There are so many elements involved in bringing together your dream wedding that it can quickly become overwhelming. It’s important to tackle the larger items on your list (venue, caterer, photographer, etc.), but having flawless makeup for you AND your wedding party shouldn’t be overlooked. After all, you – and your groom – are the focus of the day and all of the photographs and videos! You should be able to enjoy your celebration without worrying about how you look.
Here are some helpful questions, tips, and red flags to assist you in the process of finding the right wedding day makeup artist for you!
What is your budget?
Setting any budget can be painful, but knowing a reasonable budget for makeup artists in your area is the first place to start. Chicago rates typically range from $100-$225+ for on-location wedding day makeup for the bride and $65-$125+ for each attendant. Rates vary based on many factors: location, artist’s experience, products used, etc. Be cautious of anyone who quotes below these rates! Rates that are too low can indicate lack of experience and/or training, a kit full of products that aren’t suitable for bridal makeup, or someone who only occasionally does makeup as a hobby. Each situation can result in issues of professionalism, and even worse, ruined wedding photos! Do you really want to take this HUGE risk on your wedding day?!
You may be able to find lower than average rates at salons or makeup counters but you won’t receive the same level of service, expertise in bridal makeup, privacy, and convenience. Remember: you get what you pay for!
Do you like the artist and their work?
You should do a “background check” on your artist via social media prior to submitting an inquiry. Things to consider – Does the artist’s personality appeal to you? Are there reviews from other brides? Do they have a website with bridal makeup in their portfolio? Bridal makeup is very specific. You will need someone familiar with the unique situations that arise during a bridal appointment. Does their work show a variety of looks and skin tones? You don’t want a “one trick pony” or someone that doesn’t do makeup on women of all ethnicities and skin tones – this is very important if you are also booking makeup for your bridal party. Do any of the girls look like you/have your skin tone? Do you like the general style of most of the makeup looks? Is the work current and consistent? Inconsistent work quality can indicate a team-based business – which is fine, as long as you are able to view the specific artist’s work you will be booking PRIOR to booking with them. Also be sure to find out what happens with your contract and who will do your makeup if that artist is no longer with the company when your wedding date comes around. Consider other options if an artist only posts selfies, too many things that offend you, or aren’t consistent with their posting frequency and/or quality. And run like your pants are on fire if they require you to bring your own foundation!
What is the booking process?
When you find someone whose work AND personality you like, CONGRATULATIONS! You’re almost there. You should send an inquiry via their website, email, or Facebook. Or, just give them a call. If you got their name as a referral from me, please let them know Lena Clark MUA sent you!
Many artists have a contact form on their website that asks all of the relevant questions. However, if you are sending an email or message you should provide complete details for your wedding appointment: date, time you need to be ready, what services you need and for how many people (bride + 3, for example), appointment location, etc. If you are calling be prepared to answer these questions. The more information you provide the easier it will be for them to respond quickly with their availability and a quote. The artist should respond pleasantly, promptly (within 24-48 hours), and professionally, and should seem genuinely happy to work with you! If an artist always seems too busy to talk to you (or respond to your emails/texts), or you have tried several times to contact them with no response, cut your losses and headaches and move on to another artist!
Make sure your artist has a contract! This protects you and the artist by confirming all details of your wedding day appointment. Ensure that the basics are covered in the contract (who, when, where, what, and how much), that you understand the terms, and that the terms are agreeable to you. If someone has trouble explaining the specific terms of how they conduct business, you should be very concerned. You can expect to pay a 25%-50% non-refundable retainer to reserve your date with the balance due anywhere from 30 days prior – to the day of your wedding.
Do they offer previews?
Bridal previews are an additional service and usually range from $75-$150. This fee is sometimes built directly into a bridal package. Booking a preview ensures a good fit with your artist and allows you to design, and test the longevity of, your wedding day look.
Things to consider before and during your bridal preview – Where are bridal previews done? Does the artist show up on time? Do you like them? Do they have a professional appearance and demeanor? Do they listen to what you want? Do they collaborate with you and guide you in creating your look? OR, do they dictate what they think you should look like on YOUR wedding day? Do they offer any professional advice/opinions? Did they deliver your desired look? Is their kit professional: well stocked, clean, and properly maintained? This is a good time to question and pay attention to their sanitation methods. How do they handle your questions and requests? Do you love the final look? How does it last? If working with a team-based business book a bridal preview with the specific artist you’re booking for your wedding day. Don’t forget to ask what happens with your contract and who will do your makeup if that artist is no longer with the company when your wedding date comes around. Also, find out if you will be required to pay for a preview with the new artist or would if it be complimentary.
If you’re not sure what a bridal preview is or whether you need one, check out [THIS POST].
Are they able to answer your questions?
How many years have they been doing makeup? Do they specialize in weddings? Do they prefer airbrush or traditional makeup? What is their ideal bridal look/client? What steps do they take to ensure a long lasting application? Do they provide a touch-up kit? What are their rates? How long does it take per face? How many people can they accommodate per wedding? A benefit of working with a team-based business is that they can often service larger groups in less time. What brands/products do they use? There are some awesome drug store products, but the majority of a professional kit should be stocked with PROFESSIONAL quality brands – this affects the longevity of your look and how your makeup photographs. What steps do they take for proper sanitation? Who will be the actual artist assigned to you? Any working bridal artist should be able to answer these simple questions confidently and quickly.
I know this post is long and full of a lot of information to absorb. Everything may not be relevant to you and your needs. Make a list of all of your most important questions and concerns prior to starting your search for your wedding day makeup artist to keep you organized and on track.
May the odds be ever in your favor!
P.S. Many of the questions above have been discussed in my FAQs.
Tell me: What are some of the questions you have, or had, for your wedding day makeup artist?