Wedding-Day Beauty Budget: Is It More Cost Effective to Go to the Salon or Have the Pros Come to You?

You'll want to consider more than just the costs of the services themselves; consider your time, the experience of the pros you're working with, and what makes the most sense for you, too.

bride and bridesmaids cheersing in pajama sets
Photo: Alisa Ferris

Having a hair and makeup team come to your wedding venue to help the entire bridal party get ready for the wedding is fairly standard these days, but is it really the most cost-effective choice? It used to be that the bride, her bridesmaids, and the mothers of the bride and groom always visited a local salon for hair and makeup services, but this has become decidedly less common. But if you're looking to save a little money, which is the better option?

Consider the Travel

Laura Maddox, owner and partner of Magnolia Celebrates, advises her clients to think about the savings in something other than dollars. She advises them to weigh in the cost of transportation to and from the salon, the time it will take to get everyone there and back, and the complications that may arise if not everyone can be served at the same time. "The logistics often encourage my clients to opt to pay just a few dollars more for the ease of having a team arrive while they roll out of bed, allowing for all the girls to spend the day together and enjoy each other's company while the professionals make sure everyone looks their best."

What Really Matters Is the Experience

Maddox says that it doesn't really matter if you're going to a brick-and-mortar salon or if you're having a glam squad travel to you; you should be more focused on the experience you and your bridesmaids will be having. Since travel is often already added into the cost of your hair and makeup services, which is then spread out over the cost of several different options, you may not even notice the added expense.

Timing Is Everything

What you lose in financial savings by having a hair and makeup team come to you will more than likely be made up in time. According to Maddox, most of the delays she runs into during the wedding-day process can be traced back to hair and makeup running behind schedule. "The ceremony starts on time regardless if you have finished the final picture, so it is very important to hire a team of professionals that know how to work a wedding-day schedule," she says. "I am a large advocate for hair and makeup onsite on the wedding day. It is a much calmer, more relaxed day when you can spend time with your friends in your fun matching PJs and sip mimosas instead of worrying about the logistics of getting to a salon and back."

Consider Accidental Savings

In addition to adding the logistics of how the wedding party will get to and from the salon, consider the additional costs for your photographer and videographer, explains wedding videographer Mary Angelini, owner of Key Moment Films. "Their coverage runs consecutively, so if your [hair and makeup] is off site to where your getting dressed, you are paying your photo and video team to travel between locations." This may not be the best use of your prepaid photography package. "Some photographers also charge per location, especially if you're getting ready in a major city where there are parking fees," she adds. Explaining that the photographers and videographers will also have to account for the time it takes to load, unload and set up their equipment.

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