Could you imagine arriving to your ceremony thirty mins to an hour late?! Like how scary would that be to have all your guests waiting around for an hour then and by consequence having to rush the rest of your day, which is already rushed due to the nature of weddings. This can all easily be avoided if you hire a professional wedding day hair and makeup stylist.
In this post I’m going to give you the scoop on what a professional wedding day hair and makeup stylist is. In the last five years of being completely immersed in the wedding world, I have to share that she is one of the BEST I’ve worked with. I’ve seen the alternative first hand and that’s why I’m sharing this behind the scenes resource with you. As a planner it’s my job to partner you with a team that fits your style, value and budget. Also, it’s my job to partner you up with professional vendors so you can avoid the ones that will stress you out and potentially delay your whole day. They are the first on the scene so what they do impacts the rest of the day and the rest of your team.
I met Kelli, a professional wedding day hair and makeup stylist, through a planner friend of mine. I decided to team up with Kelli because I was looking for someone that would personally care for my clients. I like knowing the people that I recommend and knowing that they will be present that day on your wedding. I don’t want my clients handed off to a group of bridal makeup artists and wedding hair stylists that are just simply available. Not that there is anything wrong with that but I personally prefer knowing who I’m working with.
The other reason I decided to partner with Kelli is that I was looking for someone that was familiar in working with various skin tones and different hair types. Women of color are especially picky about people that perform beauty services for them. For example, a lot of my asian couples are very adamant about working with someone familiar with their eye shape and hair texture. As a hispanic person myself, I have VERY thick and voluminous hair. It’s extremely important that someone is able to stylize my hair in a way that won’t come apart 2 hours into my event because of how heavy and how straight it is. My caucasian clients are typically concerned with thin hair and want volume added for a lush look but without it feeling fake or out of touch.
The last reason I was attracted to Kelli is the diversity in her portfolio. She is skilled in editorial looks and is skilled in bridal. It’s rare to find someone that can do both well and she does. Kelli in particular does bridal in a special way that aligns with my particular clients. My clients do not typically go for the overly glam look so I wanted someone that would help accentuate my clients’ beauty in a natural way. Of course due to the nature of weddings it still needs to last long so there is a very fine line we’re dealing with here between heavy makeup so it withstands the days adventures but without overdoing it. Your stylist needs to be able to do this artfully and well. I’ve also had clients come to me and say I don’t want my makeup to feel bridal-ey so Kelli brings her background from her commercial work to help with that look.
Below is my interview with Kelli of Kelli Shawn Brides and how she operates as a professional hair and makeup artist on wedding days.
BTS of Kelli Shawn Brides - Bridal Makeup Artist and Wedding Hair Stylist
1. What is your role (according to you) on the wedding day?
My role is to guide a bride through her beauty planning with customized recommendations. I believe in enhancing her best features with just the right balance of what looks good on camera and also in person. When she looks back at her wedding photos, my desire is for her to remember how radiant she felt!
2. When did you start Kelli Shawn Brides
Although I’ve been servicing brides since 2014, Kelli Shawn Brides (in name) came to life in 2017 and my company has been continuously growing and evolving around what my brides express that they need from me.
3. How did you get started in this industry/trade?
I grew up as a performer (dance, singing, acting), and I had to apply my own stage makeup and style my hair in buns, ponytails, and braids. My friends would ask me to help them, and their confidence in my basic skills at the time actually boosted my interest in the beauty industry!
4. How would you describe your style (is there anything you specialize in)?
I believe every person is naturally beautiful and I love to showcase who they are through my hair + makeup. I prefer to find out what styles/colors they are inspired by, as well as taking into account how their natural features will support these visuals. Finding a way to incorporate this information and/or suggest alternatives is where my guidance comes in! When it comes to incorporating my own taste, the styles I am inspired by are looks that have an editorial, non-conventional feel. I embrace colors, textures, and unique ideas for hair and makeup, all the while making sure these features don’t become the focus instead of the actual person in front of me!
5. What is your process like?
Simply, I start with gathering preliminary details from my inquiring bride to see if we would actually be a good fit. Should she decide to book my services, we sign an agreement, submit a retainer to hold her date, and schedule a preview appointment. The preview gives her a glimpse of the getting ready process, and gives me an opportunity to make tweaks according to her features and preferences, and find the best overall look for her.
