In normal years, our peak wedding season starts at the end of April and ends in early November. We still often have some weddings before and after that, but the bulk of our weddings happen during that time. This year, our peak season started September 1 and ended September 30. Thanks, COVID!
We still have weddings in October, November and December, but September had almost double the amount of any other month this year. It’s been nice to be back into our normal weekend schedules, even if “normal” now includes PPE, spaced out setups and extra sanitizing.
We’ve been pretty busy with trials and new 2021 wedding bookings too, which is great. No new corporate or commercial shoots yet, but since some film and television shows are now back in production, that’s a good sign.
Personally, I got to see some friends and family this month and got to hold my baby niece for the first time. She wasn’t too thrilled about that, but I was!
The weather is starting to get cooler, which normally bothers me, but this year, I’m looking at it as a sign that 2020 is starting to come to a close. I know it’s not like everything will go back to normal on 1/1/21, but I somehow think putting this shitshow of a year behind us will at least give some temporary mental and emotional relief.
And now, I’ve got some fall and winter trials to schedule.
2020 started off great for AB Beauty weddings. We had two weddings in January, then at least one wedding booked for every month except February. 2020 was shaping up to be our busiest season ever, and we were ready!
Everything of course came to a screeching halt in March. We lost all of our booked weddings from March until August, either to postponements or cancellations. It was painful and the whole AB Beauty team was sad for our brides whose plans were changed so unexpectedly.
We did some minimonies once hair and makeup services were allowed to start again in June and July, but our full weddings didn’t pick up until August. Our peak wedding season–normally late April until early November–is now August until mid-October, and we’re only doing a fraction of what we would have done had COVID not ruined everything.
But still, I’m grateful for the weddings we do have this season. Back in May, I thought it was very possible that we might not end up with any, so this is a much better outcome.
Thank you to all of the 2020 brides who initially booked with us, whether or not we get to work with you this year. Thank you to the 2020 brides who booked with us after the pandemic hit, either for minimonies or full weddings. Thank you to everyone who referred a 2020 bride to us. And thank you to the AB Beauty makeup artists and hair stylists for their flexibility, responsiveness and cooperation in regards to the constant changes we’ve encountered since March.
We’ll likely end up doing about 100 less weddings than we would have, but at least that number won’t be 100% less than we would have! Look for the good, right?
I know, I know. If you’re looking for a wedding hair and makeup team, you probably mainly want to see pictures of looks you like and rates that are in your budget–not a long blog post about why you should choose an experienced company. Photos and rates are of course important factors, but because I want you to have not only beautiful bridal hair and makeup but a smooth, easy process with your hair and makeup vendor(s), I have to write this post. What I want to tell you about is just as important as getting that low, messy-but-not-too-messy updo and that glowy makeup that also brings out your eyes.
While you absolutely should choose a talented hair and makeup team, if you want the whole package from your beauty vendor, it’s not just about the perfect hair and makeup looks. There is so much that goes into the wedding hair and makeup process–starting at your initial inquiry and ending after (yes, after) your wedding day–that hiring people who are great at hair and makeup does not mean you’ll have a good experience and get your money’s worth.
There are a ton of wedding hair stylists and makeup artists out there, but if you choose a new company that doesn’t have experience with the business side of the wedding beauty process, you could be in for a headache at best (if you consider that “best”) or a disaster at worst. I can’t tell you how many brides have contacted us over the years because their wedding hair stylist and/or makeup artist fell through, sometimes the week before their wedding. I’ve also heard countless stories of clients who couldn’t get a hold of their hair stylist or makeup artist for weeks, were over-charged or given the wrong rates, had surprise charges sprung on them the day of, worked with a company who refused to make or stick to a day-of schedule causing the wedding to start hours late, etc. And these stories had nothing to do with a hair stylist or makeup artist not being talented or skilled at their craft. It had to do with lack of professionalism and, in many cases, lack of business experience.
At AB Beauty, not only do you get talented makeup artists and hair stylists, but a company with 11+ years of experience in the wedding beauty industry. They say that when you open a business, you should choose to either do something new that fills a need in the market, or improve upon something that already exists. I didn’t exactly re-invent the wheel when I opened an onsite wedding beauty company, but I did set out to improve upon the wedding beauty business model which was, from what I was told by clients, planners, photographers, and married friends, lacking in professionalism, organization and responsiveness.
I’ve learned so much from the business courses I’ve taken, other established business owners I pow wow with, my attorney and my accountant. I’ve also learned a lot from experience, and there’s no way that can be expedited without a time machine. I’ll be real with you: I did some things wrong my first couple years, as I would say every new business owner does. But my “first couple years” were nine years ago, so I’m way over that hump. I luckily had 10 years of business experience before I opened AB Beauty, so my early mis-steps weren’t disastrous.
Have I convinced you yet that experience is important? Good! (I imagined you nodding your head.) But I’m not going to leave you hanging, armed with this knowledge but without the tools to identify the good things, the red flags and what doesn’t matter even though it seems like it should.
Insta Fake. Should a wedding beauty company have an Instagram account? Of course! But does it matter how many followers they have? Not really. Instagram has been cracking down on this lately, but people can buy followers. So you could be looking at a page with 10,000 followers, but any number of those could be fake. When you’re checking out a business’s Instagram, first take a look at how many posts they have. If it’s under 50, you’re likely dealing with a new company. Even if they have a lot posts though, scroll through and see if what they are showing actually applies to what you want to book them for. If their page is 90% haircut photos and 10% bridal hair styling, they might not do that many weddings. Same for a makeup page that shows 90% special effects or editorial makeup photos with 10% bridal makeup photos. Between buying followers, buying likes (yes, people do that too) and retouching photos, Instagram can fake a lot. I do recommend checking out a company’s Instagram, but I wouldn’t base your booking decision off of that alone.
http://www.itshouldexist.com If a wedding beauty company you’re looking at only has Instagram, that’s a little suspect. Where’s the background about their company? Their rates? Information about the services they offer? Yes, visuals are essential for beauty company, but that’s not all there is to it. Websites may seem old school to some people and I agree that can be accurate for certain types of businesses if they only have a website. In the wedding beauty industry though, I think it adds legitimacy to a business if you see that they have a website in addition to other social media (Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest being the most popular in the wedding beauty industry). Creating a website (or hiring someone to) requires more work and/or money than starting an Instagram account or Facebook business page. That shows that–at least at some point–the owner was investing more effort into their business, aka taking things more seriously. That can translate into them taking their clients more seriously, and isn’t that the kind of vendor you want to hire?
Main Hustle. When choosing a wedding beauty company, it’s a good idea to see what else they’ve got going on. Are they a salon or spa that also does weddings? Are they a weddings and events only onsite company? Is this a side hustle for the owner? If you choose a company that has a team of 10 or more people and does I would say 75+ weddings a year, in my perspective, running that company correctly, efficiently and in accordance with the law and tax code is a full time job. If doing weddings is a side job for an owner or is a small part of what they do overall, I would be very clear on how devoted they are to weddings before booking with them.
