bridal hair and makeup

Bridal Hair and Makeup 101

In Fashion Blog, Outfit Ideas & Style Tips by shubham JL

With the big day just around the corner, many brides begin thinking a lot about how they will look on their wedding day, and bridal hair and makeup are an integral part of that. Brides can wonder how to budget for the costs of these services and some of the etiquette surrounding the funding of other bridal-related things.  Knowing the ins and outs of what is to be expected can make budgeting much more stress-free.

When going into a wedding, a bride can expect to pay on average $300 for hair and makeup unless she decides to tackle it herself.  The bridal party’s hair and makeup can be paid for by the bride, the bridal party members, or even a combination of both.  Typically the bride’s family or the bride herself will pay for the wedding dress.   

Read on to see what other things there are to consider regarding bridal hair, makeup, and financial etiquette and how you can set yourself up for success, ensuring that you look and feel the way you always dreamed you would on your wedding day.

How Much Does Bridal Hair and Makeup Cost?

The makeup and hair industries are so varied in terms of pricing.  Every artist has their own style, their own skill and experience levels, and their own fees.  What you will pay for bridal hair and makeup will ultimately depend on your budget, preferences, and expectations.

The research will be your best friend when it comes to choosing a makeup and hair artist.  One thing is for sure, though, before you start: you need to know your budget. 

According to, bridal hair and makeup averages most often around $300.  Some will pay half of that amount, and some will pay twice that amount. Overall, though, it is recommended to budget at least $300 to pay for your bridal hair and makeup.  

This is typical for a single grooming session on the day of your wedding.  This often does not include a consultation beforehand where the artist will practice the look to make sure it is what you want.  It usually doesn’t include the artist staying present during the ceremony and reception to be available for touch-ups. 

You will find that most hair and makeup artists base their fee on an hourly rate. This means that their overall price at the end of the whole process could be less or more than anticipated depending on how much time was spent. 

Is the hair and makeup look you’re dreaming of more time-consuming?  The price may reflect that, so be prepared to budget accordingly.  Consider your specific look when saving for your bridal hair and makeup. 

How Much Does Bridal Hair and Makeup Cost?

If we’re just looking at makeup costs, it can feel a little bit like a roller coaster. They all charge different amounts for different things, and it changes situationally as well.

Some makeup artists are much more prestigious.  They’ve worked on people with big names and had years of experience in the wedding or entertainment industry.  They have tried and true techniques that have left bridal parties satisfied for many years.  They might use costly, high-end makeup and hair products and spend longer perfecting the look. 

Some makeup artists are much lesser-known or newer to the game.  They might bring to the table less experience but a fresh, contemporary take on the styles and looks that line up with your wedding-day dreams.  Maybe they have become masters of the drugstore aisle and can create a flawless face and perfect hair without the fortune. 

Most of them are somewhere in-between, with their preferred range of products and clients.  The only way to find the one for you is to be proactive when researching.  Look through the photos of their previous clients, read reviews, maybe even schedule a consultation. 

In 2019, discovered that the average cost that a bride paid for wedding-day makeup was around $100. 

If the look you want is more glam and airbrushed, then consider budgeting a few hundred, just to be sure that you are prepared to pay for the look you’re dreaming of.  If that’s not your vibe and you just want a natural glow, keep your budget around $100, and you might be lucky enough to have a few bucks to spare at the end of the day.

Is the Bride Supposed to Pay for Bridesmaids’ Hair and Makeup?

This is a complicated question that most brides and bridesmaids find themselves asking before a wedding.  Who pays for the bridesmaids’ hair and makeup?

Well, the answer is simple and also complicated:  it depends. 

Historically, the bride and the bride’s family would pay for the bridesmaid dresses.  Nowadays, many bridesmaids are offering to pay for their own dresses.  Whether this is due to changing cultural norms or the formal dress industry becoming more financially accessible isn’t certain, but it’s happening.

When it comes to hair and makeup for the bridesmaids, no historical or cultural norm dictates who pays for what. As a result, the bride and her bridesmaids have a few things to consider and discuss openly with one another beforehand:

  • What other expenses have the bridesmaids been expected to pay previous to the hair and makeup? (i.e., dresses, bachelorette party, travel accommodations, etc.)
  • What is the bride’s budget like for the full wedding expenses?
  • What are the bridesmaids’ budgets for the wedding expenses?
  • How particular is the bride about the hair and makeup of her bridesmaids?
  • Is the bride providing access to a hair and makeup artist? If so, what is the artist’s fee like?
  • Does the bride trust the bridesmaids to do their own hair and makeup and look wedding-day ready?

All of those things will affect who pays for the bridesmaids’ hair and makeup. 

