Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wedding Styling Decisions: A Hair-Raising Experience

Even in the early days of planning our wedding, I knew that having a top-notch hair and makeup stylist was high on my splurge-worthy list of musts, especially since we’re investing so much in working with an award-winning photographer and all-day videographer. And from the moment I met the stylist I ended up hiring, I absolutely loved her. With experience doing both hair and makeup styling for TV and plays, she’s highly skilled at creating beautiful looks for the camera, and is also very friendly and easy to work with. The only hitch? She’s definitely not cheap, especially since we’re holding our wedding in a very expensive part of Southern California.

Maybe it’s because I believe in the old saying that you get what you pay for, or maybe I’m simply becoming desensitized to the high cost of all things wedding-related, but when I learned that the price for my trial run, plus day-of hair and makeup styling, would come to almost $500, including tip, I thought it was high, but I accepted it. I also willingly told the stylist to plan on bringing and charging for two assistants the day of the wedding, so that the girls in my large bridal party of seven wouldn’t have to start getting ready at the crack of dawn.

Well, it all sounded great until I got the final timeline and pricing breakdown for the girls. Even with three stylists on hand, two girls will have to start getting their hair done at 6:30 a.m., with everyone else staggered throughout the day, until we’re all finished around 1 p.m. Um, I knew we’d have to start early, but 6:30 a.m., with an hour and a half allotted per girl for hair, plus a half hour each for makeup?! The girls were simply astounded by this. And then, there’s the issue of the $200 price tag per girl for both hair and makeup styling. That news just about floored them!

Since I’m definitely not a bride who cares whether all her maids have identical hairdos, I’ve already told the girls that if they prefer to go to a good-quality salon in the area, instead of using my stylist, that’s completely OK with me. However, even doing that may only save them about $50 each, since the salons in the area are also quite pricey. Would it be OK, they wondered, to do their own makeup in order to cut costs?

While I do want to help them save money, I have to admit that I strongly prefer that everyone has her hair and makeup professionally done for our photos. After all, these photos and this day are once in a lifetime events! But on the other hand, I don’t want to be a “bridezilla” who’s forcing everyone to shell out an exorbitant amount of money, especially since they’ve already spent a couple hundred each on dresses, and will be spending even more on my Disneyland bachelorette party.

What are your thoughts, ladies? Do you think $200 sounds like an outrageous cost? Are you asking your bridesmaids to have their hair and makeup professionally done, or are you OK with them doing their own? Are you all using the same stylist, or are some girls going to different salons? What’s your general timeline, and how much time is allotted for each girl’s hair and makeup? At this point, I’ll take all the advice I can get!


  1. I just did a post a couple of days ago about my's freaking me out. I only have two girls but honestly - I'll leave it up to them if they want to do their hair or makeup. I'm happy to make them appointments and I'll give them pricing up front so they know what to expect but I don't think you should stress about that. Get your hair worked out and go from there.

  2. I decided that I would pay for each of my girls to get their hair done early on and then decided to also offer to pay for their make-up if they wanted it (note im just not thinking about the total cost just now!). So we will all be at the salon together and only one girl has decided she would rather do her make-up herself.

    As for the time, that sounds way too long - think we are going for half an hour per girl and maybe longer for me so we do have to start at 8am but we should all be out for 10am since they will have 3 stylist altogether. Guess it depends how complicated the hairstyles are tho?

  3. I haven't given this a ton of thought, but I'll probably pay for all five of my girls to have their hair done. As for makeup, I think I'll let them do their own, with a stylish friend nearby who's not in the bridal party to assist (my bst friend's sister did all of our makeup for proms, etc., and I think she's just as good as a professional).

    I think $200 seems a bit steep, but if the best they could do is $150 elsewhere, it's probably fine.

  4. That does seem a bit high. My moh is having her hair done and doing her own makeup. I figure in reality she will look fab and most of the pictures will be of me and my groow anyway :)

  5. I do think that sounds like a lot even for a pricey area. The salon we'll most likely be going to (right outside of DC) charges up to $75 for bridesmaid hair and around $50 for makeup. For all the weddings I've been in me and the other girls always just did our own makeup so I don't mind if my girls doe their own. I figure they do it themselves everyday and a lot of times having it done professionally can make them look too much NOT like themselves.