Some companies primarily do salon and/or spa services but they have a bridal coordinator who handles weddings, which works to your advantage. But for other businesses, weddings are not their focus, which could mean you are not their focus. Some salons–and I want to be clear when I say some, not all–do a lot of in-salon weddings but few onsite weddings, so they might not be as familiar with the factors that need to be thought of when going to a hotel or rental home (parking, set up, scheduling, bringing fully stocked kits and supplies with them, handling payments, etc.)
If you’re considering booking with an onsite only company, it’s a good idea to find out what else (if anything) the owner does. Are they on set 60 hours a week? Do they rent a chair to take salon clients when they’re not at weddings? Do they have another job completely outside of the industry? Those things are all completely fine (and I’ve done two out of three myself), but if there is one person handling all bridal communication, you might want to make sure they are someone who will be able to frequently check and respond to emails, calls and texts so you’re not left waiting for answers for days at a time. I worked as a school secretary then office manager for my first two years in business, but I didn’t have many clients then, nor did I have a team to manage until I went full-time with my business. But I still made sure to check emails and texts throughout the day and responded to calls during my lunch breaks and after work. And there was always downtime on set when I could respond to my bridal clients, but I still kept my film work to a minimum and stopped doing it entirely four years ago so that I could be more available for my wedding clients. Hey, I have to justify my actions here 😉
The People Have Spoken. When you’re looking for a wedding beauty company, I beg of you, please check the reviews! WeddingWire, The Knot, Google, Facebook and Yelp reviews can help you learn about a company from other brides’ perspectives. (WeddingWire and The Knot tend to be the most helpful, as they are wedding-focused and where most people think to leave reviews of wedding vendors.) A company’s photos will tell you if they can create the kind of looks you want for you and your bridal party, but their reviews will tell you about some equally important factors–responsiveness, professionalism, personalities, punctuality, etc.
Like anything else, reviews can be faked, but I know that WeddingWire, The Knot and Google at least have filters in place to verify reviews and/or help prevent bulk, bot or otherwise fake reviews from being posted. If you see a company with 100+ reviews, that’s a good sign that they are legit. But if their overall rating is low, well, that tells you something too. A company (if they’re smart) will only show the good things, but reviews can uncover some of the bad. If you want to see an example of good reviews, check out the AB Beauty WeddingWire reviews. With a 5 star average and more reviews in the beauty category than any other company in Rhode Island, you know we must be doing something right!
Sign On The Dotted Line. Before you book with a company, it’s a good idea to ask them about their contract. First off, if they don’t do contracts, run. A text saying someone will do your wedding hair and makeup is not legally binding, so you’re leaving yourself open to a last minute cancellation by the company (and no recourse for you) if you don’t sign a contract. When you do connect with a company with good reviews whose esthetic you like and whose rates fit in your budget, it’s a good idea to ask them about their contract. Is it an online contract? If not, you’re either going to have to meet up in person to sign it, or do something with printing, mailing and/or scanning. Is that do-able for you? I mean, only 23% of Millennials have printers. (I made that up.)
Maybe a hard copy contract isn’t an issue for you, but if it is, you may want to find a company you like who does online contracts. A lot of new companies won’t have an online contract because they can’t afford the expense, or because they don’t know it’s an option (and one that most clients prefer). And when a new company creates a contract, if they haven’t consulted with an attorney–another expense that some new companies can’t afford–it may not be a solid contract. We’re talking about your wedding day here, and I don’t want to see you go through the headache of a hard copy contract if that’s a hassle for you, or end up booking with a company whose contract may cause problems down the road.
Credit Check. Another important factor in choosing your wedding beauty company might be their payment options. 61% of couples who pay for their own wedding do so using credit cards (and that’s a real statistic). If you’re planning on using a credit card to pay for your wedding beauty services, check with the vendor(s) you’re considering before booking to make sure they accept credit cards. A lot of new companies don’t accept credit cards because they can’t afford the credit card processing fees. (There are ten states where companies are legally required to cover the fees themselves, but many businesses outside of those states eat that fee, as it can be a turn off to potential clients to be charged a credit card processing fee.) So you may come across companies who don’t accept credit cards and that’s not going to work for you, it’s important to know that before booking.
On Your Terms. A company you book with should be able to tell you about their payment terms without hesitation. If they can’t give you any information about that, they are likely either inexperienced or unorganized, neither of which you want in a wedding vendor. A company who knows what they’re doing will be able to give you clear information regarding accepted forms of payment, payment deadlines and any other pertinent information that affects your money. They will have a legitimate invoice and will be able to provide you with receipts. Any confusion around payments has a good chance of stressing you out, and that’s probably not what you want when taking on the already stressful wedding planning process.
The Technicalities. Without a doubt, you want someone who is experienced with the technical side of doing wedding hair and/or makeup. But just because someone has years of experience doing hair and/or makeup, it doesn’t mean they have experience running a wedding beauty business. If someone has been doing wedding hair for 15 years but they’ve never worked in a small business or had any desire to handle the business side of beauty bookings, that may very well affect your experience. The majority of the people I’ve interviewed have told me they don’t want to have their own business because they don’t like the client communication and business side. They solely want to focus on creating beautiful hair and/or makeup looks. That’s perfect for AB Beauty, as I take care of what they don’t like to do. But that “I only want to do hair/makeup” thought is common in the beauty industry. It’s a fantastic quality in someone who freelances or works for a beauty services company, but not in an owner.
You want the person doing your hair/makeup to love what they do. But if they have no interest or experience with contracts, invoices, payments, creating schedules, coordinating appointments, etc., do you want them to be the vendor you interact with? Some people (like me!) enjoy and are experienced with both sides of the wedding beauty services transaction. And others may focus on the beauty side but have a business partner or employee who handles the business side, which is great. I’m just saying, if you’re considering a wedding beauty company, don’t be fooled by years of beauty experience alone. You deserve to work with a company who not only creates a gorgeous hair and makeup look for you, but who can make the business side of the process easy, clear and efficient.
A lot of beauty companies are opened by people who love doing wedding hair and/or makeup, and following your passion can lead to great things. But if the owner of a wedding beauty company is not experienced with running a wedding beauty business, unless they have someone who is working with or for them who is, the owner’s lack of experience will likely negatively affect your interaction with them.
I hope that this has been helpful to you if you’re in the wedding planning process. Planning a wedding can be crazy stressful, but if you hire experienced, professional, responsive vendors, you can minimize that stress. The first vendors you will likely interact with on your wedding day are your hair stylist(s) and/or makeup artist(s), so do you want those first faces you see to be people you’re happy with because they’ve made the process easy and clear for you, or people who’ve dropped the business ball at every turn? I think we both know the answer to that.
Getting married in the Newport area? Congratulations! It’s a great place to have a wedding. From the waterfront venues to the mansions to the beach and park options, Newport has a lot to offer for weddings. My company has been doing weddings since 2008, and the majority of them have been in Newport and Middletown (the town right next to Newport on Aquidneck Island). I’ve learned a lot about having a wedding in this area, and I think the right thing to do is pass that knowledge on to you.
Ready for some local, wedding vendor intelligence?
