Kelly has been a makeup artist for weddings and other events for over 20 years.
What I've Learned From Doing Wedding Makeup
people found Kelly's experience helpful.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been a professional makeup artist for about twenty years. I have done makeup for stage, screen, editorial, and even a few girl scouts. Well, a lot of girl scouts! Try putting makeup on 200 rambunctious 8-year-olds in about an hour. Exhausting and fun, kind of like doing bridal makeup. Brides are special clients of mine, and over the years I have done hundreds of weddings. Maybe thousands.
I will never forget the first bride I did. I was 23 years old, fresh out of college, and looking to make a little extra money. I had extensive theater makeup arts training and knew I could translate that into bridal makeup. What I didn’t anticipate is how nervous I would be! The bride-to-be was a first time bride and probably in her late 30’s, which seemed ancient to me at the time. The bride was fairly calm, but my hands were shaking as I carefully applied her makeup. The last step was to put on her striking red lipstick. I ended up dropping the tube of lipstick right onto her lap. Luckily she wasn’t wearing her wedding dress yet. Keeping my nerves in check became easier over time, and I haven’t dropped a tube of lipstick on a bride since. Regardless, I'd definitely recommending getting your makeup done in a different outfit than your wedding dress.
A bride has a very specific vision of how she wants to look on her wedding day. She’s spent months planning and making all the details just right. Now she has to think about her beauty choices: whether she wants to go to a salon to get her makeup done or hire an artist to come to her location on her big day. As a bride, you have to decide what is right for you. It is usually a little more expensive to have an artist come directly to you, but it might be worth not having to traipse out to a salon to get your makeup done. I have actually seen brides come to a department store on their wedding day to get their makeup done. I do not recommend this. Most weddings are held on a Saturday, which is the busiest, most hectic day of shopping in a department store. No matter what the girls at the counter say, it’s very stressful to sit at a busy makeup counter to get your makeup done on your wedding day. It’s best to be in a relaxed setting to have your makeup done. So if you are getting ready in the suite of a hotel, or even in your own living room, it’s probably a better choice.
You also have to figure out if the ladies in your wedding party will be getting their makeup done as well. Do you want to provide this service for them for helping you on your big day? I always think it’s a very nice, classy touch when the bride pays for her party to get their makeup done. Usually the artist will give you a better deal if you have a large party needing their makeup done. Don’t forget about your mom or even your mother-in-law if she will be getting ready with you that day. Or the flower girl. I will always put a little touch of lipstick or blush on any junior bridesmaids or flower girls free of charge. It always makes the younger ones feel special as well.
Before you choose your makeup artist, it’s important to have a trial run with that person. Usually this trial run is included in the price of getting your makeup done for the wedding. I always like to have a consultation and trial run a couple of months before the wedding. That way, the bride and I can settle on exactly what kind of look she wants. Feel free to bring pictures out of a magazine of makeup you like to try. It’s also helpful to meet a few months prior because if the bride has any skin issues that she needs to deal with, I can give her advice on that as well. Problems like acne, flaky skin, dull skin, and dryness can all be addressed and dealt with if she has a few months to work on her skin. I always set a specific skin care regime in place for the bride so that her skin looks its absolute best on the day of the wedding. Another thing to consider is choosing the right foundation. Is her skin going to be getting any tanner or lighter if the wedding is going to be in summer or winter? I take all that into consideration so that I have the exact perfect match for her skin tone. Does she want a smoky eye or a stronger lip? Is she not really a makeup person and has to be talked into simple things like eyeliner? All will be decided at that first trial run. It’s also important to take a few pictures to see how the makeup will photograph. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is not having the trial run or taking good care of their skin. I make sure both these things happen for the brides.
On the day of the wedding, every bride I’ve done is very similar. They always want something a little different, more or less. The stress of the big day usually comes through when they are getting ready. So my advice to the bride is to have a glass of champagne and relax! Know that your face is in good hands and everything will be flawless. Finally, the biggest mistake you can make in your wedding makeup is not going waterproof with your mascara. You know you’re going to cry, so make sure your makeup will last through all the happy tears.