What to expect during a Consultation Appointment & How to Prepare

Liz working on bride J. Photo Credit Chard Photo

We’re winding down 2017 season, and we are really grateful for all the wonderful clients we’ve had this year so far. As 2018 is about to roll around, I’m realizing the last time I wrote a blog was February. My husband gave me such a hard time about it all throughout Spring/Summer/Fall (you know, the busiest times for us) and here I am finally here to write about an urgent topic that may be beneficial for anyone who may come across it, even if you don’t plan to hire us (although we hope you would consider us!), I hope you would still find this blog helpful in your wedding planning process!  I’ve gathered a few FAQs about the consultation appointment.

Why is it called a Consultation?
Other vendors may refer to it as a trial run or preview, but I personally don’t feel it accurately describes what happens and the nature of the appointment. Firstly, nobody is on trial! Secondly, it’s not a preview because changes will inevitably be made, and we’re not doing a part of the service (like watching the movie preview), we’re going over the entire enchilada. Most importantly, it’s a collaborative process, and while you are coming to a professional – essentially consulting us for our expertise in makeup & hair – the output depends on your input. What we create and construct depends heavily on your feedback. In other words, without both parties collaborating at the fullest, exchanging maximum amount of information and ideas, both visual and verbal, it may be more challenging process than expected. Communication is key for a successful consultation appointment.  The consultation is truly a collaboration and team effort between artist & client and so receiving visual and verbal direction from you is essential. The appointment is also about building trust and rapport (more on this below!). I want to emphasize that each artist and client has their own way of processing and analyzing information. I know that sounds like common sense, but I found this to be crucial for all parties to think about and take into account when approaching this appointment. For example, I will tell my clients immediately if I’m noticing steps I can do differently for better results. It not only helps me remember, but confirms with my client what we are seeing now and what we want to see are the same and that we are on the same page. I know some artist will sit down and think about it later, and write it all down in their notes as soon as the client leaves their studio.  Similarly, some clients will tell us immediately something they would like to change, while others need some time to think about it, and would write/call us with notes and feedback. Either way, just know that we as artists are always happy to make changes to make sure to best execute your vision! We have our own aesthetic and our own vision of what may look great on you, but this is not our wedding day, it’s yours! It’s your face and image, and we’re here for you.

Bridal party getting touched up by artist Jerilyn. Photo Edyta Szyszlo

What happens during the Consultation?
The first 15 minutes we discuss details about your event, go over the questionnaire, and discuss any concerns you may have. Then we look at your inspiration hair & makeup photos and get started on the look. We make as many edits and tweaks as time permits, and during this process, we take the opportunity to get to know you and your fiancé a little bit!  It’s usually just the artist and the bride; here at Skyla Arts we welcome 1 guest of your choice. It’s often the Best Friend/Maid of Honor, Sister of the Bride, or Mother of the Bride. This is so that we maintain an intimate experience. While the guest may participate, our main focus is getting information and direction from the bride directly. At the end, we take a few photos to help document the process, and we collect feedback, either in person, or afterwards via phone or email.

Artists Victoria, Treja and Angela getting bridal party ready. Photo by Jerry Yoon Photographers

How can I best prepare for the appointment?
The Logistics: I recommend seeing the artist 3-6 months before your event, after you’ve selected the main decor details for your wedding, as well as your dress. Sometimes brides have not selected their accessories and wanted to discuss that with us, and so having that time cushion also helps finalize last minute purchases. Ideally, you may want to schedule it on a day you are free the rest of your day so you can sit with the look, see how it wears, and process what you’ve done together at the appointment.  It’s also nice if you can go to your engagement photos or save the date photos after, so you can be photographed and then look at the results together with your makeup/hair artist.  We have a questionnaire we ask clients to fill out to find out about any allergies and sensitivities, and any concerns they may have about their skin/hair. But the more important piece of logistics is figuring out what you like and don’t like and bring it to your artist – ideally emailed before your appointment. Pinterest and blogs made the visual research process easier than 10 years ago. A tip I would give folks when they are looking around is to look for inspiration photos with people that has similar hair & skin color, and even bone structure. It is really challenging to have a session without any visual communication/research!  Then, consider your venue and the time of year the event is happening and the weather conditions. Discuss with your artist how that may impact your hair & makeup choices. I also advice thinking about your habits. For example, if you never worn red lipstick and don’t have experience maintaining it throughout the day, then unless you can hire us to follow you the whole day or have one of your bridal party members can help you out, it may be a challenge to wear red lips. Or if you know that hair near your face gets on your nerves throughout the day, most likely it’s a good idea to pin it back. They sound like little things, but they can impact the look you may be going for. Then, I suggest preparing a few questions you may want to ask your artist about your skin care regimen, any treatments you were considering, or about your makeup/hair like hair cut schedule, hair color, hair extensions etc. that may be relevant to helping you achieve the look you want.

The Practical: We request that our clients arrive with a fresh face (with no traces of makeup), and clean & completely dry hair (not wet nor damp!) for their appointment.  We would love a photo of your dress, and if you like to send us a candid photo of yourself to help us get a sense of your style, we’d love to see it!  I recommend wearing a solid color top (preferable), and a shirt with the neckline that mimics the cut of your gown to give you a better idea of how the hair & makeup will work with your dress. Well-groomed brows are definitely recommended! At home exfoliation the night before is always appreciated/recommended. Please bring any accessories you may plan to wear as well that you wish to try on (veil, headpiece, jewelry etc).  If you will be changing into another outfit afterwards, a button-down shirt will be ideal as it prevents hair from messing up during changing.

