Step 1: Decide Where Hair & Makeup Appointments Will Take Place and When You Can Get Started
Are you using a Bridal Suite at your wedding venue? Getting ready at somebody's house? Starting your day with appointments at a salon? Having your stylists come to a hotel room? Think about your desired location and timing and have them in mind when you...
Step 2: Find Your Hairstylist(s) and Makeup Artist(s)
Perhaps you have a favorite salon, a friend who does hair and/or makeup, or a trusted recommendation. Start with yourself and figure out who will do your hair and makeup on the big day. Find styles and stylists you like, and schedule a consultation (3-6 months in advance) & trial (1-2 months in advance). By the way, if you need help choosing your own hairstyle, check out this great article for tips!
Now think about your girls. Who may want to have hair done that day? Consider bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids/flower girls, mothers, grandmothers, etc. and come up with a maximum number. Ask your stylists about their timing and the number of people they can work on in the amount of time that you'll have allocated on your wedding day. Share your vision for where and when this will take place. If it's too tight a squeeze (time- or location-wise) or isn't possible to take care of all of your girls, you may need to get additional stylists, or work in an alternate location.
When you are set on your hair and makeup vendors, get your agreed-upon pricing in writing and sign a contract for your date, times and location as soon as possible. If you are expecting a certain number of stylists to come from one salon/vendor, be sure to have that number in writing as well. It's a good idea to have this contract signed 3-6 months before the wedding.
Step 3: Decide Who Will Pay for Hair & Makeup Appointments
If you really want all of the girls to have hair & makeup done, you may want to consider paying for their appointments as a gift. You do not have to, they will not be expecting it, and it's okay if you don't (because, let's face it, being in a wedding is expensive for them, but having a wedding is expensive for you, and they know that). It may just be a nice treat, and you may get more definite responses sooner if they know that it will not be an expense that they have to absorb. Another option is that you could cover hair OR makeup (and not both), or ask if your Mom and soon-to-be-MIL would split the cost with you to treat the girls as a thank you.
Just keep in mind that if you tell girls that they HAVE to have hair & makeup done, you should definitely pay. If you don't require it, know that they may decide not to have hair & makeup done at all, or to have it done elsewhere and join you later.
When looking at costs, remember that a standard 20% tip should be added onto any service for a job well done, unless the stylist is the owner of the business (in which case, a tip is not needed). You'll want to ask your vendors in advance what forms of payment they accept (and pass that information along to anyone who will be paying) on the wedding day.
Step 4: Reach Out to Your Girls
Find out who is interested in getting hair and makeup done. Share your plans, vision and costs. If you prefer that your bridesmaids wear a similar hairstyle (for example, all updo's or half-down hairstyles), tell them at this time. If you'll be paying, you may want to tell them now, or you could choose to surprise them on the wedding day. Ask them to respond by a certain date so that you can finalize plans with the stylist(s). Remember to check back with them on that date to confirm and fill in any blanks.
If you want to be really organized and help prep your stylists in advance, you may want to put together an email or document with names, pictures (to give an idea of hair length/texture/volume), and desired styles of each of your girls (if you know what they want to have done). It may make their jobs easier and help things run super smoothly on your wedding morning, especially if they'll be packing up equipment and products to bring to you.
Step 5: Make & Share a Schedule
Once you know who is having what services done, you'll want to write it all down and then turn it into a timeline. Excel makes this incredibly easy. You'll be working backward from the time you want to be ready, adding in an extra hour of cushion just to be safe. Note: Most hair appointments will take 40-45 minutes, with the exception of the bride (usually about an hour), any girls with very long hair (about an hour), and simpler styles (down with curls, half up with some curls, etc., which should take about 30 minutes). Makeup appointments take about 30 minutes.
For example, a wedding has a bride, 5 bridesmaids (1 with long hair, the others all getting updo's), a flower girl (getting a fairly simple half-up style with curls), 2 mothers, a stepmother (all getting simpler styles), and a grandmother (getting some curls for volume). 11 people. Everybody is getting hair done, and everybody is getting makeup.
Let's start figuring out timing. The ceremony will start at 5:30. At 5:00, the bride wants to be ready & relaxing while the gentlemen usher guests in. At 4:00, Family Pictures will take place. At 3:30, Wedding Party pictures. At 3:00, First Look Pictures. At 2:30, Bridal Party Pictures (just the girls). At 2:00, Bridal 'Getting Ready' pictures. Let's put in that extra hour for safety. 1:00. Plus, the girls have lunch coming at about noon, so being ready by 12:30 would be ideal.
With 1 stylist, the girls' appointments would have to start before 6 am. With 2 stylists, they can start at 8:45.
Notice that I decided to put Grandma and the Flower Girl toward the end of the schedule, so that they can come a little bit later. I put the bride toward the beginning, because- contrary to popular belief- it's a good idea. Most people think that the bride should go at the end, but if there is a time crunch, you don't want the stylists- or the bride- to be rushed when it's her turn. Now for makeup...