Festivals & Events. A tourist destination is nothing without its events, right? And Newport has a lot of them. Some are on the smaller side, and others bring in huge crowds. If you’re planning your wedding for an event weekend, you might want to let your guests know to tack on a little extra travel time. Also, you should be prepared in terms of hotel room blocks. The heaviest traffic events are usually the Newport Folk Festival (last weekend in July), The Newport Jazz Festival (first weekend in August) and the International Boat Show (mid-September). The International Tennis Hall of Fame Championship (early July), The Newport Flower Show (usually the third weekend of June), and The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival (late September) bring some traffic to Bellevue Avenue and the Newport Marathon (usually the second Sunday in October) causes road closures and detours. Salve Regina University graduation (usually the third weekend in May) can make some dents in hotel room availability. The Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade (the Saturday before March 17, or on March 17 if it falls on a Saturday) really affects the downtown area, as Thames Street is part of the parade route so it gets blocked off. Those are the biggest events that I’ve noticed that can have an impact on a Newport wedding. You can keep an eye on the Newport events schedule here. It also might be worth it to follow Newport Buzz, What’s Up Newp and Newport Patch on Facebook for local info.
The Newport Season. The Newport Summer Season technically starts on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day, but it’s not a ghost town for all of the time before and after that. Newport is pretty quiet in January, February and March though, really only coming alive a little during February school vacation week and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in March. April can start to pick up if the weather is nice. The last weekend of April has been a popular one for weddings because from what I understand, that’s the last weekend for off season rates at many of the venues. May gets busier, particularly on the weekends and then definitely on Memorial Day Weekend. June is also busy, especially once schools get out, as Newport is a popular family vacation spot. I consider Peak Season to be Fourth of July through Labor Day Weekend. After Labor Day, the weekends stay busy as long as it’s nice out, but it’s easier to get around and find parking on weekdays. Some restaurants close in late September or early October, then re-open in April or May. Beach weather is usually gone by October, which thins out the weekend day-tripper traffic. November and December are much quieter, with some holiday season shoppers on weekend but no big events. If you want your wedding in the busy, fun summertime Newport, aim for between Fourth of July and Labor Day. If you want that seem feel but a little quieter, Memorial Day until the Fourth, as well as the weekends after Labor Day in September, will do it for you. You can have a beautiful fall wedding in Newport (with lower prices at some venues) in October and November. If you like the holidays, Newport looks pretty in December, so that could be a good choice for you. The deep off-season months (January, February and March) definitely hold their own appeal in terms of pricing and likely vendor availability. And if you consider April the pre-season month, with its longer days and sometimes spring weather, that can be a good one. And now I’ve covered the whole year for you!
The Weather. New England weather can be unpredictable, but you know, that’s how weather works. January is usually cold and typically Newport sees some snow during it. And the last few years, January had a least a couple single digit days from what I remember from Facebook posts (I’ve been getting the hell out of RI and loving life in SC from January until April the last few years). February brings more cold and usually some snow, but at least the sun sets later each day! March has been the mean girl the past few winters, with cold temps and usually one last big-ish snow storm. Early April has been feeling like winter, but with little whispers of warmer temps. It is extremely rare to see any major snowfall in April. By late April, it’s typically in the 50s, but I do remember one glorious late April weekend a few years back that was in the low 70s. The temps begin to go in the right direction in May, starting in the high 50s and low 60s and ending in the high 60s and low 70s. June is usually mostly in the 70s, and the days are wonderfully long. July has been our warmest and most humid month the last few years, with temps in the 80s and occasionally low 90s. August is definitely summer too, although the cool air can start to creep in at night as early as mid-August. September tends to be beautiful. 70s during the day, little or no humidity and cooler nights. If there’s a hurricane in the southern part of the country though, we can get the tail end of it as a tropical storm or just a rainy, windy day, but a direct hit is rare. It’s still usually warm enough to wear open-toed shoes through mid-October, and you’ll get plenty of fall foliage photos opps that month. November is solidly fall weather, and in terms of photos, you might want to keep in mind what time the sun sets (most people end up doing First Looks and formal photos before the ceremony in fall and winter, due to the shorter days). December typically isn’t brutally cold in Newport and we don’t usually get big snow storms in December, but some light snow is common.
All of that being said, Mother Nature ain’t on nobody’s schedule. We’ve seen snow in October in Newport, and days in the 60s in February. Rain can happen any time, and sometimes September has more warm days than June. My advice to you is to pick a venue that has an indoor space you like as much (or almost as much) as its outdoor space, so if you plan an outdoor ceremony and the weather messes you up, at least you’ll be happy under a non-tented roof. Luckily, the Newport area has many venues that are beautiful both inside and out, so you have options.
Newport Bridge Work. There are two ways onto Aquidneck Island: over the Jamestown and Newport Bridges, or over the Sakonnet River Bridge to Portsmouth (what locals call “the back way”). If you or your guests are traveling over the Jamestown and Newport Bridges, you might want to check the status of work being done there. There is a multi-phase bridge work project that has been happening on the Newport Bridge over the past couple of years that has brought with it lane closures and backed up bridge traffic. They have to do the work during warmer months (something about the ground not being too cold), so it’s been starting around June and ending in the fall. If you have guests who would be coming into Newport over the two bridges, you might want to check out RITBA for info on the work schedule.
Newport Street Parking. Made it past the bridge work? Good job! Now it’s time to find parking. It’s usually not a problem for wedding guests to find parking, as all of the churches and venues have parking lots. But the getting-ready part of the day can be a different animal. If you’re getting ready at a hotel, your bridal party, beauty team, videographer, photographer, planner and whoever else will be with you shouldn’t have a problem (although I recommend checking with your hotel first in case they want them to park somewhere specific or get a temporary parking pass). But if you’re at a rental home in the downtown area, it’s unlikely that there will be that many (or any) off street spots available. That’s not really a problem during the off season (although October and April have been getting busier), but during the summer season, Newport street parking is extremely limited. People can get stuck circling around for 20 – 30 minutes, waiting for a nearby spot to open up. (Hair stylists, makeup artists, videographers and photographers tend to have a decent amount of gear to lug around, so parking a 10 minute walk away might not be an option for them.) The good news is, Newport has a lot of pay lots! If you can scout out a nearby pay lot beforehand or ask the property owner where one is, you can cross that off your list early on instead of dealing with it on your wedding day.
Middletown Street Parking. Middletown town is literally the middle town on Aquidneck Island, if you’re wondering where it got its name. (What, you don’t like Jeopardy type facts?) Newport is the southernmost city on the island, with Middletown to its north and Portsmouth above that. Middletown has beaches, wedding venues and a lot of rental homes near those wedding venues, so it’s popular spot for weddings and the getting-ready part of the day. What they probably don’t mention in those rental home listings is that there is no street parking allowed on some of the streets in Middletowns (specifically, from what I’ve experienced, those streets within a mile or so of the beaches). If you’re planning to get ready at one of those rental homes and it has a driveway that fits two cars, but you’ve got six bridesmaids, two hair stylists, two makeup artists, a videographer and a photographer who will be at the house, you’ll need to figure out the parking situation. Unlike Newport, there aren’t really any pay lots in that part of Middletown, so you might want to talk to the property owner ahead of time to try to figure that out. (Sometimes if your venue is near the rental home, they let you park there early and you can have someone from your group shuttle people to the rental home, and I have a vague memory of one AB Beauty bride calling the Middletown Police to get special permission to temporarily park a few cars on the street. And there can be other options too.) Better to straighten it out ahead of time than deal with a parking mess the day of!
