Wedding Planning – Hair & Makeup (Summera Studio)

My baat pakki happened in late August of 2016, with shadi planned for January 2017. This gave me a little over four months to put together a desi wedding that spanned 3 days, with 4 events, along with countless parties before and after. And considering that this was the first wedding for my family, it was a huge puzzle that we all had to scramble to put together despite everyone working full time. Stress was at an all time high.

By the time we had settled on a wedding date, all the big names for Pakistani hair and makeup in the GTA had already been booked. Nilo Haq was my top choice, but she wasn’t available. Shirley Wu was booked on my dates too, along with every other long weekend in 2017 already. Frankly I wasn’t in love enough anyway, she seemed overrated to me. Jenny/Maggie Wu were available, but I was hesistant. Seher Studio was on my list too, but it was the same story again.

Friends and family threw out a bunch of other names (Naila Tausif, Euphoria, etc.), but I knew if I wasn’t absolutely in love with the pictures of all the recent brides an artist did, then I wouldn’t love my own pictures when they finally came out, which is what matters the most. Am I right, or am I right?

Summera was available to do my makeup for both mehndi and reception, I liked all the pictures I had seen of her brides, and I personally knew one of her brides from a few years back (whose professional pictures came out amazing, okay). So off I went to meet her, and boy, I was starstruck. Her own hair and makeup was so flawless that there was no way she could butcher mine! She discussed her rates with me, which were $400 for bridal hair/makeup at the time and would take 2 hours on average, with $150 for bridesmaids which would take about an hour, which was honestly quite standard.

She listened to what kind of looks I wanted on my big days, made solid recommendations, and was overall a sweetheart about the whole process. She’s young, and so her makeup looks are more modern, subtle and sophisticated. They’re definitely not too traditional (I hate the super bold, cake faced look, and honestly so does she) – and she’s perfectly capable of doing your ideal tikka/jhoomar and dupatta setting, which is the only reason I didn’t consider any non-desi makeup artists.

In the end, she asked me to buy hair extensions that fit the length of the hairdos I wanted (since that’s the one thing she didn’t have), and then we signed a contract and were ready to roll.

Her salon is in her parent’s basement in Brampton, but don’t let that idea throw you off. Her setup is still pretty good for your getting ready shoot. She may be open to travelling depending on the dates/number of clients too, and you can discuss that with her if you prefer a different location.

My Mehndi look.
My reception look.

She worked with me, asking me questions about even the small details like how far up I wanted my tikka to be placed, which arm I wanted to pin my dupatta on, and which side I preferred to part my bangs along with how I wanted them to fall.  She gave her opinions but wasn’t pushy at all.

Seriously, that’s important. For a couple of party makeup appointments, I’ve had some makeup artists literally slather lipstick colours on me or put my hair up in a way that I told them I hated, justifying that they know better than me and that gives them the power to make the call. And given that I’m paying, it makes me want to spit in their chai. Summera won’t do that to you.

Anyways. In the end, the pictures turned out amazing, and I felt like a doll. You can take a look at my highlights video here. (ABCI did my photography and videography, and I’ll talk about that in a later post).

I was honestly so, so happy with how Summera did my hair and makeup. It was soft and subtle on my mehndi day, and modern classic on my reception day. I loved her work so much that I wanted her to do my makeup at my brother’s wedding too, and I was pretty bummed when I found out that she was unavailable.

If you don’t have the time or budget to fit in trial makeup sessions before your big day, and you haven’t seen any of the artist’s brides in person either, take a look at how she presents herself when you meet. In the end, that skill and sense of style will be reflected in their work too.

I’d also judge their work based on pictures – and not just the ones they showcase on their own websites, but rather the pictures posted by the clients themselves. It’ll give you a better idea of how the hair and makeup looks on different cameras, and help you make a more well rounded decision. E.g. my mehndi picture above was taken off my cousin’s iPhone camera, and the reception picture I shared was taken by my photographer himself.

Overall, I was very, very happy with my choice.

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