How to Make Sure Your Wedding Hair and Makeup Stays on Schedule

Here's how to seamlessly schedule everyone's glam.


Photo by ANA & JEROME PHOTOGRAPHY / Design by Zackary Angeline

On the morning of your wedding, you should be relaxed, excited, and ready to get glam—and not worrying about whether the hair and makeup appointments will be on time. The key to avoiding beauty-induced stress is to know exactly when to get everyone's hair and makeup done by making sure you've got everything scheduled to a T (as well as fab artists and stylists to make it all possible).

Does the thought of all this scheduling make you, well, stressed? Don't worry. We turned to hair and makeup pros for their tips to a seamless, easy wedding morning that might even have you ahead of schedule.

Be Smart About the Order

When you're deciding who goes first, make sure you're being smart about it. "We always tell our brides to schedule the most responsible bridesmaids earlier in the morning," says Amie Decker of Amie Decker Beauty. "That way your schedule isn't held up because of the one bridesmaid who is always late to everything."

You should also consider your bridesmaids and mom's preferences. "Often the mother of the bride will want her services done earlier so she's available to help out before the ceremony," says Linsey Snyder Wachalter, owner of Face Time Beauty. "Or if a bridesmaid has young children, find out when the babysitter is arriving so she can have her hair and makeup done while someone else is watching the little ones."

But Don't Give Your Bridal Party Too Much Say

"No one wants to be the first appointment," says Christy Ogden, owner of Divine Beauty Artists. "Everyone is worried about their hair and makeup lasting throughout the day, so I always remind my clients that, even if you're the very first appointment, you'll be touched up at the end so you look fresh as you walk out the door."

Be Flexible

"I try not to think in terms of 'appointments,' but having a schedule and an order for the morning of your wedding will help keep you and your wedding party on track and make sure you're finished on time," says Beke Beau, a Philadelphia-based makeup artist. "While I will create an order of who goes when everyone should be ready and on [their] toes so [they] can get in the chair as soon as it's [their] turn."

"Strict schedules just don't work," adds Decker. Everyone's hair and skin types are different, so the services will take a different amount of time for each person. If you tell people they have an appointment time, they're more likely to be inflexible and start earlier or get nervous if their time has passed. Instead, remind everyone that the timing is fluid, and ask them to be available in a particular order without a strict time attached."

Request that anyone having their hair and makeup done be around all morning so they can easily swap appointments if someone needs to step out for a few minutes.

Keep Styles in Mind

Some artists, including Beau, prefer to do makeup after hair appointments whenever possible. "That way you're not getting hairspray on your face after you've had your makeup done," she explains. Decker likes to make the call on a case-by-case basis. "I don't usually find that the order matters much unless someone has a hairstyle with more face-framing pieces that could get in the way of applying makeup.

When someone's hair is finished, it's best to touch it as little as possible. So sometimes to keep the services moving along, we'll do most of the hair, and then finish the top or front pieces after [their] makeup is done," she suggests. Having your hair set in curls? Hop in the hair stylist's chair before moving on to makeup. "This way you can have your makeup done while your hair is setting, and then have your hair finished when you're done," says Wachalter. "It's more efficient, and you won't be stuck sitting in a chair for too long."

Schedule Services Based on Your Timeline

"When deciding what time to do the bride's appointment, it's important to know what else is going on before the ceremony. Is she doing a boudoir shoot, bridal portraits, or a first look? Then she'll need her hair and makeup done earlier in the day," explains Ogden. "If she's not doing any photos until after the ceremony, I usually do the bride's services second to last or last. If she's a little more nervous, it's better to do her appointments second to last so she has some time to relax before putting on her dress."

Decker likes to plan for the bride's services somewhere in the middle of the pack. "We want to make sure there's more than enough time for the bride since she's the most important person of the day. Doing her hair and makeup in the middle leaves time for adjustments, fixes, and a more leisurely process," she says. "It also means the bride will be in great shape when the photographer arrives or the florist drops off her bouquet. If she's out of the hair and makeup chair, she'll be able to answer questions or take care of things, and still have lots of time to relax before she gets dressed."

And don't forget the timeline when it comes to people like your mom or maid of honor. "If they are going to help you get dressed (and that moment will be photographed), their hair and makeup should be done beforehand," says Beau.

The Quickest Appointments Should Go Last

The last people in the hair and makeup chairs (before touch-ups, of course) should be the flower girls. Young girls can be fidgety, which may cause their hair to come undone if they've got too much time before the ceremony. "Flower girls also love to ask for their lip gloss to be reapplied after every sip or bite they take—no exaggerating," says Decker.

Make Sure You Have Plenty of Stylists

"When we're estimating how much time we'll need, we allow for 40 minutes per application," says Beau. "It doesn't usually take that long, but it means we won't be rushing." She likes to have one makeup artist for every six applications to keep things moving along in a timely manner. "It means we won't fall behind, which would have a big impact on the day's timeline," she says. "I rely completely on the photographer's timeline to know when I need to be finished."

Decker uses the day's timeline to determine how many stylists she'll send. "A bridal party that doesn't need to be ready until 4 p.m. has much more time than one that needs to be ready at 11 a.m., and additional stylists will cut that getting ready time in half," Decker explains. Ogden, who does both hair and makeup, can handle 10 or more services on her own, as can many of her artists. "We allocate about 30 minutes per service. Ten people having both hair and makeup would be 20 services, so in that case, I would want to schedule at least two artists to keep things moving."

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