TWIRL BRIDE BLOGGER || Deciding on Your Bridal Look (Insight from a Pro)

Friends! Hiii!! Sorry for almost a month of silence. It's been a whirlwind of a month but we are back and SO excited to share today's post! Our fabulous Twirl Bride Blogger, Allison Johnson of Pink LouLou Design Studio, is sharing her expert & honest opinions with us about the way to go about deciding on your bridal look. This is always such a big decision for brides and we are thrilled to have Allie share all her wisdom with y'all! Xo

Deciding on Your Bridal Look: The Inside Scoop From a Pro Hair and Makeup Artist

by Allison Johnson

Photo by The Malicotes

Photo by The Malicotes

Choosing your wedding day hair and makeup style may be one of the most important decisions you make for your wedding day. And no I am not just saying this because I am a hair and makeup artist, I honestly believe this! Your hair and makeup is one of the first things you will have done on your wedding day that will set the tone for how you feel! Now I know I know, beauty is on the inside and that is the truth, BUT you absolutely want to feel confidant, and feel like you are your most beautiful self! You will have more pictures taken on this day than probably any other day in your life, so you better make sure you love your hair and makeup! How do you ensure this you ask? Well you have come to the right place my friends. As the newly crowned 2017 Best Hairdresser of the South (Thanks Southern Weddings for this incredible honor!!) I feel I have some credibility on this subject! I could write you an entire book of my bridal hair and makeup knowledge, but instead, I tried to narrow it down to what I think are the most widely useful bits of advice!

Spring for the Professionals.

Photo by Aesthetiica

Photo by Aesthetiica

I totally understand budget constraints, I am planning a wedding too y’all, but I highly recommend not skimping when it comes to hair and makeup. If you truly feel confidant enough to do your own, that is great! I have come across very few in my day that feel comfortable enough with their abilities to do their own hair and makeup on their big day, so I suggest taking the stress off yourself, and booking the pro’s! Your bridesmaids will appreciate being pampered as well! That being said, make sure you do your research on hair and makeup artists. Talk to friends; find out who they used and who had positive experiences. Find someone that specializes in special event styling, not just cutting and coloring. I know many hair stylists that would rather die than do a wedding, but who excel at cut and color. Make sure they actually do weddings often! I suggest not going the budget route on this one, because $35 of hair and makeup is going to look like $35 of hair and makeup. Also, bridey’s, don’t feel like you need to pay for everyone’s hair and makeup! In my experience, most often bridesmaids are more than happy to foot the bill for their portion. They want to look like rock stars too ya know! We book hair and makeup about a year or more in advance for weddings we do, so don’t wait until the last minute on this one, or you will be stuck with limited options. 

Do Your Research.

I can’t tell you how many times I do a trial run with a bride, and she says” I am not really sure what I want, I haven’t thought about it yet”.  Girls, this is important! Think about it!! Haha! Get your little bridal butt on Pinterest and start pinning! I personally LOVE having pinspiration when it comes to working with my clients. It let’s me easily see things they like, or dislike. Also, it is very important to look at pictures of girls with hair like yours. Updo’s always look different on different hair colors. If you have blonde hair, look at blonde pictures, and likewise if you are brunette! If you are a natural redhead, then you are a unicorn and you can look at anything you want. Red hair is gorgeous, and often styles well in any ‘do. 

Exhibit A:

Photo by Meg Wilson

Photo by Meg Wilson

Also, keep in mind a lot of those beautiful pictures you see on Pinterest are full of secret extensions. Talk to your stylist about this. Clip in extensions save lives you know. Always better to have more hair than not enough I say!

The Great Hair Down vs. Hair Up Debate. 

I feel like this is very important and I need you girls to really hear me on this. It is very hard to wear your hair down on wedding days. It is a long day, people are hugging you, it could be raining, it could be 90 degrees and humid, I just don’t know—it is unpredictable. If your hair is down, or half up half down, I can almost assure you with certainty that your hair will fall, and be a hot mess at your reception. If you chose to forgo my professional warnings, and wear your hair down, I highly suggest having your hair stylist come back and put your hair up after the ceremony before the reception. And for the LOVE if you are going to wear it down, you 100% need clip in extensions! They hold curl better and help give your hair some structure and fullness. Now, I have really given this some thought, and I think a lot of people are scared of the word “updo” because trust me, I have seen some baaaad ones too. Please see paragraph 1 above, on picking the right stylist who specializes in wedding hair. If my clients are on the fence at their bridal trial, I am always happy to do it down first, and then throw it up after. I truly think they will be happier in the long run with it up, so I like to be able to show them both options. Updo's do not have to be boring, or "slicked to your head" as I hear so often, haha! Here are of some of my favorites I've done recently. 

