How Long Does Hair and Makeup Take for a Wedding? The Answer May Surprise You

Plus, our hair and makeup timeline template you can use as your beauty blueprint.
Bride smiling while getting her makeup done
Photo: Weddings by Nato
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Lauren Whalley
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
Fashion Editor, Beauty & Inclusivity
  • Lauren writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in fashion, beauty and size inclusivity.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Lauren worked in wedding editorial for Brides, Style Me Pretty and Enaura Bridal.
  • Lauren studied public relations and advertising at the University of Central Florida.
Updated May 27, 2024

We all want a positive, stress-free morning on the wedding day that runs on time, and creating a wedding morning timeline is the easiest way to do just that. Take it from a recent newlywed; when bridal party hair and makeup fall behind, it can throw off the rest of the schedule. That's why hiring a professional hair and makeup artist is so valuable, not just for their incredible talents but also for their knowledge and ability to help you build a practical itinerary so that you arrive at your ceremony, hopefully with some time to spare!

According to Michelle Schultz, makeup artist and founder of Willow House Beauty, several factors can determine the breakdown of your wedding hair and makeup timeline, including how many bridesmaids you have and what time you need to be at the ceremony venue. Don't stress, though—I'm going to break down the day-of beauty information you need to know so you can create your wedding hair and makeup schedule far in advance. Plus, a quick reference guide you can use to build your own wedding beauty timeline.

In this article:

How long does hair and makeup take for a wedding?

According to Schultz, hair and makeup for a wedding can take an average of 4 to 6 hours. While this may seem like a lot of time, allocating this in advance will help keep the day stress-free and enjoyable. "The duration of hair and makeup depends on how many people are getting ready and how many artists are on hand to help everyone get ready," says Schultz, who also mentioned your hair and makeup artist will try to keep timing as concise as possible, without sacrificing the quality of work. "It is important to us to keep the timeline condensed to ensure we don't take too much of the day. No one likes to be up at 5 a.m. for hair and makeup (if they don't have to be!)."

How long does bridal hair and makeup take?

Bridal hair and makeup can take 2 to 3 hours, depending on the bride's requested style and timing. Schultz advises keeping it safe and scheduling around two and a half hours for the bride's hair and makeup, which includes a cushion for any unexpected circumstances so that the wedding morning progresses smoothly without feeling rushed."We schedule 2.5 hours for our bride's hair and makeup," she says. "We always like to keep a bit of cushion time in our timeline to account for the unexpected moments a wedding can bring, whether that's five minutes for the bride to eat lunch or for her to say a quick hello to her photographer."

How long does bridal party hair and makeup take?

Expect bridal party hair and makeup to take 1 to 2 hours per person. To help keep things moving efficiently, it's common to have both a hairstylist and a makeup artist working simultaneously. Be sure to read your contract thoroughly or ask your point of contact to see how many artists will be on-site the day of your wedding, as this can affect your timeline.

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Remember, there are no hard and fast rules regarding the order in which you schedule your bridal party. However, scheduling those with the longest and thickest hair first can be helpful since their hair will naturally require more styling time, and those with thinner or shorter hair later in the wedding getting ready schedule.

Should hair or makeup come first for a wedding?

Ideally, hair is styled first, followed by makeup. Starting with hair or makeup first for a wedding is often debated. Still, starting with hair can have multiple benefits, like keeping your gorgeous makeup fresh and intact for the ceremony, but it also makes logistical sense. When you are getting your hair done, your stylist will use heated hair tools and sprays that can affect your makeup. "Typically, we like our brides to go to hair first and makeup last," says Schultz. "In case our bride sweats a bit from a blow dry or hot tools, we won't have to worry about keeping makeup out of the way." Not only is this practical, but it will also give your makeup artist the ability to blend your foundation better close to your hairline and tailor your bridal look for a flawless finish.

How long before the ceremony should the bride be ready?

The bride should be ready four or five hours before the ceremony. The exact timing, however, will depend on factors like whether or not there will be a first look, the logistics of the venue and any other pre-ceremony activities. According to Schultz, the hair and makeup artist(s) should consult with the wedding planner and/or photographer to establish an ideal completion time for wedding hair and makeup completion. This planning ensures everything runs smoothly, adhering to the day's schedule and allowing for memorable pre-ceremony photography or rituals.

Wedding Hair and Makeup Timeline Template

As a Type A bride myself, I can tell you that a well-structured schedule will keep you on track from the moment you open your eyes to your walk down the aisle. So, I created a basic wedding hair and makeup timeline template to help get you started, along with how much time you should expect to allocate for each member of your bridal party. Remember, You can easily work with your stylists and artists to tailor this wedding hair and makeup schedule to suit your needs to ensure a flawless wedding day execution.

how long does bridal hair and makeup take infographic
Design: Falak Khoja

6:00 a.m. Wake Up

Before the day begins, take some time to wake up and center yourself. Enjoy a warm cup of coffee and a light breakfast. Staying hydrated and well-nourished is essential because the day will fly by. You can also take this time to do any pre-makeup skincare prep before getting your makeup done.

6:30 a.m. Hair and Makeup Arrival and Set Up

Depending on your contract, your hair and makeup artists will travel to your hotel or wedding venue with all their tools, makeup, chairs, lights and other equipment. They will usually arrive about thirty minutes before their scheduled time to familiarize themselves with and set up their spaces so they can work efficiently.

7:00 a.m. Bridal Party Hair and Makeup Begins

The first one to two slots in your hair and makeup schedule will likely belong to your bridal party. If you are working with a team of stylists, they will likely be able to take on multiple bridesmaids at a time to keep the flow going and streamline the beauty process.

10:00 a.m. Bridal Hair and Makeup Begins

Bridal hair and makeup are purposefully scheduled about midway through the wedding beauty timeline. You should have had a few hours to enjoy your morning with your besties by this time, and several of your bridal party members should be done with their glam. This time slot should allow plenty of time for your artists to create your dream wedding beauty look without feeling rushed.

12:00 p.m. Last-Minute Touch-Ups

Once hair and makeup for the entire bridal party are completed, your stylists may have time for final touch-ups before they pack up. This can be anything from refreshing a few curls for those who had their hair done at 7 a.m. to touching up with a little extra powder and lip gloss. This should only take a few minutes for each member of the bridal party; then, before you know it, you will be on your way for pre-ceremony activities and photos.

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