When you’re dreaming of your wedding day, you’re likely envisioning how you’ll look as you walk down the aisle: the outfit, the shoes, the flowers, and, of course, the finishing touch: wedding beauty! Your day-of hairstyle can be integral to how you feel on your big day—and how you look in photos—so it’s often one of the most important parts of any bridal budget.
However, as the bridal market continues to expand and explode, pricing for bridal hair can be all over the map. What should you look for when you’re beginning your search for the artists who will bring your vision to life, and how much should you expect to pay for wedding hair? We chatted with industry expert Sarah Naslund to help you figure out what to expect and what to look out for.
Meet the Expert
Sarah Naslund is a bridal and updo specialist based in Boston and has worked in the industry for over 10 years.
Average Cost of Wedding Hair
According to Naslund, the average cost of wedding hair is about $100 to $350. Of course, pricing may change depending on what you’re looking for, when your wedding is, and where you live. For example, you may pay more in New York City than you would in Nebraska. It may also depend on the stylist’s experience level too, as you’re paying for their time and talents.
Bridal hairstyling means just that—you’ll start with clean, dry hair (contrary to what you may have heard, dirty hair is not better) and your stylist will create your desired look, whether that’s an elegant low chignon, an undone braid, or simple curls.
Your stylist may charge for a blow-dry, so be sure to clarify that before you sit down in their chair with wet hair.
Pay close attention to what the stylist offers in their packages or price lists. Some stylists may charge $250 for the bride and anywhere from $50 to $100 per style for the bridal party or the mothers of the couple. Some may include a trial session in their pricing, while others charge separately. When connecting with a stylist, you’ll want to be sure you talk through every potential expense and are very clear about your needs so there are no surprises later. For example, Naslund personally charges $275 for a bridal hairstyle and charges separately for travel and trial. However, she doesn’t charge extra for any clip-in extensions used to create the final look, and creates mini styling kits for the bride on the big day and beyond with hairspray and dry shampoo. Every stylist is different, so be sure you’re on the same page with pricing.
Is a trial something you should build into your budget? It can be key to discovering the perfect style and reducing stress on the day of your wedding, so it may be worth the price. Naslund says trials generally cost around $100. “I don’t require a trial, but some bridal stylists do. I strongly think that you should [book one], but I realize that if your budget is small, it could be something you skip,” Naslund says.
She likens a wedding hair trial to shopping online; you may see a style on Instagram that you think is perfect, but when you actually see yourself in it, it’s not love at first sight. A trial will give you and your stylist room to experiment with different looks and make any tweaks necessary. “The trial is time spent adjusting details and getting an idea of how different styles would look,” Naslund explains. “Occasionally, you just nail the perfect style in one try! But most of the time it’s more exploration.”
Additional Cost Considerations
Remember that you’ll need to tip your stylist after their work is done, so be sure to factor anywhere from 15 to 25 percent into your planning and final totals.
If you’re comfortable styling your own hair or have a friend or family member who is handy with a curling iron, you could consider skipping a stylist altogether. However, Naslund feels strongly that bridal hair is something you should pay a pro for. “You could DIY it, but most people just aren’t used to styling their hair,” she says. “Plus, you really don’t want to be working in any capacity on your wedding day, especially in the morning. Your main concern should be, ‘Who is going to open the champagne?'”