How Do I Pick Hair And Makeup Vendors For My Diverse Wedding?

Binders full of white women

Q: I am getting married in California up in Tahoe, and am a white female. I am reaching out to hair and makeup people, and the vast majority of them have pictures of weddings they have done that only include white people. My wedding party consists of my friend who is Indian-American and my niece who is half-black.

How do I politely ask vendors if they are comfortable with different hair and skin tones? Secondly, would it be rude if I just got a hair stylist for my niece, or would that make her feel more left out?

Advice From The Editor:

This is an excellent question! Vetting hair and makeup artists is really important even when you’re on your own, and when it comes to a multi-ethnic wedding party, there’s a bit more legwork to be done. Before you do anything, you might want to ask people what they prefer. Your niece may actually prefer to do her own hair, or have someone dedicated to her. You never know!

Meanwhile, regarding finding vendors, it’s absolutely normal (helpful, even!) to let prospective vendors know what their subjects will need (textures of hair and skin tones) and to ask for any examples of work they’ve done in that range. Not every project is included in someone’s portfolio, and often (sadly) vendors put out white portfolios, making the faulty and problematic assumption that that’s what people want to see. If there are no examples, but the vendors promise they’re comfortable, you can ask a few questions: Do they have a full range of foundation colors? Do they have products for kinky hair? Etc. To be extra sure, you can always do a test if your friend or niece is local. In a pinch, you can ask another loved one with similar hair texture and complexion if they wouldn’t mind a free styling day.

On a different note, given the way the world currently works, POC hair and makeup folks probably had to learn on white folks, so they are more likely to be able to do a full range of styling. You may want to ask that person you were considering hiring just for the non-white folks, and see if they might actually be great for the whole party.

Who has had a bridal party with variety of skin tones and hair types, and what advice do you have? WOC, what wise words would you offer this bride?

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