Wedding Hair Stylists and Makeup Artist Dos and Don'ts

Makeup artists and hairstylists have a huge role in making the bride feel beautiful. Continue reading for insider wedding tips from these beauty professionals.

By Anni Irish

Wedding Hair Stylists and Makeup Artist Dos and Don'ts
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

  • Makeup artists and hairstylists play a huge role in making a bridal party look gorgeous on their big day. But often people don't realize what their job entails.
  • Doing wedding hair and makeup is a very specific skill set, and while you may be great at doing your own, hiring someone to do it for you on your big day will make a huge difference.
  • We spoke to several beauty professionals to learn what you can do to help make the experience stress free.

Your wedding day is one you will remember for the rest of your life, so it’s no surprise you’ll want to look impeccable. As such, many couples hire hairstylists and professional wedding makeup artists to help them (and their bridal parties) look their best.

But when it comes to hiring a beauty professional, there’s more to the job than you might think. When you’re considering someone for the job, there are a few things you should keep in mind—seeing their portfolio, booking in advance, and scheduling a consultation, among other things.

From coming up with the right color scheme for your skin tone and wedding pallet, to working with various kinds of products for the kind of hairstyle and makeup you’re after, as well as supplying all of the products they use, there are a lot of things stylists and wedding makeup artists do that the average person might not know about.

We spoke to several beauty industry professionals to get an insider's perspective on how they work their magic on you and the bridal party, some secrets of the trade, as well as tips they have for couples when they are looking to hire a wedding makeup artist.

Role of the Hairstylist/Makeup Artist for a Wedding

The role of the bridal hairstylist and wedding makeup artist is to make everyone in the bridal party look fantastic.

A wedding hair stylist's job isn't too far off from their regular role with hair. It’s still about achieving a specific look and making you feel great about it, but the styling of it tends to be more formal and is meant to last the whole day and into the night.

Makeup artists play a similar role. Their job is focused on your overall look and applying makeup to help you get the aesthetic you’re going for on your wedding day.

Benefits of Hiring Hairstylist and Makeup Artist

Hiring a professional makeup artist and hair stylist means you’re getting someone who has years of experience and can do things you might not be able to. And they can ensure your look will last for the day. If you’re trying to DIY your own makeup or curls for an event as big as a wedding, odds are something will fall out of place or your curls may not look as fresh as they did in the morning, but if you hire a professional, you know that your wedding hairstyle and makeup can withstand the day.

Another thing to keep in mind is not everyone does wedding looks. While you may love your regular hairstylist or traditional makeup artist, their expertise may not lie in weddings, so it's important to have that conversation prior to hiring them for your big day. If the person who usually does your hair and makeup is up for the look you want on your big day, even better —you can relax knowing you have that pre-existing relationship.

Because bridal hairstylists and makeup artists do this professionally, you can also rest assured that they have a plan of attack for your hair and makeup. Think about when you go to the salon for a regular cut and color––your stylist will take the time to talk to you about the kind of look you’re going for, will look at any pictures you brought for inspiration, and come up with a strategy. The same thing applies to having your hair and makeup done at your wedding. You want everyone to be on the same page when it comes to your look and you want to have an idea of how it's going to get done.

It's also one less thing to worry about. When you hire a professional, you can put your trust in them and know you are going to look great in all the pictures you will have of your big day for years to come.

How Stylists Approach a Wedding

Every stylist has a different approach to a wedding. This is informed by who they are and also the kind of work they do, so finding someone you are comfortable with is key.

For Anna Peters, Sam Villa ArTeam member and owner of re:TREAT Color+ Hair Design Studio, it’s about getting to know what her clients want. “First, I like to find out what the style of the wedding and dress are to create a style that fits with the bride's style. I always try to get in a trial before the big day to play with looks and make sure the bride and I are confident with what we will do on the day off,” she said.

By focusing on the details of the wedding dress and the overall theme and style, Peters is better equipped to achieve the looks her clients want to make them feel gorgeous on their big day.

Typical Wedding Schedule

On your wedding day, hair and makeup is usually one of the first things scheduled. Here is what a typical schedule is like for each of the stylists and their clients:

Peters likes to get an early start, so she is in the best head space to make her client look amazing for their big day. “I wake up and drink some coffee, get some fresh air, and eat something light like avocado toast. I’ll get myself ready—hair, makeup, and find something nice to wear, so I don’t look sloppy in behind-the-scenes pictures. Then, I’ll drive to the salon or location of the wedding party and get ready to create,” she says.

