As a current bride-to-be and wedding vendor who works closely with the bridal party, here are some useable, practical & fun bridesmaids' gifts!
LIPSTICK/ LIPGLOSS: Even if your bridesmaids aren't "makeup girlies", gifting a lippie is not only fun, but it's also very practical! Once hair/ makeup leaves, lips are usually the first thing to wear off (you know, all the champs & toasting photos!) You can gift all the same color, or you can gift a color you know will look good on each girl. My top picks: DRUG STORE | HIGH END
PJ'S/ ROBES: Skip the silky, short robe! They're hard to fit everyone and the material is usually too slippery to stay tied up all morning. 9 times out of 10, I see bridesmaids wearing stuff underneath because they're cold or uncomfortable in just the robe. Instead, opt for some cute PJ's or a lounge set that match your wedding colors! (Also skip putting "Bridesmaid" printed on them...trust me!) PRO TIP: If you are getting PJs with a collar, make sure the collar sits low and is flexible. If anyone gets a low bun hairstyle, collars often mess up the style. My top picks: SILKY PJ SET | COMFY LOUNGE SET | WINTER WEDDING PJ SET
SILK HAIR SCRUNCHY: Another practical & cute gift! While your girls are getting their makeup done, a silk hair scrunchy is a helpful tool to keep hair off their face. Plus, who doesn't always need more hair ties?! My top picks: MULTI COLOR PACK | CHAMPAGNE TONE
SLIPPERS: Gather your girls shoe sizes and order some fuzzy slippers! A lot of bridal suites (especially for summer months) are fully air conditioned. This means, cold feet! If you don't think slippers match the vibe, get some cute slides or flip flops. Flip flops are also practical for dancing time! My top picks: FUZZY SLIPPERS | SLIDES
PERFUME: Even though people often have varying tastes in perfume scents, you usually know your girls and what they like! Perfume rollers or mini sizes are a more affordable option than a full-sized bottle. This is also something they can use on the wedding day & keep in their clutch or purse to re-apply throughout the evening! My top picks: VICTORIA'S SECRET SCENT | YSL
JEWELRY: If you are a bride who likes uniformity, gifting a necklace, bracelet, or earrings is PERFECT! It helps ensure you get that uniformity you're looking for, while providing a special gift for your girls. I've seen brides who gift both a necklace and earrings, others just choose one. My top picks: SMALL HOOPS | DAINTY NECKLACE | BRACELET
HAIR/ MAKEUP: Depending on your budget and your bridal party needs, gifting hair/ makeup (or one or the other) makes a great gift! If you don't think your girls will like the physical gifts like mentioned above, giving the gift of professional makeup and hair is a great one!
Everyone's gifting budget will be different- and that's OKAY. Even if you have a small budget, giving one or two practical things to your girls will be greatly appreciated!
Now, this might be controversial, but THINGS I WOULD SKIP IN A BRIDESMAID GIFT BAG: Anything saying "bridesmaid" on it. Just personally, it's overdone and no one wants to carry around a Tumblr with that plastered on it after the wedding day. While you're at it, skip the mugs/ Tumblr's/ in general! Get some cute plastic cups that can just be recycled after the morning. I know I personally already have too many in my house!
What are you gifting your girls? What is the best gift you got for being in a wedding?! Let us know in the comments...
PC: Anne Mientka Photography
Too many times we arrive to a bridal suite on the wedding morning and walk into a chaotic mess! While part of our job is being able to adapt and go with the flow, chaos and disorganization does make our job more difficult. Not only that, but it makes for added and unnecessary stress on you (the bride!)
Here are some pro tips that will guarantee a smooth & stress free wedding morning:
1) Steam Dresses the Night Prior: I know the LAST thing you want to do after a welcome party or rehearsal dinner is steam dresses, but this can be a great task for your future MIL, your mom, or a trusted friend. Having them steamed & hanging nicely in the bridal suite or getting ready space will not only save time on the morning of, but it will protect the precious makeup & hair you just paid for!
2) Organize Bridesmaid Gift Bags: If you're having a bridal party and are doing gift bags, having them neatly laid out & ready to go first thing in the morning is ideal. Putting them in the space the night before is even better! Having to run back to a room to get them can be an annoying distraction.
