Wedding Hair and Makeup:
Everything You Need to Know
Wedding hair and makeup is an integral part of your special day. Working with wedding hair and makeup artists is an excellent way to prevent stress leading up to the big day, as well as the day of. Like your wedding photographer, it’s good to have a seasoned pro by your side to help keep nerves at bay.
But there are a few common questions that come up when searching for wedding hair stylists and makeup artists. For example: How much does wedding hair and makeup cost? And do long wedding hairstyles cost more than short wedding hairstyles, like they often do for a haircut? Should the mother of the bride hairstyle and the bridesmaids makeup and hairstyles be figured out ahead of time, too? What is a wedding hair and makeup trial, and do you need to have one? (Spoiler: Yes.)
We’ll answer these questions and more here. Plus, you can connect with some of the top wedding hair and makeup experts to help your bridal beauty dreams become reality.
How do you find wedding hair and makeup professionals?
Finding your perfect wedding glam squad does not have to be complicated. One easy place to start? Check out our library of wedding galleries to see photos of couples who got married at your destination, and create a list of wedding hair and makeup artists who created your favorite looks. We recommend keeping an eye out for brides who have a similar hair texture and/or skin tone, as it always helps to know that the pros have experience enhancing features similar to your own. It also helps to narrow down the style you want—from glamorous to natural wedding makeup, to long wedding hairstyles or short wedding hairstyles.
You can also discuss wedding makeup artists and hair stylists with your wedding planner. This trusted expert will not only have recommendations for bridal hair and makeup, but they probably also have opinions on hair for brides, as well as bridal makeup looks that are appropriate for your venue and location. Another thing to keep in mind is whether you want to hire a separate wedding makeup artist and hair stylist, as some beauty experts are skilled at both.
Once you narrow down your list of prospective wedding makeup artists and wedding hair stylists, schedule a test run of your potential bridal hair and makeup look with each person. Even if you are certain that you love the bridal hairstyles of one contender, it is always a good idea to compare bridal beauty approaches, as well as personalities. A wedding makeup test and hair test not only shows you if your prospective wedding glam squad can do a great job with your bridal beauty look, but also helps you discover if you work well with them.
What is a wedding hair and makeup test?
One of the most important parts of the planning process is the pre-wedding hair and makeup trials. During your wedding hair trials, you will discuss with your wedding hair stylist the look you want for your wedding day, and they will create potential bridal hairstyles for you to see. You’ll also do the same thing for the wedding makeup trial. Then, you can approve or make any tweaks; they will work on it until you love it! Note that most wedding beauty pros charge for each trial.
If possible, schedule your wedding hair and makeup trial far in advance. It gives you and the bridal beauty experts the time to create and practice your wedding hair and wedding makeup to ensure they will get it just right. For example, do you prefer bridal updos or short wedding hairstyles? Will the hair stylist be using hair extensions or clip-in extensions? These are factors that will be worked out well before the big day.
The same applies to your bridal makeup. Do you love natural wedding makeup? Is your bridal hair inspiring you to do something a little more daring? Do you want matching bridesmaid hairstyles and makeup? (And, if so, should they also do a hair and makeup trial?) If you’re working with different wedding hair and makeup professionals, invite both at the same time, if possible, so that you can make sure your looks work together—and so the professionals can meet, if they don’t already know each other!
What do you need for your wedding hair and makeup test?
There are endless ways to do hair for brides, so preparing for your wedding hair and makeup test is key. The better prepared you are with an idea of what you may—or may not—want, the clearer it will be to the hair stylist and makeup artist what kind of bridal look you’re going for. Even if you are somewhat undecided about your bridal hair and makeup, do not hesitate to propose a few different ideas during your wedding hair and makeup trial. (That’s what this time is for, after all!)
Still, to keep the number of wedding hair test and wedding makeup test sessions efficient (since you will be paying for each), here are some tips for being well-prepared:
- Photos of You: Bring pictures of yourself when you think you looked your best. On your wedding day, you still want to look like yourself, just the best version of yourself, and it will be helpful for your beauty team to know what you think that is.
- Inspiration Pictures: Select photos of bridal hairstyles and wedding makeup inspiration that you like so your wedding glam team can see what you have in mind. We love scouring Pinterest bridal beauty trends for everything from long wedding hairstyles to short hairstyle ideas, along with makeup for brides including natural wedding makeup inspiration!
- Wedding Hair Accessories: Some bridal hairstyles involve a little extra flair, be it a headband, a comb, or even a tiara, so be sure to bring any hair accessories you have chosen to the wedding hair test.
- Wedding Veil: If you’re wearing a veil, be sure to bring it (or a photo of it) with you so that your wedding hair stylist can plan your hairstyle around it. Your hair stylist is the person who will be affixing your veil on your wedding day, so it’s important to discuss how it will be attached—and make sure that the hairstyle works both with and without it. But whether you’re considering long wedding hairstyles or short wedding hairstyles, there are plenty of gorgeous hairstyles for brides that look fantastic with veils.
