Tips for Working With a Wedding Hairstylist

Your wedding hairstyle should stay true to your style and the theme and overall vibe of your wedding while ensuring you feel confident. Working with the right stylist is key in achieving the look of your dreams.

By Maggie Mahoney

Tips for Working With a Wedding Hairstylist
Photo by Eli3 Photos

Akin to a wedding dress, the wedding hairstyle is an essential component of a bride’s special day and something memorable to look back on in photos. As a result, the bride’s chosen hairstyle should reflect their taste and personality, make them feel comfortable and confident, not to mention pair well with their wedding dress and the overall theme of the wedding. A wedding hairstyle should embody the bride’s essence.

With such high stakes, finding a quality hairstylist that you can trust is essential to your special day going off without a hitch. Whether you’re going for an ornate updo, a half-up, half-down look, sleek and glossy curls, or anything else in between, a skilled hairdresser who understands your vision is an invaluable asset.

Table of Contents:

Part 1: Finding Your Perfect Wedding Hairstylist

What to Ask Yourself

Before diving into picking a stylist for your wedding, there are a variety of considerations to make.

  • What price are you comfortable with spending on a wedding hairstylist?
  • Are you looking just for hairstyling or also a full cut or color before your wedding?
  • How much experience do you want your hairstylist to have?
  • Are you looking for a stylist who specializes in a particular hair type?
  • Is there a specific hairstyle you already have in mind for your special day?
  • What is the overall vibe you look for in a hairstyle (effortless, sleek, messy, natural)?

These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself to get a good idea of what to look for.

Traits of a Good Stylist

The ideal stylist should be attentive and inquisitive. You should look for someone who has experience dealing with your type of hair, as well as someone who has specific bridal hair experience and strong references. They should ask you questions about the theme or overall style of your wedding, your dress, your wedding makeup, the color scheme, etc., and they may also be interested in which hairstyles would best suit your liking and face shape.

Vetting Wedding Hairstylist

Before booking an appointment, you can vet potential hairstylists by looking at their social media pages for photos of their past work with other clients and by reading reviews or visiting their salon or personal website. By looking into stylists ahead of time, you can save yourself from wasted time meeting with someone who may not be the right fit for you.

Questions to Ask Your Stylist Before Booking

When meeting with a potential stylist, you will want to ask questions along these lines:

  • What do you specialize in?
  • How much experience do you have doing bridal hair in particular?
  • What hair types are you most comfortable working with?
  • What are your rates/how do you charge?
  • Do you offer a wedding package? What’s included?
  • Is there any hair prep clients need to do ahead of their appointments, such as washing their hair?
  • Do you do bridal party members’ hair as well?
  • Are you open to client collaboration on hairstyles?
  • Do you provide hair accessories, or do clients need to bring their own?
  • How comfortable are you with doing styles similar to the one I have in mind (bring a reference photo)?
  • What type of hairstyles do you recommend for lasting all day?
  • Are you open to doing one hairdo for the ceremony and a separate one for the reception?
  • How would you handle a client not liking a completed hairstyle?
  • Do you offer bridal consultations?

You may also want to provide potential stylists with relevant information about your particular hair goals and concerns or difficulties so they get a sense of your hair history.

Part 2: Cost, Timing, and Details to Consider Leading Up to the Wedding

Navigating the Bridal Consultation

After interviewing stylists of interest to you, a key component of the final selection process is a bridal consultation. With this type of trial run, you get to see the hairstylist in action and see how well they work to achieve your vision. Brides will often do their makeup and hair trials on the same day so they can get a sense of their final wedding look before the big day.

Coming into a bridal consultation, you should provide your stylist with specific inspiration and information in advance. This can mean reference photos of hairstyles you enjoy, pictures of your dress, swatches of your wedding colors, and more. Providing them with as many specifics as possible will help ensure you get exactly what you want out of the appointment.

However, if you come into the appointment with a looser idea of what you want or are feeling a bit unsure, allow yourself to be open to experimentation. Your stylist should be willing to try a variety of hairstyles on you, so you can better decide which one you like best. If your hairstyle doesn’t turn out the way you want it during the consultation, don’t be afraid to speak up and politely ask for specific changes to be made. You deserve to feel happy and beautiful on your wedding day, and a good stylist will want to help you get there.

