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White Rose Collective is not for every bride. “This place spits the wrong person out. We’re so image- and brand-heavy, and it’s not cheap,” says Teddi Cranford, 32, the owner of White Rose Collective. “The rate sheet turns away 99 percent of anyone who inquires.”
Cranford started White Rose Collective, an agency that now also features a jewel box of a salon in NYC’s East Village, three years ago. Cranford will provide hair and makeup services for weddings and any parties leading up to it, such as bridal showers and rehearsal dinners. Brides often book her and her team for up to six separate wedding events, sometimes requiring four to six artists, and then fly them out to a destination like Napa or Aspen.
A former runway hair stylist, Cranford worked for 10 years backstage doing shows like Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino with the team from Bumble and Bumble and then later with master stylist Guido Palau, who designs the hair at pretty much every major fashion show in New York and Europe. But working in beauty in the fashion world is a grind, and she often did 40 shows a season.
In 2012, Cranford styled jewelry designer Pamela Love’s hair for her wedding, which Vogue covered. Cranford got some attention after that, and had an idea that she could specialize in weddings. For a certain upper echelon of hairstylists, though, working on weddings is “frowned upon,” according to Cranford. “People I worked with said, ‘You’re selling yourself short. Why would you be doing weddings?’” she says. “And I was like, ‘No, we could actually make girls look cool!’ Also, women spend a lot of money for this one day for beauty.”
Rates at White Rose Collective start at a minimum of $1,350 for a bride plus two other people to get their hair done for a local New York wedding. Double that to add makeup services, and add several hundred dollars more to have Cranford herself be your personal hairstylist, and you’re up over $3,000. Each additional person in the wedding party you add accrues another fee, and that increases again if you want to keep a stylist around for touch-ups or a new look for the reception, a common practice among brides. Trials are not included, and Cranford says she has done up to four before she and the bride settle on a final style. For a more complex weekend, White Rose will negotiate a single rate for the event, because every wedding is unique. Cranford personally does about 20 percent of the weddings that White Rose books.
A big chunk of White Rose’s business is coordinating the beauty at destination weddings. The agency employs a “concierge” to organize and schedule the beauty preparation for every event to ensure that it’s as seamless as possible. Many of the makeup artists and hairstylists on the White Rose team come from the world of backstage beauty, too, so they’re used to a hectic pace, dealing with beauty disasters, and managing, ahem, challenging personalities.
Cranford says that she is about to do a wedding in Aspen she estimates is costing about $12,000, requiring a team of four to take care of a bride, eight bridesmaids, and at least three separate wedding events. That will include travel and accommodations as well as being on call for the wedding’s weekend events. It’s not the most White Rose has ever charged for a wedding, though; the most expensive one cost $15,000 and involved hair and makeup for 14 people. (To put this in perspective, according to our luxury wedding report, the average price of a wedding in 2016 was $33,329.)
White Rose Collective brides say it’s worth every penny, though. “A lot of people think about beauty as the last thing that they book for their wedding, and they don’t really allocate much money for it. I’ll say that she was worth everything I spent because it was the peace of mind, it was knowing they were going to do a really good job,” says Sasha Bartnett, 29. Cranford and a team of six did Bartnett’s 2015 Napa wedding, styling the bride, seven bridesmaids, and the two mothers, as well as engagement photos. “You spend so much time finding and picking out the perfect dress, but if you don’t have the right hair and makeup, it can ruin your entire look.”
Caroline Hedges, 33, agrees. She booked White Rose Collective for her 2014 wedding in East Hampton. She used Cranford for her engagement shoot, bridal shower, wedding welcome cocktails, bridesmaid lunch, rehearsal dinner, wedding (including her mom and bridesmaids), the after-party, and brunch the next day. “I did a lot of other trials, but the minute I met with them I was like, ‘Yeah, this is it,’” Hedges says. “Their energy was really nice and cool and calming, and they’re really fun to hang out with.”
Cranford’s fashion credibility and experience was also really attractive to Hedges. She had outfits from Dolce & Gabbana, Balmain, and Valentino lined up for her wedding events, and the fact that Cranford had worked on the shows that those looks came from was exciting for her. Cranford even had an ornate comb from the actual Dolce & Gabbana runway show that she incorporated into a braided bun look that Hedges wore with her D&G dress to the rehearsal dinner. (Hedges just used White Rose Collective again this past January to do her hair and makeup for her baby shower.)
Style and restraint is an area where Cranford thinks that White Rose Collective stands out in the over-the-top, Pinterest-influenced wedding beauty industrial complex. The attitude? Wedding beauty, but make it fashion. “The vibe that she goes for is anti-prom, if that makes sense. She’s going for something realistic, what girls really want to look like to feel pretty,” says Bartnett. Hedges said she had some fun with more elaborate styles for her events before the wedding, but her wedding day hair was soft, loose, and simple. Cranford prefers to have all White Rose Collective hairstylists and makeup artists working on a wedding party (rather than bringing in an outside service like Glamsquad) to ensure that the look is consistent across the wedding party.
Cranford’s poster bride could very well be Glossier founder Emily Weiss, who flew Cranford to the Bahamas to do her hair for her intimate wedding last year. Outside of White Rose, Cranford has a growing career in getting very cool and very (naturally) beautiful girls — like models Behati Prinsloo and Anna Ewers, and the Kirke sisters — ready for the red carpet. This clientele definitely informs the aesthetic choices she offers to brides. It’s basically the no-makeup makeup version of bridal.
“It’s very tasteful. We’re doing very understated, chic looks. If a girl wants a big look then we’ll give it to her — if she can pull it off. I’m not afraid to ever talk anyone off of a ledge,” laughs Cranford. One such ledge-talking involved a Staten Island bride whose wedding was “very outside the box” for Cranford.
The bride was getting married in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and “wearing this big cupcake dress.” She had equally huge hair ambitions. “The references she brought me...” Cranford shakes her head. “In my mind I was like, ‘These are so bad.’ I was like, let’s think outside of the Pinterest box and go to fashion and talk about an Italian woman.” Cranford describes the result, a sleek pony with a pile of curls on top and two pads holding the whole thing up, as “Dolce & Gabbana couture.”
“It was so scaled back compared to what she had shown me, but for me it was still the biggest thing I’ve ever done on a bride.” But that’s the exception to Cranford’s bridal worldview.
“Less is more. Keep it chic and keep it rich.”