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How to Nail Your Bridal Hair & Makeup Trial Run Every Time

How to Nail Your Bridal Hair & Makeup Trial Run Every Time

Before you actually hit the ground running as a bridal hair & makeup artist, it would be easy to think that being successful and having a diary full of booked clients comes down entirely to your practical skill, but as with any career involving working with people, it’s the way that you treat your clients, communicate and go the extra mile that will make the difference between you and the next stylist.

Of course, skill is paramount and you need to be ready to create that dream style for your bride (which is why, on all of our Bridal Hair Courses, we’ll teach you the techniques to be able to produce ANY style!) but you’re never going to get to that point if you don’t take the steps to ensure that your trial run is a huge hit.

As a bridal hair & makeup artist, you only get one shot at proving that you are the one for the job above all others, so before you have your next trial run, make sure that you’re clued up on how to nail it, every time.

bridal hair

Prep the Bride


Communication is key when it comes to being an amazing bridal hair & makeup artist and this should start before you even meet your client…


From the first point of contact, it’s on you to not only make sure that your bride-to-be feels special and well taken care of, but that she also feels prepared for the upcoming trial run. It’s not just you who feels the pressure of getting this right – she’s eager to find that dream look too!

To effectively prep your bride, you need to fill her in on all the things she can do in advance to help her feel ready when you finally meet.


Laying some ground rules on how she should arrive with dry, product-free, un-styled hair preferably washed the night before will make your life a lot easier!

bridal hair

Ask your bride to have a think about what’s important to her – what she loves and wants to show off and what she’s not so keen on and wants to disguise or work around. Let her know that you don’t expect her to arrive knowing exactly what she wants (this is something you’ll figure out together) and not to stress if she’s totally clueless. She wants to know that she’s in good hands as well as being part of the process.

Get Inspired

Find Gorgeous Bridal Hair Styles in the CBH Gallery

Talk & Listen


When the day of the trial finally arrives, you might be brimming with ideas that you would love to bring to life on your bride and that’s great! But don’t be pushy.


It’s a fine line between making expert suggestions and recommendations for looks that you think will look beautiful (which is usually welcomed!) and making a bride feel as though she doesn’t really have a say in the finished result.


Listen to her responses as you talk and as you work with both your ears and your eyes – often body language speaks much louder than words.


To be a great bridal hair & makeup artist, you need to be a great listener. Talk to your client about everything, not just her hair and makeup, as her overall plans for her big day should impact the style you discover together for her as much as anything else.

Be Prepared (With Pam in your Pocket!)


No bride wants a bridal hair & makeup artist who is unsure of themselves, so be confident by being well prepared.


Practice makes perfect, so work on your skills non-stop on the run up to your trials or attend one of our 2 Day Bridal Hair Courses to perfect your skills.

Our Online Bridal Hair Course is an invaluable tool for all bridal hair & makeup artists during a trial run, as you can watch our 100s of quick tip videos at any time and solve any number of issues in a instant. Keep your phone on you and if you find that you’re struggling to get a style to stay put, getting a curl to hold or any other problem you can nip to the loo and watch Pam take you through how to sort it, step by step, in just a minute or two!

Use Your Planner


You can now buy the bridal hair and makeup planners that Pam uses with her clients in our online shop!


As you’re working your way through the trial run, you absolutely must make notes so that when the wedding day comes around you can recreate the exact look that your client loved so much before, without having to try and remember which techniques or products you used off the top of your head. This will also help you to work out a timetable for the day so that you bride and the bridal party are all ready on time!


Buy your bridal hair planner here and your bridal makeup planner here.

The Trial Run: Make Sure Your Bride is Happy with Her Hair & Makeup

Trial Run Tips for a Happy Bride

Doing a trial run with a bride-to-be can be a bit daunting, for both the bride and also for you, whether you are doing just hair, just makeup or both!

There’s no denying that an awful lot of pressure can fall onto this one day, with you wanting to get it right and the bride wanting to find that dream look that she’s been after, but remember, the most important thing is that you both relax and enjoy it.

It is flattering to be selected as hair and makeup artist for someone’s wedding day, but if they’ve booked in a trial run with you you’re already off to a good start – clearly, this bride thinks your work is fabulous, so own it! You’ve totally got this.