- Wedding Dress and: Jewelry: It is helpful for your bridal makeup artist and hair stylist to see photos of your wedding dress and jewelry choices, too, so ensure that any bridal hairstyles you consider will work with the neckline of your dress, as well as complement any earring and necklace selections, rather than hide them. (Even if you only have your wedding rings picked out so far, bring them along.)
- Bridesmaids: This one’s optional, but if you have already chosen your preferred wedding hair and makeup artists, and your wedding party will be having their hair and makeup done professionally too, you might also ask them to attend the wedding makeup trial. It is a good time to discuss bridesmaids makeup and bridesmaid hairstyles. If the hair stylist is doing the mother of the bride hairstyle too, she may want to come along as well. Not only will it be one less thing to figure out the day of, but it will also help ensure the bridesmaids hairstyles and bridesmaids makeup looks will differ from the bridal hairstyle and makeup look. If your bridal party or family members cannot join (or if you’d prefer not to spend the additional cost on that many more hair and makeup trials), consider bringing photos of your bridal party as well as any preliminary hair and makeup ideas you have, so that the pros can estimate how much time each person may need (since wedding updos could take longer than a simple blowout, etc.)
What are the wedding hair and makeup options for a destination wedding?
Here’s the great news: You can absolutely still hire professional hair and makeup for a destination wedding. If you want someone you already know, many hair stylists and makeup artists will travel out of town for weddings. Or, you can hire a local wedding hair and makeup artists. Both have their pros and cons, which we’ll get into here.
Your wedding planner can help you hire a makeup artist and hair stylist at the destination. Depending on how far the destination is and how frequently you will or will not be visiting before the wedding, you might have to discuss bridal makeup and hairstyles for brides virtually. Then, once you get to the destination for the big day, you can squeeze in one more trial to make sure everything looks the way you want it.
On the upside, you do not have to provide travel or accommodation for local wedding makeup artists, plus they will be familiar with doing bridal hair and makeup in the local climate, whether it includes humidity, sudden downpours, or dry conditions.
If you prefer to work with hair and makeup professionals from where you live, make sure they are willing to travel to destination weddings. If you have a wedding makeup artist or stylist you love who is based close to home—for instance, someone who has been doing your hair and brows for years, you can discuss whether they would be willing to travel. Not only will you be working with someone you know and trust, but you can also do your trials locally. That said, you will have to cover the cost of their travel and accommodations.
How much do wedding hair and makeup artists cost?
One of the most important questions to consider: How much do wedding hair and makeup cost? To put it into perspective, consider that the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is right around $33,900. The average wedding hair and makeup artist cost in the U.S. ranges from $150 to $600, so wedding hair and makeup packages make up about 1% or less of the total wedding cost.
Wedding hair and makeup pricing is based primarily on the amount of time spent, as well as whether any specialty products are used (like individually applied false eyelashes). And because many hair stylists and wedding makeup artists also have assistants, the pricing structure could be a day rate, an hourly rate, or a per-person rate for bridal hair and makeup.
So, how much do wedding hair and makeup cost? Here are some things to break down when looking at wedding hair and makeup packages:
- Number of Clients: How many people will be having their wedding hair and makeup done? Will you be providing glam for your entire bridal party, plus any VIP family, like the mother of the bride, mother of the groom, or any other female family members? Each person adds to the overall wedding hair and makeup pricing, and you can estimate that bridesmaid makeup and bridesmaid hairstyles cost about $150 per person.
- Number of Pros: Are additional hair stylists, makeup artists, or assistants required in order to cover everyone in your wedding party? Remember that having each extra wedding hair stylist and wedding makeup artist costs more, but they’ll provide more hands and flexibility with timing. If you have eight bridesmaids who will all need hair and makeup, but only have four hours between the start time and when you need to be ready for photos, you may need a second or even a third beauty pro so that multiple people can have their hair and makeup done at the same time.
- Number of Hours: Do you want your bridal hair and makeup team to stick around for touch-ups after the ceremony? You might consider this if the ceremony takes place outside (in case of wind or high humidity), if you tend to get teary-eyed, or if you’re changing up your look for the reception. For example, some brides like to go from wedding updos to more relaxed bridal hairstyles, or from more glam to natural wedding makeup once the ceremony is over.
- Travel and Accommodations: As mentioned, it is customary for the couple to cover the cost of travel, food, and accommodations for your wedding glam team if they travel for a destination wedding.
- Wedding Hair and Makeup Trial Appointments: Some pros offer free consultations, but some wedding makeup artists and hair stylists charge between $50 and $150 for each trial. Which is a small part of your wedding budget in the long-run, but can add up if you want to test out three or four beauty pros of each type.
