30A Wedding Hair & Makeup: Q&A With Doria Grace
I realize, as a wedding DJ, I am not an expert on 30A wedding hair and makeup. Fortunately, I had the privilege to chat with my friend, Doria Grace. She’s an editorially published Hair and Makeup Artist and master stylist and salon owner of Doria Grace Salon for the past 4 years in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Since August 2014, Doria Grace has worked in 11 Fashion Weeks and has been the Hair and Key Makeup Artist for 2 of those runway shows. She has also worked as Hair and Makeup Artist in 3 TV-Film pilots (including work for MTV), an interview for PBS, a teaser trailer for a feature film, editorial work for 5 separate publications, and 10 short films.
Booking Your 30A Wedding Hair & Makeup Artist
DJ Josh: Hey, Doria. Thanks so much for chatting with me about hair and makeup. I will preface our conversation by admitting that the most I know about hair or makeup is that Rhoda uses Urban Decay’s Naked2 eyeshadow palette, so I apologize if my questions come across as uninformed. Also, if anyone is looking to get more info about possibly booking you as their 30A wedding hair and makeup artist, you can go to Doria’s website or Facebook. Let’s first start by talking about your booking process. Clients typically book their 30A wedding DJ between 6 and 9 months from their wedding date. How far out should a bride book their wedding hair and makeup artist?
Doria Grace: I would say two to three months at a minimum. When we book, I make sure we schedule a trial as well.
Start With A Trial
DJ: How long before their 30A wedding should a bride’s hair and makeup trial take place?
DG: I prefer one to two months before the wedding. You don’t want to have your trial too early before the wedding. As a bride goes through the wedding planning process, what they want can really change. There are so many ideas that brides come across that they may begin to consider going in a different direction. It could be something as major as a budget or something more minor like changing her flowers or having their hair up instead of down. Four to eight weeks before the wedding date is the sweet spot to have the trial because, by then, everything else is sorted out.
Makeup Trial Preparation
DJ: That makes a lot of sense. I can see that helping with getting the look perfect for her wedding. What do you recommend your clients do to prepare for their trial?
DG: For the trial, I ask them to come clean-faced but I would prefer to work with a bride that’s gotten a facial at least a week prior. A facial is going to enhance skin quality and remove any dead skin. The makeup for weddings is heavier than normal because you want it to last all day. When your skin hasn’t been exfoliated properly or you haven’t had a facial, your skin is really, really rough and the weight of the makeup will magnify that roughness. It’s going to be noticeable no matter how skilled the makeup artist is. That’s my number one tip for brides to do about a week before the wedding: get a facial. On the day of the wedding they need to do a typical facial skin regimen: cleanse the face, exfoliate, tone, and hydrate. Those things are going to make the skin look amazing. Add makeup and it will look flawless!
Make It POP!
DJ: Is there anything that can really make a bride’s look stand out?
DG: Lashes really make everything about the face pop. The look seems unfinished without it. However, some people are very low maintenance, so they’d rather it not be so bold. It’s always better to go a little bit more dramatic than you think you should because your look will show up much better in photos.
Makeup Philosophy and Current Trends
DJ: What’s your philosophy when it comes to makeup for a client?
DG: It comes down to the bride and what her palette is for the wedding, her colors and the decor she’s selected. I try and take that, along with her dress, and look at the whole thing. Also keeping in mind skin tone, what colors are going to look good on her, et cetera.
DJ: What trends, specific to makeup, are in right now?
DG: Some of them are styles that have been in for a while. Everyone likes contouring and some kind of smokey eye. Winged eyeliner is super in right now along with dramatic false lashes. I’ve noticed that more shimmer and glitter is coming back in for eye shadow, blush, and lipstick. For a while, everything was matte with no shimmer. That’s really changed in the past year.
The Ideal Client
DJ: Let’s talk about the ideal client for a sec. I’ve found that I like working with couples who want their wedding to incorporate different elements that are specific to them and tell their story. For me, it shows they really care about the wedding. And, it just feels more authentic to the bride and groom. How would you describe your ideal client?
DG: I do really well with clients that want something a little bit more fashion-forward; someone who wants something outside the box, like a 1920s theme. Boho has been in for so long that it’s kind of a cliché at this point. I love it when their style is more artistic and creative. My last bride wore a black dress on her wedding day, and I thought that was really badass and totally suited her.
I also like being involved in the design process, too. It’s a rewarding feeling when I get to help complete the look. I can take into account hair and makeup style and help them pick out a veil or a birdcage for their hair. It’s a little scary but I love being challenged by the bride having a totally unexpected look in mind… It’s invigorating stretching my skills a bit and trying things that I may have only done once or twice before.
Embrace the Process
DJ: That reminds me of how I feel about requests. If the request makes sense for the occasion, it forces me to think, “How can I work in a song I wasn’t planning on using and still make it seem like I was going to go in that direction anyway?”
