Updated: Mar 24
Author: Nancy Dawson, Founder, BRIDEface
Chances are, you've never planned a wedding before. You may be new to the concept of scouting and securing vendors. After fourteen years of this, we have seen a LOT of missteps. So let me walk you through what this should look like.
FINDING BEAUTY PROS
Crowdsource through your recently married friends to see who they use. Search #cincinnatibridalmakeup and #cincinnatibridalhair on insta. You check out websites and Facebook pages. Ask your photographer! Think of how intensely they are looking at brides when they are editing; they KNOW who the great makeup artists are!
Many vendors do list their rates on their sites, which saves you time contacting someone who may not even be in your budget. Now you should be ready to reach out to see if your chosen vendor is open on your date. The vast majority of our clients go ahead and lock down their date with a deposit and contract, and then do their trial runs closer to the wedding. Many times if you do a trial a year or more before your event, it is simply too early-you may not have your gown, or know what kind of style you even want. You also may be growing out your hair, and need more length to achieve the updo you want. There have been times that I have met with brides who have already had multiple trial runs with various artists. Spending a lot of money on "trying out" artists can really blow your budget and take up a ton of your time. You should really be able to tell by an artist's work on her website and instagram if they have the aesthetic you are seeking. Then you can put all those trial fees elsewhere! Also if you have a clear idea of what you want you shouldn't need multiple trials anyway (more on that in my next blog!)
That being said, if you do feel more comfortable having a trial first, do it ASAP because most artists won't sit on a date waiting for you to come in.
LOCKING IT DOWN.
Do NOT book anyone who doesn't do contracts and retainers (deposits). I cannot tell you how many times I've replaced an artist at the eleventh hour and the client tells me there was no paperwork in place. What is her impetus to show up? You must protect yourself, and frankly an artist who won't do a contract doesn't have skin in the game and does not take her business-or you-seriously.
In Jan/Feb/March, we get a HUGE volume of inquiries (all those engagements over the holidays!) It is not at all unusual to get four requests for one date in a single day. Do not underestimate the need to book early. Many bridal magazines say "book hair and makeup three months before"-I can stress how bad that advice is. We book as early as two years out. That being said-sure, we MIGHT have openings three months out, but don't leave that to chance.
A couple of emails asking for info will not get your date held, and unfortunately we do are not able to go back to prior inquiries to let them know their date is about to get booked up under them. If you have a large party it is even more important to contract us sooner rather than later, so we ensure we have enough staffing.
Our contracts ask you to commit to the number of guests needing makeup and hair. You can increase that number but you are not able to reduce it once you sign. So I typically tell brides to start out with a smaller number if they aren't sure (maybe the wedding is two years away!) and they can always add on later. (but again, add those sooner rather than later!)
Our contracts do have the names of your team clearly stated. Sometimes I *might* swap out second stylists/artists, but your lead artists (the ones doing you, the bride) will not be altered without us letting you know first. This is a very rare occurrence, but major life events happen! We have a very large team that will never, ever leave you high and dry. If you are booking a "one man show" you are well within your rights to ask what their contingency plan is, if for some reason they are unable to do your wedding. We do see a fairly large amount of brides coming to us saying their artist cancelled on them for whatever reason and they are on the hunt again. Think about whether you really want to be going through that a couple months before your wedding.
Hopefully this took some of the mystery out of the process!