Hair and Makeup: Tips and Pitfalls

PART I of an essay series by Sabin Gratz Photography

Of course couples want to look their very best on their wedding day; it’s a momentous occasion and they are the stars of the day. This often means that hair and makeup will be a critical part of the preparations. Even for our couples who typically go very natural in their day-to-day life, a little something extra often is part of the plan. It might seem like a pretty straight-forward vendor hire for most folks, but in our opinion – even for those looking for just a tiny boost – who you hire for hair and makeup should be a decision made with some thought.

One of the most common snags on a wedding day is related to hair and makeup. We don’t want to put the blame solely on the artists here, as it is usually more complicated than that. Unfortunately there is a lot working in opposition to the portion of the day dedicated to hair and makeup that makes it ripe for pitfalls.

The hours before the ceremony are the busiest and sometimes the most stressful part of the entire wedding day. In addition to the hair and makeup artists, the various other vendors have descended on the wedding venue trying to hit their deadlines and come with equipment, flowers and lots of questions. Brides are often faced with decisions, small issues, hugs and congratulations as they try to prepare personally for the day. Often bridal suites are too small for the many members of the bridal party getting hair and makeup done. They have joined the party with suitcases, gifts, clothes and food and it can be quite a scene for sure. If anything is going to go wrong during the day, it is most likely going to be at this time.

We have a lot of advice to give in this department but will start at the top: First, do your research. This is not an area you want to take lightly. Try your best to hire people who have lots of experience with weddings and great reputations with wedding venues. Really make sure their styles align with your tastes. The worst situation is when a bride gets out of makeup and completely hates what she looks like. We have seen it, and in fact, we once had a whole wedding party remove all of their makeup and re-do it themselves. Not only was it a waste of money, it put a huge delay on all of the day’s events to follow, including photography, which had to be shortened as a result.

Second, GET A PREVIEW OF BOTH HAIR AND MAKEUP. During the preview make sure you get things exactly how you want them, and make sure you’re confident the artist will be able to replicate the look on your wedding day. Further, be sure it is truly what you will be happy with on your wedding day – not just today. Changing up the plan on the day of the event will also seriously impact your timeline.

Third, make sure you and your hair and makeup people allow enough time to accomplish everything. Scheduling for hair and makeup can be tricky and in our experience time is often underestimated – especially when your full wedding party is getting hair and makeup. Add buffer time into your hair and makeup schedule. It is much better to be finished early than to be running up against the ceremony deadline and feeling the stress of that. If you get done early, you can take some time to yourself, relax, have a bite to eat and enjoy the moment.

Finally, our biggest recommendation to all of our couples is try to make this time as calm and peaceful as possible. We actually advise having only a select number of people in the bridal suite while you’re getting ready. Wedding party members, moms, makeup artists, hair stylists, coordinators, photographers and all of the “stuff” that comes with them can really add up and create a scene of… well… chaos. Not the best way to start your day. Get the largest room available or that you can afford so there is plenty of space. Make this time of day as simple as you can for yourself. Beauty not only shows itself through a well made-up face, it also shows through a calm, happy, relaxed spirit. And ultimately, starting off on the right foot is almost a guaranteed shoe-in for a successful remainder of your wedding day.

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