Ask any bride who planned her wedding in six months or less what the hardest part of the process was, and she's likely to mention something about vendors. She's not lying to you; it can definitely be challenging to book the vendors you want when your planning window is limited! That's because—thanks to that "traditional" 12-18 month wedding planning timeline so many couples continue to follow—many vendors book up to a year in advance.
But that's not to say that it's impossible! Hiring a well-connected wedding planner is a great first step toward securing the A-team of your dreams, as this will give you access to the company's preferred vendor list—a resource that will (seriously) expedite your search. Even if a wedding planner isn't in your budget, though, don't lose heart. There are still things you can do on your own to ensure that you find the best vendors in every category in six months or less.
To help you do just that in the hair and makeup department, I've interviewed Kaleigh Caver, Owner + Founder of The Styling Stewardess in Dallas, Texas. Read on for her top tips for booking a hair and makeup artist when planning a wedding on a short engagement timeline!
How far out are you typically booked?
"I start booking weddings six months out, but because we are a large company with multiple stylists, we are able to take more than one wedding per Saturday. If a bride chooses to have her wedding on a *non-typical day, like Friday or Sunday, we can accommodate that booking about three months out."
*BONUS TIP: This is a GREAT idea for brides planning weddings in six months or less. Not only will booking your wedding on a non-typical day open up a whole new range of available venues and vendors for you, but you're likely to score a better price point, too!
If a bride is in a hurry, would it be a good idea to schedule her trial on the same day as her engagement photos?
"Yes! We always encourage our brides to use their trial for something, and especially for a gown fitting. That allows them to see the entire look together to make sure they really like how their hair is styled with their dress."
What should a bride look for when booking a hair and makeup artist?
"Look at the stylist's Instagram to see if you like their style, and also look at their reviews on multiple sites. Referrals from friends are always the best, though, because you can ask them detailed questions and learn more than what you typically find in reviews."
Some brides go through 3-4 trials before settling on their final look, but brides who are planning weddings in six months or less don't have time for that. What's the best way for a bride to narrow down the look she wants before arriving for her trial?
"For hair and makeup, we always recommend going with a fancier version of what you normally do. So if you always wear your hair up in a pony, you may feel more comfortable with an updo because hair on your neck may bother you. On the other hand, if you always wear your hair down, maybe go with a half-up or a side-swept look; having your hair up could make you feel uncomfortable if your hair is usually down and is your security blanket. The same goes for makeup. If you never wear much makeup, I wouldn't go crazy on your wedding day because you won't feel like yourself. Stick with what you're used to, but just a glam'd-up version of that...with the exception of false lashes. Everyone should always wear false lashes!"
Is Pinterest a bride's friend or foe when it comes to wedding hair and makeup?
"Pinterest is great and may help narrow down your search. I always suggest looking at pictures that feature your same hair color; this should give you a better expectation of how your hair will look. I have had brunette brides show me pictures of braided blonde hair styles, and they ended up being disappointed because the braid wasn't as noticeable on them—I had to explain that blonde hair shows detail and texture better than brunette hair. So again, looking at pictures that feature your hair color and even skin coloring will help you and your stylist set realistic expectations."
What if a bride is planning a destination wedding? Should she book a stylist based in her hometown and pay for them to travel to her wedding, or look for someone at the destination?
"As a stylist, I always think you should bring someone from your hometown. But it all depends on your priorities; how you look in your pictures on your wedding day might not be that big of a deal to you, and if so, you could do your own hair and makeup. If looking your best is a priority, though, and you can't or don't want to do your hair and makeup yourself, consider booking a stylist. Being able to do trials and bridal portraits at home is a great run-through, and it's one less thing you have to worry about on your wedding day."
Any other advice or tips for brides planning a wedding in six months or less?
"Do whatever is going to make your wedding day less stressful! If that means meeting with your stylist just to go over questions, or doing three trials, then do it! If you need to bring your stylist with you to your destination wedding or want to bring your posse to your trial run, do it! It's your day and you need to do whatever is going to make you comfortable and happy."
Looking for more info about how to plan a wedding in six months or less? Download our FREE planning timeline + checklist below and check out our complete 70+ page wedding planning guide here. It's written from experience and 100% dedicated to planning a wedding in six months or less!