    As for hair I would like for them to get it done professionally as well however since I'm not a fan of the prom-ish updo's if they just want to leave their hair down and curl it themselves that's fine. I just want them to look nice which I know they will regardless.

  6. Why do you care if they have makeup on? It's one thing to worry about your own face, but theirs? Not sure I understand. That is a lot of money. I would be upset if you asked me to do that. Sorry.

  7. I haven't put too much thought into this yet, but as of right now, I'm leaving it up to the girls to decide what to do with their hair and make-up. There are three girls and each has very different hair so they'll know what to do with it. $200 seems expensive to me!

  8. I completely understand you wanting to have a professional stylist do your hair and spending good money for it. I think $500 for hair, makeup, and make up trial is pretty good for someone who is high profile. But as someone who as done multiple stints as a bridesmaids, I think you should let the girls decide how much they would like to spend, by letting them go to their own salon. The day is not as important to them as it is to you and it is alot of money for them to spend, not including all the other costs. They can even go to Mac, Sephora, or etc and get their makeup done pretty well without shelling out beaucoup dinero. Do you have any friends who do make up pretty well, that wouldn't charge you so much? You can even do a makeup trial with them and see if that is a viable option. As much as this is your day, you have to take into account others who are coming to support you. Good luck!!

  9. Personally, if I were a bridesmaid and was asked to spend that much just on hair and makeup I would be quite upset. That being said I as a bride would never ask that of my bridesmaids, so I’d expect the same in return.

    If I wanted their hair/makeup professionally done I would pay for it myself. It's not something they need, so if I required it, it would be my need therefore my expense.

    I am letting my ladies decide what they’d rather do, have it professionally done or do it themselves. I figure they do their own hair and makeup every day so if they are comfortable doing their own why shouldn’t they? They will look beautiful no matter what. I guess I really can’t wrap my mind around why I’d ever need them to have it professionally done.

    That’s just me though, I hope you can figure it all out!

  10. Wow! Lots of opinions on this one I guess. Personally, I think there is nothing wrong with asking your girls to have their hair and makeup done professionally. However, I do think you can do it on the cheap and I think that the timeline seems a bit crazy. I mean, it sounds like they are going to be giving them all super special attention which is amazing, but seriously?

    For my sister’s wedding (and my own), we opted to let the girls make their own decisions as to whether or not they wanted to have our stylist do their hair and makeup for them. But we negotaiated way better prices than $200!

    My own stylist (also in the movie/tv industry and a pro) is doing six girls total (both hair AND makeup) all by herself. She is charging them $70 each for both the hair/makeup and allotting about 45 minutes per girl to do both of these for them. She is charging me $200 and is allotting more like 1 hr 30 min to 2 hrs for my own styling. She is also coming to our site. We are starting at 8 am to finish by around 1 pmish hopefully.

    Some of my girls are doing their own hair and makeup which is fine by me. They just don’t trust stylists or don’t have the money. But 3 of my girls are having the stylist fix their hair and makeup and the other 3 are not. She is also doing me, my mom and my flower girl’s hair.

    Your girls will look beautiful regardless as long as you tell them that if they choose not to use your stylist and pay the money, then they need to make sure they do a good job of applying makeup and such. Just tell them you want them to look their best but not like they are heading out for the beach when everyone else is all done up. I would suggest that those girls who can’t afford or don’t want to pay your stylist for their makeup consider going to a MAC store or a department store right when it opens and having their makeup done by a counter girl. It is usually free if you maybe buy an item or two. But if you do this, be sure to either make appointments or be the very first one there when they open. And tell the girls to bring pictures (samples) for the stylists. I did this for my engagement shoot and LOVED the makeup the MAC counter girl did for me at Nordstroms.

