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Letter to Brides: Why Hair & Makeup Trials Matter

A cou­ple of years ago, my dear friend gave me an incred­i­bly thought­ful gift—a per­son­al pho­to­shoot with one of my favorite pho­tog­ra­phers in town. Oth­er than hav­ing my pho­tos tak­en as a kid, I tru­ly haven’t had many oppor­tu­ni­ties to get pro­fes­sion­al pho­tos. Need­less to say, I was more than excit­ed. It saw it as a chance for me to look and feel my best, and cap­ture the sen­ti­ment to ref­er­ence for years to come. 

Before the pho­to­shoot, I tried my best to prep accord­ing­ly. I put togeth­er a cou­ple of out­fits; I pinned pho­to­shoot ideas on Pin­ter­est; I hydrat­ed appro­pri­ate­ly; I got plen­ty of sleep. I even hired some­one to do my make­up. I thought this was the per­fect for­mu­la for a hap­py shoot. Now hav­ing seen the pho­tos, I wish I’d done things a bit dif­fer­ent­ly. Don’t get me wrong, the photographer’s work was and always has been beau­ti­ful. The main rea­son I didn’t feel great about my pho­tos is pri­mar­i­ly due to my hair and style of make­up. 

Full dis­clo­sure, it didn’t even cross my mind to get my hair done that day. Dur­ing my make­up appoint­ment, the artist asked me what I was going to do with my hair. I respond­ed with the usu­al, “I’m wear­ing it down.” (Side note: This is how I wear my hair every day.) Of course, after that, it was out of sight, out of mind. I didn’t think about my hair any­more until after the pho­tog­ra­ph­er sent over the pho­tos.

Bride getting ready

Here’s the thing: I strive for a neat appear­ance, but I don’t fix my hair every day. I also wear fair­ly light make­up to the point that peo­ple often­times think I don’t wear any. When I saw my pho­tos, it dawned on me that while I may have slight­ly disheveled hair every day and wear nat­ur­al make­up, I didn’t have to por­tray the every­day me in my pho­tos. For spe­cial occa­sions, what­ev­er they may be, it’s ok to step out­side of the box and do some­thing dif­fer­ent. And believe me, look­ing back, I would have done some­thing dif­fer­ent. I would have made a hair appoint­ment rather than sport my less than par beach waves I achieve by scrunch­ing my hair in my hands and using sea salt spray.

I also would have gone for a dif­fer­ent approach with my make­up. At first, I was pleas­ant­ly sur­prised with how it turned out. Com­pared to my typ­i­cal look, it was cer­tain­ly an enhance­ment. For the pho­tos; how­ev­er, the nat­ur­al look wasn’t enough.

It imme­di­ate­ly made me think of a con­ver­sa­tion I had with a friend a mine from a few years back. We were get­ting ready for her wed­ding and long sto­ry short, she decid­ed to do her make­up. I noticed she was apply­ing it rather heavy, and before I could even say or ask any­thing, she let me know her heav­ier appli­ca­tion was inten­tion­al. Her explanation—you want your face to have some col­or in the pho­tos. Not only that, but she want­ed it to be seen dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny itself. She told me she learned this styling trick when she per­formed on dance teams as a kid. At the time, my au naturel self told me this was way too much, but years lat­er, I stand cor­rect­ed. I com­plete­ly get this thought now.

Bride getting ready and putting on earrings

So what’s the point in telling you all of this? 

Your wed­ding day is a moment in time that you will revis­it for years to come, whether it’s through pho­tos or videos. I’m not shar­ing all of this to keep you from choos­ing a more nat­ur­al look for your wed­ding day if that’s what you pre­fer. I think when it comes to your make­up and hair, the key is know­ing what it is that you tru­ly want. I also think it’s about know­ing what makes you feel beau­ti­ful and incred­i­ble. For me, I now under­stand that step­ping out­side of my every­day look is impor­tant in mak­ing me feel this way. It would have been help­ful to know this before going into the pho­to­shoot that my friend spent an arm and a leg on, but live and learn, right?

Prepa­ra­tion cer­tain­ly helps, but take my advice, do some tri­al runs before you reach what­ev­er deci­sion you make for your wed­ding day. Before attend­ing any hair and make-up tri­al, it’s impor­tant to square away the fol­low­ing details:

  • The dress pur­chase. Also, it’s not a bad idea to bring this with you to your appoint­ments.
  • Your wed­ding date and loca­tion. The sea­son and wed­ding where­abouts mat­ter a lot, espe­cial­ly when it comes to choos­ing types of make-up and hair prod­ucts to best sup­port the cli­mate.
  • Your style and col­or palette. 

As you pre­pare for one of the most impor­tant days of your life, I hope that you will find what makes you feel beau­ti­ful both inside and out. Con­grat­u­la­tions on your hap­py ever after!

Fea­tured image by Kay Kroshus

Bride and bridesmaids getting ready and posing with champagne
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