The Bridal Business Bible (Part 3)
Ever since you were a young beauty school student (and even before that), your dream was to be a bridal hair stylist. Ready to turn that dream into a reality? Here's our best advice for building a prosperous bridal business.
Ever since you were a young beauty school student (and even before that), your dream was to be a bridal hair stylist. You dreamt of helping women feel beautiful on their special day. You envisioned placing the veil on your bride-to-be right before she walked down the aisle. You imagined stepping in at the last minute to help with the bustle. And when your job was done? You’d be the one sitting in the wings as she walked down the aisle. You’d be choking up as the vows were exchanged. You would be filled with pride that you got to be a part of one of the most important days of her life.
If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place. We asked seven successful bridal stylists to share their top tips on how to get your business up and running—and they weighed in on everything from how they manage their schedules, to social media tips, to how they price their services. Here’s their best advice for building a prosperous bridal business. (Read part 1 and part 2 here!)
On building your bridal team…
As every pro knows, sometimes you need to bring along some help on the big day. “When I used to do weddings in Santa Fe, I was sometimes styling the bride plus up to eight in the bridal party!” says upstyle guru and Texas-based stylist Heather Chapman (@heatherchapmanhair). “I would never do that again—I would definitely hire an assistant.”
A good rule of thumb is a ratio of one stylist for every five clients. “I’ve done some local weddings that have up to 15 bridesmaids,” says Melissa Brooke (@mbhairmakeupmaui), an on-location bridal stylist based in Maui. “And in that case, I would bring three to four stylists.” “My limit is six girls a day,” adds Annette Waligora (@annette_updo_artist). “So I’ll bring an assistant if there are any more than that.” Lauren Parker and Lorena Molano, founders of LoLa Beauty in Austin, Texas, bring as many team members as it takes to complete the bridal party in five hours. This usually ends up being two to five artists, they say.
Most experts also agree it’s best to save the bride’s hair for last. “I always make sure to do the bride’s hair last,” says Melissa. “This ensures it stays as fresh as possible.”
On the benefit of adding makeup to your wheelhouse…
Five of our seven bridal experts offer both hair and makeup, and they all say it has improved their business. “Once I realized how much I was going to like the bridal business, I started to learn makeup, too—I just took a few classes,” says Melissa. “To be more marketable here [in Maui], you need to do both. Plus, that way you don’t have to rely on someone else. It’s just easier.”
On questions to ask before the big day…
Whether it’s right when you’re booked, or during the trial run, it’s crucial to ask your bride-to-be questions, and lots of them. California-based stylist Melina Ruiz (@beautybymelina) always sends an email questionnaire during her initial booking. Here are some of the points she includes:
When is the last time the client got her hair/makeup done, and for what occasion?
How did she hear about Melina?
Aesthetically, which celebrity does she relate to?
How does she normally wear her hair and makeup? (Melina also asks for photos of how they wear their hair and makeup on a daily basis, and how they wear it for special occasions. Sometimes she’ll even ask them to show a photo of themselves the last time they got their hair or makeup done and ask what they liked and didn’t like about the look.)
A link to her wedding Pinterest board
Lauren and Lorena always make sure when asking for inspiration photos to ask the bride to narrow it down to three to five photos. “Then, we’ll look at the photos together and see what they all have in common,” Lauren says. They’ll also ask, “What is it specifically that you like about this hair?” “One time a bride showed us a photo of hair blowing horizontally in the wind,” Lauren laughs. “But that was good because we learned that what she liked about it was how effortless, soft and feminine it was.” Other questions LoLa Beauty ask include, “Which way do you usually wear your part?” “Are you wearing a veil?” and, if so, “Do you want to wear your veil over your bun or under your bun?” “The ‘how did you hear about us?’ question is especially important because it’s a good tool to find out what’s working for us business-wise,” they add.
On what to bring in your styling kit…
So you got the job—now you need to prep for the big day. What should you bring in your kit? Here’s what some of our experts had to say:
“I always bring a Mason Pearson Brush, Kenra Professional Platinum Dry Texture Spray for adding grip and pliability to updos, Kenra Professional Medium Hold Hairspray and a Pink Pewter “Never Let Go” Styling Comb—one of my favorites! – Annette Waligora
“I love using the ghd Curve Soft Curl Iron to create that perfect, romantic wavy look.” – Stephanie Brinkerhoff (@hairandmakeupbysteph)
“I am a huge Oribe fan. My go-to products are Oribe Volumista Mist for Volume and Oribe Superfine Hairspray. I could do a whole wedding party with just those two products. And I’ve always worked with a SuperSolano Hair Dryer—they’re very powerful.” – Heather Chapman
“We like Redken hairsprays—like Fashion Work 12 and Workforce 09 Flexible Volumizing Spray. We also like to bring texturizing sprays and dry shampoo for extra volume and texture.” – LoLa Beauty
Want more bridal business tips?
Check out part four here!
5 Bridal Styling Tricks You Should Be Using
Every Upstyle Should Start with This…
4 Tips for your Best Braids
The Bridal Business Bible (Part 2)
The Bridal Business Bible (Part 1)
5 Valentine’s Day-Worthy Updos
How-To: 2 Country-Inspired Festival Looks