Beach Traffic. Particularly around Easton’s Beach (that’s First Beach to the locals), there’s always traffic during the summer between 3:00pm – 5:00pm when most people leave the beach. That traffic also affects the westbound lanes on the Newport and Jamestown bridges, as well as the Route 4 exit off of route Route 1. It’s not major standstill–we’re not talking going-one-mile-in-an-hour-Boston-rush-hour type traffic–but it can add some time onto a drive.
Venue Access. If there is a bridal suite at your venue, your first thought might be “Let’s get ready there!” But often access to those suites is only allowed two – three hours before your ceremony, which is usually not enough time for hair and makeup services. If there is a bridal suite that you’d like to get ready in, I would make sure to ask when you would be able to get in. Some that have that three hour rule also sometimes allow you to rent them out for the day, so that could be an option for you. The moral of the story is, look into it. Ask questions and find out what’s allowed before you make any plans.
Ocean Breezes And Then Some. Aquidneck Island is, you know, an island. That means we are surrounded by water, and with water comes ocean breezes. They’re lovely on a hot day, but things can get windy. And a strong wind will whip your hair back and forth, whip your hair back and forth. If are getting married on the water or taking pictures at the beach, just be aware of the wind and what it can do to hair styles (particularly down styles and half up styles). This is part of the reason we offer additional hair touchups for brides at AB Beauty. AB Beauty hair stylists can make your hair stay perfectly in place in regular weather, but strong wind guests during two hours of photos are a different story. It’s not that every day in the Newport area is windy–I mean, we’re not Chicago–but it’s worth a mention.
Off Season Weddings. If you love a venue in the Newport area but can’t afford a summer Saturday, try looking into a Friday or Sunday. If that’s still out of budget, it’s worth looking into an off-season date if you’re okay with a potentially less ideal weather day. If your ceremony and reception will be inside and the only real outside need you have is for photos, you might be able to make it work. I was a bridesmaid in a Newport New Year’s Eve wedding many moons ago and we took some photos outside. I’m an always-cold person and I don’t remember it being freezing because we did it so quickly. Other than lower pricing, an off season wedding means more hotel availability, less traffic and often more vendor availability. Just something to think about, bride-to-be.
I hope this has been helpful to you if you’re planning or even just considering having a wedding in the Newport area. If you have any questions, ask away. I’ve lived in Newport for most of my adult life and have had a beauty business here for the past 11+ years, so I think I’m pretty well versed in this area.
Getting married? Congratulations! If you’re getting your hair and makeup professionally done–which I advise, but you might say I’m biased–I recommend doing a hair and makeup trial if your schedule allows. A trial will give you the chance to figure out your wedding hair and makeup looks before the big day, which means one less thing you have to worry about when you’re getting hitched.
At AB Beauty, we want you to have a successful trial. We are set on you walking out loving your look almost as much as you love your fiance(e). There are some things you can do before and during your trial to help ensure that you are happy with your hair and makeup. These are the things we recommend at AB Beauty, so if you have a trial scheduled with a different company, I suggest checking with them as they might have their own recommendations. But I think a lot of these tips are pretty general ones that most beauty service companies would agree with.
Slough It Off. If you are not on a prescription retinoid or anything else that is contraindicated with exfoliation, exfoliating your skin the morning of your trial will allow your makeup to apply more smoothly by eradicating some or all dry patches. (Even better if you get into the routine of regular exfoliation in the weeks leading up to your trial and your wedding day.) Exfoliation will also help give you a glow, as it removes the dead skin cells who are chillin’ on the surface of your skin and causing dullness.
(Don’t) Pick Your Battles. Got a blemish? LEAVE IT ALONE. Most people don’t know how to do extractions without damaging the skin and causing scarring, which is Reason #1. Reason #2 is that that pick, pick, picking causes texture in the skin, and makeup can’t cover texture. If you’ve dug your little fingernail down a few layers of skin to try to get rid of a blemish, you’ve exposed skin that makeup can not cover. And my guess is that you’ll be disappointed that your makeup artist can’t cover that, even though it’s impossible for them to. So do your skin and your makeup artist a favor and don’t pick.
Wipe Out. At AB Beauty, we ask that clients arrive at their makeup trial with no makeup on. We realize that sometimes people are coming straight from work or from other wedding vendor appointments and may not feel comfortable going barefaced all day. That’s understandable! But using a makeup wipe right before the trial–which a lot of people do–can leave makeup remover residue on the skin. That residue can interfere with makeup. Using a cleanser instead of a makeup wipe before your appointment is preferred, but if you have to use a wipe, splashing some water on your face after you use it will help remove some of the residue.
Time It Right. If you need to use a moisturizer, serum or any other skincare product the day of the trial, I suggest that you do so at least two hours before your makeup trial so that the product has had time to absorb. Some skincare products leave a film on the skin until they are absorbed, and that film can interfere with makeup. That means your primer, foundation, concealer or powder may not apply evenly, and who wants that?
Find Your Inspo Pic Cousin: Part 1. When you’re looking for inspiration pictures of makeup looks, try to find pictures of models or celebrities who are similar to you in terms of eye color, skintone, hair color and eye shape/size. I always suggest choosing pictures of people who look like they could be your cousin. If you have small hooded blue eyes, fair skin and blonde hair and your inspo pics are all of Mila Kunis or Kim Kardashian, the makeup they are wearing is going to look completely different on you. Not only does choosing the right kind of picture help your makeup artist, but it helps you more easily envision what that makeup would look like on you.
Prep School. What you do to your hair prior to your trial can impact how much you like your finished trial style. It varies by hair stylist, but some prefer their clients to wash their hair the day or night before the trial, while others are fine with hair that is washed and dried that morning. Some hair stylists prefer to do a blowout on their client prior to styling, while others want the hair to be 100% dry by the trial start time. If you have naturally curly hair and the style you want for your wedding day requires straight hair or hair that has a looser curl than you naturally have, your hair stylist may want you to come to the trial with your hair blown out, or they may want to do a blowout on you. If the hair stylist you are doing your trial with doesn’t specifically tell you (or have it listed on their website) how to prep your hair for the trial, I definitely recommend asking them.
Can I Get An Extension On That? If you read my last post, you know how ubiquitous hair extensions are in photoshoots of all kinds. There’s a good chance that those pictures you’re Pinning are mostly of models with hair extensions. If you’re wondering if you might need them for the style you want to try at your trial, check with your hair stylist. If they say that you should get extensions, your hair stylist should be able to recommend the brand(s) they like for clip-in extensions (which is what most of the AB Beauty brides use, as they can be taken out after the trial and at the end of the wedding night).