We know that telling you to relax and know that you’re great is easier said than done, so as Part 1 of our trial run blog series, we’ve put together a list of more practical tips that you can draw upon when you need a bit of guidance.

trial run

Talk it Through


The number one pointer for making sure that your client is happy is to always have an excellent line of communication, from beginning to end. From the moment of first contact whether that’s via email, over the phone or maybe even face to face start asking questions to try and figure out what it is that your bride is after.

Ask lots of questions

This extends to so much more than simply asking about her hair and makeup preferences, some brides will know exactly what they want and others will have no idea, be reassuring – let them know you’ll be happy to try different ideas until they find a look that they’re happy with.

Whilst asking questions, be careful not to be too full-on, as this can be a little overwhelming and remember to listen as well.

If you’re going to be styling hair – ask them to send you a few photos of the sorts of hairstyles they like, this will give you the opportunity to practice the styles before you meet your bride.

Body Language

Once your bride is with you at the trial run, hopefully you will have some idea of where to start. Be observant and watch out for any tell-tale signs that she’s not comfortable or that she likes what you’re creating, as many brides aren’t that vocal! It’s up to you to do the talking and to give her the space to say (honestly) what she does/doesn’t like.

trial run

 Wedding Makeup Trial


When it comes to creating beautiful makeup that your bride is going to love, Pam always recommends doing the trial during the day.

9 times out of 10 your bride will be getting married in natural light, so she needs to know what her makeup is going to look like during the day for full confidence in the overall style.

Do the makeup in front of window so you have lots of natural light. You don’t want bright sunlight as it bleaches everything out but you do want good, even, natural light.

If you’re bride isn’t sure about her makeup when you finish, ask her to go and look at her makeup in her usual makeup mirror and remember, it’s best to leave the makeup to settle a little bit on the skin first.

Get lots more makeup tips and tricks on how to achieve the perfect bridal makeup on our Bridal Makeup Course with Pam Wrigley.

Make Notes

There’s an awful lot to remember during a trial run, so whatever you do, don’t rely on your memory! You could be doing the trial run months before the big day so unless you’re superhuman, you’re probably not going to be able to recall that shade of lipstick she adored or the genius way you managed to achieve her dream ‘do whilst still covering up her ears just the way she wanted. Make your life infinitely easier and keep your bride happy on her wedding day by writing down every little thing about the finished look that you need to know to recreate it exactly, later on.

Remember: Its the small things that make the hair and makeup perfect for that individual person – so write down the detail!

Our hair planners and makeup planners are specially designed by Pam Wrigley for this very purpose – you won’t find another that is more comprehensive! Pam knows, from her 25 years experience in the industry, just what you need to make a note of, so these are truly invaluable for any hair and/or makeup artist out there.

trial run

Take Photos


Something that many hair and makeup artists neglect to do is take photos for the bride to have a look at during her trial run.

If you’re not doing this, you’re really missing a trick!

Wedding photography is, of course, a pretty huge part of the wedding day and the bride wants to look as fabulous in those photos as possible, so don’t be shy in reassuring her with a few snaps.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – your phone will do – but giving the bride the opportunity to see how each hair and makeup look you try out looks on camera will avoid any nasty surprises later on.

Take photos from all angles, so she gets a complete overview of the whole thing.

Make sure you’re taking the photo in a flattering light!! It really does make all the difference.

trial run

Be Brave


It’s your job to be confident and brave with your choices, so focus up! Brides are often quite nervous during their trial run and they also might play it quite safe with their hair and makeup ideas, which won’t necessarily achieve the best result. Whilst you don’t need to go crazy with really ‘out there’ styles, it is a good idea to push her out of her comfort zone, just a tad, to see how she feels about it.

Brides regularly get an idea in their head about what they want or they find a photo of a style that looks gorgeous on the model in the image, but not so great on them. It’s times like this that you should be prepared to pull something out of the bag and maybe try angling her in a direction that you feel could work well.

Leave your ego at home!

Don’t force your ideas on her! It’s always good to try different ideas but give her the space to say she does or doesn’t like something, without being offended.

It’s our job to make sure our brides are 100% happy and although we know a lot about hair and makeup, your bride is the expert when it comes to knowing her own style. She needs to look in the mirror and love what she sees!

Good luck with your 2017 wedding season!