6. What are some FAQs during your consultations and/or during the process that you specifically help couples with?
A lot of couples ask me when they should book my services for their event. My answer: ASAP! As my availability changes instantaneously; early booking is highly recommended.
Although a short touch-up window is included immediately following completion of all services, some brides request additional touch-ups during photos for a few hours and/or throughout the evening. For an additional cost, I certainly provide hair and makeup assistance throughout the wedding day for style changes and/or touch ups. This type of service can be reserved separately and is billed on an hourly basis.
For those wanting to know more about “Groom’s Grooming” - we can make him look photo-ready, too! Hair styling, neck/beard clean-ups, spot-concealing, redness reducing, skincare, under-eye brightening for discoloration, and shine reducing are some of the services we offer for our grooms, along with any guys/dads/grandpas chosen to stand with him on your special day!
7. What advice do you have for couples looking to hire a professional hair and makeup team for their big day?
I would say - definitely schedule a preview session [can also be scheduled during your engagement session] and make sure your artist is the right fit for you. Secondly, keep in mind that your style expectations may not always be a realistic option for you (example: having a compact updo with hip-length, thick hair). However, a professional will be able to guide you towards attainable suggestions or alternatives to best reach your goal.
8. What are some of the results of not booking a professional HMU artist?
The bridal industry is so impacted with makeup and hair artists that it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint who is the professional, and who isn't! Some of the main reasons a professional should always be considered for your wedding party are addressed here. For example, an unprofessional, unlicensed artist may not show up on your wedding day - leaving you in a panicked state, trying to find a replacement. Knowing you have an agreement with Kelli Shawn Brides becomes a huge peace of mind. Also, as a client, you shouldn’t ever have to worry about unsanitary conditions, but unfortunately, there are artists out there that do not clean their kits properly. Kelli Shawn Brides works with artists that have received their cosmetology/esthetician license showing that they have been trained in California’s Board of Cosmetology and Barbering standards for health and sanitation.
What is a relaxed environment worth to you? A professional with Kelli Shawn Brides will understand how to:
Navigate undesirable lighting conditions
Assess skin and hair concerns
Enforce sanitation and health standards
Consider last-minute requests
Maneuver day-of timeline changes
Clue in on the wedding planner’s and/or photographer’s expectations.
My approach is to meet the desire of a stress-free getting ready experience!
9. How do you work with other vendors?
My approach is to make sure my hair and makeup team benefits other vendors. One of the ways I do this is by creating a Beauty Timeline that matches up with the wedding planner’s overall schedule and fits into the photographer’s plans as well.
10. How would you describe the clients you work best with?
I enjoy working with brides who love being guided through the beauty process, and trust in my ability to meet their expectations. It makes my heart sing to see my brides and their gals applying the tips and tricks I share in my Skin and Hair Care Preparation Guide. My brides’ creative ideas are welcomed into our beauty planning, as my best work results from a collaborative environment.
The best way to get in contact with Kelli is through the contact form on her site:
Know yourself. Don’t try to go extra glam or under glam just because it’s your wedding day. Be true to yourself because 10 years down the line you want to recognize who you were on your wedding day. Be sure to schedule a trial and speak up during the trial AND definitely on your wedding day. Say what's on your mind because your stylist doesn’t know what they don’t know. And trust me, they won’t get offended. Their sole responsibility is to make you feel radiant on your wedding day and they can’t do that if you don’t communicate with them. If you’re not sure what you’re trying to get across, pull up looks and designs from Google or Pinterest and show her specifically what you like.
Friends, you deserve to pamper yourself on your big day. Don’t leave it up to chance, or trust your emotional state to do it yourself or worse hire a non-professional. Your hair and makeup professional affects the logistics just as much as it affects you and how you feel personally.
If you’re looking for a dream team on your wedding day so you can relax and enjoy the moment, here are some ways in which our team can help you:
Build your team of wedding day professionals that are vetted and reliable.
Find you the right locations for your wedding, for getting ready and for post-ceremony photos.
Help you put a design together that both you and your fiancé can agree with.
We’ll communicate all the small details you had no idea existed and make sure every T is crossed and I is dotted.
If you’re a busy professional with long work hours and social weekends, we’re there to take it all on for you and all you have to do is say, “Yes.”