How to Simply Determine Your Wedding Day Hair and Makeup Schedule

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How to Simply Determine Your Wedding Day Hair and Makeup Schedule
Photo by Alicia Lacey Photography

Are you starting to reach out to hair and makeup artists for your wedding day? You may find many vendors asking you what time you will need to be ready by as part of an initial series of questions. This may leave you scratching your head and feeling confused as to how to answer. So we’re breaking it down for you so you can accurately and confidently answer what time you need to be done. You’ll want to make sure you’re fully covered with enough hair stylists and makeup artists to get you and all your girls ready in time on your wedding day! Keep reading for a simple way to figure out your wedding day hair and makeup schedule.

Identify How Many Ladies Need Services

Make note of how many in your wedding party, mothers, or any other wedding day VIPs will need hair and makeup. The numbers may not be the same for both hair and makeup if some ladies only want hair and some only want makeup. Don’t assume that everyone will get both wedding day hair and makeup unless that’s a request you have of them! Keep this count handy, we’ll come back to it!

How to Simply Determine Your Wedding Day Hair and Makeup Schedule
Photo by E. Losinio Photography

Determine Your Photographer’s Start Time

This will require knowing your ceremony start time and deciding what’s most important for your photographer to capture prior to the start of your ceremony. Do you want to have as many photos done before the ceremony so you can enjoy your cocktail hour? You may want your photographer to arrive anywhere from 3-4 hours prior to your ceremony start time. Once the photographer’s arrival time has been confirmed, you’ll work backwards to figure out what time you need to be done with hair and makeup. Add in a buffer time of 30 minutes before the photographer arrives if you can! This not only helps with any delays in the hair and makeup timeline, but also gives you some time to rest and take a moment to relax before having to hop into your dress and begin the long day of photos!

Confirm Earliest Access Time for Your Getting Ready Space

Where will you be getting ready for the day? Will you be in a hotel or an Air BnB, or will you be getting ready at your venue in a dedicated bridal suite space? If getting ready on site at your venue, what time can you access the space? You may need to review your venue contract to gather this information or confirm directly with your venue manager. If you get ready off site at a hotel or Air BnB, you’ll have a lot more flexibility on the start time for hair and makeup vs. getting ready at the venue where you’re likely limited to getting ready only during certain times based on when you can get into the bridal suite. Write down the number of hours you have between bridal suite access time and your “done by time” to be ready for photos with your photographer.

How to Simply Determine Your Wedding Day Hair and Makeup Schedule
Photo by Bakerture Photo and Video

Share the Number of Hours for Getting Ready with Your Hair and Makeup Team

As soon as possible, let your hair and makeup team know how many hours you have for getting ready. Ask them how much time it will take them to do hair for each lady getting ready and how much it will take for makeup. Note that the bride will usually take longer to get ready than everyone else. Together with your hair and makeup team, you can determine whether there’s enough time to get all the ladies ready within the allotted number of hours you have prior to being ready for photos. If you find that you can’t get everyone done within the allotted number of hours, have a conversation with your vendor to see if they can add an additional stylist or artist to help get everyone ready in time. Most vendors will default to sending just one hair stylist and just one makeup artist for the wedding day unless you have venue time constraints or a large wedding party that will require multiple artists to get everyone done in time.

Make a Spreadsheet to List Out Your Schedule

Make a schedule for the day based on the number of artists you will have and how long it will take each lady to get ready. We love to use Google spreadsheets for this! For example, if you have one makeup artist and one hair stylist, create a column for each artist and then list out everyone in your wedding party who will need that service and how long it will take them to have the service completed. Be sure to note the venue access time at the top of the spreadsheet and account for the amount of time each vendor will need to set up and prep their stations. Usually hair and makeup teams like to arrive anywhere from 15-30 minutes or more before they’re scheduled to start with the first person getting ready. Add in time at the end for any touch ups your stylist may want to do and note their departure time.

How to Simply Determine Your Wedding Day Hair and Makeup Schedule
Photo by Samia’s Studios

Pro Tip: We suggest assigning each lady getting ready a specific color on the schedule so you can make sure there’s no overlap with having one lady scheduled to get both hair and makeup at the same time, which won’t be possible! If you see the same block of color under the hair styling column and makeup column at the same time in the schedule, then you know you need to do some rearranging to fix the order in which each lady will be getting ready.


Looking to save yourself the headache of figuring this all out on your own? Contact us to see how our team of experienced wedding planners in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC can help you check one more task off your to-do list!

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