No matter if your wedding party is big or small, ensuring that you and your girl’s looks coordinate, instead of competing, should be a big to-do on your planning list. Searching for your hair and makeup styles are surely on your radar, but have you considered the beauty selections for your bridesmaids? These women are prominently featured on your day and in your photos, so don’t wait until the last minute to decide what their look should be. Follow these five steps to get a cohesive wedding party look.

1. Choose the bridal look first. 

Your look is the most important! You’re the star of the day and the belle of the ball. If you have strong feelings about the looks of your hair and makeup from the get-go, it may be a good idea to plan the rest of the day’s theme around that. If the venue and décor are already set, take this into consideration as well. For example, if your wedding is a 10 a.m. garden brunch, a full smoky eye and bright red lip will look out of place. Work with the style of your wedding instead of against it. if there is a lot of greenery incorporated into the flowers, a rich berry lip would look incredible. If you are saying your vows on a beach, a textured updo with braids would look perfect.

If you need help brainstorming, think about the vibe that you are wanting to achieve: sultry and glamorous, natural and bohemian, or classic and clean? Consider the neckline of your gown and the facial features you want to accentuate. But, most of all, you should look like you. Your bridal look should be a vamped-up version of your best self. Think of when you felt the prettiest – whether that’s sunkissed from a recent vacation or all done up for a company gala – and go from there!

2. Brainstorm what you want first.

Once you’ve selected your look, it’s time to consider the bridesmaid’s look. Before you get the opinions of others in your head, spend some time alone considering what you want. Do you want the women that surround you on your wedding day to look dramatic? Understated? Do you want their lip color to match yours? Are you thinking hair down or hair up? Have you selected dresses? How will you match or coordinate hair and makeup with the color and vibe of the gowns?

Once you have all of these ideas worked out for yourself – and maybe on a private Pinterest board – then bring these ideas to your girls. I’m not saying that you should dictate what your bridal party looks like (unless that’s what you want – it’s your day), but you can show the women your vision and go from there.  

During your brainstorming session, don’t forget about the moms and flower girls. They’ll be in your pictures too, so their looks affect the overall feel of the day as well. When you’re planning these looks, always remember the cardinal rule: no one should be more done up than the bride.

3. Consider the differences.

Unless your bridesmaids are a set of identical triplets, you’re going to have to consider differences in hair length, color, texture, and skin tone. These differences are beautiful and should be enhanced!

This is especially important if any of the women in your party don’t like wearing makeup. I’m not saying you should let this sister go bare-faced, but it’s possible to choose an understated look for her that still coordinates with the other women. For example, she can wear a sheer stain in a similar color to the lipstick the other women are rocking?

You may want all of your ladies to have a glowy, J-Lo look. But your African-American sorority sister is going to need a totally different bronzer than your fair-skinned friend. Enhancing those differences within the same theme would be beautiful, but finding the right makeup artist and/or products will be key.

The same goes for hairstyles. Just because one of your bridesmaids has a pixie cut doesn’t mean that all is lost as far as coordination goes. All different styles – short hair, curls, long and straight – can have thematic similarities. Even a short pixie cut can be styled in a glam, bohemian, or romantic way. One easy way to coordinate un-matching hair is by adding hair accessories.

4. Makeup and hair should go together like a cupcake and icing. 

Considering the cohesiveness of the entire look is important. Not every hair and makeup list go together seamlessly, and not every bridal look matches well with every bridesmaid look. If you’re wanting to rock an Old Hollywood look with long, side-swept waves, your bridesmaids should not have beachy braids. Understated chignons with volume at the crown would be a better option.

If you’re envisioning flower crowns for your bridesmaids, simple, glowy makeup in the tones of the florals (pink, peach, and neutrals) would match the best. A soft berry lip is eternally versatile and will coordinate well with any hairstyle or dress.

With every choice that you make, consider how it will look in photos. A classic red lip doesn’t pair well with jewel tones, but a deeper, wine shade will. Embellished straps should be shown off with upswept hair. Women in pastel dresses will need a skin-tone appropriate dose of bronzer.

5. Test it out! 

Once you’ve solidified your plans and ideas, it’s time for a test run. Ideally, this should happen a month out from the big day. Grab at least one bridesmaid and get your trial on! If you’re having your hair and makeup professionally styled on your wedding day, booking a trial for both yourself and a bridesmaid is a way to ensure that your looks will coordinate and not compete. If you only book a trial for yourself, be sure to take time to discuss the bridesmaid’s look during the appointment. Your stylist is an expert and may think of details that you have not considered.

If you’re planning to do your own hair and makeup on your special day, a trial is even more important. You have to ensure that the products you want to use are perfect, and that the hairstyle you pinned looks the same in real life. Do everyone’s hair and makeup, using the same care you will on the wedding day, then take photos. Go outside, use the nicest camera you’ve got, and get your pose on! You do not want to be surprised by an orange-tinted bronzer or a weird-looking lipstick color when your wedding day photos come back. A professional makeup artist knows which products play well on camera, but it may take some trial and error to find the perfect product if you’re doing the work yourself. 

By: Ashley Backs, Hello Lovely

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