3) Be Ready in Robes: On a similar note, if you are having your bridal party wear matching robes or PJ's, ensure everyone is dressed and ready prior to the arrival of your makeup & hair team. If I had a dollar for every time a bridesmaid was about to sit down for makeup and jumped up realizing they needed to put the robe or outfit on, I'd be retired in Aruba. This may sound silly, but just that 5 minute delay in the schedule can add up if it happens 3 or 4 times...
4) Have the Early Birds Go First: If you have a smaller bridal party (less than 4 or 5), having everyone there and ready to go is important for things to stay on time. If you have a larger bridal party (more than 6), assign 3 friends/ family to be there first if it's a super early start time. Pick friends or family that are early birds! The ones who can grab a coffee and rally into glam at 6:30 AM if needed. If hair/ makeup starts late because no one is awake & ready to go, the buffer time we build in is gone within the first hour+ of us being there.
5) Letters/ Sentimental Gifts: It's very normal to receive a letter or gift from your partner or bridal party on the wedding day. While these are an important part of the day, they are also major culprits of ugly crying. Try to read the letter or open the gift the night prior or first thing that morning. Wet, teary eyes make it SUPER hard for makeup to adhere to that area. Also, if you just got done with makeup, lash glue takes a while to fully set, so if you go right into tears, this could cause some issues. Chat with your photographer about staged options if you want to be captured reading or opening a gift.
6) Have Details for Photographer Ready: Most photographers will want to capture details like your stationery, ring, shoes, jewelry, perfume, etc. Have these items in a box or out on a table ready to go for them! If you have to leave the makeup or hair chair to go hunt these items down, it can cause quite a delay in the timeline.
7) Have Lunch Early: Depending on your timeline, this may vary. But, if everyone needs to be getting into dresses at 2 PM, don't have lunch come to the room at 1:30 PM. Be done with eating at least an hour and a half (or more) before hair/ makeup is scheduled to be completed. For makeup, I like to apply lipstick after the last service is completed (aka at the end of our timeline). If people are still eating, or lunch hasn't even arrived yet, it's pointless for me to put lipstick on anyone. This is also why I suggest bridesmaids bring their own lip color for touch ups- just incase!
8) Designate a Point Person: SO many people will want your attention on the wedding morning. While some questions will need to be directed to you, having a point person (hey, hey MOH it's your time to shine!) can be super helpful! If you have a wedding planner, they will likely pop in and out and be able to handle most vendor questions, but there is always an aunt, or grandma or someone who will bug you with questions about when the shuttle arrives or what time dinner is. Give your phone to your MOH or point person to handle that. Relax and be present in YOUR day!
Long story short- the more organization and prep you can do the night prior, the easier off your morning will be! Wedding days go by so quickly, don't let silly, avoidable stressors ruin your morning.
Let's cut right to the chase: here are some of our most common FAQs, or scenarios that come up for wedding makeup & hair services:
Q: Are fake lashes included?
A: Yes! We include complimentary fake lashes for each adult makeup application.
Q: How far in advance should I book my wedding?
A: The sooner the better! If your wedding date is a Saturday during peak season (May-October) for Vermont/ New England, you'll want to reserve us 14-18 months in advance. The month's of June, September & October book the fastest.
Q: Do you have a minimum?
A: Yes we do! For any weekend date (Friday-Sunday), we have an on-location minimum of the bride + 4 adults. We do offer weekday elopement packages (Monday-Thursdays).
Q: I don't know my final headcount yet, can I still lock in your services?
A: Absolutely. I always suggest starting with our bride + 4 minimum and adding on as people in your wedding party confirm with you. You have up until one month prior to your wedding date to add services on (should the artist/ stylist be able to accommodate). Once the contract is signed, you cannot remove any services.
Q: Can one of my bridesmaids have you just do their eye makeup?
A: No. We don't offer any partial services- just full applications.
Q: When do I need a second artist or stylist?
A: This depends on the individual artist/ stylist and the timeline of your day. Generally speaking, after 10 services, we typically need a second artist or stylist. If your timeline is tight and you have 9 services, we would suggest a full team of 4 for your event. Anything over 12 services always needs 4 beauty professionals.
Q: Why is there an additional artist/ stylist fee?
A: This fee covers a few things: the extra admin time it takes to coordinate with 4 artists/ stylist, added taxes & higher processing fee's, plus the luxury of reserving our entire team for your event. If our team is fully booked, I also may have to outsource to other companies to find a suitable artist or stylist. This takes time!
