The Hair and Makeup

by Anna Jones

Courtesy Bride’s Side Beauty. Photo by Lisa Staff

The Details

You’re engaged! You’re thrilled. You’re in love. You’re ... overwhelmed. Whether you’ve dreamed of the big day your whole life or never thought about it until the moment you said yes, the actual process of planning your wedding is uncharted territory. Let this guide be your road map — and leave the details to us.
Choosing your wedding look can be a daunting task, but the important thing to remember is that you want to look like yourself … only in a dazzling confection of a dress. When you look back at your wedding album — something you and your spouse should make a habit of doing each year on your anniversary — you should recognize yourself on your happiest day.

“Overall, brides and bridesmaids are going with a more organic, natural look, just an enhanced version of the beauty they already have,” says Madi Hays, a stylist at JW Salon who specializes in wedding hair and makeup. “Brides are getting away from the heavy makeup and hair, and going more for a whimsical, wind-in-the-hair type look, something you can touch and feel and that will spin on the dance floor with you.”

Hays says she asks brides to share their wedding’s overall vision and aesthetic to determine how she should style their wedding look. Elegant, formal weddings require something more luxe, while casual, barefoot beach ceremonies lend a softer, laid-back aesthetic. She recommends that brides research on Pinterest and bring their pinned photos to the hair and makeup trial as a launchpad for discussion. Your wedding dress is another great point of departure for your stylist, as certain necklines require specific hairstyles, and it’s important that the hair and makeup coalesce with the design of the dress to keep everything cohesive. And always be honest with yourself about what looks are achievable on your big day. 

“I always tell my brides to have a realistic expectation of what your hair will or will not do,” says Amy Jenkins of Bienvenue Salon on St. Simons Island. “Curly hair is not going to stay straight, especially at an outdoor wedding, and straight hair might need some clip-in extensions to give it volume.”

If you’re still not sure, Bride’s Side Beauty owner Jessica Shefsick says to leave it up to the stylist. “Let the stylist come up with something especially for you,” says Shefsick. “A custom style will fit your hair and skin type, your features, your dress style and your preferences.” She also suggests making hair and makeup into a family affair, inviting the mother of the groom, grandmothers and other family members to be part of the fun — and to make sure everyone looks their best for wedding photos.

Courtesy Bride’s Side Beauty. Photo by Jennings King Photography


Hays recommends perusing local stylists’ social media feeds for their recent bridal hair and makeup appointments to see what best suits your style. Pick a few who interest you, and check out their individual and group rates before making your decision — remember, you’ve got bridesmaids to think about! Once you contact the stylist, be sure to schedule an initial consultation and then a trial to test out the full look. Throughout the process, be honest with your feedback to make sure you get what you want.


For Hays, understanding the location of the wedding is key — hair and makeup for an indoor wedding is completely different than for an outdoor one. Combating our region’s coastal breezes and humidity is no small feat, so Hays recommends having a stylist onsite throughout the duration of the wedding for touch-ups and frizz control. Wedding photographs are taken throughout the evening, and you want to be picture perfect in each one.


Thanks to Duchess Meghan Markle, brides are requesting a natural look in terms of makeup and beauty, says Courtney Victor, owner of Glow Medical Spa and Beauty Boutique in Savannah. “Meghan wore fake lashes, light coverage foundation, a natural lip color and light blush that showed her freckles, and she looked flawlessly elegant,” Victor says. Small enhancements like false eyelashes or extensions and eyebrow microblading are popular ways to keep the bridal look impactful yet simple. An organic spray tan can give you a healthy glow, but you must get it from a reputable professional or else it could rub off on your dress, Victor says. She also recommends avoiding any dark or saturated lip colors that need constant reapplication and could lead to a ring around the mouth. Instead, appoint one of your bridesmaids to carry your natural-colored lip gloss and remind you to reapply from time to time. After all, what are friends for?