16 May 2024

Wedding Morning Jitters

It is understandable that all your anxieties about the wedding come to a head in the hours before the ceremony commences. Months of planning and, inevitably, a substantial financial investment will have gone into your wedding day plans. Whether you are organising a quiet civil ceremony or a very traditional white wedding, complete with church service, you will inevitably experience jitters on the morning of the event.

Ideally, you should be able to savour the time leading up to the ceremony and enjoy the company of your parents and closest friends as you prepare yourself for your big day. Drawing up a wedding morning checklist may seem over-organised, but it will pay dividends, ensuring that everyone knows what they have to do, how long it will take, and how to deal with contingencies.

Wedding Morning Checklist

Traditionally, the bride and groom would spend the night before the wedding apart. If you decide not to, you should set off early on the day of the wedding to the place where you will each be getting ready.

The bridesmaids, best man and ushers must be at each of your respective locations in plenty of time if they have not been there the night before. It is best only to have the key players around at this stage; too many people milling about makes it difficult for everyone to get ready.

Never underestimate how much there is to do, not matter how much has been organised beforehand. It is always sensible to allow extra contingency time for last-minute crises and delays.

The Bride

Plenty of time should be allocated to getting ready and ensure that you eat something, no matter how nervous you are, as you will need plenty of energy for the day ahead.

Be attentive about getting into the dress and avoid any last-minute panics over smeared make-up, mussed-up hair, or last-minute stains by doing the following:

•Put on your underwear before you have your hair and make-up done.

•The mother of the bride and bridesmaids should get dressed before the bride, so that they can focus their full attention on getting her ready. Before they do so, they should wash their hands, and even wear clean white gloves, to ensure that there are no marks left on the dress.

•The bride should dress in the following order: wedding dress; shoes; veil or headdress; jewellery. If the dress must go over the head, make you’re your face is fully covered with a scarf so as not to ruin either your make-up or the dress.

•It is best not to complete dressing more than 30 minutes before departure, which will minimise any disturbance to the outfit – don’t sit down, which will cause crumpling. Allow plenty of time for getting into the dress, which is likely to have complicated fastenings.

•While you are waiting, fully dressed, for your departure, take a few moments to compose yourself – a sip of champagne will help to calm wedding day nerves.

•By now the wedding bouquets for the bridal party will have arrived, so you will be able to have a last-minute check of the full outfit in the mirror before you depart.

The Groom’s Party

While getting dressed is a less drawn-out procedure for the men, they should still allow plenty of time to avoid unnecessary panic. It is traditional for the groom, best man and ushers to meet for breakfast or lunch before going to the church or ceremony venue.

They should check beforehand that all the components of their suit are ready, and that they have all the necessary accessories, such as cufflinks and tie pins.

The best man and groom should have a final run-through of their speeches (separately) if required.

The best man should reconfirm that all the cars and taxis will arrive on time and know where they are going. He should check buttonholes have arrived, verify that he has the rings and gather any cards, emails or messages that are to be read out at the reception.

Once the buttonholes have arrived, defer pinning them until everyone is ready to depart; the less they are handled, the fresher they will look.

Items to Remember: Checklist

There are various items that the groom, best man and chief bridesmaid need to remember to take with them on the big day.

•Chief Bridesmaid

It is her job to carry everything that the bride will need over the course of the day, including make-up for touch-ups, in a small, elegant handbag.

She should ensure that she has a mobile phone so that she can contact the best man if necessary and be a point of contact for the bridal party. She should check beforehand that she has all the necessary numbers and ensure that the phone is muted for the ceremony.

If required, the bride’s overnight bag, handbag and other essentials for the following day can be left at the reception venue in advance. If the newly married couple are leaving for their honeymoon straight from the venue, then the bridesmaid should ensure that the luggage has been desposited at the venue.

All the bridesmaids should also leave everything the might need over the course of the day at the reception venue, such as a change of shoes camera and a wrap or shawl – they should be totally unencumbered for the ceremony.

•The Groom

The groom will need a mobile phone (muted) and his speech notes. Presents for the bridesmaids, car keys (if needed) and an overnight bag/honeymoon luggage can all be left at the reception the day beforehand.

He can also arrange for flowers for the mothers to be delivered to the reception venue that morning.

•The Best Man

The best man will need the rings, his mobile phone, speech notes, spare cash and enough money to cover church fees (where appropriate) and final payments for relevant suppliers.

He should ensure that the numbers of all the transport providers (hired cars, taxis etc) are stored on his phone and should check that he has all the relevant contact numbers for the rest of the wedding party, the caterers and so on.

It is a good idea to bring a fountain pen for signing the register.

Arrival at the Ceremony: Timings

It is important that everybody involved arrives at the ceremony in good time. There is a fine line between arriving too early and nervously waiting around and having to rush there to be on time. Here are some suggested timings:

•Ushers: 45 minutes before

•Best man and groom: 30-45 minutes before

•Guests: Up to 30 minutes before

•Grooms’ parents: 15 minutes before

•Mother of bride and bridesmaids: ten minutes before

•Bride and father: five minutes before*

*The notion that the bride should arrive “fashionably late” is the stuff of dramatic films and fiction, but in reality, it is extremely inconsiderate, both the to the groom (who has an agonising and nervous wait at the altar) and to the guests, who will be getting bored and restless. We have suggested building a 5-minute “safety zone” into the timings; if the bride and her father arrive with five minutes in hand, this is a useful period in which she can check on her hair and make-up and, with the assistance of the bridesmaids, arrange her dress and bouquet and take some deep, calming breaths before making her entrance.

Click here for Debrett’s Wedding Handbook


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