Look at all that full hair! And I guarantee these gals won't be worried about their hair when they are shaking a tail on the dance floor! Nope, they will look flawless.


My favorite example of hair down for ceremony, then up for reception, is my bride from a few years ago, Brooke! How gorgeous is she by the way?

Photos by Todd Pellowe

Photos by Todd Pellowe

While Brooke wanted to wear her pretty locks down for the ceremony, she heeded my advice and let me put it up for the reception so she could dance with her new hubby and not have to worry about her hair getting stringy or the curl falling. I betcha if we asked her she would say this was a great decision! 

Hair and Makeup in Photos, What You Need to Know.

When you are thinking about hair and makeup for your big day, it is important to understand that your hair needs to be a little bigger, and your makeup a little bolder. It is perfectly fine to want a natural look, but it is important to understand that even a natural look looks best when done a little bit more than you would normally wear it on say, a Tuesday. It’s your wedding!! I always take pictures and video of my brides at their trial runs, so they can see what is coming back off the camera, because it is definitely different than what you see one inch away from the mirror you are looking in. (Side note, no one should ever look that closely in a mirror, trust!) Your hair and makeup should be able to stand up to your dress, and your shoes and veil—all fancy things! Also, your reception will likely be dark, so a little more than normal is a smart move!  Your makeup artist surely has done this many times, so have a little faith! You picked her for a reason, remember that!

Both of these clients of mine both wanted a more natural look, and were scared about having on too much makeup. But once I showed them the photos, they were both absolutely in love! How beautiful are these ladies? 

I asked a few of my favorite professional photogs what they had to say on the matter. Kelsey Malicote touted the importance of makeup "Photos can often wash you out, so it is helpful to have a little extra, know what I mean? Eyelashes, so important. They really open up your eyes and look great in photos. Also lip color; it helps to have a bolder lip than you may be use to. Throw out that old motto of less is more, more is more girl!" Claire Singleton with Claire and Barrett says “Professional hair and makeup can make or break photos on wedding day. Professional artists know how make-up translates to pictures. They are also able to provide looks that  last through all the happy tears, hugs and kisses that you should be able to experience without thinking twice about whether your hair or makeup can hold up. Professional hair and makeup truly makes my job as a photographer so much easier!”

Thanks Kelsey and Claire!! Speaking of products that hold up—LipSense, heard of it? If not you should definitely ask me about it! It is my go to for bridal clients. No more lipstick marks on your hubby, or your champagne glass. Win-win. 

Trial Run: What to Expect, and How to Best Prepare.

A trial run is very important when it comes to wedding day hair and makeup. A trial run not only puts you at ease, but your stylist as well! I suggest doing your trial run 30-45 days out from your wedding. This gives you ample time to prepare, look at pictures, gather your veil and any hairpieces, etc. I have found if you do trials too far in advance, you may change your mind on what you want, or forget completely what you even looked like, ha! I suggest coming to your trial with clean hair, and a makeup free and moisturized face. If you haven’t washed your hair in two days and have it in a bun on top of your head, it is going to be difficult for me to make you fabulous. Whoever is spreading the lie that “dirty hair is best” needs to cut it out. Not always the case my friends. I prefer clean hair any day, as I can use products to achieve what I need to. If you can, schedule your dress fitting around your hair and makeup trial, so you can see the look come together! It is hard to imagine how it is going to look when you have super fancy hair and makeup, and are wearing yoga pants. Also, this is very important. What if you are NOT happy with your trial? Let your stylist know, please! I am always thankful when a bride lets me know about adjustments that need to be made. I know this can be difficult, because you don’t want to hurt feelings, but a professional stylist will always welcome the feedback and appreciate the chance to make it right. I always tell my clients "I do this everyday, you will not hurt my feelings, so please let me know if we need to make any changes”. We stylists want you to be happy, so please communicate with us if you are not 100% happy! 

Well, that was a novel. I apologize. I hope that this helps those of you getting married to be more knowledgeable going into the hair and makeup process! I think I have been most excited about creating this post! Now the big question, who is doing MY hair and makeup for my wedding?! Do you know this is the most common question I have been asked, so funny! I am actually going to do my own hair, and my super talented MUA friend Amelia Evans is going to do my makeup! We are going to get ready in my house, super laid back and chill. That is just how I have always imagined the day, really relaxed, just getting myself ready at my house. I can’t wait! 87 days Y’all!! 

*All the ladies featured in this post are past clients of mine. If you need some more inspiration for hair and makeup looks, feel free to peruse my portfolio on our website, which can be found here