Keep Calm and Be Prepared: The Bridal Trial Guide

Practice runs make sure you’ll look exactly as you imagined

This is how you remain serene, beautiful and confident on your big day.

Because preparation is KEY

So you have set the date and have began compiling a comprehensive list of suppliers for the main event : Venue [ check..],  , Dress [ check..] , Flowers [ check..] …  you may have even found some beautiful makeup and hair inspiration coupled with a stylist whose work you love…so do you really need a trial? I can’t stress this enough – YES! Think of your trial as the test run of your look before your wedding morning – a chance to iron out any kinks before you get the show on the road.

Not only will it give you the opportunity to meet with your stylist for for the first time and discuss logistics ( How long will you need to create the look you want? Do you want boho beach wave or the sleek sophisticated chignon? So. Much. Choice!)   Test driving your look with a professional who is well versed in all matter of bridal beauty enquiries ensures you leave nothing to chance on what is set to be one of the most memorable days of your life .  Squeeze all the nuggets of  beauty  wisdom from your stylist’s noggin” ( AKA a person’s head for those of you I have just confused the heck out of! ) so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride with your nearest and dearest on the big day!

You may have heard the phrase “ Great make-up starts with great skin care” and as a make-up artist I know first hand what a difference great skin can make to the overall finish of the makeup, our confidence and those all important wedding day pictures! So whether you are 12 months away from your wedding date  or just 6 weeks away , The Skincare Basics series aims to take you on a journey through the basics of skincare knowledge so you can become a more informed consumer. I hope to eliminating a lot of that marketing BS that we see in the beauty industry , helping you to get great skin not just for your wedding day, but all year round!

Leave nothing to chance on what is set to be one of the most memorable days of your life

Here I have compiled a list of my top tips and advice on how to get the most out of your trial experience.

Pencil me in

I recommend trials between 10-12 weeks prior to the wedding day, however it’s not uncommon for brides to test out their look 3- 6 months ahead of the big day.The length of a trial will depend on your requirements and the look that you are going for ( not all styles are created equal! ) As a general rule of thumb trials last between 2 – 4 hours, with a little time for your stylist to set up and pack away their kit.

Same-same or Different?

Having a hair and makeup artist for your wedding is a real treat, and not something that most of us get to experience on the daily! ( I wish! ) So it can be really tempting to want to try all those super elaborate instagram looks that have been trending – or you might be the opposite; you never wear much makeup and the thought of anything more that a touch of mascara a wash of BB cream terrifies you ( lets not get started on THOSE brows that everyone seems to be doing…) . The trial will give you the opportunity to discuss what will work best for you with your stylist, giving you the time and comfort to blend your vision with the expertise of the stylist- creating a look that is unique to you.  

Do you have a specific way you love your eyebrows to look? Or a way you have parted your hair since you were a teenager? Or do you always wear your hair down but because it’s your wedding you feel you should wear it up? Although trying something completely different with your stylist is pretty damn fun-, it’s worth considering how different  you want to look on your wedding day and to discuss this with your stylist. Many brides I work with want to look like themselves, but a more polished version – don’t feel pressured to make dramatic changes just because it’s your wedding and you’re hiring a pro to help.

Do. Your. Research.

I recommend sending a couple of inspirational images of hair and makeup to your stylist ahead of the trial so they can begin to understand the direction and vision for your look. Equally it is important to send a visual reference that showcases a special occasion look that you loved on yourself and felt comfortable in.

This is because we all have different understandings of what it means to look ‘ natural’ or ‘ made up’ and having a something tangible to look at is a great way to alleviate any miscommunications straight off the bat, helping you to get the most out of your trial experience. The chances are you have chosen your stylist for the body of work they have produced, so it can be a great idea to include an image of their work for reference as well.

Expectations Vs Reality

Apart from me clearly using that title to pay homage to 500 days of summer ( oh Zooey Deschanel, I have major fringe envy) It is important to consider your own skin, eye and hair colouring when gaining inspiration for your wedding look. Each hair texture, hair colour and skin type brings about its own set of strengths and problems and not all styles will suit all people. It is important to be realistic when gaining inspiration to give to your stylist.

Gain inspiration from a wide range of sources such as red carpet looks, magazines and websites..instagram and pinterest are great but can be heavily edited and filtered. Similarly choose inspirational images that are not too dissimilar from your own natural colouring- blonde hair looks amazing with boho texture whilst brunettes can achieve that high shine, glossy finish pretty easily. If you are unsure you can always discuss this with your stylist at the trial and work out what is realistic for you!