  11. Looks during the wedding should also be a major concern I believe and this is what I'm getting worried when I get married- the picture taking.

    I'm not photogenic and everytime I take pictures I still have to find the angle that will make look good in the picture.

    I really need a professional photographer in my wedding, soon.

  12. $200 is a bit steep for makeup. My girls all did their own makeup and it was covered by the bride when I've had it done professionally when I was a bridesmaid in other weddings.
    How about you have a makeup savvy friend at hand to help or give some guidance on makeup styles so they all know what you're going for. That way it would be low cost and everyone would be happy.

    What else are they paying for? It may add up quickly if they had to pay for dresses and hotels or travel. Remember, they are doing this for you and are happy to be there but it is your party and if they've had to pay other costs, it gets to be be a bit much.

    Good luck!

  13. can you stand one more opinion?

    What exactly would they need "done" to their hair that they wouldn't do if they were just attending the wedding? Do you expect an updo? Highlights, color, etc? Are they wearing something in their hair or a headpiece?

    I ask because, if I were going to be in or even attend my good friend's wedding, I would get a haircut in advance, style it as I always do, and apply my own makeup so that I look/feel beautiful and confident. I would pay what I always pay to look good, well MY standard of "good" anyway.

    Are you concerned they they won't look "pretty" or "flawless" enough? At the end of the day, you won't look at your photos and think, "Wow, Sue really needed a little more blush", right? Getting to know you through your blog, you seem like someone who knows what is really important. My guess is that you will look at your photos and think "all my favorite and beloved people are here with me on my wedding day" not whether or not your BMs looked flawless. If you communicate to your BMs your expectations re: how they should have their hair and makeup, love and trust them enough to interpret it based on their budget. This is nothing the stress over, so cut your BMs and yourself some slack, I think it will work out fine in the end.

    As a side note, of the two weddings I've been in most friend's Aunt sold Mary Kay, she and a friend did color charts for each of us and did all of our make-up FOR FREE and it looked natural and pretty. Another bride paid for our make-up at $50 per face and I thought we looked like a band of drag queen clowns!

  14. I understand that you want your ladies to look great on the day, but I also think that $200 is a bit too much. Plus the timing seems inconvenient.
    How about they be able to go to their own stylist to get their hair done? I was attending a close friends wedding and went and got my hair done but did my own makeup, and I wasn't even in the bridal party. Also, if you don't have a particular updo or style that you want for the girls, then maybe they can just be on their own for hair.
    As far as makeup goes I think there is less need for a professional here than there is for hair. But like other ladies suggested, the cosmetics counters at many dept. stores are a great alternative. I just think that in this day in age, asking them for something like this without offering to pay for it yourself (at the price quoted) might be unfair and perhaps be a cause for misunderstandings.
    Hope all the different opinions help out in making your decision. Good luck with it!

  15. $200 sounds about right for the hair and makeup, for my ladies it's $150, but shopping around I saw up to $250. It is a lot of money though, but my FI insisted that we're paying for them, so it's not as big of a deal. Maybe you could ask them to pay for it instead of getting you a wedding gift?

  16. Disneyland Bachelorette Party - Um AWESOME!

    6:30am is WAY too early. I'd be so cranky if I had to get up that early.

    I had five girls + my Mum + me for hair and makeup. We had one hair person and one makeup girl. We started getting ready at 9am and finished around 12:30pm. While someone was getting hair done, someone else was getting makeup. It was airbrush makeup so it took a little longer too.

    We paid $50 for the hair and $80 for the makeup each.

    Hope you can work it out. I completely understand why you want everyone to look good. The photo and video are big expenses and you want it all to look great. I don't think you are bridezilla at all.

  17. Personally, I'm telling my 6 girls where I'm getting my hair done, if they want to come great, if not, I understand that too. If they do join me, it will be under $40 for their hair.

    That being said, I don't even have a makeup artist for me, so I can't offer it to them. I figure we'll all help each other!

    I'm in my MOH's wedding two weeks before mine - she DOES want us all to get our hair done (don't know if it's matching or not) but it's only $30 a person.