DIVAbride: Why you should bring photos to your wedding hair and makeup trial

DIVAbride: Why you should bring photos to your wedding hair and makeup trial

So in response to my latest DIVAbride posts on how to pick your hair stylist and makeup artist for your wedding and how I picked my bridal glam squad, I’ve gotten some emails and texts and questions. One that keeps coming up is my feeling on the importance of bringing photos to the hair and makeup trials. 

And my feeling on its importance, in a word: PARAMOUNT.

Because no matter how good your hair and makeup team is, they are not mind-readers. They don’t know how you see yourself. What features you love or hate. What you want to draw attention to or from. What your vision of bridal beauty is. They don’t know that you haven’t gone a day without eyeliner in your lower waterline since 7th grade. That you wouldn’t recognize yourself without slightly overdrawn lipliner.

And, you may think you can just describe what you think you want but let me tell you there are THOUSANDS of ways to interpret loose tousled waves or a braided bun and THOUSANDS more for a smoky eye or winged liner.

AND, people use language that they think is correct and helpful but in fact, further complicates things. 

A textbook example I give all the time (because I live it all the time) is when the direction is “natural makeup.” But in reality what the client or art director (or personal friend who’s come over to hang out and then asks me to do their makeup after lots of wine) really wants is full-on Kardashian contour and lots of lash and dark smoky eyes and 3D lips that require 5 products to paint on. The word “natural” is used with assuredness but the actual desire is for “neutral” makeup. Meaning, no red lips, no pink blush, no blue eyeshadow. No pops of color. But also, conversely, no skin peeking through a sheer BB cream with a dewy glow paired with lightly groomed brows, sheer gloss and mascara. Which is actually natural.

So, as you can see, language may lead to misinterpretation. 

A photo on the other hand, even if it’s not 100% exactly what you want, speaks a universal language in which we are all fluent.

And this will save you TIME. And MONEY. And STRESS.

And those are invaluable things to a bride.

You can tailor the look, of course, but I honestly think there’s no better starting place than photos.

It’s why photographers and creative directors always pull reference images and inspiration shots for shoots. People don’t just show up and wing it and hope all the parts work together. Well, consider your wedding day the biggest shoot of your life.

And yeah, you could just take a chance and say “do whatever you think looks good” or “do what you do best” to the hair stylist and makeup artist – believe me, they hear it all the time and that may ultimately work to get you where you want to go – but it’s just never… ever… as quick and easy and straightforward as when you have images to show. Because even with each bride’s unique features, there are still countless directions you can take her in. Which is why I recommend other things beyond just photos for the process.  But starting with photos is something you will never regret.

Tear them from magazines or save them to your phone. Start right now.

Look for people who have somewhat similar features to you as well. I mean, I personally don’t look like Nicole Scherzinger or Kim K or JLo – but in terms of skin tone, eye color, face shape, hair color, hair type and so on – it’s not such a stretch that the images would be useless to my glam squad. Look for celebs or models who look like you… ish. The ish is all that matters.

Then explain what you like about the photos (and anything you don’t).

This will be the first step in figuring out how to make you look and feel your most beautiful on your wedding day.

And it will be well worth it, I promise.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I do follow my own advice. (Mostly.)

Here are the reference images I saved to my phone for my own wedding ceremony and reception followed by photos of me wearing the looks inspired by them on the actual days.








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In both cases, the looks I wore were not identical to the references. They were customized by Laramie and Jocelyn after we spoke about them. But with just those photos and a short conversation, they nailed them. The looks on each day totally fit my vision. And I felt super confident. Which is all that matters.

And what I wish for you. Truly. Because hair and makeup is what starts and sets your big day and it should be an amazing experience.


Lauren Cosenza - Beauty Expert and Makeup Artist

NOTE: Wedding photography 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.


  1. vlennon

    Thanks for this post! I am looking up some inspiration hair and makeup now :-)

    • LDIVA ;)

      Ahhhhh! So exciting!!! Please share!! XOLC