- Hairstyle Complexity: The actual style you choose can affect the wedding hair stylist cost as well. A simple and classic blowout might only set you back $50 or so, while intricate bridal updos are more time-consuming—and therefore more expensive. Short wedding hairstyles are typically less expensive than long wedding hairstyles, as they typically take less time to execute (and vice versa).
- Airbrush Makeup: Airbrush makeup for brides is a popular option when going for the natural wedding makeup look. That said, it can make the wedding makeup artist cost increase to around $155 per application. If you want to stick with traditional products with your bridal makeup, the cost is usually about $100 per person. Keep this cost in mind if you are covering the bridesmaids makeup, too.
How much time do you need for wedding hair and makeup?
Our experts typically say to allow around two hours for your bridal makeup and hair tests. This way, you have plenty of time to talk through ideas and options, as well as to do a full wedding hair and/or bridal makeup look from start to finish.
On the day of the event, makeup and hair for brides can take anywhere from one to two hours each, but can potentially be done simultaneously if the pros agree to do so. Even if you’re doing natural wedding makeup, be sure to allot enough time, as your makeup artist may have extra steps to keep everything in place. Sometimes the most natural makeup looks are some of the most complicated to do!
With more elaborate hairstyles for brides, it may be necessary to do the bridal makeup separately. As for the bridesmaid hairstyles and mother of the bride hairstyles, try to allocate one hour for each person’s appointment, plus one hour for each makeup appointment. (Be sure to factor this in if you are deciding whether or not to bring hair and makeup assistants, as they can help move things along more quickly.)
If you have a large wedding party, start the bridal hair and makeup appointments early in the morning so you have plenty of time and don’t feel rushed. Just about every past bride or bridesmaid will tell you that hair and makeup always starts earlier in the day than you’d expect. But it’s important to allow extra time in order to get everyone to your ceremony location, take photos before the ceremony, and have time for the couple’s first look.
All of these reasons are why having a wedding hair and makeup trial is essential to keep things moving efficiently on the big day. Your wedding planner (or even an organized bridesmaid) can help keep everyone on schedule, so you can focus on the wedding itself.
What else do you need to consider when discussing makeup and hairstyles for brides?
So far we’ve talked about cost, what to look for when choosing your wedding glam squad, wedding hair and makeup trials, and timing on the day-of. But here are some other important factors to keep in mind when choosing your bridal hair and makeup look.
- Climate: The location of the wedding is hugely important, especially if it’s a destination wedding (and, therefore, you’re less familiar with it). For example, sweat can melt your natural wedding makeup right off, if it’s not done right. And you may want to consider bridal updos if you are getting married in a hot, humid environment so that it’s off your neck, and also less likely to frizz out.
- Hair Length and Texture: Does your hair hold a curl? Does it frizz at the threat of rain? Also, will your hair be the same length on your wedding day as it is now? Will you need extensions? These are all important details to share with your bridal hair stylist at your hair trial so that they are able to plan ahead accordingly.
- Getting-Ready Location: Where will you be having your hair and bridal makeup done on your wedding day? Prepping for bridal hair and makeup takes up more space than you might realize. Also, do you want to be with your bridal party while you are getting ready, or would you rather just have one or two calming people around? If the former, is the room large enough to do bridal hair and makeup for everyone? These things are important to think about and plan for ahead of time with your wedding glam team, planner, and venue.
- Getting-Ready Photos: “Getting ready” photos are a traditional part of most photo packages and can be some of the more candid, cherished photos from the day. Which is why it’s important to think about whether the space where you and your bridal party will be getting ready is photogenic enough for these pictures. If the room looks like a mess or if your wedding party isn’t camera-ready, it may be best to omit the bridal hair and makeup session from the photo package.
- Appointment Order: Your bridal party, including the mother of the bride, should be completely hair-and-makeup-ready before the bridal makeup goes on so that they are dressed for photos helping you get dressed, and for the shots of the first time they see your wedding dress. These are little things, but they factor into the timing of the makeup for brides.
- Beauty Pros’ Personalities: You will be spending a very important day with whomever you choose to do your wedding hair and makeup, so think about whether the individuals you’re considering make you feel at ease and happy, or if they add to the stress. Remember: Just because someone comes highly recommended for doing the best natural wedding makeup in town does not mean you have to stick with them if they aren’t the right fit for you.
No matter what bridal beauty look you’re going for, we’re here to help you find the wedding hair and makeup artists who will make it happen. At Carats & Cake, you can check out wedding makeup artists and hair stylists for your dream wedding. Get in touch with wedding hair stylists and bridal makeup artists directly through our website to discuss a wedding hair trial or makeup look. Carats & Cake is the trusted resource that connects couples to expert vendors to build their dream weddings—already with over 10,000 real weddings!