For wedding october 8 2017: Alicia was extremely flexible (came in person to my apartment for our demo session and to the reception venue for the wedding) and accommodating, both in advance of my wedding and on the day of. My hair looked really good, and the service itself was exceptional. I highly recommend her services!
Back in early 2017, when I was booking appointments for the wedding, when I was still unsure of how many people would want to get their hair done, Alicia advised me that I should reserve as many spots as I might need just in case so that she could plan to bring enough assistants with her. Specifically in our chat conversation, I asked her in march: "Also, if one or two of my bridesmaids or mothers don't want to get their hair done for whatever reason (for example, my friend Abbie has short hair and may not find it worth doing for whatever reason), would I be able to pay less for the second half, according to the number of people who end up needing their hair done? I would of course let you know ahead of time what the final count would be-- I just haven't had conversations with everyone involved yet about whether or not they'll want to have their hair done." She wrote in response: "Yes absolutely. So on the day of the wedding it would just get subtracted from the remaining cost."
That reasoning made plenty of sense to me; so, when paying the deposit (equal to half the total balance), I estimated that ten people would want to get their hair done. That number included me, my maid of honor, and 6 bridesmaids, as well one extra slot (just in case a mother or grandmother wanted to get theirs done). I therefore paid a deposit for ten people, with the understanding (based on my conversation with Alicia) that if later we ended up needing fewer slots the balance that I owed would be reduced as needed. The deposit came out to $450.
We scheduled an appointment for the hair demo, in which she would sketch out a plan for the hairstyle and test one out to see if I liked it. We originally scheduled a meeting for August 13th, but the week before Alicia emailed me to reschedule because she had a last minute wedding that she needed to help with. I was happy to reschedule, and I appreciated the advance notice.
When we did finally have the demo, she made the whole experience effortless and fun. I knitted my own veil, which I would be using with a comb to make it stay in my hair, and we discussed various ways that the hair and veil could complement each other. I have naturally curly hair and it was important to me that my curls were treated with dignity (I've had a lot of bad experiences with stylists straightening out my curls and then re-curling them with an iron, which I was adamant that I did not want for the day of the wedding). Alicia did a really good job of tucking my curls into a beautiful up-do that I shared with all of my friends and family every chance I got. I was super excited.
The week of the wedding Alicia talked over phone and through text, and as at that point I had heard back from most (but not all) of the wedding party and close family members about who wanted to have their hair done, I estimated that the full 10 slots would still be needed. We worked out a schedule (so that two people would be getting their hair done at one for every hour Alicia and her assistant were there). Based on what people told me, I estimated that at least 9 slots would be filled, while still waiting to hear back from 1 or 2 people who seemed likely to want theirs done, and I told her as much over the phone. Alicia was very helpful and accommodating during that whole process, even offering to help negotiate with my persistent mother-in-law who was bound and determined to get her make-up done. I really appreciated her flexibility.
The weekend of, my wedding party helped draw out a schedule for people to get their hair done. Everything for the hair planning went very smoothly. Then, the night before the wedding, my grandmother backed out at the last second, deciding not to get her hair done after all, and one other person I had been waiting to hear back from finally responded, leaving us with two unfilled slots. Since every appointment time still had at least one person getting their hair done, I wasn't too worried, given my conversations with Alicia back in early 2017 when we discussed what would happen with unused slots.
The day of the wedding, Alicia showed up right on time along with one other assistant. They set up in the hotel room that James and I were staying in, bright and early, and began working on the first set of people's hair. At that point, I told Alicia about my grandmother, and said that in total 8 of the original 10 slots were filled.
Alicia went very quiet, and seemed conflicted about something-- she said "Oh, I see," and when I asked her what was wrong, she said, "No, it's fine. You worry about what you have to worry about-- you're the bride, you shouldn't be worrying about anything today." Still, that raised red flags for me because to my knowledge everything was exactly what we had discussed.
I asked her again if something was wrong, and she said "I usually don't let people cancel at the last minute, because I don't want to pay to bring an assistant if the workload is something I can manage on my own. But it's fine." To my knowledge, at no point in the weeks leading up to the wedding -- not during the demo, nor during the logistics stage the week of-- did Alicia mention this policy to me.
She was really nice about telling me that information the day of, but it did seem strange that the policy had never come up in conversation given what we had discussed about a possible situation in which not all the slots were filled. I do wish that had been made clearer in the beginning, because I would have gladly paid a smaller deposit in the beginning, or else would have told the wedding party as much so that I could get a more exact count.
I think I liked my demo hair more than what I had for the wedding, but it still looked beautiful. I've attached photos below. I think, looking back on it, that I should have washed my hair early the morning of the wedding, because my hair would have been dry in time and that's what I had done for the demo. That would have made the curls easier to rejuvenate. I took advice from a friend that hair that has been washed recently is harder to style, but based on my experience I think it would have turned out fine and the curls would have been shinier and possibly required less hairspray. That was definitely outside of Alicia's control and not in any way her fault! Just thought I'd mention it in case any girls out there have my kind of hair.
(By the way I really like the type of hairspray Alicia uses. It smells fruity and delicious!)
All in all, I am very happy that I chose Alicia and that she chose me. There are a few things I would have done differently given the chance to do things again but I definitely would have chosen her every time!