Updated: Mar 13
It’s easy to underestimate just how long it takes to do bridal makeup and hair and do it to a high standard so that you look gorgeous on the day and well into the evening. After all who doesn’t want to be breath taking on their wedding date! From almost all the trials I’ve done each bride has been surprised at the length of time it’s taken to complete their makeup, hair or both. So you might be wondering, how long does wedding hair and makeup take? The answer: kind of a long time! The reason for this is we will talk in great detail about your likes and dislikes. Some times a bride who's inexperienced with hair and makeup don't even know what they like so that takes more time as well.
Preparation & Skill
Often brides don’t take into account the time and the process that is required to prepare hair properly before any styling begins or to prepare their skin before applying the makeup. When we do our own makeup a lot of women would assume a quick application of primer would suffice and continue with foundation or some times even skip the primer and go straight into foundation. But primer is not the only thing needed to achieve a beautiful look. When we do our own makeup or hair it’s done in 15 / 20 minutes? A quick brush through the hair, maybe a bun and mascara, a bit of lipstick and out the door… right?
On your wedding day if you want to look stunning, your absolute best self and all your bridesmaids and mom too you should allow at least 45 minutes per service per person for your bridal party and for a natural makeup look at least an hour for the bride. To perfect your beautifully detailed makeup look or for a more glamorous look you can expect an hour and a half.
Having a simple eye or a more natural makeup look does not necessarily mean less time, unless you have flawless skin with no imperfections at all, no color correcting requirements and no need for any eyelashes, it still takes time and skill to create a naturally beautiful bridal look and that (amongst other things) is what you are paying for.
Here are some tips to get a general idea of how long hair & makeup will take on your big day.
Figure out who’s paying for what
This is key since you can’t really account for what services you’ll need until you know what’s in the budget. If you’re paying for the entire bill, it’s okay for you to dictate which services each attendant will get. If they will be expected to pay, there’s a good chance they'll do their own makeup. Either way, knowing this ahead of time will help your stylist be prepared and is something they might require.
Know which services each person will be receiving
Once you figure out the budget and what services everyone will have, you'll want to met with your stylist and set up a game plan. Be prepared by having pictures of what each attendant's hair will be like and possibly pictures of the attendant so that the stylist knows what they're working with.
Get an estimate of how long each service will take
While it may only take about 15 to 20 minutes to style a bun, a dramatic up do or longer look with lots of curls could take upwards of 45 minutes for each bridesmaid. And that’s just an estimate. Each salon will likely quote a slightly different time requirement, so be sure to clear this with your specific stylist or salon in order to determine how long your gang's wedding hair and makeup will take.
Communicate your expectations to your wedding party
Need your ladies to arrive with day-old hair? Many stylist prefer this as day-old hair is best for up dos since it grips much better than clean hair. Talk to your stylist to see what they require. Having dry hair may also be necessary and time saving as blow-drying hair takes time. Getting your eyebrows done is also something that you and your girl gang should consider a day or two before getting your makeup done to ensure your makeup looks the best.
Have a schedule
Once all these details are done you should be able to draw up a rough schedule for the morning and determine how long your wedding hair and makeup will take. Be sure to inform everyone ahead of time when they need to arrive and where they should go.
Remember to have fun
We know, things can get pretty stressful when you’re trying to keep everyone on a tight schedule. Just don’t forget to enjoy yourself. It’s a celebration after all!
Sample Getting-Ready Timelines
Timeline #1: Four bridesmaids, one hair stylist, two makeup artist, 12pm end time
8:00 a.m. Meet at salon
8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Bridesmaids’ #1 & #2 hair begins (~30–45 min each)
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Bridesmaids’ #3 & #4 & #1 Make-up begins
(~30–45 min each)
9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Bridesmaids’ #2 Make-up begins (~30–45 min)
9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Bridesmaids’ #3 & #4 hair begins (~30–45 min each)
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Bride’s Make-up (~60–90 min)
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Bride’s Hair
Timeline #2: Six bridesmaids, MOB, MOG, two hair stylists, two makeup artist, 2:00pm end time
10:00 a.m. Meet at salon
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Bridesmaids’ hair (~30–45 minutes x 4 bridesmaids per hair stylist)
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Bridesmaids’ Makeup (~30–45 minutes x 4 bridesmaids per hair stylist)
12:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Brides’ makeup (~60-90 minutes)
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Brides' hair (~60-90 minutes)