I have learnt a lot over the last 6 years working with and making up 100’s of brides. The questions I’ve asked in the past when meeting a bridal client for her trial have changed significantly over time as I’ve learnt the best ways to work to my client’s expectations, and below I’ll explain some of the reasons why. So this is a kind of – if I could impart any wisdom from the many different trials I’ve done, this would be it – post, so I really hope this helps some of you in the run up to your wedding! The trial process may vary from hair/makeup artist to hair/makeup artist, so ensure you check on booking what to expect, but I do feel some of this can also be applied to other aspects of wedding planning – maybe choosing your dress, picking your venue – so I hope this is a little perspective that proves useful.
DO ~ Be Realistic
Now, here’s where and why my initial questions upon meeting a client have changed in the last few years – I used to ask for inspiration images for wedding makeup and start off by discussing ideas based on these, but felt increasingly as time wore on that it wasn’t as helpful in creating the right look as I wanted it to be. I’m not categorically dismissing images – of course you need a starting off point, and of course you’ll want to look over and prepare ideas, but you’ll need to be realistic about what you will feel comfortable with for your makeup, and what’s actually achievable for your own hair.
With makeup I do feel factors such as Instagram, Pinterest and the Kardashian’s faces(!) have given all of us a slightly unrealistic expectation of what we would like our wedding makeup to look like. If you wear very little makeup day to day, it is very unlikely that in your bid to feel like the very best version of your true self on your wedding day, you will actually want that heavy black and gold smoky eye you’ve double tapped on Instagram, or that super strong contour you’ve screen shotted from Pinterest. The most useful and telling questions I ask now at a trial are “What makeup do you wear every day, and what do you wear when you go out?” I show clients a few images of makeup ranging from heavy to natural and ask where they feel they sit with how much they wear and how much they think they’d like for the day – remember your idea of a smoky eye may not be my idea of a smoky eye, so this is handy to make sure you are singing from the same hymn sheet. Whatever your makeup artist does will invariably be different from what you usually do (and you’d definitely hope so!), but in my experience what most brides want is a more polished, professional version of their “normal” signature look.
I also ask clients to leave their makeup on when I arrive if they have a very specific way of applying a certain product which they’d like me to replicate – for me it can be helpful to see this, particularly if you have a signature look you like or a distinctive style. All that being said, do be open to new ideas and trying things at your trial (see point 4!)- it is only makeup, and it does come off, so if you don’t love it, no harm done – that’s what a trial is for!
I know my bridal hair stylist friends feel the same about clients’ expectations – if you show your stylist an image of Cheryl Cole’s tumbling mane and have chin length, mega fine wispy hair, with the greatest will (and stylist) in the world, and even with a head full of extensions, there are no guarantees your hair will look the same – and even if it does, even fewer guarantees that it will look as perfect after 14+ hours of wedding day fun! Remember magazine images and styled shoots are photoshoots – they aren’t real life where there is wind, or rain, or sun, or people hugging you repeatedly, or dancing, or a long busy day! The pictures you see are of models who have naturally amazing hair, who will be standing in a well-lit studio, with stylists, hair pieces and retouching on hand, where there isn’t weather or any other factor which can affect hair to contend with. Make sure you listen to what’s possible when your stylist offers guidance, as they will have the knowledge to make your hair look it’s very best whilst bearing in mind the limitations of your hair type and length.
DO ~ Be Honest
As uncomfortable as it might feel at the time, please try your best to be as honest as possible during your trials with your Hair/Makeup artist. If you don’t like something, do muster up the courage and say – without wishing to sound rude, we aren’t mind readers – remember we’ve only met you for a very short period of time so we cannot possibly know everything you do and don’t like. Remember this is our job – we aren’t going to be offended if you don’t like that lip colour/that curl is too tight/your eyes are too dark – we honestly just want you to tell us so we can amend accordingly and make you feel happy and gorgeous.
This is when it comes down to choosing the right person – someone you feel comfortable with, who is approachable, easy-going and someone you feel able to talk openly to. I speak to a lot of women who have at some point had a bad experience with hair or makeup artistry, and when I ask them if they relayed their feelings to the artist the answer is always no. Now, obviously, if it’s all completely wrong, they haven’t listened and your look is not even in the right ballpark of what you want, then no, maybe this person isn’t the right one for your big day, no matter whether you are honest with them or not. But a few tweaks here and there – it’s really no problem at all, so make sure you say if you have any questions or doubts about anything.
DO ~ Know Your Own Mind
The opinions of people you care about are important. Of course they are – we all need people in our lives from whom we can ask for advice, whose tastes and ideas we value, and whose opinion is important to you. However, if you absolutely love something, like, really, really love it, and BFF/Auntie/Mum isn’t 110% convinced, I would ask you to think about how influenced by others you should allow yourself to be, and whether denying yourself of something you want because of doubts someone else has given to you is going to be a future regret. At trials, I often discuss their influences with my clients and if the opinions of others is important to them – for some women that have a very strong sense of personal style, the opinions of others are by-the-by for them, and for other more indecisive women, they rely on the help of others to ascertain what they want. I would say wherever possible try to form your own opinion about how you’d like to look – ultimately what is most important is you feeling comfortable and beautiful, and you alone know best what makes you feel this way (even if you think you don’t – I promise you do!)
If you need help and assurance, do bring along someone to your trial – personally I’d stick with one person, as too many strong opinions can be detrimental and leave you even more confused – but make this person the one person whose opinion you value above all others, and who is always honest with you in a way you respect. If that person is your fiancé, then consider showing him your hair and makeup (gasp!) – I know some of you will be horrified by this, but in all seriousness – he is likely to tick the afore mentioned boxes, and I personally feel can be the best person to tell you if you look like “you”. Food for thought!
DO ~ Be Open Minded
All of that being said, do trust your hair and makeup artist! We have a wealth of experience in our field, and personally I honestly feel that I work best when my clients say “I trust you – do what you think” – because then I can use my skills to do exactly that. I’ll look at your face in a different way than you do your own – I’ll see all the features I want to enhance, and after making up thousands of women over the years, I can look at a client and instinctively know exactly what look I’d like to do. I’ll ask you the questions I want to ask, and I’ll do what I think will make you look amazing.
It can feel strange at first to see a new makeup look and hairstyle as we have a tendency to do the same style day in day out and fall very much into a rut, but you never know when you might fall in love with a lip colour you’ve never tried, or a palette of colours which you’d never have chosen unless you try it! If you’ve chosen a great artist they’ll use their expertise to advise you on colours and styles where you may feel lost, and they will take into account your own personal style, along with the style of your wedding, your dress, your venue, and the season to make sure it all fits together in the way you dreamt it would.
DO ~ Enjoy The Experience
Remember to let go and have fun! There aren’t a huge number of occasions in life where you’ll be able to indulge in so much pampering, so make sure you sit back, relax and retain a sense of enjoyment about your trials- they can feel nerve-racking to begin with, but with the right artist or stylist you should feel like you want to have your hair and makeup done every day by the time they are through!
I hope this proves useful – if you have any further questions or would like anymore help do let me know! Thank you to my gorgeous Love Moi Brides whose wedding images you see above.