If you are the bride and you feel strongly that your bridesmaids look polished and photo-ready on your special day, then it might be courteous to consider paying for a makeup artist to ensure that. Especially if you have selected a hair and makeup artist that charges a pretty penny for that look. 

If you are not feeling anxious about them being glammed up or have confidence in their ability to show up looking formal, then perhaps letting them choose whether or not to pay for their hair and makeup for the big day could be a good option. 

You can always offer to pay a percentage of the fee as well, assuming everyone is happy with that arrangement.

Brides will have to have an open and honest discussion with their wedding party, allowing each member to express their expectations and financial situation before the decision-making process to ensure no resentments linger during and after the ceremony. 


What Does the Maid of Honor Pay For?

This can be a controversial topic for some brides and their chosen maid of honors. 

Some historical traditions dictate that the Maid of Honor pay for the majority of the pre-wedding expenses. These include:

  • Full Bachelorette party: Venue, food, drinks, entertainment, transportation, invitations
  • Full bridal shower: Location, invitations, food, drinks, party favors, a gift
  • Wedding night lingerie for the bride
  • Wedding shoes
  • Wedding dress fittings
  • Bridal hair, makeup, nails
  • Engagement gift
  • Transportation to and from the wedding ceremony

The list goes on, even in some instances to include the wedding dress itself and possibly destination wedding transportation for the bridal party.

On the other hand, there is a significant cultural shift happening that is bringing more of the financial responsibility to the bride rather than her maid of honor.  Not all, but many of those items listed above would not necessarily be expected of the Maid of Honor to pay for unless explicitly asked by the bride. 

A few things have continued to be traditionally paid for by the Maid of Honor, and those are:

  • The Bachelorette Party
  • The Bridal Shower
  • Engagement Gift
  • Wedding Gift
  • Shower Gift
  • Wedding Night Lingerie

This will depend on the bride’s preferences, the Maid of Honor’s preferences, financial situation, and the norms of the culture in which they live.


Who pays for the Bride’s Dress?

Many brides in this era are independent women with careers, ambitions, capabilities, and financial stability.  In contrast, historically, women have not been financially able to pay for their own dress. 

Whether this was due to the typical marrying age for women being significantly lower previously than it is now, or the rising percentages of women in the workforce with stable careers and financial freedom, the trends remain.

Traditionally, either the bride’s family or the Maid of Honor will pay for the Bride’s Wedding Dress.  In recent years, the number of brides choosing to pay for their own dresses is slowly increasing

It will be up to the bride and her family to decide what is best for their situation.


How often do Bridesmaids Have the Same Hairstyle?

Expecting bridesmaids to have the same hairstyle requires a lot of factors to line up exactly.  The bridesmaids would need similar hair texture, length, style, and preferences.  This is highly unlikely in most cases. 

Therefore, it is not always practical to require your bridesmaids to all wear the exact same hairstyles. It is common and effective that first the bride chooses her own hairstyle and puts into place a wedding theme or overall vibe for the decor, clothing, flowers, and venue.

Once that has been solidified, it is highly recommended that the bride or the bridesmaids select a hairstyle that is cohesive with one another’s.

Whether this requires the bride to present a few hairstyles for the bridesmaids to choose from or give them the trust and autonomy to match the theme on their own, that is up to the bride and bridesmaids. 


Can I Do My Own Wedding Makeup?

Many brides prefer to have their makeup professionally done for a couple of reasons.  Some of these reasons include:

  • They aren’t as familiar with makeup as a trained professional. They might not know what colors and products show up better in pictures, what styles are more timeless and glamorous, or even what flatters the bride’s features the most.
  • They want their makeup to last all day, even through sweat, laughter, tears, and a significant amount of kissing and embracing (with their betrothed, or even the guests greeting the lovely new couple who reach in for a hug or a kiss on the cheek).
  • They want to treat themselves to a session of pampering and relaxation on this special occasion.

Those set aside, if a bride is confident in her ability to give herself the wedding day look that she so desired, then by all means, she can absolutely do her own makeup! 

It’s not as expected, but not unheard of, especially among women who know exactly what look they want and can do it.  It can save time, money, hassle, and even stress!  So why not do your own bridal makeup?

Heading into Your Special Day

Whether you are planning to do your own hair and makeup or have it professionally done, one thing is for certain:  You’ll want to look and feel your very best on your wedding day.  Be sure to budget according to your own preferences to set yourself up for success and follow all the steps of bridal makeup.

The etiquette of financial responsibilities among the bridal party can be a difficult thing to navigate.  With proper communication and realistic expectations, the bride can avoid any damaged relationships or bank accounts all through the pre-wedding process. 

Weddings are a glorious and important time.  Enjoy every minute and do the necessary planning and budgeting to make sure you can truly enjoy your special day.

(If bridal makeup is something you can see a future in, check out these bridal makeup courses!