What Nobody Tells You About Getting Your Wedding Day Hair and Makeup Done

Here’s what you need to know.
by Maddy Sims
bride getting makeup done
Photo by Steven Michael Photography; Makeup by Bronzed and Blushed

Hanging out with your wedding party before the ceremony is one of the most memorable parts of the day. There are selfies to take and mimosas to drink, but you can’t forget about the main event: getting your wedding day hair and makeup done. We’ll always recommend hiring a beauty professional for the day since they’re masters at styling hair and applying makeup. But your wedding day isn’t just a typical hair appointment or makeover session. Between working with a beauty pro and getting ready with the entire wedding party, there will be a lot going on. To help avoid any extra stress, we’ve put together a list of all the things you need to know when it comes to getting your wedding day hair and makeup done.

It’s an Early Start

Be prepared for an early morning —especially if the wedding party has a lot of members The larger the wedding party(and the fewer the stylists), the longer the process will take. Expect both hair and makeup respectively to take 30 to 45 minutes per bridesmaid (and mother of bride) and 60 to 90 minutes for the bride. Factor in even more time if there’s only one photographer expected to document both partners’ getting-ready moments. We know, it sounds like a long day, but it flies. Use down time to take photos, have a bellini and a bite, and enjoy those special, last few hours before the ceremony.

There’s a Primping Pecking Order

The bride will likely want to get her hair and makeup done last to ensure she’s fresh for the day —and the maid of honor will typically want to go as close to last as possible. As a bridesmaid, don’t be surprised if you’re assigned a 7 a.m. start time, even if the ceremony starts at 3 p.m. And don’t panic—there will probably be time for touch-ups in case something fades or falls out of place.

There Could Be Some Awkwardness Over Who Pays for What

Here’s the deal: Whether the bride or the wedding party foots the beauty bill depends on a case by case basis. Some brides require their crew get their wedding day hair and makeup done professionally, in which case covering the cost would be a courteous gesture. However, if the bride doesn’t specify her preference because it’s not in her budget or she’s indifferent, but the wedding party insists on hiring pros, they should pay for it themselves. Long story short, have this conversation about who pays for what early on so the actual wedding day remains as stress free as possible.


Everyone Will Want to Charge Their Phones

It may be wise to have enough outlets for everyone’s phone in the prep room because—you and your wedding party will want to snap photos, check in with loved ones (or vendors), and keep busy in the hours leading up to the wedding. If the room is short on outlets, consider bringing some power strips so that everyone’s phones have enough juice to last them through the last dance.

Get Dressed at the End

Getting-ready robes aren’t just cute wedding party favors—there’s a very practical reason to dress the squad in robes or button-down pajama sets. They’ll catch stray makeup, hair spray or condensation from your getting-ready cocktail so your wedding or bridesmaid dress doesn’t have to. Since they’re easy to slip off, you don’t have to worry about pulling them over your head and undoing your stylists’ hard work. 

The Bride Might Want to Have Her Hair and Makeup Done First

While it’s typical for the nearlywed to get hair and makeup done last so that it’s the freshest, there are some exceptions. If your hair or makeup look is intricate or delicate, it might be wise to go first so that you aren’t rushed. Work with your beauty pro to come up with a timeline that makes sense for the day. 

Remember to Tip Your Pros

Professional hair and makeup isn’t cheap—and that’s a good thing. Your stylists are experts and charge what they do for a reason. The Knot 2018 Real Weddings Study reveals the average cost per person per service is just over $100 —and then there’s the tip to consider. Tips are appreciated for a job well done across all service industries, and hair and makeup are no exception. Prepare to tip your beauty pros 15 to 25 percent at the end of their service, just as you would in a hair salon, and consider giving a little extra if there's a crisis requiring a last-minute redo.

You’re Allowed to Change Your Look

Your makeup artist and hairstylist take pride in seeing their clients happy, so they won’t be offended if you ask to have a tweak made or, in the most extreme case, your look redone (time permitting, of course). The bride may have had a chance to go through a trial run or two before the big day, but that’s usually not the case for the rest of the wedding party. If you don’t feel comfortable or believe you haven’t gotten your money’s worth, feel free to speak up (politely and within reason).

It’s Surprisingly Emotional

Speaking of touch-ups, you might need one after crying a few happy tears. Getting ready to walk down the aisle in a room full of your favorite people can make you (and them) pretty emotional. Keep tissues on hand and always opt for waterproof mascara, whether you’re the bride, mother of the bride or a bridesmaid.

Up Next
Who Pays for Bridesmaid Hair and Makeup
Here's Who Actually Pays for Bridesmaid Hair and Makeup
Plus, the average cost per person.
by Maddy Sims5 min read