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Tips for Getting Your Space Ready for Your Wedding Day

The day of your wedding can be stressful especially when things go awry. However, as a professional wedding makeup artist of more than four years, I'm hoping to offer some advice and tips that can help you make a better and stress-free environment. Keep on reading to know what spaces are best for getting ready, what to bring or provide for your wedding vendors, how you can plan ahead to avoid wedding day nuisances, and some other important factors to consider.

Tip #1: Where you get ready matters and what to consider about your space

I have worked in Airbnbs, 3-star hotels, 5-star hotels, parents' basements, wedding venues, clubhouses, brides' homes, and more. You name it, I most likely have done makeup there! With that being said, the most optimal place to get ready is typically a wedding venue, but the most frequent place I've worked at are hotels.

The reason I like wedding venues is that it's:

  1. Less traveling - You don't have to worry about transportation to your venue. Also, you don’t have to worry about wedding party members grabbing their stuff at the hotel after the wedding to bring back home.

  2. Easy access in and out - No fussing about letting people up and down from the hotel lobby or trying to navigate lost people.

  3. Optimized for getting ready - There are plenty of mirrors, tables, a bathroom, and chairs.

While there are many benefits to getting ready at wedding venues, that option may not always be available or can be more expensive, especially if you need early access. Therefore, if you opt for a hotel or other types of spaces, here are important things to consider.

  1. Space - Space is so important when it comes to your getting ready area. The last thing you want is for it to be chaotic, loud, and crowded when preparing for an unforgettable day! Depending on how many people are getting ready with you, you'll need to reserve a space for your makeup artist, hair stylists, vendor assistants, food and gifts for your wedding party, and a place for everyone's stuff! (Keep on reading to learn more about why that's important).

  2. Distance - Make sure the area you're getting ready at is no more than 10-15 minutes away from your venue. You also want to consider traffic conditions depending on where your venue is located. Most of the weddings I work at are in Washington, DC, and therefore, traffic can be unpredictable at times.

  3. Lighting - If possible request a room or reserve a space that has ample natural lighting. Lighting is crucial, especially for makeup artists. After all, many weddings take place outdoors or in a well-lit area. I would hate for you to get ready in the dark and walk out to your aisle looking completely different. Nevertheless, I ALWAYS carry my Glamcor light with me to ensure your complexion is always well-lit! Natural lighting is always preferred, and your wedding vendors will thank you.

Tip #2: Small things you can do to help out your vendors for your wedding day

Aside from the considerations above, here are some other things you can do to prepare your getting-ready space.

  1. Make sure there's a table for every hairstylist and makeup artist. I can't count the number of times I've turned a chair into a table, worked off an A/C vent, a nightstand, a window sill, etc. I carry a table in the trunk of my car now because sometimes, there is just absolutely no space at all for my setup. However, as much as I wish I had four arms to carry everything at one time, I just can't. Therefore, the more items you can provide for your vendors, the easier it will be for them to set up, and the quicker they can get started. I also always arrive 15 minutes prior to the start time to ensure I can figure out the space before I set up. If you can't provide this for your vendors, be sure to let them know beforehand so they can prepare accordingly.

  2. Check your space for outlets. Both hair stylists and makeup artists will need outlets. I use one for my light, and hair stylists use them for their tools.

  3. Provide the right chairs. If you're getting ready at a hotel, a chair for a desk or lounge chair will often be provided. These are typically the perfect height for hairstylists. As for makeup artists, we require a higher chair or a bar stool. Hotels most likely have these types of chairs, you just need to call the concierge or let them know beforehand that you'll need them on the day of your wedding. High chairs are so important because they really help prevent back/neck pain for makeup artists. Having your body contorted for several hours while standing on your feet can really take a toll on your body! Ask my chiropractor LOL.

  4. Create setup stations. Don't have all your vendors cramped into one corner of your space. Have designated areas for every vendor so they aren't bumping or crashing into each other or even furniture.

Tip #3: Designate roles for people in your getting-ready space especially if you're getting ready in a hotel room

To create a smoother and stress-free environment, assign designated roles for your family members and/or wedding party. Here are a few roles that would be helpful and even fun!