Say Yes To The Dress First. If you haven’t yet chosen your dress, I suggest waiting to do your hair trial. It’s hard to choose a wedding day hair style if you don’t know the cut and style of your dress. For example, you may have pictured wearing your hair down, but then you get a dress with a beautiful back that you want to show off, and the best way to do that is with an updo. Pretty much every bride we have ever done a hair trial for who didn’t have her dress chosen yet has come back to do a second trial after she had her dress. We’re happy to do two trials, but do you have time for that? And is it in your budget? Something to think about when it comes time to schedule your trial.
Find Your Inspo Pic Cousin: Part 2. When you’re looking for hair inspo pics, it’s best to look for models with similar hair color, thickness and length to your’s. I think color is the biggest factor (unless you plan on making a big color change before your wedding), as you could have two people with the same length and thickness, but if one was blonde and one was brunette, the same style would look different on both. The lighter the hair, the more detail you can see. If a blonde model has an updo with braids and twists, you’ll see those more than you would on a model with brown hair. Thickness and length can be faked with extensions, but if you are not going to wear extensions–which is fine!–keep in mind that your fine, shoulder length hair is not going to look the same as the model in your favorite picture who has thick, mid-back length hair (whether it’s natural or not).
FOR BOTH HAIR & MAKEUP TRIALS
Narrow It Down. At AB Beauty, we strongly suggest coming in with a hair style and/or makeup look in mind. We always say that it’s hard to make a client happy if they don’t know what they want. So look for inspo pics, think back to other times you’ve had your hair and/or makeup done to remember what you did and didn’t like and look at pictures of others wearing wedding dresses similar to your’s if that helps. I guarantee you already have some hair and makeup preferences, so work those into your desired look and share those all with your hair stylist and/or makeup artist.
Stay In The Zone. In some parts of life, it’s good to really go out of your comfort zone. But at your trial, straying too far out of the zone may not be the best idea. For example, if you are someone who always wears their hair down and hates how it looks in a ponytail, an updo probably isn’t the best idea. But if you are someone who can not stand hair in their face or the feeling of it on their neck, consider an updo or half up style. For makeup, your wedding makeup is probably going to be more than you are used to wearing on a daily basis, as it needs to both last and be enough to show up in photos. But that doesn’t mean you need to do something drastically different from your every day makeup. If you normally wear a pinky nude lip color, there’s one that will work with your wedding makeup. Or if you always wear a winged liner, you’re probably going to feel naked without it, so that can be incorporated into your look. There may be some adjustments needed to make your look more photo-friendly, wedding-appropriate and long-lasting, but you don’t have to go with a look you don’t like because you think it’s what you are supposed to wear.
Speak Up. If you don’t like something during your wedding trial, let your hair stylist or makeup artist know. They can’t fix what they aren’t aware of. If that blush is too pink for your taste, say it. If the bun placement is too high, let ’em know. Don’t be afraid of offending someone. They (hopefully) just want you to leave happy. I’ve gotten pretty good at sensing if someone sees something they don’t love when they look in the mirror, but there have been other times when I’m surprised by post-trial feedback because nothing was said during the trial. At AB Beauty, we always ask people if they are 100% happy with their look, and we dig deep if we sense hesitation when they say “Yes.” But it helps you and your makeup artist and/or hair stylist if you communicate if you want to adjust something at your trial.
Resist The Peer Pressure. Some people bring guests with them to their trial, sometimes just for company and other times for a second (and third…and fourth) opinion. If you do that, keep in mind that you can value their input without having to cave into what they want to see on you. Sometimes a mother or aunt or Maid of Honor will try to talk a bride into a hair style or makeup look they think the bride should wear, and that might be something the bride doesn’t like. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a bride try a pink lipstick her sister loves (when the bride really wants a berry lip) or an updo (when the bride’s inspo pics are all beachy waves down styles) because her future mother-in-law insists that it will look best. In those cases, I can tell the bride isn’t happy. At AB Beauty, we listen to what the bride tells us she wants, but if she agrees to do what someone else wants to see and tells us that’s absolutely the look she wants to try, we have to do that. We have our little ways and things we can say to try to get more into the lane of what the bride really wants, but a strong opinion or three can steamroll us. So if you’re bringing an entourage to your trial, you’ll likely be happiest with your hair and makeup looks if you take the reins.
I hope this has been helpful! I want you to love your wedding hair and makeup trial looks, whether you are working with AB Beauty or any other company. Comment away with any questions, brides-to-be.
I did a post a while back about my Charleston recommendations, and now it’s time to bring it back to my roots. Not all the way back to my hometown roots of Worcester, MA, but to the roots of my adult life, which started in Newport, RI the fall of 2000. I’ve spent the majority of the last 18 years of my life in Newport, so I think/know I’ve got some good suggestions for you.
Whether you’re in town for your wedding, a bachelorette party, honeymoon, mini-moon, babymoon, full moon or just a day trip, I’ve got you covered. If I have any, I’ll post my personal photos taken at each place, mainly because that’s more fun for me.
Let’s start with breakfast and brunch.
Diego’s (downtown Newport location). I love Diego’s for brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks, but I’m placing it in this category because you won’t find another brunch menu like their’s in Newport. This is a downtown hot spot that’s always busy in-season (technically Memorial Day until Labor Day, but has been stretching into October in recent years), so get there early or make reservations if you can. This is my home away from home, so if you see a short girl with blue-tipped hair, a Biggie Smalls necklace and some kind of tequila drink in front of her, that’s me!
Corner Cafe. Full disclosure–I’ve never had brunch at Corner Cafe, but it’s a Newport favorite so I had to include it. People rave about this place and after looking at the menu, I understand why. I always see a line at this locals’ spot when I drive by on weekends, and they don’t take reservations, so that’s something to keep in mind for your planning purposes. Corner Cafe is on Broadway, so not downtown but close to Upper Thames Street. It’s BYOB, so something to be aware of if “brunch” really means “mimosas” to you.
The White Horse Tavern. Now here’s a place I have brunched at many times! This is a quintessential Newport restaurant, established in 1673. So if you like your eggs with a side of ghost stories, which the bartenders are usually happy to share, this is your spot. The food is fantastic, and it’s one of the few places in Newport that I think has a good Bloody Mary. (I got snobbish about Bloodies after drinking so many fantastic ones in Charleston.) It’s close to both Upper Thames and Broadway, so if you’re onto day drinking post-brunch, this puts you in a good location. Definitely make reservations if you want to go, as it gets busy on weekends.
Atlantic Grille. If you’re staying in Middletown near the beaches, this is a great nearby breakfast option. Friendly servers, great, consistent food and plenty of space if you’re with a bigger group. They’ve usually got some awesome specials (I still–sometimes successfully–order the Firecracker Omelette, a buffalo chicken and cheese omelette they used to frequently have as a special back in the day.) If you’re going on a weekend, be prepared to wait if you don’t have a reservation.
Gary’s Handy Lunch. For basic, cheap breakfast food and fast service, you can’t beat Gary’s. This 50s style diner on Lower Thames is a Newport staple for both locals and tourists. A cheese omelette and a chocolate milk at Gary’s was my hangover remedy in college, so I’ve been there countless times. (However, this is not the place to get a hangover, as they don’t serve alcohol.) If you go on a weekend, you might have a wait, but tables typically turn over pretty quickly. FYI: This is a cash only establishment.