DG: As long as the bride understands the process and realizes that her look may not be exactly like the photo she’s using for inspiration, I’m totally for it. This is why I think having conversations early on, as well as the trial, are important. During the free consultation, we discuss all those things. Once we get to the trial, it allows us to hammer out all the details. When we get to her wedding, we both know what I’m doing. She’s relaxed. I’m relaxed. I want it to be something she doesn’t have to worry about on that day because that day is already stressful enough.
Let’s Talk About Hair
DJ: What about for the hair portion of the trial? Do you recommend clients do anything to prepare for that?
DG: Having as much information as possible helps me as their stylist. What kind of looks do they really like? I like the process to be as collaborative as it can be. Communication is key. After the trial is complete, I encourage brides to take photos of themselves in good light of the front, sides, and back. What they see in the mirror may not be what it actually looks like. That way, they get a good idea of what it will look like. Sometimes it is exactly what they are looking for. Sometimes they may want to change their look altogether. Seeing what it looks like in natural light is helpful because most weddings in Florida, at least the ceremony, are outdoors.
DJ: What if a bride is considering having color done?
DG: That would be something we would discuss ahead of time. I will almost insist that they get some kind of caramel highlights or balayage if their hair is dark because you are going to lose all the detail of an updo in photos; it’s just going look like a blob. Having highlights will help accentuate the look. If a bride is going to do some kind of highlighting or color service, they should have it done as close enough to the wedding as possible so the color is fresh but with enough time for them to be able to adjust the coloring if they need to.
Trends in Hair
DJ: What are some trends you’ve noticed with hair?
DG: I would say that braiding and deconstruction are still really in. I’ve found that a lot of brides want something in a boho style. A common styling is half up, half down. If a bride wants to go with braids, they’ll often want it to be deconstructed which gives their hair a nice detail.
Volume has always been big. Even if they do have something sleek like an updo, they’re still going to want some kind of volume to accentuate the crown and the back of the head. I always try to give the client something in the front of her head that they can appreciate and see, especially if it’s an updo. If everything is behind their head, a) they can’t even see it without looking in a mirror and b) most photos are taken from the front, so you won’t see the look in most of the shots.
How to Prepare Your Hair For the Wedding
DJ: What do you recommend your clients do to prepare their hair for their 30A wedding?
DG: In terms of prep for the wedding, it should be freshly washed with some kind of blow out. You want to make sure the hair has volume, so use some kind of mousse or smoothing cream. The smoothing cream will also help tame the frizz. Frizz is the worst thing for a wedding! When you have a close-up shot, any frizz will stand out. It is a constant challenge here because of how high the humidity is.
I offer blowouts on the day of their wedding because that’s one less thing for her to deal with. I may recommend a Brazillian Blowout before the wedding if the client has thick or coarse hair. If a bride gets a Brazillian blowout, she should get it up to two weeks before their wedding. It takes down the curl and volume in thick or coarse hair making it soft and smooth.
DJ: Are there any trends that you think will be popping up in the future
DG: I think that curly hair is on its way out. I’m seeing more and more artists posting pictures of completely smooth and sleek flat-ironed looks. Every fashion has its opposite, and opposites tend to follow each other, so as the boho style may be fading, this contrasting look appears to be taking its place.
Pantone Color of the Year
DJ: I just recently saw Pantone’s Color of the Year. What would be good complementary colors for the bride to consider if the groom’s suit color is similar to it?
DG: Colors that would work well with the Pantone Color of the Year would be blush colors: baby pink, creamy tones, peaches. Some people could go as far as a salmon color with that tone. I’ve seen that done before and it’s really pretty. You could also do silver but I prefer a little warmth because the complementary color to blue is orange. I would lean toward those slightly warmer tones than cool tones. They compliment blue better. The worst you can do is put earth tones with it.
The Big Day!
DJ: Let’s say you’ve had the trial with your bride and now it is the day of the wedding. What does your process for hair and makeup on the day of a 30A wedding look like?
DG: Brides that know what their wedding party is going to have done is huge. We figure out how many bridesmaids, mothers of the bride, flower girls are going to be included. That helps me prepare for the wedding because it helps me figure out how much time I need to budget. I will budget 45 minutes per service, hair or makeup.
I used to work for a wedding company that insisted on sticking to 30 minutes but I’ve found that’s only enough time to do an ok job. If I want to do an amazing job, planning on having 45 minutes allows me that opportunity. Then I decide how much help I need and figure out who’s going first.
I require the bride to pick out and send me their bridesmaids’ style ahead of time because it affects the entire day. And it’s huge for me because sometimes there are 12 ladies that need to be styled. I take all that into account so that I budget enough time to get everyone done and ready in time for whatever the photographer has planned.
Final Advice From Your 30A Wedding Hair & Makeup Artist
DJ: If you could leave brides with any final pieces of advice for when they get hair and makeup done for their 30A wedding, what would it be?
DG: Have realistic expectations. You may not look exactly like the Pinterest photos you’ve pinned to your boards. Have honest conversations with your stylist and come to an agreement on what your look will be together. Schedule a trial in advance of your wedding. Bring all the info you possibly can to the trial for your stylist. Book your hair and makeup artist at least a couple of months out from your wedding. Do something that is inspired but have it tailored and made for you.