Timing for Booking

Finding a good stylist often takes a good bit of research and time. Start looking early, so that you aren’t left scrambling closer to your wedding day. To be safe, begin the process of searching for your wedding hairstylist six months ahead of time.

Four months or so before your wedding, you’ll want to narrow down your hairstylist choices and book and attend bridal consultations to better make an informed choice. Three months before your wedding, you will want to decide on your hairstylist and book them for your wedding day.

You will also want to schedule a bridal consultation to test out your wedding hairstyle and overall look before your special day. We recommend securing your bridal consultation two months before the wedding day. If you want your hairstylist to style your hair for your rehearsal dinner as well, you will also want to let your stylist know that ahead of time and figure out the corresponding booking details and cost add-ons associated with that.

If you’re looking to get your hair cut or colored before your wedding, leave several weeks between these appointments and your actual wedding day. That way if your hair doesn’t turn out the way you want, there’s still time to salvage it or make small tweaks so that it fits your vision.

Choosing Your Hairstyle

The options are endless when it comes to wedding hairstyles. A good place to start when thinking about your wedding hairstyle is to consider your dress, the theme of your wedding, and the overall vibe you want to embody on your special day. This will narrow your focus to only hairstyles that will complement your dress, your theme, and your energy. If you’re getting married on the beach in a simple boho white dress, loose, flowing curls would better suit your environment than an ornate updo.

From there, you can look at your hair texture and length to further determine styles that make sense. Even further than that, consider what hairstyles make you feel confident in day-to-day life. Do you always wear your hair down? Do you gravitate toward braids? Think about incorporating those things into your wedding look so you feel like yourself.

The bridal consultation will be your most valuable asset in choosing your wedding hairstyle. Often we like what we see in pictures on others, but a particular style may not suit us as well in practice. Don’t be afraid to ask your hairstylist to try a variety of styles on you during the consultation—and be honest, yet kind about what you like and what you don’t. Your hairstylist may also have suggestions as to what styles may suit your hair type or face shape particularly well.

When making a final decision on your hairstyle, try to think about the future. Is this a hairstyle you will look back on and love in photos, or is it something very trendy that may not stand the test of time?

The Average Cost of Wedding Hairstylists

The cost of wedding hair can vary considerably depending on where you’re located, the hairstylist, the level of services you want to schedule, and the intricacy of the style itself. Cities tend to be more expensive than small towns and less experienced or well-known stylists tend to charge less. However, the average cost of a wedding hairstylist tends to fall at around $300, but the typical range can be anywhere from $150 to $600.

When meeting with stylists, be sure to ask about their pricing and find out what’s included in their rate. Some stylists may charge a travel fee or charge extra for hair accessories, while others may have a flat rate or hourly fee with different services included automatically. Asking ahead of time is a surefire way to ensure you have an accurate idea of cost.

Part 3: Proper Etiquette and Tips for Working With Your Stylist on the Big Day

Proper Etiquette for Working With a Stylist

We spoke with Laurie Fischer, a hairstylist at Park Avenue Salon in West Hartford, Connecticut to get the scoop on how to foster a positive relationship with your stylist.

“You need to be honest, not rude,” says Fischer. “Overall, definitely keep communication open and provide pictures of what you want as references. I don’t assume, I always check in with the client first.”

When asking about tipping protocol, Fischer explained: “They used to say you don’t need to tip the owners, but we appreciate any tips. Usually, about 20 percent is the norm.”

Top Tips for Collaborating With Your Stylist

When it comes to navigating working with your wedding hairstylist, consider these reminders.

  1. Pictures of hairstyles and cuts are always helpful references. As are photos of your dress, your wedding color scheme, and other mood board-type items.
  2. Don’t be afraid to speak up if something isn’t your style or doesn’t fit your vision. Don’t settle for something you don’t want. As long as you kindly convey your preferences, your hairstylist will understand.
  3. Ask the stylist questions and be open to their input. This will make them feel valued and they often have lots of great insights on certain hair types or face shapes.
  4. Keep communication open throughout the hairstyling process. Mention any issues early on, so they’re easier to fix.
  5. Tip generously. Weddings are high-stress events for stylists, so show your appreciation for their hard work and dedication.

Finding your dream wedding hairstylist is a crucial part of achieving the wedding look you’ve always envisioned. Treat your wedding hairstylist with compassion and kindness, provide them with plenty of inspiration, and communicate openly with them to ensure you have a positive experience.

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