When should a bride’s hair and makeup be done? | Wedding Planning

Happy Wednesday, friends! I feel like I say this every time I post here on the blog, but this week, it is especially true… I am SO excited to share today’s post with you. I’m sharing something that can make ALL the difference on your wedding day… it is also a topic that may be just a little bit controversial! Shall we dive in?!

There’s a common belief in the wedding industry that the bride should ALWAYS have her hair and makeup done last. I personally believe that thought was born from the thought that her hair and makeup should be done last to be fresh as she walks down the aisle and so that it lasts throughout the day! It also ensures that she isn’t sitting there with her full ‘do all morning. However, today I’m going to challenge this thought! When should a bride get her hair and makeup done on her wedding day?

A bride should have her hair and makeup completed towards the middle of the hair and makeup appointments, not in the first or last time slot!

Phew… I was a little nervous to say it, but it’s out there! What do I consider to be the “middle” of the hair and makeup appointment block? That’s definitely going to vary, depending on how many bridesmaids are in the party. A quick example would be: If you have 5 people that will be getting their hair and makeup done, I recommend having the bride be the third or fourth to be styled. While she shouldn’t go first, I don’t necessarily think that is the best to have her styled last.

Now, let’s dive into some more myth busting and WHY I recommend having the bride’s styling done during the middle of the hair and makeup time block:

  • “I want my hair and makeup process to be photographed:”
    • Think about it: how many mornings do you hop out of bed and ask for someone to take your photo?! It isn’t often, right? If I begin a wedding day by photographing a bride the moment she sits in her chair for makeup and hair, she probably won’t love the photos as much or feel as comfortable in front of the camera, as she would if she were photographed towards the end of her appointment. Right before hair and makeup is completed, I’ll photograph a few of the bride’s “finishing touches!” (Like lipstick application, a quick brush of highlighter, one final hairspray, or pinning of a hairpiece, etc.). If the bride goes towards the middle of the time block, this is often around the time I arrive or begin wrapping up details! If she’s already finished by the time I arrive, it’s no big deal. Typically, the stylists will do one finishing touch up before they head out, and I’ll photograph that! Her hair and makeup is already done, she’s had a chance to wake up, and she is starting to truly look and feel like a bride. She’ll feel much more comfortable being photographed too!
  • “It is no big deal if hair and makeup run behind… we’ll catch up!”
    • I’ve worked with many hair and makeup teams that are SO amazing about staying on the timeline during a wedding day. Unfortunately, I’ve also worked with quite a few that just aren’t as conscious about time. This is tough & a really fine line to walk because… without the bride’s hair and makeup complete, the rest of the day can’t really start! I have seen hair and makeup be completed 30 minutes ahead of schedule… and two and a half hours behind schedule once when I was second shooting. Guess who was sitting in the chair as the clock kept ticking?! The bride… and she was so stressed! My heart was breaking for her, as she stressed about her timeline and quickly approaching ceremony. This just isn’t something that I ever want a bride to experience. Bridal hair and makeup typically take a bit more time than bridesmaids… it’s just a fact! If a bride goes towards the middle of the time block, she should be completed by the time we need her to get dressed, even if we get slightly off on the schedule. We can typically make up that time! If the bride is last though, and hair and makeup run significantly over time, yes I do build padding into the timeline to help support if this happens, but there is also only so much time that we can make up. If hair and makeup run behind and a bridesmaid is having her hair and makeup completed as the bride steps into her gown, it isn’t that big of a deal.
  • “I want to be kept busy the morning of her wedding:”
    • Wedding days FLY by. The morning is filled with so much excitement and anticipation and prep, and all of a sudden, the bride is stepping into her gown, snapping a few bridal portraits, and racing off to see her man at their first look! It is a whirlwind, and without some scheduled time to relax, sometimes the bride just runs on warp speed all morning. I’m someone that personally believes the bride should have some time to sit, breathe, use the bathroom, eat a snack (or light meal!), sip on a mimosa or some water, and well… just take in the day! Even if a bride requests to be kept occupied all morning, there are just some basic human things that still need to happen on a wedding day (food, water and bathroom breaks being a few of them!). Without literally scheduling this time on a timeline, it may not happen… and no one wants to be hangry during their ceremony! I personally feel that it is so much easier to schedule this down time after a bride has her hair and makeup finished because the bride officially knows that she has a minute or two to relax, as her hair and makeup is complete and she isn’t stepping into her gown until a predetermined time. With that being said, I recommend having the makeup stylist hold off on doing lip color until just before they leave, so the bride will be able to eat and drink freely. Even if it is just 15 minutes of breathing and snacking time, this makes so much of a difference!
  • “Shouldn’t the bride go last so her makeup lasts the longest?”
    • I need to start by saying that this is a totally fair point, however, the few minutes to an hour that a bride is sitting with your hair and makeup completed will not mean that your makeup will melt off a bride’s face by the end of the day… it just doesn’t! If a bride hires a hair and makeup team that knows what they are doing, there is no need to worry! Sweat happens on a wedding day, and it will happen regardless of whether a bride’s makeup is applied first, fourth or last. Request to have lip color applied just before the team departs (or before the bride step into her gown!) AND request to have a little sample of the color left behind if the artist will be the one bringing the lip color. We’ll have the hair and makeup team apply the lip, brush on some powder as needed, and spray hair one final time before they depart. This is a great time for me to grab some of those “getting ready” photos too! I’ve found that brides like these much better than if I were to take them when hair and makeup was in the beginning stages.

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