Wedding Planning

How to Become a Wedding Hair Stylist

September 15, 2022

Becoming a wedding hair stylist is an incredibly rewarding experience. However, entering into the world of wedding hair is also sometimes daunting to stylists. Some may ask themselves questions like, "where do I begin?" or "how do I transition from my full-time salon to strictly full-time bridal styling?". There are a few key factors needed in order to achieve success in this industry; most importantly, you will need to have exceptional hair styling skills and some business savvy.

As a wedding hair stylist, you have the opportunity to play a small part in the bride's most special day; a day that signifies a couple beginning a new chapter in their lives together. It's a big deal, and with that being said, it is also crucial that bridal hairstylists are able to stay calm in high-pressure situations. After all, you will be responsible for making the bride look and feel like her absolute best and most beautiful self! By staying calm, collected, and time-efficient, you'll create a peaceful environment for the bride that will only make her day feel that much more special.

So, let's jump right in! We've compiled some tips and tricks for new artists looking to break into the world of wedding hair styling, and also tips for seasoned hairstylists that are looking to transition fully or partially out of the salon.

How do I start my wedding hair styling career?

If you are currently enrolled in Cosmetology School or are a recent graduate, the most important thing you can do is practice and take photos of your work! Not only will documenting your hairstyles provide you with photos for your lookbook and social media portfolios, but it will also give you an opportunity to analyze your work and focus on areas of improvement. Wedding day hairstyles are heavily photographed and it is essential that your work photographs flawlessly! By taking photos every time you create a hairstyle, over time your work will continue to improve, be more refined, and be picture-perfect.

Equally as important to practice and documentation is continuing your education and staying current with the latest trends and tricks in the hairstyling world. There are endless in-person classes with well-known hairstylists from around the world that are incredible teachers. We love this type of teaching style because it allows the teacher to physically help and show you their ways. These classes are wonderful to attend once a year, but what about all of the time in between? Instagram is one of our favorite free resources for hairstylists to learn straight from other artists' channels; pages such as AllBraidsEveryDay or LalasUpdos are two fabulous tutorial pages.

How do I transition out of the salon to be a wedding hair stylist?

Like all great things, shifting your book from salon work to bridal styling takes some time! We recommend first assessing your wants, needs, and goals. A few key questions to help you assess your goals could be:

"Am I looking to transition into full-time bridal styling?"

"Am I looking to stay in the salon during weekdays and travel on-site to weddings on the weekends?"

"Where do I see myself in five years?"

If you are looking to transition into full-time bridal styling, you will need to adjust your schedule at the salon, and over time, make a leap! Friday’s, Saturday's, and Sunday's are the most popular days for weddings; if you are serious about transitioning to full-time bridal, you will need to be available to travel on-site to weddings on those days of the week. If you book your salon clients only on weekdays and keep your weekends open for weddings, with time, your weekends will begin to fill up with weddings, and eventually, you'll be able to fully transition out of the salon!

As we've said, it is a process and does take time for your bridal book to fill up. Brides book wedding hair and makeup services anywhere from one month to 18+ months prior to their wedding day; the more available you are, the quicker you will see your book fill up.

Freelance vs. joining a Wedding Hair and Makeup company

When deciding between becoming a freelance artist or joining a wedding hair and makeup team, it really depends on what you're looking for! At Updos For I Dos, we work with brides and artists across the US. We have an Operations Team of five that handles all of the “fun” administrative work, such as contracts, payments, advertising, networking, marketing, logistics, communication, and a whole lot of other things. As an Artist, you get to focus on your craft and work with amazing people and at beautiful locations! Updos For I Dos was one of the first premier on-site bridal wedding hair and makeup companies; being so well known, we work with over 500 brides and bridal parties every year! When you join a well-known company such as ours, you will reap the benefits of representing Updos For I Dos; AKA, booking a LOT of weddings!

Being a freelance artist also has its own benefits. You have the freedom to represent yourself and your work however you please! One main difference between being a freelance artist and working with a company such as ours is the workload. Freelance artists are responsible for their own marketing, communication, scheduling, logistics... the list goes on and on! It can also take more time to build a freelance artist's bridal book; it can take years for your name and your work to become well-known.

So, how do I become a wedding hair stylist?

Again, when deciding between becoming a freelance artist or working with a wedding hair and makeup team, we recommend first assessing your wants, needs, and goals. If you are looking to be able to focus on your craft, work with incredible brides and bridal parties, and join a fabulous team of creatives, we would love to chat more with you! (PS: we are HIRING!) The same goes for transitioning out of the salon to bridal styling. When you join a well-known company such as ours, you will enjoy the benefits of representing Updos For I Dos and doing what you love without spending time on administrative tasks. It’s the best of both worlds! 

If you are new to the bridal hairstyling world, the best thing you can do for yourself is practice, practice, practice! The more you rehearse hairstyles, the more refined your work will become. Watch every hairstyling tutorial video you can find, if you can learn at least one new tip or trick, then your time was spent well! If you are looking to jump-start your wedding hairstyling journey, we would love to chat more with you: please apply HERE!

Happy Hairstyling!