Bridal Hair/Makeup Agencies Vs. Independent Freelancers

Your bridal hair and makeup is just as important, if not more important than your wedding dress. Unlike your wedding dress that has been perfected prior to the day of the wedding, your hair and makeup must be perfected just hours prior to walking down the aisle. This can be incredibly nerve-racking! So, it is important to find the perfect hair stylist and makeup artist that you are confident in and can nail your bridal look under pressure. 

Many brides start with their go-to hair stylist they have most likely been seeing for years. Unfortunately, they soon find out that their favorite stylist isn’t confident in formal styling or does not come on-location for weddings. This is one of the most important days of your life and your most trusted stylist has just been ruled out. What now? Luckily, there are many tools brides can use to find a variety of bridal specialists in their area like Instagram, The Knot, or even a quick Google search. However, all these choices can become extremely overwhelming since at the end of the day, all these people are complete strangers! As you continue to search through the various specialists, you may start noticing there are two types of vendor options: bridal agencies and independent freelancers. So, which is better?

Bridal hair and makeup agencies are your one stop shop for bridal hair and makeup. Many brides are first attracted to agencies because they often have a high amount of reviews and lower prices. They have  a variety of various artists working under them to choose from and match you with for your big day. Since they have so many artists working on their teams, they are able to book a large amount of weddings each year. Yay- good for them! But, good for you? 

Typically when working with agencies, you are in communication with a middle man as opposed to the artist themselves. This makes the experience much less personal and becomes more difficult to determine whether you and the artist you have been paired with are a good fit. Agencies are also able to keep their prices down since they are booking so many weddings a year. However, it is important to note that many artists working for agencies are only receiving approximately 40-60% of the price you are paying to the agency. This can impact the amount of detail and precision your artist is willing to dedicate to your services. Artists often work with agencies when they are first starting their careers as a bridal specialist and trying to fill their books. So, many of the artists working on these teams are not very experienced bridal specialists yet.

// Bridal Hair/Makeup Agencies:

PROS: Book both hair + makeup at once - Lower prices                                                 

CONS: Less of a personalized experience - Less experienced artists

On the other hand, independent freelancers are able to offer a more personalized experience that is often lost when an agency is coordinating such a large scale of weddings with a pool of artists. Freelance artists are representing themselves and tend to be much more detail oriented, since their name is on the line. While working with a freelancer, you will be in direct contact with them throughout the entire process start to finish. From inquiring, sharing your Pinterest boards, working out the timeline, to showtime on the wedding day. Your independent artist is just an email, text, or call away! This is their passion. They take pride in perfecting their craft and want to tailor each look to their client's unique needs.

One major con of working with a freelancer is that they often have higher prices than agencies, but the extra attention to detail and communication is worth every penny in my opinion. Another con is that you will need to book two separate artists for hair and makeup services. However, most artists can offer you referrals to other artists they work with that are up to their standards. If the hair and makeup artist have worked together in the past, the coordination process becomes just as easy as working with an agency!

// Independent Freelancers:

PROS: More personalized experience - Direct communication                                                

CONS: Higher prices - Have to book multiple vendors 

It is important to find the perfect hair stylist and makeup artist that can nail your bridal look under pressure. It can quickly become overwhelming when looking through all of your options and are deciding whether to work with an agency or an independent freelancer. There are pros and cons to both, but ultimately you need to find someone you can trust when it matters the most!

What are your thoughts on working with bridal hair and makeup agencies vs. independent freelancers?