Q; How does the travel fee work?
A: We charge $65 per hour of travel. So, if your event is exactly one hour away from our home base in Richmond, VT, it would be a $130 travel charge (2 hours total travel time). This is per artist/ stylist as we typically travel separately to events. This fee not only covers gas, but mileage/ wear and tear, maintenance like oil changes, our time spent driving, and packing/ unpacking all of our items.
Q: When should I book my trial run?
A: Your trial should ideally happen 1-4 months prior to your wedding date. This ensures you have your dress & other details more set in stone. It's hard to plan what you want for your look if you don't have any of those things yet. We can make exceptions for our out of state brides!
Q: Are trial runs required?
A: No. But, we do strongly encourage them to ensure your day-of services go off without a hitch. If you are unable to make an in-person trial work, I can offer Zoom trials to go over details & inspo photos with you.
Q: How do I reserve your for my wedding day?
A: A signed contract and 30% retainer will hold your date. Due to the high demand of the industry right now, we can't soft hold any dates.
Q: When is the remainder of my balance due?
A: On, or prior to your wedding day. Most prefer to pre-pay to avoid the hassle on their actual wedding morning.
Q: What is a normal amount to tip?
A: We typically see 20% gratuity for our wedding services. Tips are always appreciated, but never expected.
Q: What products/ brands do you use in your kit?
A: A wide variety! Each artist has luxe products from various beauty brands. Some include: Dior, Chanel, Charlotte Tilbury, MAC, Makeup Forever, L'aneige, Hourglass, Kosas, Viseart, Makeup by Mario, Ben Nye, and more.
Q: Can I request a specific artist or stylist?
A: Yes! On your inquiry form, you can let me know who you want to work with. I can then let you know their availability- or you can check our Availability page.
Q: Do I have to book both makeup & hair services with your team?
A: No. You can book just makeup or just hair! We do find that coordinating the day-of timeline is much easier having just one beauty team, but it is not required.
Other questions? Let us know!
Based on the title, you're probably thinking I'm off my rocker! Why wouldn't the makeup artist & stylist want to make more money by servicing more people at a wedding?!
Hear me out...
While making money is the goal (and necessity) of every business, there are some cases where the money just isn't worth it. I can break these examples into two categories: The Beauty Haters & The Old Schoolers.
The Beauty Haters: Hate might be a strong word here, but just go with it. These are the ladies who NEVER EVER wear makeup, or maybe never style their hair (except brushing!). They don't like how makeup feels or how it looks on their skin. Hairspray scares them & they are most comfortable in their own, natural skin.
Now, what's wrong with this? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. But, if you are forcing these people into getting makeup & hair done for your big day, it's a miserable experience for everyone involved. I have had moms, sisters, friends, start crying in my chair because the thought of wearing makeup gave them so much anxiety. Which then leaves me feeling absolutely horrible & now in a very awkward situation.
Please, please don't make these people get a service done that would put them in this type of position. It's not fair to them or the professional. Just let them do their own thing & avoid this stress altogether!
The Old Schoolers: This is typically a mom, grandma or aunt! They have had Linda the hairdresser styling their hair for the past 40 years & NO ONE can do hair like Linda can...We could send in Chris Appleton (celeb stylist for Kim K, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande & more!) and he just can't get that French twist volume set the same way Linda does.
Now again, there is nothing wrong with this; they likes what they like and that's it. BUT, no matter what we do, it isn't going to make them happy.
Same goes for makeup. I might not have the same light blue Mary Kay eyeshadow shade that they've been using for forever, or maybe I don't apply eyeliner the same way they do.
Not only do these scenarios put stress on the professional & client, but it can very well cause the entire schedule of the morning to be thrown off. If we are spending an hour and a half fidgeting with the tendrils on grandmas up-do, or calming down a bridesmaid who had an anxiety attack from having mascara applied, we very well could run late. No one wants that!
If I didn't see this happen at least 15+ times a wedding season, I wouldn't feel the need to write about it. But I am begging you- if you KNOW someone in your family or wedding party fits into one of these categories, just leave them off the services list. It truly will make EVERYONE happier & less stressed.
It's no secret that good skincare makes for good skin. In turn, that leads to a smooth, flawless makeup application. What factors should you consider with skincare and facial hair care to prep for your wedding? Let's break it down!
