Of all things on my wedding planning to-do list, having a wedding hair trial and wedding makeup trial were the tasks I was most excited about. An afternoon being pampered and (hopefully) transformed into a blushing bride while sipping on Champagne? Ah, yes please!
More than just a jolly though, my trial was much more engaging than expected. In fact, sitting down with makeup artist Nadia Matoorian-Farrow and hair stylist Zara Vernazza from Portraits Bridal, not only was I was transformed into the most ‘can’t stop looking at myself in the mirror’ bride, but I learnt a lot throughout the day as well.
Take Instagram inspo with a pinch of salt
Like most brides-to-be, I came to my trial with a bunch of saved images (think bronzed glowing skin and beachy waves - pictured above) on Instagram. And while this is one of the best ways to find your inspiration, Nadia advises to err with caution and take it all with a pinch of salt.
“A lot of the looks that are popular on Instagram won’t always translate to bridal,” says Nadia. “Because most brides will be wearing it during the day, what looks good photographed in front of a ring light for Instagram won’t always work on your wedding day when you want to look great in photos, but also in person as well.”
Equally, Zara advises to not go too extreme with your inspiration images, unless you're used to trying lots of different looks.
"Seeing a style in an image and then seeing it on yourself can be two very different things," says Zara.
Look to people with similar colourings to you for inspiration
When I asked Zara and Nadia what their best tip for choosing the best bridal look was, they both recommended finding inspiration from people with similar colourings to you.
“Sometimes it’ll be a really olive skinned and dark-haired bride and they’ll bring a photo of a blonde person. And we have to sort of explain that that’s not going to look good on them,” says Nadia. “A Kim Kardashian smokey eye and a Gwyneth Paltrow smokey eye are going to be very different.”
It’s an amazing opportunity for non-biased product tips
This was the biggest perk for me, and one I had no idea about. If you’ve ever wanted to go shopping with your own personal glam squad that’s not aligned to a certain brand, this is that opportunity! Not only did Zara and Nadia talk me through every step that they did, they also told me each and every product they used.
From browns (Nadia loves Anastasia Beverly Hills brow powders) to foundation (YSL is her favourite) and texturizing spray (Zara loves Bedroom Hair by Kevin Murphy), I got to quiz the experts on their favourite products and try them for myself. After the trial, I was sent a list of all the products that they used, so I could purchase what I wanted.
It’s more than just makeup and hair spray
From eyebrows to hair length, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that your bridal hair and makeup artists can offer mini services on the day to perfect your look. During my trial, Nadia prepped by skin with a mini facial as well as applied individual false eyelashes and even offered to touch up my eyebrows on the day. “I’ll also often add foundation to the body as well and can even cover tattoos if needed – we just need to factor in more time on the day.”
Similarly, Zara advised that she could add hair extensions on the day if I wanted an even thicker look.
“I can put in clip-in extensions just for the day. It can be a great option if your wanting a voluminous look but have thin hair,” says Zara. “I’ll often cut the extensions to your length, so it looks more natural.”
Equally, if you’re planning to wear a hair accessory or veil, that’s something your hair artist will place on you on the day too.
Don't be afraid to speak up
I’ll admit I'm guilty of telling a hair dresser that I liked the haircut they gave me, only to go home and have a little cry because I actually hated it. But of all the times to speak your mind and not worry about hurting someone’s feelings, your hair and makeup trial is it.
“Be honest, that’s the whole point of the trial,” says Nadia.
And Nadia and Zara gave me plenty of opportunities to give them feedback without feeling awkward. Throughout each step they both asked me what I thought of the look and also how it felt.
When I looked in the mirror at the end, I’ll admit to being slightly shocked because I’d never seen myself so “done” before. But after the initial glance I began to take it in properly and fall in love with it. I let them know about a few tweaks I could think of in the moment, and post trial, once I’d had more time to take in the look as well, I messaged them a few more changes I'd like made on the day.
It’s okay to change your appearance post trial
Between my trial and my big day, I had a laundry list of treatments I was looking to get done; spray tan, eyelash extensions, more foils in my hair. When I mentioned this to Zara and Nadia, they didn’t flinch. “We bring everything on the day,” says Nadia “So if your tan is darker or your hair is shorter, we just adjust it as we need to.”
While tweaks and changes are fine, Zara is quick to recommend not over processing your hair too much before the day “Most brides know not to over-colour their hair before the wedding, but on the other side of the spectrum, don’t go too crazy with conditioning," says Zara. "When it’s too soft, it’s very difficult to style, so I recommend doing a hair mask a week before the wedding.”
Your trial will take longer than it does on the day
All together my hair and makeup trial took around four hours. Before you gasp at this time frame, it wasn’t four hours of straight hair and makeup application. Instead, the trial involved a lot of talking, preparing, trialling, questions and product advice.
"It’s quite a nice experience for you, because you’ll be nice and relaxed and excited for the daY," says Nadia.
“We’ll also send across a detailed timetable with what to expect and instructions for how to prep your hair and skin for the day, so you'll know exactly what to do” says Zara.