Franklin Spa. It sounds like a place where you’d get microdermabrasion, but I promise you, it’s a restaurant. This former pharmacy turned diner is in the center of downtown but it’s one block up from Thames, so it’s a semi-hidden gem. They don’t take reservations and it’s small so it gets packed quickly, but it’s a solid breakfast spot seven days a week, year-round.
Ready for lunch?
Smoke House. “BBQ and summer cocktails”–that’s what their website homepage says. Add “people watching” to that, and you’ve got the perfect description of one of my favorite summer spots. This seasonal, half open air restaurant and bar is smack in the middle of downtown. The front section has a three sided bar (is that what they’re called?) in the center, and seating around the perimeter of the room. If you can grab a stool there, you’ll be looking right out onto America’s Cup and Thames Street. And oh, the interesting outfits you’ll see! Smoke House keeps the plastic window flaps down if it’s raining, but if it’s not, you’ve got direct access to the hoards of people who walk by every second. It’s usually open from April until early October, so don’t be mad at me if you go in March and walk up to a boarded up building.
The Port. Even though this restaurant is technically on Thames, it’s pushed back from the street, so unless someone has told you about it or you’ve read a helpful blog post like this, you might not see it if you are just walking around Newport. That means it’s sometimes a little easier to get into than the restaurants that face Thames. The Port is right on the water and they’ve got enough space for bigger groups, so it’s a good lunch choice if your crew rolls deep. I don’t eat seafood, but my foodie brother and sister-in-law loved their Steamed Mussels.
Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant. This Newport staple on Upper Thames has something for everybody. The food is consistently great, the cocktail list extensive, and they might have the friendliest servers in Newport. The warm atmosphere and fun decor of Brick Alley really differentiate this restaurant from any other place in town. People I’ve brought there have especially loved the lobster roll, and I spent my college years obsessed with Louie’s Chicken Nachos and Key Lime Martinis. Brick Alley is always busy, so I’d recommend reservations.
Portside at 22 Bowen’s. This is 22 Bowen’s outside bar and restaurant, and it is perfect. The food is always good, and Portside bartenders know how to make a cocktail. There are I think ten seats at the bar, and ten or so tables on the patio. The waterfront location (like any closer and you’d be on a boat) is beautiful, and the people watching potential–right in the middle of Bowen’s Wharf–is off the charts. I bet this is exactly the kind of place people think of when they think of Newport, and while Newport has several different vibes (depending on where you are and who you ask), it is part of our City by the Sea fabric.
Pour Judgement. If you like clever names, beer and good burgers, you’ll love Pour Judgement. This Broadway bar and restaurant has been around since 2006, which is a long time for a place in Newport, so you know it has to be good. It’s a locals’ spot, so here’s one of those other vibes I was talking about. If you’re staying near Broadway or want to venture there from downtown (it’s very close to Upper Thames), this is a solid lunch choice.
And now for some day drinking. Let’s pub crawl our way through this list.
The Deck. If you’ve got a big group and you want to sit out by the water, here’s your spot. I host a couple day drinking events each year (usually one for my birthday and one for my business anniversary), and this is always where we start. The tented outside area is huge, with a big center bar and a smaller one off to the side. There are tables under the tent, and more out on the uncovered deck area. People come right off their boats into The Deck, so that’s how “waterfront” it is. You’ll love it.
O’Brien’s Pub. Right around the corner from The Deck on Thames and Waites Wharf is O’Brien’s, a year-round Irish pub. They’ve got a big inside area with booths, tables and a bar, as well as a tented outside bar and dining area, and a patio area beyond that. The patio is usually pretty packed during the summer with families, bachelor and bachelorette parties and lots of dogs. If you’re on Lower Thames, this is a good day drinking spot than can accommodate big groups.
Surf Club. Now let’s make our way towards the center of downtown with a stop at the outside bar and dining area of Surf Club. It’s close to Newport’s iconic wave statue at the busy corner of America’s Cup and Thames, so there is plenty of great people watching. Surf Club is new-ish to Newport (within the last couple years), but they are already well-liked by locals. The cocktails are awesome (they had or have a Jalapeno Margarita that I love) and the servers are always friendly. This is a perfect summer day drinking spot.
The Black Pearl. If you take a left out of Surf Club and walk for about three minutes (give it four in heels), you’ll get to Bannister’s Wharf on your left. As soon as you turn down that Wharf, you’ll see a patio with red umbrellas. That’s the patio at The Black Pearl. If the weather is nice, this is a prime location for good cocktails and lots of people watching (can you tell I like that?). The Black Pearl restaurant is known for their clam chowder, but the patio is known for their frozen Mudslides. Cheers!
The Landing. Things are about to get rowdy if you’ve made it to this waterfront bar and restaurant on Bowen’s Wharf. The lower level has a big main bar, a raw bar where you can also get drinks, and a few tables. There’s usually live music happening by the main bar. There are more tables and another bar on the upstairs deck. The Landing is a seasonal bar for the public, but I believe they do private events inside the restaurant off-season. I can’t verify this, but I would guess that 90% of all summertime bachelor and bachelorette parties that pass through Newport make a stop at The Landing.
Vanderbilt Rooftop. Now let’s get classy. Cross over to Thames from Bowen’s Wharf, then go left onto Thames. Take a right onto Mary Street and you’ll soon see the gorgeous Vanderbilt Hotel (formerly called the Vanderbilt Grace, then the Grace Vanderbilt). Their rooftop bar has stellar views and fantastic cocktails. It’s got a low key vibe and isn’t stuffy or pretentious. It’s open during the summer season only (I mean, who wants to be outside during the cold weather anyway?) from 4:00pm – 10:00pm on weekdays and 12:00pm – 10:00pm on weekends.
Dinner, anyone? You really should get some food in you.
The Red Parrot. It’s a tourist hot spot, but I’m a local and I still go there (especially when I’m craving their Sexy Steak & Gorgonzola Salad). The food is consistently good, and they’ve got some awesome cocktails. This is another great spot to go with a group, not only because they can accommodate a lot of people, but because their menu is huge–one of those menus-in-a-binder–so everyone can find something they like. Red Parrot is at the beginning of Lower Thames, so location-wise, it is perfection. Walk ten minutes up or down Thames from there and you’ll go by several other bars, restaurants and shops.
The Mooring. This is a classic Newport restaurant. I’ve never had a bad meal at The Mooring, nor has anyone I’ve ever gone with. The Mooring is known for their seafood, but I also love their Chopped Salad and their burger. Even though I can’t eat their famous Bag of Doughnuts appetizer (lobster and shrimp fritters that come in a paper bag), I have to mention it because people get obsessed with it. If you get seated on the deck in the summer, you can enjoy the ocean view, but the inside dining area is nice too. Definitely make reservations here, especially during the summer season.
Perro Salado. This cozy Mexican inspired restaurant by Washington Square (near Upper Thames) is one of a kind. It’s in an 18th century house that was transformed into a unique and awesome restaurant. Their Cilantro-Jalapeno Margarita is probably my favorite cocktail in Newport, but they have several other great cocktails if you’re not into cilantro or jalapeno. The menu has changed since I last had dinner there, but I see several great options on the current menu. They have an outside patio that’s always bumpin’, and live music at I think 9:00pm (I’m not sure if that’s every night). Perro Salado is a really popular spot, so I definitely recommend making reservations.