  1. The DJ - Who doesn't like pump-up jams for their wedding day? We all have that one friend with excellent music taste. Let them shine by handing them the aux cord or nowadays, the bluetooth connection. You're most likely going to be on your phone, receiving calls, and texting, so for an interruption-free music stream definitely choose a DJ.

  2. Hodor (Hold the Door, Game of Thrones reference) - While this is a very simple job, it's one of the most important roles for someone to have on your wedding day. If you're getting ready in a hotel room, the door automatically locks. There are going to be many people flying in and out of your room so it's a big inconvenience when you have to constantly get up to open the door. By delegating this task to someone, they can 1) be conscious of paying attention to the door and 2) ensure that you aren’t constantly getting up to grab the door. Trust me, you'll already be doing 100 things during your wedding day, and this is one that can be easily taken off your plate.

  3. The Elevator Operator - If you're getting ready in a hotel that requires key card access (most hotels in urban areas) to the elevators, you definitely want someone to escort people from the lobby to your room. They will also come in handy when breakfast or lunch gets delivered!

  4. Your Right-hand Person - This is a kind of catch-all and will most likely be your maid of honor or someone closest to you. This person will help you when you're in your getting-ready chair. If you're in the makeup chair, you'll definitely have your eyes closed at times or have moments where you won't be able to talk. With that said, having someone answer your phone for you, help others find things, answer questions, and coordinate as wedding vendors come in and out can be very helpful! Pro-Tip: Keep all your details/flat lay in a box and let your right-hand person know where it is, so it's readily available for the photographer.

Tip #5: Make sure everyone getting makeup and hair done is on the premises or in your hotel room

There's nothing worse than when someone is late to their allotted time slot to get their hair or makeup done and now has pushed the whole timeline back. One way to prevent that is to make sure everyone is in the space you're getting ready in so that when the hair stylist or makeup artist calls for the next person, someone can easily hop in the chair. I always give my clients a time range of when I'll be there instead of creating a time slot designated to a specific person. I've been in enough situations where I am scrambling at the end to get done in time because someone needed to be hunted down to get their makeup done or the next person is running late. With providing a time range, there's more flexibility to factor in hiccups like that.

Tip #6: Designate a place for people to put their stuff.

This is a step that is commonly missed but is crucial once the photographer or videographer comes. The last thing you want to do right before you're almost done getting ready is to clean your room for photos. Instead, get ahead of it by telling people where to put their stuff as they make their way into your room. Find a space that you think will not be captured in photos. It could be a closet, near the bottom of the bed, in the bathroom, etc. You want a clean and neat space for your photos and video.

In conclusion, creating a getting-ready space for your wedding can be a simple yet effective way to ensure that you and your wedding party feel relaxed and prepared on the big day. By finding a comfortable and spacious location, providing amenities for your vendors, and designating roles for your wedding party, you can create a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere for getting ready.

Check out a few of my favorite places and venues optimized for getting wedding-ready!

Rust Manor House - Leesburg, VA

Plenty of natural lighting and space

Barn at Willow Creek - Leesburg, VA

Hair and makeup stations equipped with mirrors, outlets, table space, proper chairs, and even a coffee bar! Book early because this a really popular venue.

Photo by Diana Merlos

The Osprey at Belmont Bay - Woodbridge, VA

Ample lighting, huge space with bar area, getting ready stations, salon chairs, and mirrors.

Intercontinental Willard Hotel - Downtown Washington, DC

Huge space so there's room for everyone, plenty of tables, and beautiful backgrounds for photography

Photo by Joshua Bingham

Omni Shoreham Hotel, Presidential Suite - Northwest Washington, DC

Beautiful decor, lots of space (especially for DC), and nice views

Lots of natural lighting, high chairs are provided, and plenty of outlets

Loved this suite! It was so spacious. There was a kitchen, so much space for all the vendors, and the ambience and vibes were 10/10.

Thank you so much for visiting J. Tan Artistry! If you're interested in learning more about my services or have questions about this blog post, please reach out to me at Looking to book me as your wedding makeup artist for 2023, please fill out this form, and I will get back to you within 24 to 48 business hours.


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