With 2 makeup artists, we can start at 9:30, just in time for the first hair appointments to jump over and finish their looks. It's not important whether hair or makeup happens first, so my only consideration in making this schedule was availability. Notice again that Grandma and the Flower Girl are getting makeup done as late as possible so they don't have to be there super early in the morning.
Voila! We have a hair & makeup itinerary. The final step is to share it with your girls and your vendors. You'll want to confirm that it's doable with the vendors in advance, and ask your girls to show up about 10 minutes early for their first appointments. You may also want to print it out and bring it along, asking a bridesmaid or a mom to check the time and make sure everything is running pretty close to the schedule throughout the morning.
If your appointments span 3-4 hours, you may want to ask the stylists if they can plan some time for minor Touch Ups at the end.
Great Hair & Makeup Tips from Brides & Bridesmaids
Trials should not cost as much as the Big Day look, and are sometimes included in the slightly higher Bridal Appointment cost. Take advantage of the opportunity to test out your look in advance.
Try to have your trials done the day of your Bachelorette Party if you can! This way, you'll look AMAZING for your big night out, you can see how it looks in pictures, how it holds up after all of the dancing you're going to do, and you can get your friends' very honest opinions about it!
Bring your veil and any accessories along for your trial appointment.
Know that you are not required to stick with your original plan. Go with a couple options in mind, see how they look and know that you still have time to decide which is your favorite.
You may want to schedule a consultation or makeover at a store such as Sephora, Ulta or Macy's. The pros there can help you figure out the best colors and products for you, and you may even want to buy the makeup that you find. One friend did this and wore the makeup for the wedding and beyond!
Preparation for the Big Day-
If you're wearing your hair up or getting it curled, don't wash it that day. Day-old hair holds better.
Wear a robe or a button-down shirt for your hair appointment. You don't want to mess it up when you change out of your clothes and into your dress.
Don't forget to bring hair accessories along!
One friend suggests allowing your girls to choose their hairstyles and their makeup preferences, as they know their looks and want/deserve to look good for your big day. Perhaps they know that curls don't hold as well in their hair or a certain color won't work on their lips. Forcing a look on them can lead to animosity, frustration and hard feelings. Feel free to suggest options, but ultimately choose to trust them.
On the Wedding Day-
If you do not have a good space to get ready, consider going to a salon and asking them to open early just for your group. They may allow you to bring coffee, juice, breakfast, and champagne (start the party off right!) and you'll have more stylists who can get you on your way as soon as possible!
Come with dry hair and a clean face (without moisturizer). Your makeup artist will put on a primer before foundation.
This one is for the bride- While you're getting hair and makeup done, use downtime to eat breakfast/lunch and make sure that you have everything you need for photos, the ceremony, the reception, overnight (if applicable) and your honeymoon (if you're leaving within the next day or 2). Use your girls' brains to help you check things off, make (and check) your list of Must-Have photos, then relax and enjoy the day!
If you want professional photos getting your hair and makeup done, your photographer's arrival time should coordinate with your appointments. Be sure to pass around a camera and ask your girls to help take photos throughout the morning until the pros arrive! You'll love having these pictures later, and you'll be sad if you don't.
Have straws available for drinking after lipstick has been applied.
You'll want to keep some extra bobby pins and spray with you in case your hairstyle starts to loosen and fall. If you or any of your girls have oily skin, you can use blotting papers (as opposed to adding powder) to keep makeup in place. If you have backup lipstick, you can reapply that again later, too, but be sure to check a mirror (or ask a good friend) to make sure it's not on your teeth!
If your hair and makeup stylists are friends/family members and will be attending the wedding, ask if there's any way you can have them do a few touch ups later (namely, after any outdoor pictures and after dinner). We had a friend do this for us at a wedding I was in recently, and it was priceless!
If this is the case, you may also want to consider switching from a down hairstyle to an updo after the ceremony and pictures. Just a thought!
If you do not wear makeup often, don't use your wedding day as the time to try out a really bold look. You want to look like you- and natural- but enhanced . Don't go too dark on the eyeliner or the lipstick if that's just not you.
Have you considered false eyelashes for you and your girls? They're very popular right now, and for good reason. They look glamorous, girly and gorgeous. One friend says that they were her favorite part of her wedding day makeup. My only recommendation is that if anybody is getting false eyelashes, you should have a tube of lash adhesive in case any of them start to come off. It's no fun losing an eyelash (or worse, part of an eyelash) and not being able to do anything about it. Also, find out in advance who might want these and let your stylists know so that they can come prepared!
I hope that this post has been helpful. Please share your own hair and makeup tips in the comments, and be sure to check out the Wediquette Hair, Makeup, Nails Clothing & Jewelry board for more pinspiration!
By the way...
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