Wedding Planning

How Much Time Does Bridal Hair and Makeup Take?

March 13, 2024


How Much Time Does Bridal Hair and Makeup Take
Photography: Molly Carr

How much time does bridal hair and makeup take? Wedding hair and makeup is oftentimes more involved than many couples realize. While your daily hair and makeup routine may not take hours, wedding hair and makeup is generally much more involved to create a flawless look that lasts through long wedding days.

Scheduling enough time for wedding hair and makeup is absolutely crucial. Hair and makeup services take place at the very beginning of the wedding day. This means if hair and makeup runs late, the entire wedding day schedule is off. This is not how you want to start your wedding day, and this stress is completely avoidable. When it comes to weddings, it’s always better to have a little extra time for a sip of champagne than be stressed running behind schedule.

In this guide, we’re giving some quick estimates for how much time to schedule for different aspects of wedding day hair and makeup. While this is just a general guide, this can help give you an idea of how much time you should set aside for hair and makeup.

Set-Up Time

30 Minutes

This buffer time is often missed. When your hair and makeup artists arrive to your getting ready location, hair and makeup can’t begin the moment they arrive. They will need time for set-up: unpacking products and tools, adjusting lighting, etc. If you don’t have set-up time in your schedule, your hair and makeup will automatically run late. Build set-up time into your schedule for a more stress-free experience.


  • Ensure everyone in the wedding party receiving hair and makeup services is ready to go on-time. Little things like bathroom breaks and snacks take time and slow down the process, especially with multiple people. Ensure everyone in your wedding party is ready to sit in the HAMU chair by arrival time.
  • Discuss any furniture or lighting needs with your hair and makeup artist in advance. You will often need multiple tables that are large enough for makeup and hair tools, chairs with lower backs, and enough chairs for the number of artists working. Tell your hair and makeup artist in advance what set-up you’ll have in your getting ready space. This allows your artist to anticipate your needs and accommodate them. This could mean your artist needs to bring artificial light, or that you need to request additional tables or chairs from your venue or hotel.
How Much Time Does Bridal Hair and Makeup Take
Photography: D’Arcy Benincosa

Bridal Hair and Makeup

Approximately 2 – 2.5 Hours, Depending on Style

Bridal hair and makeup is the most involved service. It requires expert attention to detail for a flawless look. While this is a general guideline and greatly depends on how intricate your style is, the average time we see for bridal hair and makeup is two hours to two and a half hours.

When booking your hair and makeup artist, they will be able to advise exactly how much time the look you want will take.


  • This is also why bridal previews are a must. A bridal preview allows you to perfect your look ahead of time, which speeds up the process on the wedding day. Your artist will then know exactly how much time your look will take, and you won’t lose time adjusting and editing the look on the wedding day. Knowing you have a look that you love perfected ahead of time also brings some peace of mind. Learn more about bridal previews in our Wedding Hair and Makeup Trial Guide.
  • If you will wear multiple looks on your wedding day and you want multiple hair and makeup looks, consult your artist on how much time it will take to transition between styles.

Bridal Hair and Makeup Touch-Ups

20 Minutes

Hair and makeup touch-ups are an absolute lifesaver, and worth every penny. Wedding hair and makeup is expected to last through countless photographs, weather conditions, kisses, delicious food, sips of champagne, and dancing the night away. Wedding days are long– sometimes 15+ hours. Especially if you will have challenging weather conditions like heat and humidity, this is a tall order.

Many hair and makeup artists offer hair and makeup touch-ups on an hourly basis. This is perfect to ensure your look is flawless for your most important moments. While you may not find it necessary to have your artist on-site for the entire event, it’s a big help to have them on-site at least until touch-ups after your ceremony or couple’s portraits, depending on your schedule.

Wedding Party

45 Minutes

While this can also vary by style, the average amount of time we see spent on wedding party hair and makeup services is 45 minutes per person. This is why it’s important to know how many people will be receiving hair and makeup services at booking. The number of people receiving services determines how many artists will have to be booked to have everyone ready on-time.

