Planning Tips for Make-up Artists

Your wedding day is your once in-a-lifetime opportunity to go all out....the dress, the hair and of coarse the make-up. Unless you are a huge movie star it is unlikely that you wil get an opportunity like this again, so you need to take full advantage of it - and finding the perfect make-up artist will ensure that you do.

Check out our Questions to Ask on make-up artists

Where to Start

Any artist worth their salt will be able to give you the look you want, however, it is usually best to start a beauty regime several months before the wedding. This will ensure you have that healthy glow and the artist can then just enhance it to give you that naturally beautiful look.

Like with all other aspect you need to do your research, have a look online, on Pinterest and in wedding magazines to get a good idea of the different looks available and then compile a list of those you like the best. When you are looking for ideas keep the wedding theme, season and naturally your dress style in mind - along with the possible hair styles. All of this should give you an idea of what you want the bigger picture to look like and that will help you narrow down your make-up options

Once you have a good idea of the look you want you can start looking for an artist, one option is to consider getting someone that can do both hair and make-up. The advantage of this is that you will only have one supplier to worry about in regards to time management, payment etc. On the other hand, the disadvantage is that hair and make-up are two different crafts, it takes time and dedication to become a specialist in each one - and although you do get those people who naturally have the talent to be able to do both you do not want to end up with a perfect hair-do but mediocre make-up.  So if you are opting to go with one supplier to do both just make sure that they will be able to deliver.


Before you go any further with any questions you need to first confirm that the artist is available on your wedding date, if not there is no point in going on.

If they are available you can then start by finding out a bit more about their background, if they have great qualifications that is definitely a plus point but that does not mean you need to dismiss anyone that does not...there are those individuals who have never set foot in a classroom but just naturally have the talent. Also don’t look over any new artists, they may not have as much experience but they may have the talent and will be able to give you a better price.

Overall you should focus more on their portfolio of their most recent work as this will give you a much better idea of what they can do. When looking at their portfolio make sure that it is of actual brides and not models - models naturally look fabulous on camera and you want to see how they work with normal brides. Also ask if the pictures have been edited....anyone can make you look great with editing, you want an artist who does not need editing. Having a look at their portfolio will also give you a good sense of their style and ability - and whether it fits in with what you want.

You will also want to ask them to supply you with a list of references, the portfolio can tell you a lot about their style and ability but speaking to actual brides that they have worked with can give you more info on how it is to work with the - like how they interact with their clients and if they’re punctual, easy to work with and have a positive attitude. You will be spending several hours with this person on your wedding day, so you’ll want to know from past clients if the enjoyed working with them.

You can also ask about their experience, do they specialize in bridal make-up? Like any profession, make-up artists can specialize in different aspects of the area. Those who work with brides exclusively will understand their needs better than an artist who works with runway models or for print advertising. They will be able to give you a look that will look great in photos, last all day and will also be able to work with unpredictable lighting and space in various settings.

Lastly, you need to make sure you get along with the person you consider choosing, this is as important as liking their work. You need to feel comfortable with this person, communicate easily and feel that you can trust them. Their first priority is to provide beautiful make-up, but he/she should also offer some moral support, help to boost your confidence and soothe your raw nerves in those last hours before you walk down the aisle.

Trail & Consultation

When you have decided on a make-up artist arrange for a trail run, this should be about 2 months before the wedding and its usually a good idea to arrange it on the same day as your hair trail, this way you will be able to see the complete picture. When making the booking find out if there is any prep you need to do the day before.

The trail run is important because it gives you and the artist time so sit down and work out the best look for you, at the trail you should have your pictures of looks you like as well as one of your dress - the artist should also have more info on the wedding theme and colours as well as the season. After the trail make sure to take some photos to see how it looks on camera - just keep in mind that no one ever shoots pictures of you at less than four feet away (and with a flash), so take the pictures from a natural distance in order to get a real-feel for how it will look. Also make sure to have those pictures with you on the day just as a refresher for the artist. The trail will also give you a good estimate of you long it will take, this will help you with your morning-off timeline planning.

Any good make-up artist will use only the best products, however, if it best to make sure that the products that they use are suitable for your skin type - especially if you have sensitive skin or are allergic to certain products. You may also prefer to use your own products, find out from the artist if this will be possible. You also need to keep an eye on their sanitation habits during the trail, they should use disposables wherever possible, such as mascara wands and sponges, and uses only clean brushes - stay clear of the artist if you see him/her double-dipping or using a universal mascara wand. The last thing you want on your big day is a full-on acne breakout or an eye infection. Also ask

On the Day

Firstly, find out from the artist if they can travel to the venue or if you need to go to their studio, if it is the latter you will have to take the traveling time into account. Also make sure they have a plan B, in case your artist falls ill or cannot make the wedding for some reason.

Secondly, if you would like your artist to do your bridal parties make-up as well you will have to arrange this beforehand - especially if you have a large bridal party and they need to arrange for an assistant to help. However, if they do arrange an assistant you need to make sure that the person who did your make-up in the trail is the one who will be doing it on the day and not the assistant. Just keep in mind that you will have to get the timing right to make sure everyone gets done on time with not only the make-up but the hair as well.

Lastly, you need confirm what kind of prep work you will need to do beforehand and also arrange for the artist to either stick around on the day for any touch ups or give you (and your maid of honour) a crash course on how to do it yourself with some extra product.


You need to start with your budget, decide how much you are willing to spend on make-up and you can then eliminate those artists that do not fall within your budget.

Then you need to make sure you know exactly how the costs will work. Ask the stylist to give you a clear breakdown of how their prices work and what costs are extra - traveling or trail costs. Find out if they have any packages available, this can often save you some money. Lastly you need to confirm the deposit amount and when the final payment is due as well as their cancelation policy - always better to be prepared.