What to know about getting your wedding hair and makeup done

It is a very good idea to do several makeup and hair trials before your wedding day. Here’s what you should ask each stylist during the trial.
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Finding the right wedding hair and makeup artist near you isn’t always about combing through endless reviews or searching for photos on Instagram. Understanding the questions to ask your makeup artist before your wedding can be the key to making sure you achieve the look you’re going for on your wedding day.

Most wedding makeup artists and wedding hairstylists will do a trial a few weeks before your wedding date. This article will help you understand what to bring to your wedding trial, in addition to the questions your wedding hair and makeup stylist should be asking as they prepare your look. I’ve also included some images from a recent wedding trial I did with a client to give you an idea of a before and after bridal trial look.

Here’s what you should know about getting your hair and makeup done for your wedding … in 5 minutes.

Why do you need a makeup and hair trial for your wedding

Sometimes, a client and stylist just might not be a good fit. It’s not a big deal, but it’s something that’s good to know before you celebrate the biggest day of your life. A wedding trial allows the stylist to get an idea of the bride’s expectations for her wedding look. Chemistry is something that shouldn’t be overlooked when finding a stylist. You’re going to be working with each other for hours during an important day, so it’s the chance to determine if the stylist’s personality and style align with the bride’s expectations.

At times, a bride might choose to do 3 to 5 trials to see what and who they like overall. As an artist, the wedding trial is a chance to understand what the bride has in mind and to offer suggestions now that they’re able to see their skin tone and hair up close.

How many makeup artists and hairstylists do you need for your wedding?

Assume a wedding party of 8 to 10 (bridesmaids, sisters, mothers, the bride, etc.) it’s ideal to have 1 person doing hair, 1 doing makeup, and then the head makeup artist and hairstylist overseeing everything and making needed adjustments.

How long a day takes

Weddings are a great gig for a makeup artist and a hair stylist…but the days do start early. It’s not irregular to BEGIN at 5am for a ceremony that starts at 2pm or 3pm. It can take an hour to 90 minutes per person, and the bride will obviously take longer.

Questions your stylist should ask you

Before and after of a makeup artist doing a bolder look for hair and makeup wedding trial.

Every stylist is different. There are no hard-set rules as to what a makeup artist or hair stylist needs to know while doing your wedding trial. That said, it’s very helpful to ask the following.

Do you have any photos of your dress?

The style of your dress says a lot about the look you’re trying to achieve. A dress with a longer train and more elegant look can usually calls for a more “done-up” and less “natural” look.

What is the dominant color scheme of the wedding (flowers, table cloths, setting, etc.)

Knowing the color scheme of the wedding will help your stylist get an idea as to the style and tone you’re likely trying to achieve. It’s unlikely your wedding’s color palette will dramatically affect your overall look, but even something like a shade of lipstick or an eyeshadow can pay homage to your wedding colors.

Are you interested in a “natural” or more “bold” look?

Finished photo of a model doing a wedding trial for her hair and makeup.

For many of my clients, hiring a hair and makeup artist for their wedding is one of the few times they’ll professionally have their make-up done. This might be an opportunity to bring out some of your features and bring out a bit more style. So instead of a “natural” look, one could go for something a bit more dramatic and smokey.

Is there a particular “side” you want to feature?

This isn’t a hard rule, but it doesn’t hurt to know if there’s a particular “good side” you’d rather have photographed. For instance, knowing where you’re standing on the alter (right or left) can help determine some ways to style your hair.

Okay, so what does a wedding trial usually cost?

It should take about 2 to 3 hours and usually covers up to 3 different hair and makeup looks. The different options will give the bride insight on what they’ll want for their actual wedding day. A stylist will usually charge somewhere in the $150-$250 range for their time. Some include the cost of a trial with their overall wedding package, but this might prohibit you from trialing other stylists. And it is not ALWAYS included with a hair and makeup artist package. The important thing to mention and the inspiration of this article is to make sure you don’t skip getting at least one wedding trial—if you hit it off with that stylist, great, but don’t feel obliged to trial just one person.

What are the most popular wedding make up and hair styles?

There’s no particular wedding look per se’, but here are a couple of suggestions that might elevate the look you’re going for.

Lash extensions look great on almost everyone and can add to a bold look or complement something clean.

Hair accessories, flowers, or vines might not be something you wear everyday, but a wedding is a great occasion for a flower, pendant, or vine to accentuate your hair.

Experiment with wearing your hair up or down. More traditional looks include wearing your hair up, but there’s nothing unusual about wearing your hair down, especially with a softer, clean and sleek look. Whether your hair is up or down is your preference, but something worth trialing with your stylist.

Smokier Eyes can sometimes have a “club” connotation, but for those looking for a dramatic, bolder wedding look, the eyes are the best place to start.

Does the season in which your wedding takes place matter?

Outside of the obvious weather conditions, the season doesn’t usually impact your wedding makeup or hair. I would say the venue and location play a bigger role in your wedding look and style than when the wedding takes place.

Final Minute

The wedding look that’s right for you will often depend on your usual style. Sometimes, even a little bit more makeup than usual can feel like a lot. While others like an intense, bold look (e.g. smokey) to stand out. This is why a trial, and possibly multiple trials, are important,

This article was written by:

Vicky Lee is a hairstylist specializing in Balayage hairstyles in Los Angeles, Ca. Vicky is based out of the Agence Salon and is a personal stylist who also does wedding hair and makeup. Follow Vicky on IG @vicksterness

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