How Much Time Does Bridal Hair and Makeup Take
Photography: Julia Basmann

Quick Tips

Natural Light is Ideal

Access to natural light is ideal. When booking a getting ready location, try to book something with as much natural light and big windows as possible.

No Steaming Gowns Around Hair and Makeup

Don’t leave steaming gowns until the morning of the wedding. The steam from steamers can be detrimental to hair and makeup. Complete any steaming the night before.

Order of Services

Let your artist advise on the order of services based on your look and the day’s schedule. Your artist will have the experience to advise on what order services should be given for the best result.

You Need a Bigger Getting Ready Space Than You Think

Understandably, couples often think a simple hotel room should suffice for getting ready. While this can be the case for elopements, you need more room than you think. If you envision getting ready portraits, a photographer will need more space in the room to get those shots, especially without furniture in the way.

Hair and makeup services also take more space than many couples realize. Multiple tables, chairs, hot tools, and kits take up quite a bit of space. Add in multiple artists and the wedding party and it can feel pretty crowded.

To avoid this, we recommend large getting ready locations when possible. For hotels, you can book suites or connecting rooms for more space and a private room for yourself (more on this in the next tip).

Designate a “Backstage”

Like we discussed in the last tip, you need more space than you think. To avoid having to shoot getting ready portraits around an (understandably) messy hotel room, book a connecting room that serves as your “backstage.” Here, you can store your personal items (there will be a lot of them!), snacks, dress bags, and necessary clutter that you don’t necessarily want in your wedding photos.

It can also be a nice private space. Although getting ready with the wedding party can be fun and exciting, some couples like the option of having a private room where they can take breaks and have some quiet time.

Less Time = More Artists

While the exact math of your hair and makeup services will depend on the style, ultimately the number of artists you need depends on the number of people receiving services and the amount of time you have. If you only set aside a short amount of time for hair and makeup, you will need to hire more artists to have everyone ready on-time.

Determine how many wedding party members would like hair and makeup services, and your artist will know how many artists you will need on your team. Don’t forget to factor in other wedding party members like mothers or flower girls.

Avoid Last-Minute Additions

Ask wedding party members to commit or pass on hair and makeup services in advance. While it might seem simple to add a bridesmaid later, it takes time and product and there may not be time in your schedule if you try to add it on at the last minute. It can also affect your budget more than you realize, as adding services can mean you need another artist to make your schedule work. In advance, ask everyone to book or pass on services to ensure you have adequate time and avoid budget surprises.

Wedding Day Emergency Kit

The unexpected can happen on wedding days. The key is to be as prepared as possible. In our Wedding Day Emergency Kit Checklist, we’re sharing the tools we always have on-hand at every wedding for peace of mind.

Consult Your Hair and Makeup Artist

When in doubt, always consult your hair and makeup artist for guidance. A seasoned professional has serviced countless weddings and will have the experience to guide you in your getting ready schedule for the best possible experience.

Looking for More Wedding Advice from a Wedding Planner? Join Our Wedding Planning Advice Newsletter

Looking for more wedding planning guidance from a wedding planner? Join our wedding advice email list here, where we share resources for engaged couples and answer your frequently asked questions about wedding planning.

Join the wedding advice email list and get the Wedding Budgets 101: Expensive Wedding Planning Mistakes to Avoid freebie here.


behind rsvp events


American wedding planner based in Paris, France curating unforgettable experiences with art de vivre in Europe and the United States.

As seen in leading publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Raela has serviced weddings and brands both stateside and abroad, from the sun-drenched hillsides of Southern California to the resplendent châteaux of France to the lemon trees of Positano. With unparalleled attention to detail, Raela’s specialty lies in creating unforgettable, exquisite, sensory experiences.

the latest

the venue edit

The best wedding venues in france

cal-a-vie health spa

The best Château wedding venues

coming soon

The best paris hotel wedding venues

exquisite weddings

     sought after


We would love to learn more about your vision for your celebration. Contact us to begin planning your destination wedding.

© RSVP Events 2o16 - 2024

site credits