Peters also underscores the importance of keeping on schedule during the big day. ”A schedule is a must for large parties to make sure that you have enough time for everyone. You want to be sure you don’t run out of time for the finishing touches on the bride. I like to schedule an hour for the bride and 30 to 40 mins for the bridesmaids,” she says.

Cosmetologist and founder of KmXtend Hair, Michelle Morton, says her day starts early as well. “Prepping for a wedding hair or makeup booking usually starts the day before the actual wedding. You will want to make sure everything is neat, clean, sanitized, and organized. You will also want to make sure you are fully stocked on tools and products, as it is likely you will be helping an entire wedding party.”

What’s more: “The day of the wedding, you can expect the process to start very early. It is important that you, as the stylist, get there even earlier, so that everything is set up when the bridal party arrives. You should plan to spend approximately 45 to 60 minutes per person. You will also want to allow time for those final touchups closer to the wedding.

Tips for Wedding Hair and Makeup

It's inevitable that your hair and makeup may require touchups throughout the day. But don't worry: We have tips from the professionals that will help you look great from morning to night.

Stay Cool and Stay Still

This may seem like an obvious one, but the more you’re able to stay still, hydrated, and cool, the longer your look will last. Try not to strain too much to avoid sweating and the possibility of your makeup running. While you may want to bust a move on the dance floor, try to hold out until later in the reception. That way you can maintain your look as long as you can.

Stay True to Your Personal Style and You Won’t Regret Looking Back at Pictures Down The Road

Finding your personal style as a bride is important. Deciding on an overall look for your big day is about you and your partner and what makes you happy. And staying true to who you are and what makes you happy in the end will never make you regret the outfit, hair style, or makeup you chose.

Find a Stylist Who Does the Styles You Like

Finding a stylist you like is a bit like dating. You want to find the perfect one and have the person who is styling your hair and makeup get you and the look you’re going for. So that's why spending time to find someone you like will go a long way in making your wedding day memorable.

Book Early

Booking early is always a good thing to do and an even better idea when it comes to your wedding. Some beauty industry professionals recommend booking six months out, if you can. This way you're guaranteed the time slot you want and you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.

Think About Your Hair Overall and Maintaining It Even Before the Wedding

While your wedding photos will last a lifetime and you want to look stunning in them, having great hair starts even before that. You want to take care of your hair—and that means maintaining it with good quality products and regular cuts. Once you get engaged, get small trims every eight week and do weekly conditioning masks, says Kali Ferrara of The Salon Project in New York City.

Another thing you can add to your hair and beauty routine is taking vitamins. Taking a hair a biotin vitamin supplement to your daily routine will help keep your hair looking shiny. Ferrara recommends Vitafusion’s Gorgeous Hair Skin and Nails. This can help give you a healthy glow and give you an extra boost for your wedding.

Get Referrals, Read Reviews, and Look at a Stylist's Portfolio

Unless you already have someone in mind for your wedding day hair and makeup, word of mouth is a great way to get a recommendation. You can ask friends, family, and acquaintances and really get a sense of what working with a particular stylist or makeup artist is like based on their experiences.

Another great way to get a sense of what someone is like is through reviews. While you want to take them with a grain of salt, reading some will give you an idea of the kind of hair and makeup someone does. It can give you a chance to see before and after photos and also help you to conceptualize your own look. Also be sure to look at someone's regular portfolio, as well as what they do for weddings. It may vary a little, so having a sense of what their regular salon looks like versus ones they do for events can help give you an idea of what you want and also their overall approach.

Go In for a Trial Run

Once you’ve found a hairstylist and or makeup artist (or both), be sure to go in for a hair and makeup trial run. Be sure to bring in photos of the kinds of looks you are after. This way you and the stylist/makeup artist can discuss what you want and the best way to achieve this—and also avoid anything that might be an issue prior to the big day.

Remember to Budget for Your Looks

Because hair and makeup can be costly, remember to budget for it. You can easily find out how much you will pay prior to your big day if you ask and schedule a consultation ahead of time. Another thing to keep in mind is if you will be paying for your bridal party or will be asking them to do so themselves. Whatever you decide, make sure you have an idea of what the total bill will be.

