We’ve connected with amazing Black Wedding Professionals in the industry to round up some of their best advice for Black Brides when planning their wedding.
5 Hair + Makeup Tips
#1 Book Your Artist ASAP
The truth is that there are plenty of makeup artists out there, but not many that specialize or advertise that they are inclusive of individuals of colour. With that being said, this means that artists that do specialize in this work are pretty limited and these are the artists that book up very fast. It is highly recommended that as soon as you set your date you book your artist or you might make the mistake of booking someone who could potentially ruin the best day of your life. Top makeup artists can be booked up to 12-18 months or more in advance!
#2 Know Yourself And Stick To It
Darker complections can pull off bold, vibrant colours. But that doesn’t mean you need to go full glam for your wedding day if that does not align with you. You can totally go for something softer with neutral tones if that is your thing. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable in your own skin. Choose a makeup artist whose portfolio reflects the type of look you are looking for. It’s highly recommended to review artists’ portfolios prior to booking, this way you can see if they have experience working with individuals of colour. If you don’t see anyone that looks like you on their feed it is highly likely that they do not have experience with people of colour.
#3 Don’t Forget Your Skincare
Six months prior to your big day, you should be investing in your skincare. In fact, taking care of your natural complexion will allow makeup to go on smoother. Putting together a good skincare regimen tailored to your skin’s needs will help you look radiant long before you walk down the aisle. Incorporating a physical or chemical exfoliant into your skincare routine up to two times per week can help to minimize common skin concerns like acne and hyperpigmentation. You should also invest in a good SPF for during the day—darker skin tones are not immune from the sun’s harmful UV rays. If you have a more troubled skin type, you should definitely schedule an appointment with a licensed aesthetician or dermatologist no less than a year before your wedding day. This might sound like complete overkill, but seeing an expert sooner rather than later will allot enough time for your treatments with adequate healing time. It is highly recommended that you also make sure the professional you are seeking has experience working with deeper complexions.
#4 Use Social Media For Inspo
There are tons of makeup tutorials on Tiktok and endless photos on Instagram to get you started. To make best use of these platforms, remember to be specific in your search terms. For example, you can search for “black bride makeup looks” or “dark skinned makeup looks”. These types of searches are going to help deliver more relevant results than just “bridal makeup”. You can also do a quick google search of images of your favourite black celebrities to see how their looks might translate on you for your big day.
#5 Don’t Forget About Your Hair
This is where things can get a bit tricky, there are not a ton of mobile stylists that are able to work on a variety of hair textures. If you have your main go to stylist, it’s highly recommended to see if they would be available for your wedding. If not, do your research, look at stylists portfolios and 100% book a trial if you can. It’s great to work with a stylist months in advance to ensure your hair goals are achievable. Receiving expert advice will not only help in determining your hairstyle, but also the overall health of your mane. Other factors to keep in mind when picking your hairstyle should include the season, your décor, your personal style and the attire you choose to wear on your big day, to ensure your overall look is cohesive.
4 Gems Of Insight For Planning
“Take ownership of your day and make it what you want it to be.” – Angela Bassett
Don’t let outside opinions or trends sway you from what you truly want your wedding to look and feel like. It’s natural to seek advice of friends and family for wedding vendors although that may not lead you on the path to creating the wedding day of your dreams. If you’ve found a planner or designer who understands your vision and they have a client experience that makes you feel good, don’t hesitate to secure their services before they get booked up. While inclusivity in the wedding industry is important, ultimately, feeling confident and positive about the vendors you choose is a top priority, and a good designer can help guide you in the right direction.
I always believed that when you follow your heart or your gut, when you really follow the things that feel great to you, you can never lose because settling is the worst feeling in the world.” – Rihanna
It is so important to focus on what feels great to you. Align yourself with vendors who value diversity and inclusivity along with your overall vison. Not everyone is used to dealing with people of colour, so trust your intuition, if you feel you are not taken care of in a way that you feel you deserve to be.
By working with a black designer that matches your values, they will align you with vendors who they have had positive experiences with, to ensure they will be the right fit.
“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.”- Maya Angelou
In our culture sometimes mental wellness and self-care can easily be forgotten during high stress times. Taking breaks, delegating tasks, and focusing on your well-being will enable you to approach your wedding day with a calm and centered mind. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family and if you are feeling stressed, never hesitate to use wellness practices to take time for yourself or share stresses with practitioners to allow your closest loved ones to remain unbiased to those involved in the planning process.
“A wedding is just a day, but a marriage is a lifetime. Focus on what really matters.” – Taraji P. Henson
Keep your mindset in check as you plan your wedding. Remember that your wedding day is just one day and does not define your relationship or your worth. Focus on what truly matters: the love and commitment you share with your partner. Embrace the planning process as an opportunity to create a celebration that reflects your unique story and values, rather than trying to live up to societal or cultural expectations.
Being a black bride can be difficult to navigate throughout the wedding planning journey, remember to stay true to who you are, and prioritize yourself and your partner. It is ok to seek help from professionals, you will be investing in the most important aspect leading up to the big day. Your well- being! – Barbra-Joi
3 Question To Ask When Looking For Your Photographer
#1 Are Black brides represented on your potential photographer’s social media and website?
Be sure to review the photographer’s portfolio. I encourage Black brides (and interracial couples where only the groom may be Black) to take a look at potential photographers’ social media feeds and their websites too. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential photographer to review a Black or interracial couples’ full gallery to get a better idea of their work. Don’t just review the bride and groom, but pay attention to photos with family members too. In this day and age, it’s unacceptable that some photographers do not seek out diverse couples for their portfolios. If you’re not represented at all, then you may want to seek out a photographer who is a better fit for your wedding.
#2 Can the photographer provide adequate lighting to capture the beauty of medium to dark skin tones?
Wedding photographers should be experts when it comes to lighting and well versed at handling different lighting situations with ease. As a bride-to-be, it’s really important to ask your photographer how they will handle lighting to make sure you look your best in your photos. A wedding day goes from day to night, and can also include being outside and inside in a dark reception spaces. Natural lighting is wonderful, but off camera flash is a skill that comes in handy at night and in dark spaces. Your photographer should have the equipment and the skills necessary to operate both. Ask them questions and again, review the photographer’s portfolio to see their work captured in the day and inside or at night.
#3 Is the photographer’s editing style melanin friendly?
A photographer’s go-to editing style can impact how skin appears in the final images. If you’ve noticed that a photographer’s work makes skin look too dark, yellow, red, or orange – chances are you, your spouse, or your family members will look that way too. In my experience, interracial couples’ skin tones need to be captured and edited with care to avoid anyone looking too light or too dark or just completely discoloured altogether.
Finally, Black and interracial couples are so beautiful, and their wedding photos should reflect that. Finding a photographer who can capture that beauty can be much easier by doing your research and asking some of these questions. The more questions asked, the more likely the wedding photography industry will start to look more inclusive and represent more Black brides and grooms.