davidson Artistry also points out that the more ladies there are to work on, the earlier you’ll be up. Eight is her typical party size (for either makeup or hair only, or both for four people) but if there are more of you, she offers the option of bringing along an assistant to help out.

How long does it take to get ready?

The team at Honey & Violet allocate between 45 minutes to an hour to each person: “Timings are usually decided at the trials where we can work out (based on the hairstyle and makeup choice) if it’s more intricate and will need a little longer,” says Nicola. “We aim to have everyone ready an hour before the ceremony so there’s plenty time to get dressed and organised.”

Megan Doherty of MD Makeup Design suggests leaving at least 30-45 minutes for the bride to get dressed. It’s not as simple as just stepping into your gown, she warns: intricate fastenings and lots of underskirts mean it can take longer than you’d think.

Bride and bridesmaids getting ready on wedding day.
The bridal party is all smiles with their glowing makeup from Colleen Davidson Artistry. (Photo: Kalister Scope Photography)

How to prepare for your wedding morning

Still with Megan, her advice is to wash your hair the night before the wedding (unless you need to wash it every day – you know your tresses best!), but don’t use too much conditioner. “Avoid any hair masks or serums – you want nice, clean, blow-dried hair for the stylist,” she adds.

Colleen echoes this, and dismisses the old myth that ‘dirty hair styles better’: “We can apply products to add texture and volume to hair that is too soft, but a build-up of oils and old products can weigh the hair down and make it more difficult to work with,” she points out. Also, put those straighteners down! According to Colleen, they can affect the longevity of curls or waves, so best leave your hair fully in the hands of the pros.

Megan and Colleen ask clients to cleanse their skin and use a light moisturiser on the wedding morning. “Don’t use any serums –they could affect your makeup,” says Megan.

Should the bride get her hair and makeup done first or last?

Once Maureen Crolla from The Bride to Be and her team unpack, they begin by assessing hair lengths and textures to come up with a plan of action that’ll make the morning go smoothly with everyone having fun. “Normally, the bride will have her hair prepped early (applying product and setting it in rollers or curling it, depending on the desired look) then leaving it until her makeup had been applied,” she tells us. “The bride’s makeup is usually done second last, then her hair is finished, and she is good to go. We work as a team, and it means the morning is effortless.”

Brides getting their wedding day makeup done
Brides getting glam for their big day with MD Makeup Design working her magic (Left photo: Tracy McQuillan; Right image: The Gibsons)

Honey & Violet’s brides are done second last too, to allow more time for the leading lady to get into her dress. “Lisa will usually be doing one girl’s hair while I do another’s makeup, then we swap,” says Nicola.

You won’t want to disturb your hair and makeup once it’s done, so consider what you’re wearing while you’re getting glam. Something that opens at the front or that can slip off your shoulders is Megan’s recommendation.

Do I need a hair and makeup trial?

Still debating whether or not to have a trial? Most stylists highly recommend one for the bride, but MoBs, MoGs and ’maids might be less convinced they need one too. Maureen agrees they’re not essential for everyone but does recommend them for anyone who’s nervous about the whole experience.

If your bridesmaids haven’t had a trial with the stylists, it can be worth bringing along some images on the wedding morning. “Visual references really assist both hairstyling and makeup,” smiles Maureen. “It just gives us an idea of what you’d like – sometimes it can be hard to explain without pictures!”

MUA Colleen adds, “We can work together to build a look that’s bespoke to their features and vision for the day.”

Bridesmaids see bride showing off her wedding dress
Bridesmaids react to seeing the bride after they all get glammed up with makeup by Colleen Davidson Artistry. (Photo: Graeme McInnes Photography)

More advice for getting ready on your wedding day

No matter how well you plan, little problems will crop up on the day, our styling pros tell us. Their advice? Don’t stress out. Trust your glam squad and enjoy the morning with your bride tribe. Bringing in an extra pair of hands is one way to stay on track, say the Honey & Violet team, adding that they’ll stay to help with the final details even after their styling job is done. They also come equipped with an emergency kit (needles and thread, crochet hooks and plasters).

Megan echoes this, and has often been called upon to help her brides: “I’ve seen zips burst and buttons pop and have had to sew bridesmaids into their dresses before the ceremony! These things happen. Something might go wrong, but don’t let it worry you. At the end of the day, you’re going to be married and will forget about it all once you’re celebrating with the people you love.”

“My advice to you as the bride is to surround yourself with people who’ll make you feel excited, not stressed out,” concludes Colleen. “The morning’s vibe can set the tone for the rest of the day, so just enjoy this time with your gals.”