Space at a premium? You can still be a bridal suite—just find your perfect partner.
Makeup specialist Melissa Surroca (Melissa Surroca Hair and Makeup Studio) and Sonja James (Sonja James at iStudio Salon) are next door neighbors at iStudio Salons in Maitland, FL. When they discovered one another’s talents, they started keeping their side-by-side doors open for bridal parties.
Says Surroca, who is also a color specialist, “When my hair or makeup clients have a wedding coming up, I introduce and highly recommend Sonja, who is an updo specialist. This way, I can do the makeup and keep my client’s color fresh. Although we do follow trends, we pride ourselves in customizing them to accommodate each bride’s individual needs.”
James, who loves the idea of cross-referrals, says she’s always specialized in updos and event hair, but that now, thanks to her bridal-business partner, she’s posting a lot more brides on her social pages.
“As soon as you start posting bridal photos, there’s a lot more interest,” says James. “Word of mouth is the best way to get bridal business and now, we’re planning events and promotions to get our names out there as a team.”
Bridal Hair and Makeup Trends
When working to create a single image, keep up on trends in each other’s specialties and discuss individual adjustments. Right now, bridal hair is all about organic updos, loose buns that are incorporated with braids and tousled beachy waves. Makeup looks for brides focus on perfected brows, pink lips and soft shimmering highlighter. All brides want lashes and full strips are favored because they can be pulled right off at the end of the evening.
Extensions are popular, too, and clip-ins work best for special occasions. Notes James, “Longevity is key; you want styles that hold without being stiff. To achieve them, recommend the bride avoid shampooing the day of the wedding. Shampooing the day before or even two days before is best. A ‘dirty spray’ also prevents hair from being too slippery. Curls should always be completely cool before you begin lightly backcombing and styling—you can clip them gently for hold until you have a cold curl.”
James does a trial style two weeks in advance and always sees the headpiece—about 50% of today’s brides wear them. While Surroca does not usually do trial makeup for the full party, she does recommend them for brides.
“I use a makeup ring light, so I can see exactly what an HD camera does,” says Surroca. “It has a temperature adjustment for warmer or cooler light. With a bright light, I can see if a bride with oily skin who wants highlighted areas will look perfect with matte tones.”
The biggest mistakes artists make, say the duo, are using too much hairspray (styles should be touchable and workable) and failing to fully accommodate HD photos and videos by inhibiting shine on the skin.
Pointers for Partners
In addition to knowing what your bridal partner has in mind for hair, makeup or even nails, advance planning and determining a “work flow” is a must. For the duo’s largest party to date, makeup got underway for some bridesmaids, while James prepped the bride’s hair and did the cold sets for some of the party. Then, they switched, so that those whose hair was prepped got makeup and vice versa.
“I can fit five in my suite and Melissa can fit four in hers,” notes James. “Everyone ends up with me, when I finish their hair.
Other ideas they are developing, as they build their bridal business:
- Take a deposit for bridal parties—the right salon app makes it easy. This is particularly important when you book out of the suite to provide services on location. Currently, individual bridal party members are responsible for payment.
- Offer amenities like Mimosas and cheese platters and consider building the cost into bridal-service charges, so it’s covered.
- Add travel fees. For instance, Surroca adds $30 for local travel and $50 for travel outside the Maitland area. Some specialists double the fee for location work and house calls.
- Create touch-up kits for hair and makeup that you leave with the bride or retail. Add a matte powder, a travel-sized hair or working spray, emergency lash strips, a mini brush, lipstick, tissues and hairpins, at minimum.
- When the wedding is over, explore what others are doing during bridal season and advance your education. Says James, “I watch tons of professional YouTube videos. Then I duplicate the styles on a mannequin.”
In June, the pair have a party of ten booked, which takes special planning. Happily, they are in a professional suite setting, where they can look into reserving the break room for their best bridal party yet.