1) Makeup doesn't remove unwanted hair! If you don't love your "peach fuzz", or if you have some extra brow hairs that like to get a little unruly, please realize that we, as makeup artists, cannot change that on your wedding day. If you want that silky smooth finish & snatched brow shape; Dermaplaning & a brow wax / shape will be needed. These should be done by a trusted & licensed esthetician. I recommend trying both services out a few months before your wedding to ensure the results are what you want.
2) Brow shape: Expanding on the above information, brow design can truly change/ enhance your overall face shape, features & look! While makeup can make brows appear fluffier, fuller & more polished, makeup cannot remove hairs to give that "crisp" finish. Your trial & your wedding day are not times to "skip" that brow care.
3) Skincare: While texture, acne spots & scars are all very normal and a part of each of us, there are things you can do to help improve them! I ALWAYS suggest going to a licensed, trusted esthetician first to get the best skincare regiment/ facials in place. However, I do realize that having the $$$ to drop on all of that can be a LOT. For an at home skincare routine, I recommend the following:
A solid skincare routine should be started 6+ months prior to your wedding day. You definitely wont' see "quick" results in just a few weeks. Still unsure where to start? Ask your MUA for local esthetician rec's! We are always happy to help (it will make our job easier!)
When you think of a Florida wedding, palm trees, sunshine & glam come to mind! The wedding of Jenna and Kyle Davis was no exception. The day started at Olde Cypress Country Club in Naples, Florida & eventually moved up the road to the White Rose for a sunset ceremony, reception, & dancing.
Jenna and her bridal party chose some more neutral glam styles for makeup. With the wedding being a dressy, cocktail attire, the elevated glam bridal makeup was perfect.
To create Jenna's bridal makeup look, I used a mirage of products starting with the Sonia Roselli Beauty skincare line. The rest of the look included:
- Dior Face & Body Foundation
- Charlotte Tilbury Contour Wand
- NARS Creamy Concealer
- Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finishing Powder
- Makeup by Mario Bronzer
- MAC Peachy Blush
- MAC Highlight Palette
- Ardell 782 lashes
- Maybelline Mascara & Waterproof Eyeliners in Chocolate & Black
- Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk Lip Liner & Clear Gloss
If you are newly engaged and starting your search for your beauty professionals, here are some RED FLAGS to watch out for in potential makeup artists:
Hopefully as your search continues, you can make an informed & educated decision for your beauty professional!
Trust me when I say that it's no fun telling my brides, "We will arrive at your venue to start beauty services at 7 AM". Not only does this mean an early wake up call for your bridal party, but us, too! We fully realize early start times are not ideal for everyone, especially when it's such a long day! But guess what? We don't actually determine when we start our services...
So, why do some wedding mornings have to start so early? What do we base our timing on? Well, let's break it down!
1) Photo Timeline: This is primarily what we base our start and end times off of. I can't even accurately set a timeline for beauty without knowing it. If you are planning to do a first look, bridal portraits, wedding party photos, & family photos prior to your ceremony, expect that to take anywhere from 1.5-3 hours of time (dependent on the photographer, but from experience what we most often see). The more photos wanted= the more time needed before the ceremony.
2) Ceremony Time: The photo start time will work back from when your ceremony time is. So, if you have a 4 PM ceremony & you're wanting all of those photos done prior, then plan for at least being done with beauty by 12:30 or 1 PM. Again, the earlier the ceremony time = earlier for photos & beauty. We also want to be packing up and getting out of the way of the photographer when they arrive to start photos; (even if they're just starting with details shots! A lot of bridal suites/ rooms aren't big enough for all of us in there.)
3) Group / Party Size: The more people, the longer we'll need. For parties larger than 9 or 10, we really suggest getting a second artist or stylist (or both) brought on to help cut back on time. If you have a group of 10, it would take approx. 5.5+ hours with 1 MUA / 1 stylist. With 4 artists & stylists, it would be cut back to around 2.5-3 hours of work. For us, each service ranges anywhere from 25-40 minutes, with the bride obviously taking a bit longer. I also always build in some buffer time just in case! With the high industry demand right now, it's extremely hard to lock in second artists / stylists, so we suggest asking us for one ASAP if you're thinking about it! (They do come with a second artist fee & travel fee.)
