7 Tips To Conducting The Best Bridal Trial EVER

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Written by guest contributor, Ashley Peters. Find her on Instagram here: @thestylistabroad

Brides and weddings conjure up all sorts of feelings for basically everyone — and unfortunately they’re not always warm and fuzzy. I absolutely love them and plan to set you up for success by banishing any stereotypes you may have heard about it. It all starts with the trial and these tips will help you nail it.

Great Pre-Trial Communication

Weddings, trials, and bridal hair are far more mental and emotional than anything else. I mean, how else could an industry like this thrive when it doesn’t always make sense to the bank account?

That being said, a bride’s decision to choose you (or not) could completely be based upon whether she felt your vibes were on the same frequency. Before the trial, set yourself up for success with ample clear, friendly and genuine communication.

You want them to walk into that trial already loving you with the best mojo from those digital conversations. If these means answering all of their tedious questions (perhaps more than once), being flexible, excited and reassuring of any concerns – then this will have them feeling like you already care.

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Clear Expectations

Wouldn’t it be lovely if every bride-to-be arrived on time for their trial with dry, not oily hair; with photo references ready not to mention accessories, veil and maybe even extensions in tow? (bonus points if they wear a white top and don’t have an extra large entourage).

We know that; but chances are they don’t. Since this isn’t our first or only wedding we tend to forget that not everyone knows how a trial proceeds or what they need to be prepared. That’s our job because honestly if they come unprepared in all likelihood they will not assume the blame but instead mentally displace it onto you.

As soon as my brides book a trial I send out a trial guide which lays out my expectations such as dry, non oily hair. I encourage them to bring anything they are considering wearing for their big day (such as accessories, extensions, and veil) as well as reminding them about photos, (recommend 1-5) and their entourage, (1-2 recommended max).

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Help Them Envision

Things will, of course, look different on their wedding day. A once in a lifetime dress certainly changes things not to mention when all the emotions are flowing but we have to help them see the projected, full, final look. That’s why I encourage them to bring accessories, veil, extensions and wear white.

However, humans are humans and there’s a good chance they will forget or haven’t considered these options yet. Again, it’s our job to be prepared. As a stylist I recommend you a variety of accessories on hand. Then, they can see how their style would look with lots of options of accessories. If they absolutely love an item they may just buy it right on the spot. I recommend having 1 “standard” veil that comes to about elbow length just so they can envision how the hairstyle would look if they choose to wear a veil.

It also really helps to bring out that “bridal moment”. Some ladies know they will need extensions but other don’t realize what goes into creating those super full, extra long looks. It’s always helpful to have extensions in a few color selections on hand because people are visual. It’s hard to hit the “I believe” button on volume and length when it’s just not there.

Also I mentioned encouraging them to wear white, (or whatever color their wedding day attire is). Not to sound like a record on repeat but people are visual and this silly little thing can help them envision how it will look on their big day with a more accurate wardrobe color.

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Get Excited

It would crush the energy on the whole bridal morning to have someone not care about you and slap through styles like an assembly line. I get it you’ve done 50 million+ weddings and you could create this boho chignon literally in your sleep. But this day is special to them . This is THEIR day and it’s kinda a big deal. They need to know you are excited about this special moment and you’re on their team. That’s why for the 1st 20- 30 minutes of my trials we just chat.

Yes, hair and hairstyles comes up in the convo but so does all the giggly chatter of dresses, venues, their vibe and so on. I truly want to know my brides because it’s not just another chignon. I want to deliver the best damn chignon they’ve ever experienced.

I want our entire experience together to feel like they have a friend and to blow away any expectations. So for 20-30 minutes don’t rush in and assume things. Really listen and be excited about their vision.

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Be Open To Modification

Ask them if there is anything they would want to change about the look. So often we avoid questions like this because it opens the doors to criticism and critique when you could have otherwise avoided the topic. This question is so important. Not only does it truly help you hone in on the visual specifics of what they want but it reinforces that genuine care. Then you do those modifications, (within the realms of possibility).

Don’t assure them you can accommodate on the day of. Show them how the tendrils look.  Adjust until it is exactly as they had hoped for. This styling process may be a bit of self-discovery for some women. Some may not know how they feel about certain aspects of a style until they see it on themselves.

So just remember to be patient, understanding and accommodating.

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Test It

I send my brides home in their hairstyle unless they specifically request otherwise (or if they have my trial extensions in). When they leave, I tell them to put that style through its paces. Go for a night out at the club, hike a mountain, go to the groceries, whatever. I want them to really test it out and critically evaluate it.

What do they like or don’t like? Do the curls need to be looser or tighter? Now, I’ve heard that many stylists style the trial look “lite”. As in, it’s not sprayed as much or pinned as tight but that is not my method when finishing before I send them on their way.

If I’m going to be frank I feel like that leaves a lot of wiggle room for lesser quality craftsmanship to be passed off as “due to the trial” techniques. I believe it is your obligation to deliver the best damn look … always. This way they get a REAL test. It will solidify their faith in your abilities and the ability of the style to look awesome as they dance the night away after the big “I do’s”.

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Make sure to follow up! Even if they had the best trial ever, life happens and people get distracted. This is your time to get feedback about how the style held up, any tweaks, and of course, to cement their date (if you haven’t already done so).

Even if you have already booked them it’s still nice to follow up and again show that you really do care about how they look. It’s that little extra that will make you stand out.

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Final Step: Celebrate!

Woo-Hoo! You nailed it and they love you!

Don’t you just feel all those warm and fuzzies snuggling up around you? Well you’re not in a jacuzzi so guess what ? That’s love, babe! That love feeling you get when you made someone else so freakin happy and for such a huge, special moment.

Maybe I made you love weddings a little more. If not yet, trust me on these tips. Implement them and I promise you’ll be celebrating many more joyous occasions. Now, let’s pop the bubbly!


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Written by guest contributor Ashley Peters.

Ashley is an Internationally published updo expert who travels the globe who specializes in bridal hair and cruelty-free products.