Just like fondant on an expertly decorated wedding cake, hair and makeup complete the look of your wedding attire; your cake would be just as delicious without the cake’s decorations, but lacking that extra “wow factor” you want when celebrating such a momentous occasion. You have spent months scouring bridal boutiques in search of the perfect dress, and your hair and makeup should gorgeously complement and enhance not only your best features, but your and your bridesmaid’s attire as well. With a little planning and research, your perfect look awaits you.

When selecting a makeup artist, try to meet in person before the wedding instead of relying on online images. Internet portfolios can be easily edited, and an in-person meeting will give you a better idea of the artist’s capabilities. Plus, you can view their past work and examine it more in-depth instead of staring at a screen. Equally as important is communicating to your bridesmaids, especially the day of services. If you are having a girls’ get together, have them show up 20 to 30 minutes before the appointment in case of unexpected situations, such as heavy traffic, unruly hair or other emergencies. The last thing you need is your maid of honor panicking when she gets a flat tire.

Instead of you sitting in a salon for hours, Kiss and Makeup (2832 Virginia St., Kenner, 390-0055, 442-2645, KissAndMakeupNOLA.com) can come to you. Owners Kati Corso and Molly Sartez specialize in on-site airbrush makeup for brides and the bridal party. Camera-ready faces are created by using superior cosmetic lines, including airbrush makeup, for a flawless look. They can also accommodate your needs for photo shoots and other special events. Kissable, glamorous lips, dramatic false eyelashes and defined, groomed brows will make every wedding photograph beautiful. “Our team is extremely driven to do our very best work on every person, and we truly care about every bride and making heir wedding day dreams come true,” Sartez says.

Aimee-zing Faces (7755 Magnolia Beach Road, Suite O, Denham Springs, 272-6345, AimeezingBrides.com) is a full-service studio offering not only hair and makeup services but photography as well. Owner Aimee Carr has developed her own makeup line, Romee Cosmetics, which is waterproof and lasts over 14 hours. The products contain aloe vera and chamomile and are gluten-free, an important factor for those with allergies. Since Carr works as an official makeup artist for Miss Louisiana and several other contestants, she’s used to working under pressure. She has also been an official makeup artist for New York Fashion Week for the past three years and is doing makeup for the “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

With her extensive experience, Carr has picked up some invaluable tricks to make sure the days leading up to the wedding are as smooth as your husband-to-be’s silk necktie. Brides should create an emergency box, or binder with plastic zipper bags with holes punched through, that contains all the necessary accoutrements. Extra earring backs, a razor in case you forget to shave, safety pins, deodorant, eyelash glue, bobby pins, stain remover pen, Q-tips, nail glue etc., can all be lifesavers that you’ll need if disaster strikes.

“A common mistake brides make isn’t taking the consultation serious enough,” Carr stresses. The only way to ensure you get what you want is by relaying your exact thoughts to your hair stylist or makeup artist. Aimee-zing Faces ensures your look will be flawless by working with facial features, length and thickness of hair and the design of the dress. Carr’s team is diligent in ensuring the hairstyle is complementary to the overall look. Getting the makeup right is crucial for great photos. Make sure your artist is matching foundation to the chest against the face; this guarantees that your décolletage won’t be darker, especially if you’re tan. Lighting is also key – if it’s a daytime outdoor wedding, then the makeup should be applied outside for the best, most flattering look. If you opt to wear false eyelashes, be sure to stick with human hair instead of plastic. Also, snipping the edges off falsies provides a more natural look without giving up the glam factor, especially in pictures where the bride is looking down.

Steven Sobel brings 30 years of experience and has hair down to a science, even though he considers it an art form, at his salon (7818 Maple St., 866-1593, StevenSobel.com). Instead of just executing a precision haircut, he designs a haircut, much a like a fashion designer designs a garment. Taking into account texture, volume and the client’s personal style, Sobel considers subtleties in the client’s hair color, as well as how the cut’s geometry will frame the face. Due in part to his artistic approach to hair, Sobel was named one of the country’s best colorists by Allure magazine in 1999 and one of the top salons by Elle in 2009.

For over seven years Head Games Hair Salon (9059 Jefferson Highway, River Ridge, 733-1818) has been servicing brides in the New Orleans area in their River Ridge salon. From color, highlights, perms, relaxers, updos and haircuts, they can accommodate most anything. Co-owner Leslie Palmisano suggests to schedule as soon as possible – they book up two years in advance, and she personally did 20 weddings last year. “We definitely do well through consultations, to get a good feel for what they’re looking for and read between the lines and see what they really want,” Palmisano says of her brides.

She also suggests keeping your expectations realistic. While going from jet black hair to blonde overnight might be a bold, exciting change for married life, the salon would never compromise the health of your hair by over-processing it. “We would turn someone away if we didn’t think we couldn’t do it. It’s a process, and hair needs to heal.”

You won’t have to worry about touch ups or limp hair when you utilize S.W.A.K. Hair and Makeup Artistry’s (628-2946, SWAKMakeupArtistry.com) portrait services. Owner Gwen Asaro and her team can accompany you to your photography session to make sure not a single hair will be out place, and your makeup will look fresh after hours of posing for portraits.

Asaro specializes in airbrush makeup for film, print and hi-definition. In addition to making you camera-ready, S.W.A.K. can travel to you for all of your wedding day beauty needs.

Nikki Walker (625 Baronne St., 522-5677, NikiWalkerSalon.com) believes ongoing education is key to great cut and color.

Having educated for Paul Mitchell and Aveda, she now travels on behalf of salons and schools to teach the “how and why” behind haircutting and color. In-house education classes are part of the salon’s weekly routine, and employees travel to seminars and workshops to keep up with the latest fashions and current techniques. The salon is also a Locks of Love participant; clients who donate hair receive free haircuts.