Let Beauty Bond the Bridal Party – Our Best Tips!

In Indian weddings, it is customary for the bride and her female friends and relatives to get together the night before the wedding and paint their hands and feet with henna for good luck.
In Indian weddings, it is customary for the bride and her female friends and relatives to get together the night before the wedding and paint their hands and feet with henna for good luck.

There are a million things to think about when you're planning your big day, and for many brides, the bridal party's hair, nails, and makeup aren't very high on your list. You might not have strong opinions about whether they wear an updo and smoky eyes or not, but pre-wedding primping is about more than looks, especially if not everyone in the bridal party knows each other. Your bridesmaids can bond over manicures and dish while they do their lips.

The beauty treatments you and your bridal party choose for the big day are really up to you. You might decide to leave hair and makeup up to your bridesmaids and just meet up for manicures, or you can plan a whole morning of beauty, if time and your budget allow. Think only the ladies in your bridal party take part? No way! Men can get their hair did, too, and they can even hang out for mani-pedis and just skip the polish, if they want.


If you're getting your pre-wedding beauty treatments done by a pro, it's nice if you can foot the bill. It puts a crimp into the bonding experience if some of the bridal party is feeling bitter about having to foot the bill for beauty treatments she can't afford. You also don't have to do your whole pre-wedding prep at the salon. If all you can spring for are manicures and pedicures, that's OK!

You can save some cash and go the DIY route, which sometimes can be more of a bonding experience than hanging out at a salon. Invite your bridal party to your house or the hotel where you're staying and take turns doing each other's hair, nails, and make-up.

The trick to making a group beauty session work, whether you're at the salon or at home, is scheduling plenty of time to get everything done and making sure everyone knows where to be and when.

The salon should know how long each service will take, but you should still pad yourself with an extra hour or so, so you're not panicking while they're painting on your top coat. If the salon doesn't provide you a schedule of who's going to be working on each person in your bridal party and at what times, you are perfectly within your rights to request one. Everything will run much more smoothly this way, which leaves your bridal party more time to gab and bond. When my bridal party and I headed to the salon on my big day, we didn't have an itinerary, and it was a hot mess. No one knew where to be, and we ran so late that my sister's boyfriend had to pinch-hit and set up wedding favors at the venue – plus put lady products in the women's bathroom – since the beauty session ate up the time we'd allotted to do that. Learn from my mistake, ladies!

Planning to DIY your wedding-day beauty party? Do a practice run with a couple of girlfriends before the actual day, and pay attention to how long it takes to do hair, makeup, and nails for each person. It might take you 20 minutes to do your nails at home, but in a group where everyone's chatting, it will probably take a little bit longer. A trial run can also help you sort out what look you're going for, so it's a double win.

Whether you hit the salon or get together to do your own hair, nails, and makeup, remember that this is your big day, and it's supposed to be fun! You can only control so much, so kick back, enjoy yourself, and use this time to connect with your bridal party.

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  • Sauers, Jenna. "How to Make a Manicure Last." Jezebel. September 9, 2011. (September 17, 2012) http://jezebel.com/5838802/how-to-make-a-manicure-last
  • The Knot. "Bridesmaids: Who Pays for Bridesmaids' Hair and Makeup?" (September 17, 2012) http://wedding.theknot.com/bridesmaids-mother-of-the-bride/bridesmaids/qa/who-pays-for-bridesmaid-hair-and-makeup.aspx