Months after Alia and Ranbir’s wedding of dreams, the former’s bridal look is still the talk of the town. From the streets of Chandni Chowk to luxe fashion houses in Mumbai, everyone is fawning over the actress’s ivory saree look. A simple matha-patti, blow-dried hair and a tiny bindi— it’s almost like the actress took no time to dress and still looked flawless.
Wondering how these celebrity brides look so beautiful and well put together at their weddings whenthe look is full of air-brushed makeup, heavy jewellery and so much bling?
They get styled professionally by bridal stylists. Bridal styling is now a legit career and we are all for it. Why? Because Anushka rightly said in Band Baaja Baraat, “Inflation ho ya recession, shaadiyan toh hoti hi rahingi.”
If you’re someone who keeps looking at lehengas all day long and creates bridal mood boards as a hobby, bridal styling is the career for you. And we are here to help you do everything– from venturing into this career to setting your budget, we learn from experts here.
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Becoming a bridal stylist in India
The scope for bridal styling is suddenly booming in India– the brides want to look perfect while staying true to themselves. They don’t want to rely on aunties, buas, and distant relatives who insist on dressing them up in bright red lehengas and heavy jewellery. They want to look beautiful and feel beautiful, and that is where a bridal stylist steps in. If you’re wondering how to go about this career, take your lessons from the expert.
We talked to bridal stylist and personal shopper Ekta from the House of Ekta. She started her career as a designer, but soon realised she loves putting looks together. Whether it’s helping a client with makeup or deciding upon the right drape for a certain look– she enjoyed every part of the process. So, styling came naturally to her.
If you want to enter this career, you don’t have to be a certified bridal stylist. You just need a great sense of style, a passion to put looks together and the patience to deal with your client’s requirements and emotions for their D-Day. A little experience in fashion could really help.
There aren’t any professional courses or institutes in India for this at the moment. But a natural way to start your career as a bridal stylist would be to transition from a personal stylist, a personal shopper, an image consultant or a fashion designer.
A day in the life of a bridal stylist
“A bridal stylist is somebody who is going to be a best friend to the bride”, says Ekta.
As the bride’s “go-to person”, you need to ensure that you put together the right look for her important day.
For Ekta, every day is different. She usually spends a lot of time researching brands, creating dedicated mood boards, scheduling calendars, organising meetings, going for fittings, and shopping to find pieces that match the bride’s requirements.
As a bridal stylist, you have to be in sync with your client. It also involves talking budget, making sure you don’t go overboard at any step, and doing many follow-ups.
Kick-starting your journey
Since this career is rather new in the country, there is not a lot of formal education or information on the subject. It’s one of those creative careers where you learn along the way. But to help you get started on this career, here are a few expert insights:
Step 1: Get your basics right
Make sure you have a fashion degree or some experience in the fashion space. It can include working for a stylish, interning at a fashion house, or simply working as a personal shopper for some luxe brands.
Step 2: Research is key
Conduct preliminary market research and identify your clients. This will include finding clothing and accessories vendors, understanding the market gaps, and knowing the kind of clients you would like to cater to.
Step 3: Start slow
Give out free sessions to your friends, family, or acquaintances. If you don’t want to take on the entire responsibility right away, become a part of the shopping and styling processes. This will give you more hands-on experience and allow you to gauge the expectations of this job.
Step 4: Money talks
List your services and attach their prices. Make sure to keep this accurate, transparent, and comprehensive. Depending on whether your client wants to hire you just for the wedding, for other festivities, or just the pre-wedding shoot, you should have a price list for everything. You don’t want to sit and say “uhh” when your client asks you for an estimate.
Step 5: Build a presence
Set up your socials and website, and build your online existence. In the day and age where literally everything is looked for online, you don’t want to miss the chance of bagging a client just because you don’t have an internet presence.
Step 6: Market yourself
Make sure to market your website and socials via Instagram, Google ads, etc. Harness the power of social media to market yourself and create a unique brand identity. You can post pictures and videos of the shopping process, or finished looks of your favourite brides. Collaborations with makeup artists and Reels can work wonders these days.
Step 7: Let your work speak
Post testimonials as you go along the way. It can include candid videos from the brides or their families, or just their experience with you. Make sure you post consistently.
Step 8: Start now
Find clients and go about your business. You will build a clientele as you go along the way. Your business might not grow right away– Shaadi Mubarak thodhi hai. But if done right, this career can take you places.
As you continue to build your business or freelancing service, you can expand your team and grow further.
You’ll have to structure your services and consults, where you can feel a little lost, but here’s how you can go about it.
Structuring your consult
When we asked Ekta how she does it, she said she always starts with a pre-call. She says, “I look for a two-way fit. I have to see if I fit with my bride and if my bride fits with me. Transparency is important.”
This call allows you to get comfortable with each other. This is also the time when you get to know in what capacity the bride expects you to come on board. From styling her for the wedding day only to taking care of all her looks right from the pre-wed to the post-wedding ceremonies, there are a lot of steps a bridal stylist can be roped in for.
Once you’re done structuring your consult you can price them anywhere upwards of Rs. 5,000 to 7,000 per session which can last anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours followed up with mood boards and styling advisory. These prices may vary if you decide to do an in-person consultation.
The scope is vast. The market is evergreen and even inflation can’t do it bad. And when you've got the will to make it big, nothing can stop you from raising your power.
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