22 Bowen’s. Listen, it’s impossible to get a bad meal or bad service at this Newport staple. From wine to steak to seafood to desserts, 22 Bowen’s knows what they’re doing. It’s on the fancier side, so go ahead and rock that cocktail dress, ladies. This restaurant is (obviously) in Bowen’s Wharf, which puts you right in the middle of things. As with every restaurant in downtown Newport during the summer season or during weekends most of the rest of the year, reservations are a good idea.
The Wharf Pub. If you’re looking for something more on the casual side but still want to be where the action is, look no further. Comfort food and craft beer is their thing, but even a tequila drinker with Celiac disease (that’s me!) can be happy there. I really love their burger (with no bun), and other people I’ve gone with have loved their tater tots appetizer. Their outdoor seating is great for people watching in the summer, and they have live music on weekends.
Is it time to go out? I’m in my mid 30s so I’m usually home by 9:00pm, but I’ve lived in Newport long enough to be able to help you here.
The Pelham. You can’t talk about going out in Newport without mentioning The Pelham. This cash only bar on Upper Thames is low key during the day in the summer season (they don’t open until the evening during the winter), but things get crazier by the hour at night. They have live music on weekends and maybe during the week in the summer (I can’t remember and can’t find it on their website), so expect a cover charge some nights. The Pelham has three bars, a pool table, a dartboard, ping pong, and a shuffleboard table, but the most important thing I want you to know is that even though their sign and their website says “One Pelham East,” no one calls it that. It can get a little shitshow-y at this bar, but I think that’s the point. It’s the perfect spot for bachelor and bachelorette groups, which is evidenced by the special bachelorette package they offer. Did I paint a good picture for you?
Dockside. If live music and dancing at a waterfront bar is your thing, Dockside is your place. This summer season hot spot is perfect for large groups. And it’s close to The Deck and O’Brien’s, so you can stumble around between the three and have yourself a very Newport summer night on Waites Wharf. They charge a cover, so get yo cash ready. Have fun! (I’ll be in bed.)
Newport Blues Cafe. Another one of the live music spots downtown Newport has to offer. There’s plenty of room for dancing by the stage, but if you’re more of a music-appreciator than a dancer, you can watch from the second level. (Don’t worry–there are bars on both floors.) The crowd varies depending on the band, but it’s not unusual to see a group of people in their 50s dancing next to a group in their 20s. There will be a cover, so prepare yourself for that. If you want to dance and the band is playing your type of music, Newport Blues is a great choice.
Forty 1 North. I call the waterfront outside bar and restaurant at this downtown hotel “Miami,” because that’s what it looks like. (I just learned they call this part of the hotel “The Pavilion,” but I’ve never heard anyone refer to it as that.) I’m more of a day drinker, and I love Forty 1 North for that during the summer, but I know people like going there at night too. I don’t know if they still do this, but they used to have a DJ (and a cover) on summer weekends. Even if they don’t, it’s good night out spot to go to because it’s big, it’s gorgeous and it’s got beautiful views. It’s on the fancier side, so think “night out” outfits, but it’s not stuffy.
The Cooke House. Its real name is Clarke Cooke House, but no one calls it that. This is a restaurant with a few bars and a basement level club call “The Boom Boom Room,” but I am far too old for that now. I stay on the upper levels and I’m fine with that. The Cooke House is on Bannister’s Wharf, so it’s always busy during the summer season. The servers and bartenders are great, and while it can get a little rowdy, it doesn’t get out of control. At night, I would say it’s more of a 30s and 40s crowd than a 20s crowd. The Cooke House is also a good spot for brunch, lunch, dinner and day drinking, so it’s worth putting on your Newport To Do list.
On the second floor at the Cooke House.
In the Boom Boom Room at my 28th birthday party.
During my short hair days (no good).
And wearing the same shirt a few years later.
How’s that for thorough? This post took me forever to write, so you better like it 😉
We’ve had a fantastic, busy, fun, record-breaking wedding season this year! And it’s not over yet–we’ve got two more this month.
In honor of our lovely clients and the stellar work my team has done this wedding season, I’d like to share a few great photos. I am still in the process of getting professional photos from this season so we have a lot more to come, but since this year is just about over, it seemed fitting to do this now.
Thank you to every bride, bridesmaid, Jr. Bridesmaid, mother, grandmother, aunt and Flower Girl we worked with this year. Thank you to the wedding planners, venues, past clients, friends and relatives who have referred us. Thank you to the photographers who have let us share their photos. And as always, thanks to my rockstar team. For the 2018 season, that was hair stylists Alex, Ana, Ann, Candie, Emily, Jen G., Kerri and Liza and makeup artists Ainslie, Alexis, Candie (pulling double duty), Chantal, Emma, Jen S., Katie and Kristin.
An August wedding we did in Middletown, RI was featured yesterday, and it’s too gorgeous not to share! Click here, then nod your head in agreement.
Beautiful bride, Jenny, and her group were a blast to work with! Jenny played Biggie for me and one of her Maid of Honors gave me a recommendation for a psychic, who I later had an awesome reading with. This was a great wedding 🙂
I haven’t shared any of of our wedding work on this blog for a minute, so the feature on Style Me Pretty came at the perfect time.
Oh, this post? This is for all the brides who are going to Charleston, South Carolina for their bachelorette party. I live in Charleston during the winter months, and I think it’s fair to say I’m madly in love with my second home. Like you might expect from your (Type A) girl, I keep a list of restaurants and bars I like, and I’ve passed this list on to who are going to The Holy City. I’ve shared this list with many an AB Beauty bride, and now it’s time to share it here.
I haven’t been everywhere in Charleston, but these are the bars and restaurants I recommend:
The Rooftop at The Vendue. Charleston has a lot of rooftop bars, but I think the one at The Vendue Hotel is the best. It’s got great cocktails, an awesome view, and two levels of rooftop-ness. It’s right on East Bay Street, near a bunch of other bars, restaurants and Waterfront Park, where you’ll enjoy plenty of photo opps with your girls.
The Ordinary. Talk about a cool spot! This restaurant and bar is in an old bank. The knowledgeable servers, ambiance and perfect cocktails are what keep me going back. The Ordinary’s bar is big, so there’s space for a large group. It’s on King Street, right in the middle of downtown, so it’s a great starting point for your evening. (It opens at 5:00pm.)
Prohibition. Another cool King Street spot with AWESOME cocktails. This place was modeled after a speakeasy. They have live music six days a week, and swing dancing lessons on Sundays. It gets pretty bumpin’ in Prohibition at night, so this could be a fun after-dinner spot with your girls.
82 Queen. If you can get on the patio for brunch, dooooooooooo it. They have delicious food and drinks. I love the Queen’s Salad, but people I have been with who don’t have food allergies have raved about the She Crab Soup and Southern Tomato Pie. 82 Queen is right around the corner from Lower King Street, so if you feel like eating then shopping, get yourself to this (reportedly haunted) spot.