4) Onsite VS. Offsite: Are you getting ready at the venue or are you getting ready offsite at a hotel or Airbnb? If you're getting ready offsite, we have to factor travel time for you and your wedding party to depart and get to the venue after beauty services are done. If the hotel is 20-30 minutes away from the venue, we would want to give you at least 40-45 minutes of travel time just to be safe. Where you're getting into your dress can also play into this timing.
So, with all of that said, if you and your wedding party are NOT morning people, I'd suggest the following while you're planning:
- Have a later ceremony time (after 4:30 PM)
- Pinpoint which specific photos you MUST have done before the ceremony & save the rest for after
- Have us hire in an additional MUA or stylist if you have a large group getting beauty services
- Get ready onsite or super close by if possible
For us, I find that setting our final beauty timeline ONE MONTH prior to your date is ideal. A lot of little details change throughout the planning process, and that means our timeline gets changed. Trust me when I say it's not worth it to set & have to re-set your morning-of timeline; just wait until one month out! By that point, your photographer / planner should have their timeline set in stone, and we can take ours from there.
SAMPLE WEDDING MORNING TIMELINE:
Total services: Bride + 6
Start time: 8 AM
End time: 12 PM
Ceremony time: 3:30 PM
Photo start time: 12:30 PM
Photo by: Jenna Brisson Photography
A bridal suite could be at your venue, at a hotel, or it could be an Airbnb house. No matter where it is, these are some MUST HAVES to consider when selecting your space (coming from a beauty pro who has seen them all!) And yes, this means don't just assume your venues bridal suite will work....
#1 SPACE: Trust me when I say bridesmaids make a mess. Whether you have 3 bridesmaids or 12, you will want space to spread out and organize. Not only will it be for you and your friends/ family to hang out in, but you will need space for your beauty team to set up, photographers to stage photos, florists to bring bouquets & food to be delivered! A beauty team of 2 will have at least one lighting system, 3-5 kit bags, 2 chairs & 2 folding tables. That alone could fill up a room. More space = better.
#2 LIGHT: Again, this room is for more than just hanging out in. Your beauty team and photographer/ videographer will need natural light to best perform their jobs. While we always bring a lighting system with us (just in case), having lots of windows or natural light flooding the room will ALWAYS be best. You wouldn't ask a surgeon to operate in the dark, would you?! Same concept.
#3 OUTLETS: Professional hair/ makeup requires outlets for lighting systems & hair tools. While we normally have extension cords just in case, having multiple outlets that are easily accessible makes our lives so much easier. Plus, you can't forget that you will likely have a speaker to be plugged in & phones to be charged!
#4 ACCESSIBILITY: Remember all those things I said your beauty team brings with them? Yeah, we don't want to walk across two gravel parking lots and then up 5 flights of stairs to get to you. Do we do it all the time? Yep! It's truly part of job, but having an easily accessible suite makes our backs happier. Plus, you're not going to want to trek down stairs with a dress and heels on, either (especially if you've had some mimosa's!) Places with close by parking, pavement, luggage carts, first floor rooms (or elevators) are great!
#5 BATHROOMS: This may seem a bit obvious, but some bridal suites are just a room & the bathroom may be at the other end of the venue, down the hall, etc. If your better half is also getting ready at the same location, make sure you have a private bathroom available to avoid seeing each other.
Here are some common spaces we see and if I'd recommend them:
When in doubt, always ask your beauty team what they think! Chances are, they have likely worked at the venue/ hotel before, or can look it up and let you know. We want you to have the most relaxed, stress free morning, and the space you're in can make or break that. When I say we have worked in and seen it all, I mean it! We are always happy to help guide and offer recommendations.
Photos by: Keith MacDonald, Coryn Kiefer Photography, Sabin Gratz
From your dress, to the venue, to the texture of your hair, there are SO many factors that go into selecting your bridal hairstyle.
Before really deep diving into considerations, I always give the disclosure that 99% of what you are seeing on Pinterest under "bridal hairstyles" include extensions worn by models. While they're great for general "inspo", they aren't always feasible, wearable (we'll get into this later), or realistic. Okay, now lets deep dive!
Happy planning! XO, Hillary
Photos by: The Light and Color, Keith MacDonald Photography, Garrentee Photography, Jenna Brisson
Hillary Fay, Vermont & SW FL Makeup Artist.