Welcome to Vendor Dispatch, where we chat with our vendor partners about their approach to working with couples, the ceremony from their point of view, and the magic that happens behind the scenes.
Who: Ashley Peters
Does: Lead hairstylist and founder of The Stylist Abroad, which she founded in 2016.
Based: Splits her time between Huntsville, AL and the DC/Maryland/ Virginia area. Travels internationally for elopements and destination weddings.
Behind the Scenes
Daily routine: Every day is a bit different but there’s some repeating consistency to create a “routine.” Morning basics (pups’ potty time, water the garden, breakfast and coffee) followed by posting to Instagram (typically Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and then off to check emails. I immediately answer new emails and then follow up with any from previous days. Morning time = email time. Mid-day is a pup walk/play time followed by any hair demos (if I’m doing them that day) or creating hair photos/videos for education and content. Typically mid-day is the time I will meet with vendors for coffee, work on creating accessories, creating contracts, timelines, etc. I respond to any new emails that have come up and then attempt to have a good work-life balance by closing the “workspace” down by 5pm.
Drinks on your desk: Water and coffee/oat milk latte
Favorite thing to eat while you work: Kale chips
Music: For trials it’s the Jason Mraz station lol, Macklemore, Maroon 5, Fleetwood Mac, Sia
What do you do for fun? Hiking, travel, coffee and food, reading, Netflix, gardening, puppy time
In the Field
Describe the first elopement you worked: First elopement was in Virginia. It was a dual military couple planning their elopement between military obligations. It was adventurous and boho. The weather was misty but her hair held up for the whole elopement. I did a boho low bun with a faux floral comb in the morning. Then they left, drove to a mountain, went on a hike, and got married. Loved the images and the whole boho vibe. Plus it showcased how well our styles hold up!
Average number of hours spent working an elopement: If we do a trial, we allocate two hours for that, though it doesn’t always take the full time. The day of, it’s about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes for hair styling. If they choose for me to stay with them throughout the elopement for touch ups, it just depends on their schedule. If there are others who also want their hair done, then it’s about 45 minutes per person.
What you wear while working in the field: Black with maybe a pop of color. Typically things that photograph well with clean lines and not a ton of patterns—pants or a jumpsuit. Some favorite brands are Madewell, Wolf & Rabbit, and anything thrifted.
Brand of the bag that you use: My hair kit is in an Amazon luggage bag but my purse/bookbag is Matt & Nat.
How would you describe your style/approach to doing hair? The style is “elevated boho.” It’s definitely boho but it’s still “fancy” and not messy or boring. I approach hair thinking of how to celebrate the hair. If it has curls, let them sing! I want the natural beauty of the individual to be elevated, not for them to feel like someone else. I use products in layers so that it holds but won’t feel crunchy. When it comes to placement of curls, braids, etc I kind of “listen” to where the hair wants to go and what makes sense for the hair and head shape.
Fave hair product: AIIR Professional Texture Spray (although I love all their products!).
Fave current hairstyle trend: Braids. I’ve always loved braids, but I love that more couples want the,m or even braids that don’t look like braids because they last and look complex.
Which styles do you refuse to do, if applicable? I don’t refuse to do them but the ultra clean, tight bun styles are not our vibe. Rarely do we even get them requested and when we do I’m always a bit confused as to whether they’ve seen our portfolio.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to a bride on her wedding day, regarding hair? Logistically for day of: Come with dry hair! (Unless you’re getting a blowout which should be previously discussed.) In general: Wear your hair in a way that feels like you & is relatable to your every day look. If you always wear your hair down, a tight updo is going to feel bizarre, whereas a half-up or whispies will feel more like you.
Do you hang out during the ceremony to do touchups for photos? If so, how long is your average workday? Typically, no, but we do offer that service to stay throughout the evening. If it’s a destination wedding, it’s included since they brought us all the way to their location. My work day really just depends on the location (travel distance ) and quantity of services, ranging anywhere from 2 hours to 10-plus hours.
How is doing hair for an elopement different than doing it for a big wedding? It’s not all that different. I want my styles to last all day and night regardless of whether you’re climbing a mountain or just having a mountain of cheers toasts! I always prepare the hair for anything crazy it may be up against (humidity, wind, misting, etc). I think the biggest difference would be timing. Obviously less time would be needed and the ready-by time may be more flexible.
What are your guidelines for couples and yourself while working elopements/weddings at this point in the pandemic? I still wear a mask to weddings even though I’m now fully vaccinated (yay!). I have the couple sign a Covid waiver (which we sign too) saying essentially we haven’t knowingly been in contact with anyone who has had Covid, no one has been exceptionally reckless, and we’re taking precautions.
What wedding trends, hair or otherwise, do you predict for 2021? I think braids will stay, but more of the not obvious braids, so loop braids instead of three-strand, for example. Half-up are seeming very popular, and the “barely done boho waves.” In general, I love that I’ve seen more use of local wildflowers and couples incorporating more unique, fun personality traits.
Who or what inspires you? Nature and the energy/vibe. I always ask what’s the vibe because those descriptors are often more telling. Jenny Strebe, Hair & Makeup By Steph Cassie Powell, and Sara Jane Maples are all incredible artists. I’m also inspired by the movement in the industry to embrace uniqueness and break the mold.
What you wish couples knew before they booked you (pandemic aside): How much we really care about their happiness. It’s more than a business. And that we will be their champion for their joy. You’ll never be told you must wear “x” or “this” isn’t bridal . We want to celebrate you and enhance your already beautiful self. Our motto is “You Do You”.
What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being an entrepreneur? As a small business you are every department (tech, customer service, advertising, talent). It’s a lot of learning curves. And then occasionally if people question your rates … you put a lot of time, education, and money into building your talent and business, which has value.
What advice would you give to a hair stylist trying to break into the elopement or micro wedding space? Do styled shoots to create the images you want to be hired for. Practice and put your styles through rigorous testing! They need to hold up so there are no excuses, even if the weather is miserable. Think about how you can best service your couples with the packages you offer
Biggest piece of advice for couples making the switch from a big wedding to a micro wedding or elopement: Focus on you. I think this is true regardless of the size of your wedding, but the most important thing is your joy. Also, don’t feel like you can’t have “over the top “ details or can’t have guests/ wedding party. It’s not exclusive to weddings … there are really no rules.
To contact Ashley Peters/The Stylist Abroad, reach out with secure messaging in her vendor profile.