Hair, makeup and champagne on the job
Jade O'Donoghue

Hair, makeup and champagne on the job

Working as a bridal hair stylist

First published date September 10 2013 Amended date August 28 2015

When it comes to a bride’s big day, it’s a cliché, but everything has to be perfect. From the grand cars hired to transport all the most important members of the wedding party, right down to the confetti adorning the tables and the party favours given out to guests.


So what pressure must someone feel when they’re involved in the bride’s appearance? A lot, we imagine. It’s true though, that some people thrive when working under pressure and that the reward of being involved in one of the most important days of someone’s life, far outweighs any kind of stress they might feel. Pam Wrigley is one of those people and, as an award winning wedding hair stylist and makeup artist, she really knows her stuff.


Offering a wide selection of bridal hair courses in London and Manchester with Create Beautiful Hair, Pam is now determined to teach bridal hair stylists of the future all there is to know about curling, crimping, straightening and braiding and how to make a bride look as beautiful  on the big day.


 We caught up with her to find out more…


How did you first get into bridal hair?

After doing a degree in politics, I realised I needed a complete change in direction and a hair and makeup course got me on the right track. After many years of working in the fashion and advertising industry, my very first bridal makeup assignment changed everything and I discovered my true vocation – a real love of wedding work. As a bonus I discovered it also happens to be a great career choice when it comes to balancing work with having babies. Winning the Best UK Bridal Hair Stylist 2013 has been the icing on the cake!


Politics to wedding hair is quite a jump! What qualities do you think you possess that helped you make a success of it?

Being good with hair is just the beginning, to be a successful wedding hair stylist you definitely need patience, understanding and an ability to talk to people from all walks of life, and most importantly, you must be a good listener.


Sounds as though you’ve found your calling…

I love working in the wedding industry; you get to work in beautiful locations with people putting on amazing dresses and drinking champagne on one of the happiest days of their life. It’s great!

Helping a bride get ready for her wedding must be stressful at times though. Can you describe a typical working day?

My working day usually starts early and finishes early.  I often arrive at the bride’s house around 7.30-8am to start work on hair and makeup for the bride and her bridal party – creating beautiful hair and makeup shouldn’t be rushed!

After helping with hair and makeup, I’m on hand to help with tiara, veil and of course the wedding dress. On the big day everyone is excited and a bit nervous, so applying make-up and styling hair is only part of my job. Ensuring everyone is ready on time and helping the bride to stay relaxed and calm is all part of my day too.


What’s the first thing you teach your students?

We start off with hair preparation; an essential first step on the path to beautiful wedding hair.


What do they then go on to learn?
They will learn a wide variety of bridal hair styles for long and short hair on our Wedding Hair-up training course as well as how to properly secure hair and how to create almost any style – the only limit will be their imagination! Our Bridal Hair training course is intensive – we cover everything in a day – prom, red carpet, wedding & vintage hair styles. We teach traditional styling techniques with a twist, bringing you right up-to-date with new ideas and the latest styling products. 


Which hair projects have you worked on that you’re particular proud of?

I’ve worked with countless brides, seen lots of truly beautiful dresses, gorgeous flowers and worked in some amazing hotel rooms throughout London and the South East of England, I’ve had lots of laughs with my brides, and have shared tears with brides missing their mums on their big day. I find it impossible to pick out one or two people from my lifetimes work but I can honestly say, I love my job!


You don’t get a better review than that! If you’re now inspired to follow in Pam’s footsteps you can find her courses with Create Beautiful Hair here on Hotcourses. Or, if you’d like to look at other options, there are loads of general hairdressing courses too. Before we let Pam go though, we wanted to know more about the best way to get into the industry, so we asked for a bit of advice…


Top tips for anyone dreaming of working as a bridal hair stylist by Pam Wrigley

If you‘re looking to develop your creative side in your work, this is a great choice. The work is fulfilling, the pay is good, the hours are short and as a bonus it fits nicely round child care responsibilities.

A lot of people work free-lance in this industry, so, where do you start?


1. Get some good training


2. Practice  Practice  Practice . . .

Buy a good quality practice head or, better still, rope in friends and family to be your guinea pigs!


3. Once you’ve built up your confidence set up a photo shoot so you can get some good images to start your portfolio

It’s actually easier than you might think. Get in touch with some up and coming photographers, models and makeup artists who also need to test, they’ll be more than happy to provide their services free of charge. Modelmayhem is a great place to start, organise a date and go along with your kit.  Allow yourself time to try a couple of different styles, starting with a soft relaxed look and perhaps changing to a more structured look. That way you’ll get a couple of different looks  from one session.


4. Build up a good portfolio

Get professional quality images of your work. When working with your brides find the time to ask the photographer for his or her card, it’s much easier to get images direct from them that trying to chase up the bride.


5.Find a good web designer so you can show your work properly online




6.        You’ll be on your way!

Jade O'Donoghue

Jade will talk your ear off about rowing if you let her. She studied an MA and NCTJ diploma in Journalism at Brunel but her course-taking didn't stop there, having tried a number of different subjects since working here, even magic. Whether you're an expert who wants to share their knowledge, a student who's had a great experience or you just want to say hi, she'd love you to get in touch through our social media pages.