So as many of you know, I am currently a married lady… a devoted wife… a MRS! But not even 4 months ago, I was engaged and planning a secret wedding. (Much more on that another time…) Of course, selecting the GLAM SQUAD for my surprise festivities was a top priority. And one I had little time to secure. My engagement ended up being only 4 months long — and it was just in the last 2 that we got serious about our non-traditional nuptial ideas.
Suffice it to say, booking hair and makeup could have been an all-consuming task. But for me, it was easy.
And that’s because I’ve now been on both sides of the bridal beauty coin.
And I have 5 simple steps for How To Pick Your Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist For Your Wedding.
Here they are, to make it easy for you too!
8.26.15. The day of my wedding ceremony at Cutler Salon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Wearing a robe I had given to my BFF years ago when I was her maid of honor, that had been regifted back to me.
#1: If you see something, say something.
If you go to a wedding and live for the hair and makeup, ask the bride for contact info. If you see wedding photos that take your breath away on social media, ask for the artist and stylist in a comment. If you’re on a bridal blog or website, look for credits. If there’s a makeup artist or hair stylist in your network of contacts – or one you follow on social media – and you love their style, send them a direct message through Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.
Don’t be shy.
Even if they are not a right fit for you — for whatever reason — they will know someone who is. I refer people to artists and stylists all the time. Literally. All. The. Time.
So if you see something you like, speak up!
There is no downside to asking.
#2: Check the books.
Once you have names of hair stylists and makeup artists, start doing some research. Check out their portfolios, websites, Instagram accounts, Facebook pages… See if they’ve won any awards or been featured in any press.
Start to get a sense of their style.
Then weigh it against your own.
While talented individuals can vary in their range and scope, if someone has a specialty, you should hire them for that. For example, if someone’s port showcases image after image of their smoky eye prowess and they really slay that smoky eye, even if you love every single photo, he or she is probably not your artist if you want a clean cat-eye paired with a red lip. Same goes with hair. If someone is known for extensions magic, they may not be your person if you want a simple updo with your natural lob-length hair.
This is not to say many artists can’t do it all. Many can and do. But if you aren’t seeing what you want in their book, or their style seems very different than your own — or more importantly, your vision for your wedding day — keep looking.
You may not know what you want right off the bat, and that is totally fine too. The right makeup artist and hair stylist will work with you to create something amazing. But look for an artist whose images speak to you. Look for at least an image or two from their work that pops out as something you’d like to explore even directionally.
In the makeup chair on my wedding day at Cutler Salon in Williamsburg Brooklyn.
#3: Run the numbers.
Before setting up any trials, you need to consider the numbers.
There is the rate of the artist or stylist. There is the budget of the bride. And there is the value of looking like a smokeshow on this day.
Ideally, these all align.
However, you may find the rate is higher than your budget for hair or makeup. If you absolutely cannot pull from another budget (flowers, accessories, limos, etc), do not set up a trial and fall in love with someone you can’t afford.
Having said that, looking your best will mean feeling your best on your wedding day. And that is EVERYTHING. There is an incredible, indescribable value to the confidence that comes with feeling like a million bucks.
So when you come up with your budget for your glam squad consider things like level of experience, talent and skill set, professionalism, what products and tools are used in their kit, how many hours you’ll need them, how many people they’ll work on and so on.
Remember, you will have these memories (and all the photos) for the rest of your life. And I promise you, you’ll care more about how you looked (and how that made you feel!) than other details you’ll pay a fortune for without question.
Of course, I’m not advising that anyone spend without caution or care. There is amazing talent out there for every budget.
Just remember there are 3 variables. Not just rate and budget, but value as well.
#4: Give it a test run.
Setting up the trial is super important. But it’s only half of it. Then there’s the other half. And that’s doing your homework.
This will take a little more time and effort in the beginning but will save you lots of time and effort in the end.
Here’s the homework: Consider your bridal beauty vision and how it ties into and complements your other wedding elements. Share this information with the potential makeup artist and hair stylist at your trial.
For example, what are your colors, what is the look and feel of your venue, what time of year are you getting married, will you have silver or gold tones (or another jewel tone) in your jewelry or dress or shoe or bag, will you wear a veil or clip or other hair accessory, do you have any signature makeup shades, what colors do you love and feel best it, do you like matte or radiant skin, matte or shimmery eyes, do you plan to get lash extensions, hair extensions….. and so on.
You don’t have to have all these answers in the beginning. Of course not. But think about how you’d like to look in the context of everything else in advance of your trial and have some info to share.
Better yet, showing is better than telling! In addition to work you like in the artist or stylist’s portfolio, save photos you find online to your phone or rip them out of magazines. Remember to look for models or brides who resemble you, with similar facial features and skintone and the same hair color and texture.
The best artists and stylists will want to see these visuals, understand what you love about them and determine how they can best work for your face and hair.
The right artist and stylist will get your beauty – and overall bridal – vision and this will get you to your desired look much, much faster.
#5: Seek good vibes only.
The other critical part of the trial, and what will help you to officially confirm and book your hair stylist and makeup artist for your wedding, is a vibe check.
It is of paramount importance.
Your hair stylist and makeup artist will be with you on a very special day. This day can sometimes get chaotic or emotional. Things may not go according to plan. Bridesmaids may not arrive according to schedule. You may have a near-death experience, like I did. Seriously.
The people you hire should be people you feel will remain professional and calm. Who will take care of you no matter what and guard that personal space you’ll share. People who have good energy and will contribute to good vibes only on your big day.
And this goes both ways. You need to connect with, respect and get one another.
Just like with the person you’re marrying, you’ll know when it’s The One.
Heading home from the salon, in my last hour of being a single girl.
Wishing you all your wedding dreams come true! Including the best hair and makeup of your life.
NOTE: All photos by Elizabeth Griffin. This post is not sponsored. All thoughts are unbiased and my own.
Lauren Cosenza is the creator and editor-in-chief of DIVAlicious, a trusted beauty/fashion expert, an on-camera personality and spokesperson, a leading NYC-based professional makeup artist, a published contributor and writer, a brand consultant, a product junkie and an insatiable style seeker — with a former life at Cosmopolitan and Shape magazines.
Serving up style with a side of attitude, her site DIVAlicious gives women (and men) the confidence and permission to be fabulous. The site, with a goal to SPREAD BEAUTY, is filled with must-have products, pro tips and tricks, how-to DIY tutorials, makeovers, style inspiration and insider access. Topics range from beauty, fashion, culture, career, fitness, wellbeing, men’s and unisex offerings.