The Mental: This part is about setting the stage and ambiance, and about your expectations for the session. We try to create a space where clients can feel comfortable telling us what they think and how they feel about what we are working on. It’s an -ing, a process, and subject to being changed and perfected. Some artists and clients would expect that they walk out looking perfect and exactly how they expect. Sometimes that happens (Hurrah!) but for most people, there are decisions that need to be made, and details that need to be improved or edited out.  I recommend everyone coming into the session with an open mind, and make sure to ask your artists any concerns you may have about the appointment before coming in. I wouldn’t be worried about hurting your artists’ feelings if you don’t like something, or being worried about sounding too particular.  Here’s the secret – everybody is particular!  Everybody. Even the person who never wears makeup, or previously thought that their makeup and hair for their wedding day is not a huge priority.  If you ask us what we think, we can tell you what we like, but that doesn’t mean that’s the vision you should go with. We are going with your vision!  The other thing about managing expectations is also being flexible and open to your artists expertise when they describe the limits of what makeup/hair styling can do for the look, and being open to collaborating in finding the best solution. A straight forward example I have is if you have an inspiration photo where the person has voluminous hair (either naturally or achieved through 2 sets of hair extensions), in order to achieve that we would need hair extensions. If the thought of wearing (fake) hair extensions would not sit well with yourself or your fiance, we have to go with a different hair style and solution. The final part about the mental preparation is knowing yourself.  Are you set on one particular look? Perhaps you are super indecisive and always have a hard time narrowing things down and that’s stressful. Some clients need more time to process the session before voicing their thoughts, some clients need to know exactly how it will turn out and want to see the edit precisely how it is, some clients need a separate session to try out three  more hair styles to confirm their choice.  Anticipating how you may respond can prevent a lot of stress. Being self-aware also allows you to communicate what your needs are to your artist and will definitely contribute to a productive session, and then you got one more thing checked off your list! Yaaass!

Artist Camille styling K on her wedding day. Photo by Birds of a Feather

What happens if I don’t like the results?
It takes two to tango, and the initial reaction on both parties is naturally disappointment. As artists and the service providers, we put a lot of ourselves and energy into that appointment, and we become invested in doing a great job, trying to make the client happy and meeting all their expectations. As the client, your expectations may be different than the results, despite both parties best efforts, and that can be frustrating as it was a time and financial investment. Maybe it’s chemistry, or maybe different communication styles. I would suggest to consider the following: Do you think the artist understands what you are going for, or was there a miscommunication or misunderstanding that happened along the way that can be cahnged? Can you give the artist specific feedback to remedy this? Is the artist open to making edits, and can you trust the artist to execute the changes? If the answer is yes, there’s nothing to worry about. We can work it out! If the answer is no, it’s unfortunate, but it happens and it’s for the best.  Unless you are an actress/musician/reality TV star and have years of experiences working with professional makeup/hair artists, it’s hard to select one unless you go through the consultation process and it is necessary to go through. The bottom line: Do you feel you have a rapport and trust with your artist? We’re this close to your face and eyes, we are touching your hair working with hot tools millimeters away fromyour scalp that could burn you but more often than not a huge risk of burning us. Trust is definitely involved there! We are IN your bubble. We are sharing the space with your most loved ones on this most special occasion. We are there laughing and crying (from happiness that is!) with you. Recently the mother of the bride told me (paraphrased here): “I think you make people beautiful also because you give them a moment they can just sit and relax.” The person in our chair is still, oftentimes eyes closed, and it’s a moment to be still and present, to prepare for the busy and exciting day ahead. It is a very intimate moment, a privilege for us artists to be invited into that intimate space. If you don’t feel we are the right fit, absolutely no hard feelings. If you need another session to work things out, we are happy to schedule one and follow-up with the notes we exchanged and make the edits. I have gotten phone calls from brides who have gone to 2-3 other artists and were disappointed with the results and wanted to come in. I usually try to find out which areas they are more concerned about, and then I ask them if there was one of them that they felt more comfortable with, and encourage them to communicate with the artist and return to them because I feel it may have been a communication breakdown if that makes sense. Ultimately, follow your gut feelings. Most of the time, it works out for the best!

Liz finishing up R’s makeup. Photo by Abi Q Photography

In Conclusion
We occupy a special place in your wedding day timeline, and join you in your personal space and we respect that. In return we hope our clients who chooses us can trust and respect our expertise, our creative process and our techniques. Mutual trust and respect enables us and empowers us to best service our special clients. There are many other ways, perhaps easier ways, we could make a living, but this is what we choose because when our clients tell us they are happy with the results and we can see how they light up, we also light up and feel joy. This is our vocation of choice, and we are so happy to be doing this for a living, even though it’s not an easy job. I hope this was helpful / informative / thought-provoking (maybe? maybe?) :) We look forward to meeting our clients for 2018 :) :) :) 

Camille making final touches on M. Photo by Sandra Fazzino

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