Basil. Great Thai food right downtown on King Street. I had my first spring roll here in 2017 (I know, how is that possible?). Like with any restaurant in downtown Charleston, if you are going there for dinner on a weekend, definitely make a reservation.
Poogan’s Smokehouse. This East Bay Street restaurant is known for its barbeque, but let me tell you, the burgers are bomb too. And the grits. And the service. If you’re looking for a casual lunch spot on East Bay (close to the Market) with great food, this is a solid choice.
High Cotton. It’s a bit on the fancier side, but not stuffy. They have a great brunch (something you also need to make reservations for in Charleston) with live music. If you’re into Bloody Marys, most of the places in Charleston do them really well, and High Cotton’s Bloodies especially never disappoint.
Blind Tiger Pub. Now, allow me to take you over to Broad Street. Blind Tiger was the first restaurant I ever went to in Charleston, so it’s got a special place in my heart. This would be a fun spot to go with a bachelorette, especially if you can sit on the patio in back. Some places in Charleston have what I consider weird hours–open for brunch, closed for a few hours mid-day, open again at 5:00pm–but Blind Tiger is open from 11:00am – 2:00am every day. It’s also supposedly haunted.
Eli’s Table. I’ve been to Eli’s more than any other restaurant in Charleston. This is my favorite brunch spot and I take everyone who comes to visit me there. The food is delicious and consistent, and they seem incapable of making a bad drink. You’ll find fun, attentive, knowledgeable bartenders and servers at most restaurants downtown, but Eli’s excels in that arena. They have my favorite grits in Charleston, which is another reason I love this place. If it’s nice out, they’ve also got a patio out back.
If you end up on Sullivan’s Island, you have to go to Home Team and get a Gamechanger. But just one! Those things will knock you on your ass, for real. Home Team is a casual BBQ place near the beach. It feels a little Nashville-ish, maybe because it’s always fun and always busy.
Find yourself on Isle of Palms? The Windjammer is your jam. It’s quieter off season, but the perfect bachelorette spot during the warmer months (aka most of the year). If you’re looking for a low key brunch in IOP–maybe if you are staying there and are feeling a little hungover–I recommend The Refuge. They have great food and coffee, and my favorite Avocado & Eggs (with grits, of course.)
Want to go out in Mt. Pleasant? Shem Creek is the way to go. There are a bunch of restaurants in this pretty little subsection of Mt. Pleasant, where you might see dolphins if you are lucky. If you are looking for fun, waterfront bars, check out Red’s and Saltwater Cowboys.
If you’re looking for something fun and different to do, try the Haunted Pub Crawl from Nightly Spirits. And if you catch yourself in The Holy City on the second Sunday of any month, 2nd Sunday is a cool, Charleston-y thing to do.
Also, I’d strongly recommend downloading the BarGlance app for your trip. It allows you to browse information for some of the most popular bars in the Charleston area, and they do a livestream video feed of those bars so you can see if a place is packed slow, poppin’–whatever.
Hopefully this post is helpful to anyone planning a bachelorette (or a trip in general) to Charleston. If you have questions, please feel free to comment.
By now, I’m sure you have read my Wedding Hair & Makeup Help blog post and narrowed down your top picks for your beauty services team. Your next step is to contact those companies to see if they are available on your date. The best way to do that is to send them an email with the information they’ll need to check availability and give you the appropriate rates and information. If they have all of the info they need from you, a good company will get back to you quickly with their availability, so you can then proceed with the process.
My company’s website has required fields for the necessary info, and wedding websites like WeddingWire and The Knot have some of the same required fields. But if you are contacting a company on Instagram, Facebook or via an email address you have, you might not know where to start.
Need help drafting that email? I got you, girl. Here’s how to do it.
Hello, My Name Is. If you don’t have an email signature and your name is not clearly in your email address, you’ll want to let the company know who you are. (Guacamolefreak612@gmail.com may be who you feel you are as a person, but it doesn’t give a company any clue as to what your name is.)
Here’s When It Goes Down. I recommend giving your full wedding date, as established companies are often always booking the current year as well as the following year. And especially if your wedding is not on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you should also provide the day of the week. “Saturday, 7/7/18” eliminates the need for any followup questions regarding the date.
Tell ‘Em What You Need. Do you need hair services, makeup services or both? This will allow the company to know whether to contact/assign hair stylists, makeup artists or both.
Where’s The Party At? If you are using an on-location beauty team, provide the location of where you will be getting ready that day. If you don’t have an exact address yet (maybe because you are deciding between two hotels or a hotel and Airbnb), then at least provide the city/town. It’s important that you tell the company where the hair and/or makeup services will be taking place, not where your wedding ceremony or reception is. They likely need this info to figure out a) who on their team is available and b) if there will be a travel fee. If you tell them your wedding is in Boston but you are actually getting ready at a hotel 30 minutes away, that could affect their pricing and availability.
How Deep Do You Roll? You may not know the exact number of people who will be getting hair and makeup done, but it’s helpful if you can provide an estimate. The reason for this is that many companies who travel have a service minimum, so if you don’t meet that, they should let you know that upon inquiry in case you can find other people who will want their hair and/or makeup done or have to look for another company. On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a big group, the company will probably find it helpful to know that, as they may want to make sure they have enough people to potentially accommodate your group size.
Time It Right. I suggest mentioning your ceremony time in your inquiry. This may also affect the company’s availability. (For example, if you have a 10:00am ceremony–they exist–and the company has other weddings booked on your date but those groups don’t need to be ready until later in the day, they may still be able to accommodate your group.) Bonus points if you also mention whether or not you are doing a First Look, as that affects timing too.
Who’s Your Connect? I always ask clients this anyway, but I (and I would think most business owners) appreciate knowing how someone heard about their company. At AB Beauty, we have a Referral Rewards Program for people who refer brides who book. Those people get a $25 Sephora eGift card after the wedding as a thank you, so it’s helpful to know if someone was a referral. And unless an email came directly from WeddingWire or The Knot, I don’t really know how someone found AB Beauty. So this is not going to affect pricing or availability, but worth a mention.
Still not sure how to craft your inquiry masterpiece? Here’s a sample.
My cousin, Joan Holloway, recommended your company, as she hired you for her wedding last spring. I am looking for hair and makeup services for my Saturday, 7/7/18 wedding. We will be getting ready at the Marriott in Newport, RI. Our ceremony is at 5:00pm, but we are probably doing a First Look. I have seven bridesmaids and two mothers who will likely want hair and/or makeup, plus three Flower Girls.
Are you available on my date? If so, can you please send me your rates* and any other important info?
A thorough inquiry means you don’t have to go back and forth with a company, giving them the info they so they can tell you if they are available on your date. It’s the most efficient way to potentially move forward with your wedding beauty services and cross that task off your planning To Do list.
If you’ve got questions, I’ve got answers, so feel free to holla at me in the comments.
Have a beautiful day 🙂
*Even if rates are listed on a website, I recommend asking for them in case they change after you book and the company increases their pricing. It’s best to have your quoted rates in writing to prevent any confusion.