Industry Secrets

Here are some insider tips that can help make your hair and makeup last longer on your special day:

  • Have a little SOS kit on hand with you that holds your lip color, blotting paper, and extra bobby pins. Always be prepared,
  • The person getting married should not get hair and makeup done first or last. Schedule them in a spot that gets it closer to the end without being pressed for time.
  • Consider clip-in hair extensions for weddings. It adds volume and length that can be beneficial in creating intricate and beautiful looks.

Popular Styles

Here are some more of the most popular requests stylists often get when it comes to wedding hair:

Soft Sexy Waves:

If you have dry hair, put in a little leave-in conditioner and use a big round brush, then divide hair into sections. Another option: use hot rollers if your hair is already straight and blow-dried. This will create a tighter wave. If you have fine hair, use some mousse in the root before blow drying.


You can put your hair into a low and loose ponytail that looks very sexy. Make a low ponytail and wrap hair around the ponytail holder. You can even leave some pieces out for a sexy look. Another great ponytail look is a high pony slicked back with some gel or mousse. If you have curly hair, be sure to use a leave-in conditioner before slicking your hair back.

Short Hair

It’s great to incorporate something embellished like barrettes and clips to add something a little special to your day. You can use these accessories to sweep one side of your hair away, or out of, your face.


It can work great in most any hair style that needs a little something extra, whether you’re doing a half-up, half-down style. Tack it into the back where the hair comes together. For curly hair, you can use your natural texture to your advantage by using a curling iron or wand to enhance parts that may have fallen flat. Simply flip over and spray with flexible hairspray for some added volume.

Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Stylist

When it comes to booking a stylist and makeup artist for weddings, there are inevitable mistakes that are made. Here are some of the most common one beauty industry professionals face:

Not Scheduling Enough Time to Get Ready

If you have a large wedding party and there’s a group of people who all need to get their hair and makeup done, this can be a huge issue. Looking great takes time, and you want to make sure you have enough of it on your big day. On the wedding day, timing is a huge factor. .Make sure you have a head count and that there’s enough time for everyone to get the services they need done.

Adding on Last-Minute Clients

While some people may decide they want their hair and makeup done at the last minute, try to avoid this as much as possible. This can be an issue for the salon if they don't have enough people on staff. It may also cause unnecessary stress and divert time and focus from the person getting married.

Not Booking in Advance

Not booking in advance is one of the biggest issues you can come up against. If you wait to schedule your hair and makeup for your wedding, this can create a lot of problems—especially when it comes to timing and having enough makeup artists and stylists on staff to accommodate you. To avoid the headache and stress of trying to book ahead of time, it’s worth it to be able to get the people you want to work with and have the peace of mind knowing you’re all set for your wedding day.

Cost of Hair/Tipping Your Stylist/Who Pays

When it comes to the cost of getting your hair professionally done for a wedding or another event, there are also several factors to keep in mind that will affect the price. Depending on who you hire, such as a junior or senior stylist, there will be a difference in price—and this is often dependent on the person's level of experience.

Another factor to keep in mind is the location of the salon you’re going to. This will definitely affect the cost—especially depending on where you’re getting married. You can expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $150-plus per service, however the low end is usually around $150, while high end services can reach up to $2000 or more. Services, such as airbrushing and hair extensions, will always cost more. Overall, the average price for a wedding day stylist is around $300 per person for both bridal hair and makeup combined.

Sometimes there are packages salons and makeup artists offer when it comes to doing a bridal party that may require a deposit or pre-payment. Other times, people are charged individually based on the salon.

This also depends on how the couple getting married has approached this. If you are requiring your bridal party to get their hair and makeup done professionally, paying for everyone is a nice gesture.

It should also be something that should be allotted for in your wedding budget. However, if things are a bit more loose and it's not specified, or the other people in the bridal party want to hire hair and makeup artists, then paying individually generally makes the most sense. To avoid an awkward situation, the best thing to do is to discuss it ahead of time, so people know what is expected and can plan accordingly.

Because stylists and makeup artists are a part of the service industry, tipping is always appreciated but not required. It is a nice gesture and also helps show your gratitude for their services. It is customary to tip 20 percent on a service like you would for other things either by cash or card.

When you are wedding plannin or scheduling your hair and makeup for your big day, remember: There are no do overs. Do what makes you happy, and stay true to your personal style. That way, when you look at your photographs years later, you can truly say you had no regrets about your look. While you want to look stunning at your wedding, remember the big day is all about celebrating your next step in life with your partner, and that is a beautiful thing.

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