Look out for filters & photoshop

To the untrained eye is can be particularly difficult establish the extent of the photomanipulation in the images you love. As a general rule of thumb, if the skin is poreless it has been through some fairly heavy filters or photoshop to look THAT flawless- we have pores, we are human after all! It’s worth keeping in mind that these styles can be emulated, but the makeup will look fairly heavy in real life- so it’s worth deciding how comfortable you would feel with a heavier makeup application.  

You’ve gotta fake it, to make it

Sometimes we all need a secret little helping hand to achieve those voluminous Hollywood waves or those fluttery luscious lashes. Some styles can be particularly difficult to achieve with fine hair without the aid of hair extensions ( I’m talking to you BOHO braids and  Hollywood waves!) and sometimes all your makeup needs to elevate it to the next level is a damn good set of natural individual lashes. Be open to the suggestions your stylist has and test these added extras on your trial-it could be a game changer!

Changing faces: The difference between the “Natural Look” or “Neutral tones with good coverage”

Probably the most discussed topic EVER as a bridal makeup artist ( all you muas out there – ya’ll know what I’m talking about! ). The natural look can mean so many things to so many people and it requires its own post, however I will summarise here! In my years as a makeup artist I have found that the natural look is very subjective to the individual and can mean anything from no-makeup-makeup to Kim K contour and liner using neural, brownish tones.

I would advise having a think about the type of makeup you like to wear for a special occasion, how heavy is your base? Your eyes? Your lips ? If you don’t wear much more than a BB cream a glamours Jlo / Kim K look be a little out of your comfort zone for your wedding day. Instead opt for a softer makeup look, gaining  beauty inspiration from celebrities such as Megan Markle.

Say "Cheese!"

Have you ever noticed how your makeup can look super different when you take a picture? Have you ever taken a picture of yourself after spending AGES on your makeup- only to noticed that it doesn’t look like you are wearing almost no makeup at all?

Lighting, background and angles can all affect how your makeup translates from the mirror to the camera. Take pictures of the looks that are created at the trial so you can see how the look changes when photographed ( and of course you want to look equally delicious on your wedding snaps – they will be the tangible memories you have to look back on in years to come! )   It’s important to note that what might feel like a lot of makeup when first applied does not necessarily  look heavy on a pic  – if you are unsure take a quick snap in natural light to gage the intensity and vibe of the makeup or hair style.

All dressed up: Visualising the completed look

Once your hair and makeup is complete it can be a lot to take it- it’s not everyday you are dressed up to the 9’s whilst sitting in your kitchen, with a cuppa, wearing  jeans and t- shirt! Many bridal client’s I have that are new to the experience of professional hair and makeup can feel very ‘ done up’ at this stage – which is super normal if you aren’t used to seeing yourself in this light. To help you to visualise the completed look ( with the dress, the earrings, the flowers etc)  it’s important to wear a top similar in colour to your wedding dress for the trial along with any hair accessories might want to test out before the big day.

It can take a little while to get used to your look so remember that the hair and makeup will compliment the whole look and feel of your image on the day. That being said you must feel confident in your makeup so don’t be shy to make adjustments to your look at the trial – the stylist will be more than used to it. Creating your look is a collaboration of ideas, professionalism and comfort between you and your stylist.

Going the distance

There are many tips and tricks that Makeup artists and hair stylist use to ensure your look doesn’t fade when your feet do! I will let you into a little secret ; it’s all about the layers! Great makeup and hair styling is achieved in layers- it is a process. The end result can sometimes be a little stronger than you are used to, that curl might be a little tighter, that brow a little more sculpted-but give it time!

After half an hour or so access how you feel,  as you get used to seeing yourself with a professional makeup and hair style you will relax into your new look. Allow some time for the look to settle and if you still feel something isn’t quite right – RELAX! Makeup isn’t permanent and your artist shouldn’t be offended if you need to change something – it’s not permanent ! I recommend my brides to have a morning trial if they can, so you can see how the look adapts throughout the day.

Dear future, I’m ready.

One of the most satisfying feelings about completing your hair and makeup trial is being safe in the knowledge that you have nailed your look ahead of time, allowing you to relax and enjoy the wedding morning when it comes around. Once your trial is complete , allow a few days to digest all the information and touch base with your stylist should you need to discuss alterations and changes in more detail.

Your stylist will normally be in touch around a month before your wedding to plan a schedule for yourself and your wedding party, and will be on hand to discuss any beauty related queries and questions in the run up to your wedding ! Now all that’s left for you to do is work out that pesky table plan…;)



As a lover of fashion and style, my talent is managing to create beautiful hair and makeup designs which highlight and balance my clients own natural features and beauty, without masking them. With this in mind, my blog was created so that I can further support my clients every need and help expand their own knowledge base so that you can continue to feel beautiful, every day. Sharing “secrets” and keeping on trend matters.