Do’s & Don’ts of Wedding Day Hair & Makeup

As a little girl, I would guess that you probably pictured what you’d want to look like on your wedding day. Maybe it was about the dress, or a long or fluffy veil, maybe you even had a tiara on! Whatever it was, we know that your wedding day look is about a lot more than just the dress and accessories. Hair and makeup styling are a big factor in completing the look for the big day! Not to mention, the time you spend doing your hair and makeup are a big chunk of the morning on your wedding day and you want to do everything you can to ensure that it turns out just how you want it! So with that, here’s our wedding day hair and makeup do’s and don’ts:

getting ready on wedding morning


  • Pick Stylists That You Know and Trust
    • When looking for a hair or makeup artist, it’s tempting to go with the cheapest option or to find a stranger online. But when it comes to something so important, it’s okay to be a little picky. Whether it’s looking at pictures of their work online, reading their reviews or doing a trial with the stylist, you want to walk into your wedding day with confidence in the people you chose. It’s also a good idea to ask your normal hair stylist if they do wedding styling. That’s someone that you most likely trust already so it would be great if they could be a part of your day!
  • Pinterest Search for Styles
    • Personally, my makeup artist showed up and said “do you have pictures of what you’d like your makeup to look like” and I hadn’t even thought to look! Pinterest is FULL of wedding hair and makeup so spend some time doing some research and pinning your favorite looks. But keep in mind, it’s never going to look exactly like what you see online because that’s not your hair or face!

getting ready

  • Do a Trial!
    • I know a lot of stylists will charge extra for a trial, and while it may seem like an unnecessary use of the wedding budget, I promise it’s worth it! For starters, they need to charge because this is their job and their spending time on you and your styling. It’s also so helpful to be able to see what your hair can look like before the morning of your wedding day. This gives you time to make changes and ensure that it’s exactly what you want! Who knows, they might try the style on you and you may not love it and want to try something completely different. It’s much safer to make changes during a trial then it is when you’re on a schedule on your wedding day!

wedding day getting ready

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
    • If you’re like me, you may worry too much about hurting someone’s feelings and not want to speak up when you don’t like something. Treat this post as your permission to be completely honest with your hair and makeup artists! If you don’t like something, say something! It’s your wedding day and you want to feel confident and beautiful and your stylists want that for you as well!
  • Invite Your Photographer to Take Getting Ready Photos
    • The time where your surrounded by bridesmaids and family members creates some of the most precious candid moments and having them captured is a really sweet thing! I’d be willing to guess that you’ll look back on those images with a large amount of joy and gratitude for the ladies in your life! It’s worth it to check with your photographer to see if them being there for the morning works in the photography timeline of your day!

bridal party first look

  • Communicate Your Expectations to Your Bridesmaids
    • If you know that you want your bridesmaids to have a certain hair or makeup style, make sure that they are aware of what you want! You don’t want them to assume that they can do whatever they’d like and make plans to that end. I would recommend still giving them room for interpretation as everyone is different and everyone feels more confident in different styles! But whatever it may be, make sure that your bridesmaids are in the loop so they can plan accordingly.
  • Consider the Weather When Choosing a Hair Style
    • You may not want to hear this, but it’s important to think about the season you’ll be getting married when deciding how you want to wear your hair. More specifically, if you’ll be getting married in the middle of summer, it may be worth it to consider an updo! Often times when it’s hot and humid, we see curls fall or get filled with sweat just 20 minutes after leaving the indoors. It’s a tough reality, but one to keep in mind! It’s not impossible to leave your hair down, but it will potentially require more hairspray than you would prefer.


  • Assume That Your Stylists Will Be Able To Help Everyone
    • When you have professionals coming to help you get ready, it’s tempting for the rest of your bridesmaids to ask for help, either with their whole look or with little details. Whether it’s applying false lashes, fixing this one bobby pin, or doing just the eyeshadow, if you know that your bridesmaids are going to need help, ask your stylist in advance! You want to make sure that you have time for everyone to get ready properly and if you have one person doing everything, it’s going to take a lot longer! Not to mention, hair and makeup stylists should be getting paid for the work they do so you want to make sure that you are compensating them appropriately.
  • Try Self Tanner or Teeth Whitening for the First Time Right Before the Wedding
    • We all want that perfect tan and bright white teeth for the big day, but it’s important to keep in mind that there are a lot of different brands of these items and everyone reacts differently! I would recommend trying out both a couple months before the wedding. This way you have time if you need to try out a different product and can ensure that your skin and/or teeth won’t react poorly days later!

bridal party getting ready

  • Go Too Dramatic
    • You don’t want to not look like yourself on your wedding day! If you’re the type of person who wears a lot of makeup, by all means go big with your wedding makeup! But if you’re the type of person that normally goes natural, it’s okay to go with more subtle makeup that still has a natural look! Keep in mind that the goal is that you’d feel confident AND comfortable!
  • Rush Through the “Getting Ready” Portion of the Day
    • While we know that the time you spend getting ready on the morning of your wedding isn’t the focal point of the day, it is a really great part! It’s tempting to want to physically rush through it, or mentally be so focused on the next thing on the schedule that you miss a really sweet and intimate part of your day. We know that you’ll be excited to get to the first look, or the ceremony, but make sure to also bask in the fun and excitement of spending time with your girls in the morning! Grab a Starbucks that says Bride on it, and enjoy the time!


As with all of our Wedding Wednesday posts, we want to make sure to close by saying – you do you!! If you disagree with something we said, or want to do what you think is best, by all means you should go for it! We just want to offer some tips based on what we’ve both seen and lived through with wedding hair and makeup! But whatever makes you feel most beautiful, comfortable, confident, and excited is absolutely what you should do for your wedding day!

For more Wedding Wednesday posts, click here to check out the blog!



Hey there, and welcome to the JWP blog!  We are a photography team based in Iowa and we’re glad you’re here!  We hope you’ll enjoy viewing our most recent weddings, tips brides, and business and educational resources for photographers.  


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