On your wedding day, you want to both look and feel your best, like Rita and Amir! (See above – and thanks to Michele Mateus Photography for capturing that joyful moment!). So this month, we sat down once again with Breanne Dodge, founder and lead coordinator of ThistleBEA, to help you make that happen by talking about two often-overlooked topics: self care and beauty vendors! And don’t forget to enter your email to get our fun interactive activity guide! We made it specifically for you and your partner to destress and reconnect before the big day! (If you entered your email on a different blog, you’ll automatically get this and every other new monthly blog download in your inbox!)
You’ve worked with a lot of couples. What would you say is the most stressful part of wedding planning for most of them?
Families! And budget. Trying not to overspend is always a thing, but primarily stress has to do with family. Sometimes it’s a control issue, like when family members are contributing financially, that causes the tug of war. But most often it’s just because as humans, most of us want to make our loved ones happy! But when lots of opinions are being thrown at you it’s hard to figure out what you want, and lots of people have a hard time saying “no”.
Also, we see so many couples forgoing wedding traditions because they just don’t reflect who they are or what they believe. That can cause hurt feelings or arguments from their older, more traditional relatives. For example, a big thing for many dads is to walk their daughter down the aisle, but many couples opt to skip this for personal or ideological reasons. And since many traditions are gender based or designed for cis couples, nonbinary folks often prefer to skip over or redesign aspects that just don’t flow with their identity. And that’s awesome, your wedding should 100% reflect who you are! But it can sometimes be a hard discussion to have with older, more traditional relatives.
What’s your best self care advice while wedding planning?
Setting boundaries – personal boundaries, and boundaries as a couple. For example, having a “no wedding-talk zone”. It’s okay to say that today, we are not going to talk about the wedding. Or you can boycott talking about certain aspects of the wedding, especially anything that is causing conflict or is triggering. Finally, keep an open dialogue with your partner about everything. Talk openly about the stresses involved, if you feel the workload needs more balance, and most importantly, about the budget. Be transparent about where everything is financially, and avoid surprises. A 3k surprise wedding add-on might feel like a great idea at the time, but your partner might not agree when the final bills are tallied. And try to carve out some time for self care, for you and for your relationship. Our activity download can help you figure out some new and fun ways to reconnect!
You are super busy! What are some ways you do self care?
Well, tonight I have back to back meetings, so instead of using my spare hour to cook, I ordered out so I could use that time to relax and watch a show! I’ve also learned the value of outsourcing. Over the last year I have expanded my ThistleBEA team to take a lot of the admin stuff off my plate. Also by sometimes having someone come to clean my house, or getting a sitter to watch my kids. Mainly it’s about recognizing that I can’t do it all, so I seek help in ways that I can afford to improve my quality of life – which I can afford by focusing my time and energy on the work I love (and cleaning does not make me happy!)
Ok, so now let’s talk about looking good! What should I look for or ask about in my contracts with beauty vendors?
Beauty services are very diverse. Depending on the type of service you are hiring for, it will influence what you want in that contract. I can tell you what is not abnormal – paying a retainer before your trial. Which can suck because if you don’t like them you may want to cancel, so you’ll want to look at what the refund policy may be after the trial if you’re not into it. You’ll have to pay something for the trial as they did work, but you may be able to get some of your deposit back if you decide not to use them for your wedding day.
Be very sure your wedding day and number of people receiving services is correct. Make sure to ask how long the service should take and how many artists you are paying for. You want to make sure you have enough artists to do hair and makeup for everyone. If you have eight people, at one hour each, then it makes a big difference having two artists vs four.
Also – how do they find the people who work with them? Do they all have certificates and experience? Let them know you hope to see some pictures of their team member’s work or some sort of documentation of their training.
Is it important to hire a MUA or hairstylist with specific wedding experience?
You can totally get away with hiring someone without specific wedding experience. You can do it yourself or have someone you know and love do it, just take into consideration how it will look in photos. Do a trial run and have someone use a professional camera (not a cell phone) to take some pics to see how it turns out on film. For a hair trial, do your style and spend the day running around, dancing or whatever else you can think of to make sure it holds up!
Why is a trial run important? Can you cut the trial to save money?
DO NOT cut the trial! Especially if you are a person of colour or have curly or very textured hair – if the hairstylist doesn’t have experience with your particular hair texture or style, it will make a difference. The makeup trial you can probably get away with not doing but I still recommend it. If you do skip it, seeing a portfolio of their work with people of a similar ethnicity and skin tone will give you an idea of what to expect.
How long should I allow for hair and makeup on the day of?
Bridal usually takes a little bit longer, probably closer to an hour while everyone else would be more like 30 minutes, plus hair. They want to make extra sure that everything will stay in place and that they look as kept together for the entirety of the day. This is the difference between wedding makeup and party makeup (its not just a wedding upcharge!).
Should I have an emergency beauty touch up kit on hand? What should be in it?
If you hire a professional makeup artist, they will usually give you a touchup kit. At minimum some lipstick/balm and deodorant is always a good idea. ThistleBEA will have a lot of what you need to be comfortable on your day. Or for general touchups like bobby pins, oil sheets, toothbrush and toothpaste, floss, deodorant.
I’m usually not big with makeup in my daily life. Do you think it’s best to stick to my normal look or would I regret not doing some makeup?
You don’t necessarily need to skip it, it can help with balancing photos and getting skin tone right or having some powder on your face to make the pictures even better (this applies to males and females). You can get makeup done in a very neutral way so it still fits your aesthetic. And getting it done can feel like pampering and a form of self care on its own!